Most colonials were merchants by trade in search for gold and used people from Africa to do labor work in the new land as slaves. The service from the enslaved group was considered crucial for survival. According to European colonial officials, the abundant land they had adopted in the Americas was useless without sufficient labor to exploit it. The trans-Saharan slave trade supplied enslaved African labor to work on sugar plantations in the Mediterranean. The other slaves working there included white slaves from Russia and the Balkans. This same trade group was also responsible to send approximately 10,000 slaves a year to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Iberian Peninsula for work.