A short history of the Trans Atlantic slave trade.
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 realised 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 labour force for their sugar plantations and mines in Brazil. They soon realised 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 to the New Americas, to work on the plantations. 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 acclimatise, 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 acclimatised, and resistant to tropical diseases. They were also a steady supply of labour. 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...