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The Atlantic slave trade was the selling of African people as slaves by Europeans that happened in and around the Atlantic Ocean. It lasted from the 15th century to the 19th century. Most of the enslaved people were shipped from West Africa and brought over to the America on slave ships. This was also called the Middle Passage.
Some enslaved people were captured in battles or through raids and kidnapping. Some were sold into slavery as punishment or to pay a debt, usually by other Africans. Then they were shackled together and marched to the coast on journeys lasting weeks or months. When they arrived they were imprisoned in forts where they were purchased by Europeans. Most historians today think that between 12 million and 13 million Africans arrived in the America.
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