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Triangle Trade

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Definition: The Triangle Trade, also known as the triangular trade, is the name given to a system of trade that occurred during the colonial era in American History. New Englanders traded extensively, exporting many commodities such as fish, whale oil, furs, and rum. However, one distinct route that formed was the triangular trade. This pattern occurred as follows:
  • New Englanders manufactured and shipped rum to the west coast of Africa in exchange for slaves.
  • The slaves were taken on the “Middle Passage” to the West Indies where they were sold for molasses and money.
  • The molasses would be sent to New England to make rum and start the entire system of trade all over again.
It is important to note that the triangle trade was not an “official” or rigid system of trade, but instead a name that has been given to this triangular route of trade that existed between these three places across the Atlantic. Further, other triangle-shaped trade routes existed at this time. However, when individuals speak of the triangle trade, they are typically referring to this system.
Also Known As: Triangular Trade

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