The approximate distance from the upper western coast of Africa to the West Indies is approximately 4000 miles.
The Middle Passage was the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa]citation needed[ were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Ships departed Europe for African markets with manufactured goods, which were traded for purchased or kidnapped Africans, who were transported across the Atlantic as slaves; the slaves were then sold or traded for raw materials, which would be transported back to Europe to complete the voyage. Voyages on the Middle Passage were a large financial undertaking, and they were generally organized by companies or groups of investors rather than individuals.
The "Middle Passage" was considered a time of in-betweenness for those being traded from Africa to America. The close quarters and intentional division of pre-established African communities by the ship crew motivated captive Africans to forge bonds of kinship which then created forced transatlantic communities. These newly established bonds greatly impacted and altered African identity and culture within each community.]citation needed[ It was a significant contributing aspect to the slaves' survival of the "Middle Passage" and carried into their life in America.]citation needed[ Caribbean
European colonization of the Americas began in 1492, when a Spanish expedition headed by Christopher Columbus sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East and inadvertently saw the American continent. Prior European contact existed on a limited basis when some Norse expeditions arrived on the shores of present-day Greenland and Canada in the 10th century. While Norse settlements in southern Greenland existed for several centuries, archaeologists have found remains of only one shortlived Norse settlement in North America.According to Norse folklore, violent conflicts with the indigenous population ultimately made the Norse abandon those settlements. It wasn't until five centuries later that the systematic conquest and colonization of America began with Columbus' discovery of Hispaniola. His first two expeditions (1492–93) further reached the Bahamas and various Caribbean islands, notably Puerto Rico and Cuba. In 1497, sailing from Bristol on behalf of England, John Cabot landed on the North American coast, though English colonization started a century later. In 1498, Columbus's third voyage reached the South American coast.
As the sponsor of the discovery voyage, Spain was the first European power to settle the Americas and colonize the largest areas, from North America and the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America. Spanish cities were founded as early as 1496 with Santo Domingo in today's Dominican Republic or San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1508 or Veracruz (Mexico) and Panama City in 1519. The city of St. Augustine, Florida founded by Spain in 1565 is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in present-day United States.
Maritime history is the study of human activity at sea. It covers a broad thematic element of history that often uses a global approach, although national and regional histories remain predominant. As an academic subject, it often crosses the boundaries of standard disciplines, focusing on understanding humankind's various relationships to the oceans, seas, and major waterways of the globe. Nautical history records and interprets past events involving ships, shipping, navigation, and seafarers.
Maritime history is the broad overarching subject that includes fishing, whaling, international maritime law, naval history, the history of ships, ship design, shipbuilding, the history of navigation, the history of the various maritime-related sciences (oceanography, cartography, hydrography, etc.), sea exploration, maritime economics and trade, shipping, yachting, seaside resorts, the history of lighthouses and aids to navigation, maritime themes in literature, maritime themes in art, the social history of sailors and passengers and sea-related communities.
The exploration of North America by non-indigenous people was a continuing effort to map and explore the continent of North America. It spanned centuries, and consisted of efforts by numerous people and expeditions from various foreign countries to map the continent. The European colonization of the Americas followed.
West Africa, also called Western Africa and the West of Africa, is the westernmost region of the African continent. In the United Nations scheme of African regions, the region includes 16 countries and one overseas territory:
The Caribbean (// or //; Spanish: Caribe; Dutch: Caraïben (help·info); French: Caraïbe or more commonly Antilles) is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean), and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. (See the list.) These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize and Guyana – historically and culturally part of the British West Indies – may be included.