Slavery started in African at a relatively small level as a minor institution within a kin-and lineage-based social society (Klein 7). However, slaves were not a major factor in the production process of these societies. They performed small scale jobs such as domestic work and warrior or administrator to agriculture labors (Klein 8). Children born to slave mothers and free father were consider to be free. In these societies, slavery was not precisely fixed as a method to become the basis of production. It was not until the European involvement of trading slaves did the Atlantic slave trade develop into the tragic story we know today. The new world development and the European involvement with the Atlantic slave trade was the root of the Middle passage and forced many Africans to lose their lives, family, and freedom.
The origin of the Transatlantic Slave Trade began with Prince Henrique, also know as "The Navigator."" Henrique was the first European to directly trade slaves without going through the Moors of Africa but always ran into a problem with them(Burnside 19). Prince Henrique was determined to find a way around the Moors because their prices were exorbitant and he longed to explore the uncharted lands of Africa (Burnside 20). Henrique gathered a group of men to help accomplish his mission and began to look for pathways across the sea to Africa. The mission was never achieved because of the unnavigable coastline, storms, and the hostility between the Africans and the Arabs, which caused a majority of the deaths of Henrique's crew (Burnside 20). Despite Henique's futile attempt, other Europeans persisted to travel to Africa in search of gold, ivory and African slaves.
In the Americas, the New World and plantations were under development, the expansion of these plantation increased the need for labor. The Europeans and Africans were making minute slave trade when the Europeans established a sugar cane plantation back in the thirteenth century (Craig 537).