Transatlantic or triangular trade commonly refers to the historic slavery-based trading system between West Africa, the American colonies, and imperial European powers beginning in the 17th century. This system of trade was created by the European colonial powers in order to support their colonies in North America with a supply of African slaves. These slaves were used to tend to cash crops like tobacco and sugar in the Americas, which provided more profit to the European colonial powers. The system of trade had a number of impacts on the world. The slave trade was devastating to Africa's economy due to the loss of population, and some local leaders promoted constant warfare in order to take prisoners of war for trade as slaves. The trade also improved the economies of European powers and strengthened their colonies in North America, and promoted the rapid development of New England.