World War 1
African-American History

How many African Americans died from slavery?



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The transatlantic slave trade resulted in a vast and as yet still unknown loss of life for African captives both in and outside of America. Approximately 1.2 - 2.4 million Africans died during their transport to the New World. More died soon upon their arrival. The amount of life lost in the actual procurement of slaves remains a mystery but may equal or exceed the amount actually enslaved.

The savage nature of the trade led to the destruction of individuals and cultures. The following figures do not include deaths of enslaved Africans as a result of their actual labor, slave revolts or diseases they caught while living among New World populations.

A database compiled in the late 1990s put the figure for the transatlantic slave trade at more than 11 million people. For a long time an accepted figure was 15 million, although this has in recent years been revised down. Most historians now agree that at least 12 million slaves left the continent between the 15th and 19th century, but 10 to 20% died on board ships. Thus a figure of 11 million enslaved people transported to the Americas is the nearest demonstrable figure historians can produce. Besides the slaves who died on the Middle Passage itself, even more slaves probably died in the slave raids in Africa. The death toll from four centuries of the Atlantic slave trade is estimated at 10 million.