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Slave Lives For those carried in the trade, such considerations had little meaning.For them slavery meant destruction of their villages or capture in war, separation from friends and family, and then the forced march to an interior trading town or to the slave pens at the towns or forts of the coast.Conditions during the process were deadly and perhaps as many as one-third of the captives died along the way or in the slave pens. Cargo size varied and could go as high as 700 slaves packed and crowded into the dank, unhealthy conditions of the slave ships, but most cargoes were smaller and overcrowding was less of a factor in mortality than the length of the voyage or the point of origin in Africa - the Bights of Benin and Biafra being particularly unhealthy.The average rate of mortality for slaves varied over time but ran at about 18 to 20 percent until the 18th century when it declined somewhat.They were also more likely to win their freedom by manumission.This system of hierarchy was a creation of the slaveholders and did not necessarily reflect perceptions among the slaves.

In early 17th century Lima, Peru, capital of Spain's colony in South America, blacks outnumbered Europeans.

In the English colonies of Barbados and Virginia, indentured servants from England were eventually replaced by enslaved ofricans when either new crops, such as sugar, were introduced or when indentured servants became less available.