Central Africa is the part of Africa’s Atlantic coast encompassing the modern nations of Gabon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. Through much of the transatlantic slave trade era, merchants and planters identified the region and its captive Africans as “Angola” and “Angolans.”
Because of its internal geography, location relative to the Americas, and large catchment zone, West-Central Africa was the largest supplier of enslaved Africans to the New World. In total, slave traders carried well over five million Africans from Central African ports.
Central Africa differs from other regions that supplied the transatlantic slave trade. For example, Central Africa was home to some relatively large and powerful political states that controlled significant populations and territories. In addition, the peoples who inhabited the region shared broadly similar culture, language, and religion, all of which facilitated large-scale organization, warfare, and trade.