The terrible transformation
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The Terrible Transformation. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The years 1450 to 1750 brought enormous changes to the North American continent. 1. European explorers destroyed the world of the Native Americans. I. European Exploration.

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The Terrible Transformation

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The Terrible Transformation

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade


The years 1450 to 1750 brought enormous changes to the North American continent.

1. European explorers destroyed the world of the Native Americans.

I. European Exploration


2. Europeans also began a trans-Atlantic slave trade that would bring millions of Africans to the Americas.

a. This slave trade would over time lead to a new social and economic system: one where the color of one’s skin could determine whether he or she might live as free citizens or be enslaved for life.


By the early 1600’s, England was eager to gain a foothold on the North American continent.

1. Jamestown was first settled in 1607, and soon colonies up and down the east coast were being settled.

II. The British Colonies


2. Labor to clear the forest, tend the plantations and farms, and work in the developing seafaring industry became a crucial concern.


B. From 1619 on, the need for colonial labor was bolstered by the importation of African captives.

1. At first, Africans were treated as indentured servants, who would be free when their service was over.


2. However, over the course of the century, a new race based slavery system developed, and by the 1700’s, the majority of Africans and African-Americans were slaves for life.


The history of the European seaborne slave trade with Africa goes back 50 years prior to Columbus’ initial voyage to the Americas.

1. It began with the Portuguese, who went to West Africa in search of gold.

III. Europeans Come to Western Africa


2. Voyages were started by Prince Henry the Navigator who had these goals:

To expand European geographic knowledge.

To find the source of African gold.

To locate a sea route around Africa to Asia


B. In 1441, the Portuguese obtained gold from west African traders.

1. In 1442, the Portuguese obtained gold and ten African slaves.

C. Forty years later in 1481, the Portuguese obtained permission to build a trading post in the Gulf of Guinea.


They named the post Elmina, which means “the mine,” and is located in present day Ghana.

Although originally built for trade in gold and ivory, it was soon used to export slaves.


D. Africans were either captured in warring raids or kidnapped and taken to slave forts by African traders.

1. Slaves were exchanged for iron, guns, gunpowder, knives, cloth, and beads.


E. When Europeans arrived along the west African coast, slavery already existed on the continent.

1. However, it was vastly different than the brutal form of slavery that would develop in the Americas.


2. It was actually more like European serfdom.

a. African slavery NEVER passed from one generation to another and lacked the notion that whites were the masters and blacks were the slaves.


F. Within 300 years, Europeans made more that 54,000 voyages to trade in human beings and sent at least 10 to 12 million Africans to the Americas.


A. The slave trade devastated African life. Culture and traditions were torn asunder. Guns were introduced and slave raids increased.

IV. African Slave Trade and the Middle Passage


B. After kidnapping potential slaves, merchants forced them to walk in slave caravans to the European coastal forts, sometimes as far as 1000 miles.


Shackled and underfed, only half of the people would survive these death marches.

a. Those too sick or to weary to keep up were killed or left to die.


2. Those who reached the forts were put into dungeons where they would stay until they were boarded on ships.


Refers to the transport of slaves across the Atlantic.

A typical Atlantic crossing took 60 to 90 days.

C. The Middle Passage


3. Africans were treated like cattle during the crossing.

They were stuffed between decks in areas to low to stand.

The heat was unbearable and the air nearly unbreathable.


c. Women were often abused sexually.

d. People were crowded together, usually forced to lie on their backs with their head between the legs of others.


e. This meant often times they had to lie in urine, feces, and blood.

f. Yellow fever, smallpox, and other diseases spread easily.


4. Between 1 million to 2 million people died on the Middle Passage.


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