Source: Notices of Brazil, Walsh, 1831
The transatlantic slave trade reached its peak between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries spurred by the growth of large plantations in North and South America. To increase profits, slave ship owners divided the hull into multiple decks, so that they could transport as many slaves as possible. The conditions were horrific and led to incredibly high mortality rates. The slave ship Henrietta Marie, which sank off the coast of Key West, Florida, in 1701, carried up to 400 slaves in a single voyage, with some chained to the bow of the ship during the entire weeklong passage.
By the late eighteenth century, slaveryan extreme form of human oppression whereby an individual may "own" another person and the... in the U.S. was a firmly established social, political and economically lucrative institution. It existed in both the North, where slaves were employed in various trades and as skilled laborers, as well as in the South. But with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, the demand for agricultural labor increased significantly, especially in the Deep South where cotton was the major crop. The cotton gin made cultivation on a huge scale possible, increasing the daily processing capability fifty fold. As a result of increased cotton production and the required labor, the slave population in cottongrowing regions greatly increased.