triangular trade At least two overlapping patterns of trans-Atlantic trade developed in the colonial era whereby profits from rum and other American and British manufactured goods sold on the west coast of Africa financed the purchase of enslaved Africans. The triangular trade took place between three countries, England , West Africa and America. The triangular trade was a system of transatlantic trade in the 16th century between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The first leg of the trip was sending European products from Europe to Africa, where they were traded for slaves. Then, the slaves were transported to the Americas and sold.