The TransAtlantic Slave Trade 1450-1865 Introduction



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The TransAtlantic Slave Trade

  • 1450-1865

Introduction

  • The Atlantic Slave Trade was the most significant link Africa had to the larger Atlantic World in early modern times.

The Early Slave Trade

  • Earliest European slave traders were Portuguese.
  • They learned that they could buy slaves instead of capturing them.
  • Increased the numbers of slaves they brought home.

The Early Slave Trade: Slavery Expands

  • Meanwhile, disease had reduced the native populations in Spanish territories.
  • Spanish looked for laborers for the Caribbean and the Americas.
  • In 1518, the first shipment of slaves went directly from west Africa to the Caribbean where the slaves worked on sugar plantations.

The Early Slave Trade: Slavery Expands Continued

  • By the 1520s, the Spanish had introduced slaves to Mexico, Peru, and Central America where they worked as cultivators and miners
  • By the early 17th Century, the British had introduced slaves to North America

Europeans

  • By the 15th and 16thc when the Europeans ventured to Africa, the slave trade was well-established.
  • European influence caused it to expand dramatically.
  • African peoples received European goods for slaves.
  • Firearms were the most common.

Europeans: Triangular Trade

    • European goods (cloth ,metal wares, and firearms) went to Africa and were exchanged for slaves.
    • Slaves were then shipped to the Caribbean and Americas where they were sold for cash or sometimes bartered for sugar or molasses.
    • Then the ships returned to Europe loaded with American products.

Triangular Trade Route

Slaves: Capture

  • Violent.
  • Neighborhoods raided.
  • Wars started to capture slaves.

Slaves: Capture

  • Force-marched to holding pens then loaded on ships
  • The trans-Atlantic journey was called “Middle Passage”
  • Ships filthy, hot, & crowded

The Middle Passage

  • The Middle Passage

Slaves: The Middle Passage

  • Slaves had enough room to sit upright, not enough to stand
  • Some forced slaves to lie in chains with only 20” b/w them

Slaves: The Middle Passage Continued

  • Men = right; women = left; children = middle.
  • Slaves jammed onto platforms 6’ wide w/out enough room to sit up.

Slaves: The Middle Passage Continued

  • Crews tried to keep slaves alive for profit, but treatment was very cruel
  • Some slaves refused to eat; crew used tools to pry mouths open to force-feed them

Slaves: Dancing

  • Slaves forced to “Dance” daily for exercise - hop in place in shackles/swing their arms.
  • Whips/cat-o’-nine-tails to force slaves to exercise.

Slaves: The Middle Passage Continued

  • Slaves thrown overboard when supplies ran low, disease/sickness/unhealthy or left behind at the port.

Auctions: Arrival

  • When ship docked, slaves placed in pens.
  • Slaves washed, covered w/ grease or tar to look healthy.
  • Branded w/ hot iron to identify them.

Auctions

  • Slaves sold at auctions
  • Buyers physically inspected slaves
  • Auctioneers had slaves demonstrate their physical abilities

Auctions

Auctions

  • “We didn’t spend many days in the merchant’s custody before we were sold. When the drum started to beat, buyers rushed at once into the yeard where slaves were confined and made a choice of which “property” they wanted to purchase. The noise and eagerness visible in the faces of the buyers was frightening to the terrified Africans. In this way, without a second thought, family and friends were separated, most of them never to see each other again. I remember in the boat in which I was brought over... there were several brothers who were sold to different buyers. It was very emotional to see and hear their cries as they were separated. Mothers torn from their children, men from their wives.”
    • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano

Plantations

  • Most African slaves went to the Caribbean or South America.
  • Plantations produced crops like sugar, tobacco, indigo, and cotton.
  • Crops were exported for profit.

Between 1501 and the 1860s, at least twelve million African men, women, and children were transported in the transatlantic slave trade. Among them were farmers, fishermen, cattle herders, craftspeople, scholars, slaves, musicians, as well as political and religious leaders and tribal kings and queens.

  • Between 1501 and the 1860s, at least twelve million African men, women, and children were transported in the transatlantic slave trade. Among them were farmers, fishermen, cattle herders, craftspeople, scholars, slaves, musicians, as well as political and religious leaders and tribal kings and queens.

Plantations: North America

  • North America living conditions were not good.
  • Plantation owners imported large numbers of female slaves and encouraged their slaves to form families and bear children

Plantations: Forms of Resistance

  • Work slowly
  • Sabotage
  • Runaway
  • Revolt

Impact of Slave Trade in Africa

  • Abolishing the slave trade did not end slavery
  • British ships patrolled the west coast of Africa to halt illegal trade
  • The last documented ship that carried slaves across the Atlantic arrived in Cuba in 1867

Impact of Slave Trade in Africa

  • Some states like Rwanda largely escaped the slave trade through resistance and geography
  • Some like Senegal in west Africa were hit very hard
  • Other societies benefited economically from selling slaves, trading, or operating ports

Impact of Slave Trade in Africa

  • As abolition took root in the 19th Century some African merchants even complained about the loss of their livelihood
  • On the whole, however, the slave trade devastated Africa

Impact of Slave Trade in Africa

  • It deprived Africa of a huge part of their population.
  • It distorted African gender ratios because ~ 2/3 of slaves were male.
  • The introduction of firearms increased the level of violence.

Cultural Diffusion

  • How did The Transatlantic Slave Trade increase cultural diffusion in Africa and the United States?

Amistad

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nePOpkYwjY

RETEACHING SECTION

Slave Trade - Definition

  • Collecting, transporting, & selling of human beings as slaves, in particular the former trade in African blacks as slaves by European countries & North America.
  • Picture/Diagram-Triangular Slave Trade
  • North America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Europe

Impact on Africa

  • It deprived Africa of a huge part of their population.
  • It distorted African gender ratios because ~ 2/3 of slaves were male.
  • The introduction of firearms increased the level of violence.

Process: From Africa to Ending Country

  • How were they captured?
  • What was the middle passage on the ships like?
  • What happened when they arrived off the ships?
  • What happened at the plantations?
  • This is an essay and should be written in paragraph form. Think about the following questions as you write your essay.


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