Reasons for Europe's First Coming to Africa:.
From the early 1400's Portugal and other European countries were looking for a way to go around paying high Muslim prices for goods from the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Prince Henry the Navigator designed a plan to go around Africa, instead of through it, to get directly to the market. By the end of the 15th century Portugal had made it around the southern tip of the continent, up the East African coast and on to India, but not within any African contact. As they sailed down Africa, hugged her coast, the Portuguese baptized certain areas, forcing Africans to recognize their authority. Although European influence remained along much of the East African coast they could not gain political control, which still belonged to the Arabs and Africans. This contact with Africa led to the Atlantic Ocean Slave Trade.
Portugal did not set out to start the Trans-Atlantic slave trade but with the discovery of the New World and evolution of the plantation system there was a need for labor. The Portuguese had already started sugar plantations on offshore islands where they used African labor and took them back to England so, even before the settlement of the Americas, Europe witnessed the development of black slavery.
The Europeans, who always traveled without their wives, married African women and had children. This gave birth to the class of Mulattoes who were apart of two cultures, African and European. They used their knowledge of African language and culture to help their European fathers in capturing and enslaving other Africans. As the demand increased settlers and mulattoes of the offshore islands supplied many slaves by launching raids on the mainland. Unfortunately, the kidnapping could not fill the increasing demand for slaves in the Americas. Also, the Portuguese wanted to continue trade with the Africans, which could best be purchased under more peaceful conditions.