Major coastal regions from which captives left Africa

Jan. 1, 2022, 12:57 p.m.

David Eltis

Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus of History

David Richardson

Former Director of the Wilberforce Institute

Introductory Maps

The limits of the regions shown here are 'Senegambia,' anywhere north of the Rio Nunez. Sierra Leone region comprises the Rio Nunez to just short of Cape Mount. The Windward Coast is defined as Cape Mount south-east to and including the Assini river. The Gold Coast runs east of here up to and including the Volta River. Bight of Benin covers the Rio Volta to Rio Nun, and the Bight of Biafra, east of the Nun to Cape Lopez inclusive. West-central Africa is defined as the rest of the western coast of the continent south of this point, and south-eastern Africa anywhere from and to the north and east of the Cape of Good Hope. West-Central Africa was the largest regional departure point for captives through most the slave trade era. Regions closer to the Americas and Europe generated a relatively small share of the total carried across the Atlantic. Voyage length was determined as much by wind and ocean currents shown in Map 4 as by relative proximity of ports of embarkation and disembarkation.

Total documented embarkations: 7,878,500 captives
Percent of estimated embarkations: 63.3%