Primary Source

Children in the Slave Trade [Table]


The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM, edited by David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, contains the best quantitative evidence to date on the number of Africans sold into the slave trade. A collection of trader inventories, the CD-Rom serves as a searchable database of voyages that took place during from the 16th to 19th centuries. Information on points of embarkation and disembarkation, mortality rates, gender and age, captains and crew, instances of rebellion, and epidemics can all be found in the database. However, one should be aware that the information is not complete and that is drawn from the evidence recorded in slave ship logs by the captain and crew. Therefore, the quantitative data gleaned from such a source should be used carefully.

In the chart below, the number of children recorded in the database by century is listed, as well as the region of embarkation. This data shows an increase in children traveling the Middle Passage, as well as changes in supply and demand from region of disembarkation. This not only gives an idea of changes in planter demand and child worth, but also regional preference as well. Furthermore, the data suggests changes in supply as well as demand.


The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom. Edited by David Eltis, Stephen Behrendt, Herbert S. Klein, and David Richardson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Annotated by Colleen A. Vasconcellos.

Primary Source Text

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom

Point of Embarkation 1601-1700 1701-1800 1801-1867
Africa unspecified 6,701 65,440 125,699
Bight of Benin 39,221 93,216 41,324
Bight of Biafra 16,478 82,021 40,932
Gold Coast 14,602 79,663 2,618
West-central Africa 11,169 145,523 20,092
Senegambia 5,462 26,424 1,668
Sierra Leone 974 24,398 11,512
Windward Coast 0 13,174 1,766
South-east Africa 0 4,202 3,327
Total 94,607 534,061 248,398

How to Cite This Source

"Children in the Slave Trade [Table]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #154, (accessed August 10, 2021). Annotated by Colleen A. Vasconcellos