SLAVERY AND THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE Introduction Beginning in the 15th century, Europeans established a transatlantic slave trade. For over four centuries, they transported several million captured and enslaved Africans to the North and South American continents, to the Caribbean Islands and to Brazil…
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The importing of African slaves became an essential, acceptable and profitable part of European commerce. Taking advantage of the internecine warring amidst African nations, Europeans forcefully removed Africans from their homeland, with the largest numbers from the Gold, Ivory and West Coasts. The cruel system of African slavery was uniquely different from other forms of slavery due to the brutal manner in which it was conducted, the treatment of African slaves as goods or personal property, and the great numbers of people who were captured as slaves, believed to be over 50 million. The one-way trip to the Americas was known as the “Middle-Passage”. One of the major debates among historians about the transatlantic slave trade argues the specific reasons for Europeans to enslave Africans during an extensive period spanning the 15th to the early 19th century. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to determine whether European motivation for the slave trade was related to profits, racism, or had another explanation. The Significance and Long-Term Effects of the Slave Trade Historian Marcus Rediker has explored not only the transatlantic slave trade, but also the slave ships by which the trade was carried out for centuries. The transportation of enslaved Africans and business transactions of slaves towards their use as forced labor, forms history’s greatest imposed migration. ...
Contrastingly, the loss of large numbers of its people led to extensive decline in Africa’s economy and political situation. Despite rich natural resources, the continent’s inability to overcome its low levels of development towards progress is attributed fully to its past of enslavement and depletion of its population3. However, other reasons such as the siphoning away of world financial aids meant for Africa’s development, by politicians in the weak political system, further undermines the continent’s future. Racism and the Brutality of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Significantly, racism is defined as white supremacy4, because no other race in the world has asserted itself to be the superior race; and used political or economic resources to impose oppression on others on the basis of race. The Europeans considered themselves as the superior race on the basis of their light skin color, and believed that dark skin genetically predetermined Africans as inferior, and suitable only for the status of slave. Thus, the Europeans developed deeply ingrained discrimination against the dark coloured Africans as “others” belonging to a lower class of humanity. This approach is also evident in the fact that Europeans did not enslave other Europeans because of an underlying commitment to individual rights. They considered other whites as similar to themselves, and consequently their equals. Since Africans were considered as different both physically and culturally, this “otherness” was the rationalization for enslaving, ill-treating and enforcing hard labor on them. Carl Degler5 and Winthrop Jordan6 supported this view of racism being key to Africans’ enslavement by the white Europeans.
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Up to the 16th century activities in this part of world were predominantly exploratory treasure hunts. Standing in their way, however, were the multitude of sedentary and fierce nomadic indigenous tribes which had to be overcome if the land was to be subjugated.
That was the first time white community openly discussed that issue, and slavery was condemned as a product of human greed. At that time, the massive volume had a transatlantic slave trade, which is a trade that took place across the Atlantic Ocean, with the majority of slaves coming from central and western parts of Africa.
The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us…" (Equiano 1837, 47-48) The above passage was written by Olaudah Equiano, who as a youth was captured in West Africa and sold into slavery.
The author states that children were very unwilling to participate in the slave trade and in spite of their age they saw themselves captured and in imprisonment after the war. The women, children and the older people became particularly vulnerable after their men were killed during the war; the ones who were spared death were then ransomed as slaves.
Slaves were forcibly removed from their homeland, sold, bought and taken to new sites where they were exploited. They were threatened by violence and forced to work for their masters. However, through abolitionist proclamation of 1807 ending the transatlantic slave trade coupled with the emancipation proclamation of 1863, slavery declined gradually and eventually ceased existing.
In 1606, the first colonialists from the Virginia Company left for the New World from England. The colony was then established in an island by the name Jamestown, in North America. Despite the favorable climate in Jamestown, the colonialists experienced the problem of lack of fresh water for drinking and thus most of them died within the first year of arrival due to attack by unknown diseases and starvation.
African enslavement or forced migration of Africans for enslavement purposes in one of the greatest human tragedies. It is also known as the African Diaspora. Around 4 million enslaved African Americans were
The principles that governed it were so peculiar. In most occasions, slaves worked tirelessly in order to meet their needs and the needs of the lords at very low pay. The main victims of the slave trade were the black people.