After many years of research, award winning historian Hugh Thomas portrays, in a balanced account, the complete history of the slave trade. Beginning with the first Portuguese slaving expeditions, he describes and analyzes the rise of one of the largest and most elaborate maritime and commercial ventures in all of history. Between 1482 and 1870, approximately eleven million black slaves were carried from Africa to the Americas to work on plantations, in mines or as servants in houses. The Slave Trade is alive with villians and heroes and illuminated by eyewitness accounts. Hugh Thomas's achievment is not only to present a compelling story of the time but to answer as well such controversial questions as who the traders were, the extent of the profits, and why so many African rulers and peoples willingly collaberated. Thomas also movingly describes such accounts as are available from the slaves themselves. 907 pages, paperback.