Teaching Module

Children in the Slave Trade

Slave Coffle, Central Africa, 1861 [Image]


This image shows children and adults making their way from the African interior to the coast in a slave coffle. While some may think that children were given special treatment because of their age, and some may have, this image suggests that this was not always the case. Teachers should caution students that this is also an image commissioned by abolitionists, who often used children to make a point. This does not mean that children did not travel in coffles as is pictured here, but abolitionists used images like these to gain support for their cause.


Livingstone, David, and Charles Livingstone. Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries; and of the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa, 1858-1864. London, 1865, facing, 356. Reprinted New York, 1866, facing, 376. In Handler, Jerome S., and Michael L. Tuite, Jr. "Advertisement for Sale of Newly Arrived Africans, Charleston, July 24, 1769." The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record, http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=3&categoryName=Capture%20of%20Slaves%20and%20Coffles%20in%20Africa&theRecord=7&recordCount=41. Annotated by Colleen A. Vasconcellos.

How to Cite This Source

Colleen A. Vasconcellos, "Children in the Slave Trade," in Children and Youth in History, Item #141, https://cyh.rrchnm.org/items/show/141 (accessed August 10, 2021).