The African Slave Trade
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How did African Slavery begin? For many centuries, Africans were a commodity, like land tax, they were expendable to the Congo chiefs. In 1440,The Portuguese realized this, and so, as well as exploiting Africa for it’s gold and spices, they also had a monopoly on the African slave trade. They needed a labor force for their sugar laminations and mines in Brazil.
They soon realized that their was a better market in selling their slaves to Europe, and so began the Trans Atlantic Triangular Trade. The Dutch soon took over, but, as the British Navy got stronger, they became the dominant force of obtaining African slaves, by the end of the Seventeenth Century. The Trans Atlantic Triangle: It was a three way exchange. The Portuguese, then the Dutch and then the Europeans brought guns, finery and merchandise to Africa, to trade with Congo kings and merchants, for African slaves. The slaves were then shipped o the New Americas, to work on the plantations.
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Mainly sugar, cotton and tobacco. Then the produce was shipped back to Europe. Why was there a need for African slaves? The need for a workforce in the New Americas was hard to obtain. Not all slaves were Africans. The Europeans had brought diseases with them, which wiped out most of the Indigenous population, which they had enslaved. The Europeans, themselves were finding it hard to acclimates, as well as succumbing to many tropical diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever. The African slaves were the perfect answer.
They were already hard workers, skilled in growing crops and raising cattle. They were already acclimatized, and resistant to tropical diseases. They were also a steady supply of labor. There were many types of slaves. ; Chattel Slaves: They were regarded as cattle. Property to be bought and sold or traded for any use. ; Prisoners: Some who were sentenced to hard labor, were given to private or government groups. ; Debt bondage: Labor to repay debts. A person or a family member, mainly children, were provided, in replacement of the debt. Unfortunately for most of them, they would never e the end of the debt, because of incurred expenses, for food, clothing and shelter, whilst being a slave. In some cases the debt carried on through generations. ;Forced labor: People threatened to work for fear of violence toward themselves and, or family members. Also, people contracted to work for a certain period, would find themselves entrapped, unable to leave, and working in horrendous circumstances with no pay. ; Serfdom: Peasants forced to work on the land for Lords, never being able to break away without the Lord’s consent.
Conclusion: Many slaves never made it to the New Americas. They were poorly treated as they were marched to slave camps along the coast, awaiting to be taken overseas. They suffered brutality, malnutrition and disease, and were crammed into ships, as they were not faired a high life expectancy. The reasoning was to have some make it through the voyage, but, surprisingly, their survival rate was higher than the rate of the Europeans on board. Their plight was horrific, but it changed the World’s trading scheme forever, and contributed to the World’s first influx Of Globalization.