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Primary Document Analysis - Term Paper Example

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Name of the Writer Name of the Instructor African American History Date Submitted “Willem Bosman, a Dutch Trader, Describes the Details of Bargaining for Slaves” Introduction The annals of African-American history are full with tales of sadness and despair with scarcely a ray of hope in sight…
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Primary Document Analysis
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Download file to see previous pages Eventually the practice of indentured servitude and subsequent freedom began to be replaced by outright slavery as practiced in the Caribbean islands. From 1619 to 1865, blacks were bought and sold in slave markets. Despite only about 300,000 slaves entering the shores of America, they have a rich and eventful history and by about 1700, 10 percent of the population of the American colonies consisted of slave labor. However in localities such as Northampton, these people not only acquired property but formed families and provided for the welfare of their children, much like white folks. What is even more surprising that despite their sad past, they did not shy away from the white population and exist in their own exclusive community- rather they mixed with the local population and earned a name for themselves by being industrious and dealing in equal measure with whites, servants and slaves. Discussion In ‘Myne Owne Ground’, the authors Breen and Innes explore the antecedents and arrival of the blacks on Virginia’s Eastern Shores during the period 1640-1676. The surviving records are remarkably rich in detail, providing names like Payne, Emanuel, Driggus, Cane, Francisco and Grace. There were first names as well as family names; also reference to relationships like the term ‘wife’(Breen & Innes, 69). Records indicate that as much as 29 percent of the black population had gained freedom by 1668, a figure that stands out in all of black history. Some blacks arrived in Virginia via the West Indies, along with the sugar crops and it could be safely assumed that after spending a year in Barbados, they could speak English like a native and had also been exposed to the diseases and atmosphere of this new world. Going forward to the record of the Dutch trader Willem Bosman as recorded in 1701, he narrates the conditions of bargaining in the slave labor market and begins with the astonishing assertion that in conditions of slow economic growth, slave trading was a highly lucrative enterprise, even more advantageous than dealing in gold. Bosman notices that the practice of assigning the responsibility of the management of this trade to the captains of the ships did not always turn out beneficial for the slaves- in fact quite the contrary. Captains had too much responsibility on their hands already and could not be expected to handle the additional burden of looking after slave cargo. After a trader arrived at Fida and had satisfied the greed of the rulers by bribing them 100 pounds in Guinea currency equivalent, he was free to trade as he wished. But before he could do so, he was obliged to buy the King’s stock of slaves, that too at a price double or triple their going value in the slave market. If the King had no slaves, the factors were obliged to trust their lot of 200 odd slaves to the local inhabitants to be sold off in inland and remote regions, much in the same way as beasts of burden. For those humane enough to imagine that the sale of slaves meant the dissolution and seperation of their family unit, it was usually held that the slaves were prisoners of war anyway. When it comes to the matter of their trading, the slaves who are held in prison upon their arrival are brought out, stripped naked both men and women, and inspected minutely by chirurgeons. The good are placed on one side and the lame or faulty on another. These may be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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