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The Transatlantic slave trade, the most notorious example of the Triangular Trade model, operated between the 16th and 19th century. It was named "Triangular Trade" for its three main entities - Europe, Africa and the Caribbean - each with an agenda of needs and offers that catered well to one another. Europe desired goods from its own colonies in the Caribbean, driving a demand for slave labor to produce goods. Slave traders in Africa provided the slaves in return for European goods.

Ships would first sail from Europe to Africa, carrying copper, cloth, guns and ammunition to be sold or bartered for slaves. Ships would then be loaded with purchased slaves, and sail the Middle Passage to the Caribbean. Once in the West Indies, the slaves would be unloaded and sold, and the cargo vessel would be cleaned and prepared to carry new goods such as coffee, sugar, rum, and molasses back to Europe, completing the oppressive triangle.

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