What Is the Middle Passage?

The "Middle Passage" refers to the portion of a trade route where African slaves were transported from their home to North America. This was the second leg of a three-stop trade triangle that began in Europe and traveled to Africa then North America before returning home.

The Slave Trade Triangle existed in whole or part from the 1500s to the early 1900s. An estimated 9.4 to 12 million Africans survived the Middle Passage. Deaths from dysentery, smallpox and measles occurred frequently during the passage that, at times, took up to six months to complete. Suicides and prisoner uprisings were also common.