The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the 16th through to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of slaves involved in the Atlantic trade were Africans from the central and
western parts of the continent, who were sold by Africans to European slave traders, who transported them across the ocean to the colonies in North and South America. There, the slaves were forced to labor on coffee, tobacco, cocoa, cotton and sugar plantations, toil in gold and silver mines, in
rice fields, the construction industry, timber for ships, or in houses to work as servants.