About the Author

Catherine Denial is an Associate Professor of History at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. Since 2000, she has worked on curriculum development in Iowa through Bringing History Home, a TAH grant-funded project.

Labor and Trade in Colonial America

John Barbot, A Description of the Coasts of North and South-Guinea (1732)


This 1732 illustration captures the beginning of the 'middle passage'—the long journey from Africa to the Americas that millions of Africans endured. In the foreground we see local canoes; in the background, European slaving ships and slave forts, at which the newly enslaved were held before being shipped abroad.


Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and University of Virginia. The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record. 2011. Accessed May 1, 2012.