Slavery in Brazil

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Edmund Burke, the acclaimed author and philosopher once said, “Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.” Between the 16th and 19th century in the Americas, millions on millions of slaves were brought to the New World. There purpose was to work. The economy of most European colonies in America was dependent on slaves. The land that was discovered in Americas was useless with out sufficient slave labor to exploit it. In this essay, I will focus on two nations where slavery played an enormous role in the development of that country. First, The United States, where in 1860 in South Carolina over 50 percent of the population were slaves. Next, Brazil, the nation where about one third of all salves from Africa were brought. In this essay I will compare slavery in The United States to slavery in Brazil, I will dissect the similarities and differences while focusing on why and how the slaves came, the demographic and religious aspects, the treatment of the slaves, and the aftermath on both countries due to slavery. Around the year 1530 the Portuguese came to Brazil in search of land and natural resources, specifically sugar. As the Portuguese and the indigenous people of Brazil battled for land, the Brazilians resisted against being enslaved. As the Portuguese presence grew in Brazil so did disease, causing the death of most of the working indigenous people. As the number of sugar plantations grew, the demand for workers did as well. This is the main reason why Brazil began to import slaves from Africa. Although the origin of slaves in The United States was similar to Brazil, there were some differences. In the year 1619, only around 10 years after the British began to colonize US, a Dutch slave trader exchanged about 20 Africans for food in Jamestown, Virginia. Like Brazil, the U.S needed workers for plantations, but while Brazil focused on the sugar plantations, the U.S was focused on the tobacco plantations. In general, both Brazil and the U.S lacked a major resource in order to maintain a strong economy, that resource being workers. Although Brazil used more slaves towards sugar and the U.S used more towards tobacco, in general the slaves worked in mines or they worked in a sugar, rice, tobacco, or cotton plantation. Although the U.S played a larger role in the process, both Brazil and the U.S participated in the Triangular Slave Trade. Some say the Triangular Slave Trade is the reason why 10 to 15 million of Africans were shipped to the Americas between 1650 and 1860. The slave trade was simple yet wrong on so many levels. The slave trade took several different routes, but there were two popular ones. The most common route would first start in Europe where the Europeans would trade manufactured goods for slaves in Africa. Next, the slaves were transported across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil and the Caribbean where the slaves were sold for huge profits or traded for sugar, coffee, and tobacco. The journey from Africa to the Americas was known as the middle passage. Olaudah Equiano was a slave captured and sold into slavery. In his book, The Life of Olaudah Equiano the African, when describing the middle passage he writes, “I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a greeting in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, The white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among my people such instances of brutal cruelty. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, almost suffocated us. The air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying,...
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