Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade - Assignment Example

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This essay describes the role of the Portuguese in the development of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It analyses how the development of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade affected the development of the modern capitalist economic system. It compares slavery and indenture in the New World…
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Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
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Download file to see previous pages While the Portuguese started off by probing into gold and spice trade, over time another commodity made way into their cargo; African men, women, and children. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, over 10 percent of the Portuguese population was African, due to the extensive slave trading engaged in during this time. The Portuguese started using these captives as enslaved labor on extensive sugar plantations on a scale large enough to overshadow any other atrocity being committed around the world.
The development of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade had a direct impact on the development of the modern capitalist economic system. The capitalist economy flourished fervently primarily on the basis of plantation owners who used enslaved labor to grow their crops. By the mid-1600’s, the creation of ever growing sugar plantations along with many others, such as coffee, cocoa, rice, tobacco, indigo, and cotton, led to an increased demand for African slaves. This increase in demand was followed by the displacement of an estimated seven million Africans between mid-1600’s and early 1800’s. The increased demand for labor gave opportunists and entrepreneurs a gateway to engage in innovative ways to gain as many Africans as possible. The Europeans started engaging in a barter system with the Africans, whereby African slaves were purchased in exchange of cloth, gold, silver, copper bracelets and even military goods.
The human resource and all other commodities robbed off Africa by the European are precisely what drove the capitalist development and accumulation of wealth in Europe. Trade was at its peak and the commodity of prime demand was humans.
By definition, it is quite simple to differentiate between slavery and indenture. While slavery can be seen as a system whereby individuals can be bought and sold as property and forced to work under unimaginable conditions, indenture is viewed as a system of debt bondage whereby an individual is transported from one place to another and is made to work as a servant with no paid wages but allowance for food, accommodation, clothing, and training. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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