The Transatlantic Slave Trade: From 1501 to 1867 there were 12.5 million Africans who were sent across the Atlantic to become slaves. Of these 1.8 million never made it: they died in the Middle Passage. Africans were brought in about 52,000 shipments. If you work out the averages, that comes to one ship arriving every two to three days for 366 years, each ship bringing on average 203 Africans, not counting the 36 who died on the way.
Amazingly, we still have the records of two-thirds of those shipments. They are in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (TAST).
Of those who came to the United States of America:
Only 4% or 455,000 came to America: the big money was in sugar in the Caribbean and Brazil, not in tobacco or cotton in North America. Despite that slow start, America now has more blacks than any other country in the Americas except Brazil. It has about a fourth of all blacks who now live in the Western Atlantic. (I am using the American meaning of the word “black” which counts mixed people too.)
That 455,000 grew to 4 million by the time the slaves were freed in 1865 and now to 90% of the nearly 40 million blacks now in America (the other 10% are due to blacks coming to America since 1900, mainly from the Caribbean) as well as 10% of the 200 million whites (who are part black but pass for white).
According to government numbers, one American in eight is black.
When they came:
- 1600s: 4%
- 1700s: 76%
- 1800s; 20%
Most were in America by 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Where they came from:
- 74.8%: West Africa (Guinea Coast)
- 23.7%: Senegal, Gambia
- 11.5%: Sierra Leone
- 5.6%: Liberia, Ivory Coast
- 14.1%: Ghana
- 19.9%: Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon
- 23.0%: Angola, Congo
- 2.2%: Mozambique
Most of those places in West Africa later became part of the British Empire.
Where they live now:
- 47% live in the Black Belt (states from New York City to New Orleans by way of Atlanta. The heart of it are those purple counties in the map above)
- 30% live in the Northern Belt (states from New York City to Chicago by way of Detroit)
Together they come to 65% of Black America (not 77% because New Jersey and New York states belong to both).
If you throw in Texas, California and Florida, you have 85% of all blacks.
From 1910 to 1970 about 6.6 million blacks moved from the South to the North and California.
According to AncestrybyDNA, a company that does DNA ancestry tests, the average for Black Americans is:
- 14.3% European
- 79.6% sub-Saharan African
- 2.8% Asian
- 3.3% indigenous American
One study found that blacks are 18.5% white on average, another said it is 15%. Here is how Gates puts it:
- 42% are 0.0% to 12.5% white
- 38% are 12.5% to 25.0% white
- 19% are 12.5% to 50.0% white
- Less than 1% are 50% white or more
So, despite Halle Berry, Barack Obama and Alicia Keys, blacks with a white parent are rare. After all, that 1% counts not just those with a white parent but even those with two black parents.
– Abagond, 2010, 2016.