Slavery and its Impact in Latin America Vs the United States
Slavery originally started in Latin America and the West Indies by the French, Spanish, and Portuguese after the conquest, to replace the depopulated labor of the Indigenous people. Shortly after, slavery became a profitable enterprise for the capitalistic driven United States. Some of the principal laws and systems of slavery were the same in both regions, but others were later changed. It brought about many changes, with respect to African-Americans and black culture. Those changes had long lasting effects, not only on how blacks view and are viewed in society, but also on how the destruction of our culture influenced our current life-style today in United States and Latin America. Skin color is still an important factor in today’s society, due to the sociological affects from slavery, which started over 500 years ago.
After the conquest, Latin America was referred to as the New World, attained through mayhem. The Spanish and Portuguese army was no match for the Indigenous people. The Inca Curacas and the Aztec Tlatoani administered forced labor, classified as Accion Civica Repubicla (civic service to the republic), and brutal treatment of the crown’s appointed Corregidores on the Indians. Before the Africans came, the Indigenous’ society was destroyed and depopulated through violence, along with disease. Due to the depopulation, the slaves were brought from areas of Africa. They were considered more durable and prone to European disease. Slavery was common in most highly civilized societies that already existed. The Spaniard’s Asiento system delivered vast amounts of slaves to the Americas, which became the leading export from Africa. It became a highly profitable business. They shipped the first African slaves to Santo Domingo around 1501, then later to Brazil, to work in the sugar plantations. As time progressed, slaves also worked in the Gold mines, cattle ranches, and large haciendas. The Gold mines became the cash cow for Latin America. Then the United States began to import slaves around 1581. They would harvest tobacco. Then in 1793, they picked cotton, after Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. Cotton became the U.S.’s cash crop. From that invention new laws were enacted, which required slaves to serve for the rest of their lives.
Aside from the atrocious voyage on the Tumeiros, slaves were treated inhumane. Morally the views regarding the treatment of slaves were fundamentally different. The slaves in Latin American were treated with some respect, based on the Roman Heritage of the conquest. The Catholic Church had a tremendous amount of power over society. Slaves that were shipped to Latin America were baptized and converted to Christianity, which granted freedom in the early colonial period. That did not last long in the United States. Unlike in the United States, the Catholic Church felt that slaves were humans, entitled church sacraments, and received better treatment in Latin America. Those sacraments forced the slaves owners to give Sundays and holidays off; their masters recognized how better treatment prevented acts of rebellion. They were given more rights, but heir treatment depended on whether they were under the Spanish, Portuguese, or French legal code of Roman Civil Law. Each code had certain rights that slaves where entitled to. Under the Spanish and Portuguese codes, slaves could not be killed by their owners. Legally they had the right to life. Black women and children were protected by the Roman civil Law as well. Slaves could own personal property and enter into contracts. Their owners could grant them freedom through manumission, without restriction, and slaves could purchase their freedom as well. Under the French code (Noir), Slaves were not allowed any of those rights, along with the right to marry as they pleased. The French code was similar to the United States. Certain states made it illegal...
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