Before trade with Africa became mainly a trade in enslaved people, the main articles of trade for Europeans were ivory and gold. Even after the slave trade dominated African/European relations, ivory, gold, tropical woods and pepper were important. Captains were frequently instructed to buy ivory whenever possible. It was a luxury article that fetched a high price in Europe. And as some merchants noted, 'elephants' teeth' did not die on the voyage so a profit was guaranteed.