Slavery and Servitude in the Colonies

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Student Question

Which African tribes were sent to the United States as slaves?

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First, it is important to remember that, in actuality, less than 5% of African slaves ended up in North America—most were either sent to South/Latin America and the Caribbean or died during the journey of the Middle Passage. Of these, many came from west central Africa (including what is now Congo, Angola, and Gabon), Senegambia, the Gold Coast, and the Bights of Biafra and Benin.

So, the main tribes that arrived in the United States were the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Aro, and Oyo. During this time, many tribes warred among each other to supply slaves to the Europeans. Essentially, each of the tribes vied to be the principal supplier of slaves for the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

As for slaves themselves, some of them were so distraught at their fate that they committed suicide upon landing. The first group of slaves was sent to Virginia in the 17th century.

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