While slavery existed in Africa long before the Atlantic Slave Trade, the escalation of the practice in the Seventeenth Century had a lasting impact on the continent. The human costs of the trade were staggering. While it is difficult to place a number on the carnage and estimates vary widely by source, the death toll of the slave trade is in the millions. With the exception of a few powerful regional rulers, the slave trade had an inherent negative impact on the economy of West Africa. Since male slaves were in the most demand, the continent lost a significant labor source as slaves were exported. The social impact of the loss of males the patriarchal cultures led to a loss of cultural identity. The slave trade also created competition between different groups in African that led to warfare. Another legacy of the slave trade was that in introduced the concept of foreign intervention in the political affairs of Africans by more powerful outside forces. This legacy would continue during the period of colonization and still is practiced in Africa today through large multinational corporations.