triangular trade


noun

a pattern of colonial commerce connecting three regions and crossing the Atlantic Ocean, specifically the transporting of enslaved Africans to the Americas, cotton and other raw materials from the Americas to Europe, and textiles and other manufactured goods from Europe to West Africa, or a similar repeating trade pattern transporting enslaved Africans to the West Indies and sugar or molasses from the West Indies to New England to be manufactured into rum, with liquor subsequently shipped and sold in West Africa.

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Origin of triangular trade

First recorded in 1885–90 in the sense of ordinary commercial trade, not involving enslaved Africans; the current sense was first recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020