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Demography of African Slavery


Most captives who entered the Atlantic world were prisoners of war and refugees. Others were victims of kidnapping. A minority was condemned to enslavement for a variety of alleged crimes. The vast majority of captives (65% ) were males; 21% were children under fifteen years of age. Almost half the captives (5.7 million) originated in West Central Africa (Congo/Angola). Two million people were transported from the Gulf of Benin (Benin/Western Nigeria), 1.6 million from the Gulf of Biafra (eastern Nigeria/Cameroon), 1.4 million from the area that stretched from Senegal to the Ivory Coast, and 1.2 million from the Gold Coast (Ghana). More than half a million captives originated in Madagascar and Mozambique in eastern Africa.

Enslaved Africans in Hold of Slave Ship, 1827