Topic 05: Slavery and the New World (1500–1800)

This topic covers the development of slavery in the Americas - how and why it developed, the role and nature of the Atlantic slave trade, as well as resistance and opposition to slavery.

Specifically this topic covers:

  • Reasons for and origins of slavery
  • The role of colonial powers in the establishment and expansion of slavery; the impact of the asiento
  • The Middle Passage
  • Living and working conditions in the New World
  • Slave resistance and slave rebellions - including a case study of a specific rebellion
  • Opposition to the slave trade and slavery; the role of Quakers and the other early abolitionists

1. Origins of the transatlantic slave trade

From the middle of the 15th century, until the end of the 19th century, Europeans established a trade with the West coast of Africa which involved transporting African slaves to the Americas.

2. The Middle Passage

This page examines the horrors of the 'Middle Passage', the second leg of the transatlantic 'triangular' trade in which the slaves were forced to endure 'a kind of living death' aboard the slave ships.

3. Life on the plantations

Slaves leaving the West Coast of Africa could be taken to the West Indies, to Brazil, or to the southern colonies of British America.

4. Slave resistance and slave rebellions in British America

Slave resistance took many forms. Rebellions were the most dramatic form of resistance, but slaves also challenged their masters through many individual acts of defiance.

5. Opposition to the slave trade and slavery

Although there was continued resistance to slavery from slaves themselves, it took much longer for the slave trade and slavery to be challenged by others. 


6. Economic and social impact of slavery

The impact of slavery was far-reaching; it brought wealth to the countries, companies and individuals involved in the slave trade and slavery, both in Europe and in the Americas. But this was at the cost...

7. Slavery: Essay frames and writing exercises

This page contains ATL to improve essay writing for this topic in Paper 3 as well as specific essay frames for Paper 3 style essays.

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.