The Atlantic Slave Trade Chapter Two
Students should know that….. • Slavery in Africa has a long history. • The Triangular Trade linked three continents. • Africans suffered through the middle passage. • The slave trade had a lasting effect.
Slavery Has A Long History • Slavery has been around since ancient times. • In Africa, slavery was known well before the Atlantic Slave Trade. • For example, beginning in the 8th C - millions of Africans exported as slaves by Arabs - trans-Saharan trade route
The Atlantic Slave Trade • 1441 - Portuguese sailor seized ten Africans near the Western Sahara - often referred to as the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. • At first African slaves were sent to Portugal, Spain and Italy. • Portuguese used slaves as domestics and butlers, and as workers on sugar plantations. • Plantation system comes to America with colonization - the Portuguese called on European traders to supply slaves • This led to the establishment of the direct slave trade across the Atlantic.
Europeans Sought wealth In America • European nations such as Spain sought to exploit the wealth in the Americas. • Native Americans were one source • Indentured servants were another source of labour. • The need for more labour led them to look to Africa
The Asiento System • Portugal had African trading posts • Spain imported their slaves through the Portuguese • 1518 – Asiento - a license to import slaves into the colonies. • Slaves were priced according to their labour potential
Valued in terms of a unit known as a “peca de India” or an Indian piece. • Each healthy person between the ages of 15 and 25, who passed inspection, was worth one peca de India. • Between the ages of 8 to 15, and 25 and 35, three were valued at two peca de India.
Triangular Trade Route • Between Africa, Europe and The Americas. • Three main Stages • 1. Goods were shipped from Europe to Africa. • 2. Slaves were taken to the Americas. • 3. Produce, cash and promissory notes were transported back to Europe.
Preparing to Export Slaves • Slave ships had to be acquired. • A ship’s captain was needed - direct the voyage and be able to deal with slave traders in Africa. • Goods to exchange for slaves. • A crew had to be put together for the voyage. • Had to go at the right time of year. • Slave markets of Senegal and Angola were most often visited. The Bight of Benin exported so many slaves it became known as The Slave Coast.
Sources of Slaves • Wars – basically slave raids. Europeans would sell gunpowder and guns, then they would be used to acquire more slaves. • Kidnapping – Especially women and children, found them in an isolated area • Debts – people who couldn’t repay debt were sometimes sold into slavery. • Tribute – some states gave slaves as tribute to avoid further warfare. • Judicial process – individuals could be condemned to slavery for alleged crimes.
Africans and The Slave Trade • Africans themselves were drawn into the slave trade - received goods, including firearms, in return for securing slaves. • Some kings tried to resist but were defeated. • Some African leaders tried to resist but participated in order to get firearms for protection
Other Goods of the Trade • African traders received textiles, guns, gunpowder, alcoholic beverages, mirrors, jewelry and iron bars in return for slaves. • Household goods such as pots, pans, knives, clocks and locks were also traded. • Once these goods were exchanged the slaves were examined head to toe for blemishes or defects.
Olaudah Equiano • A slave who survived, bought his freedom and wrote about his life.
The Middle Passage • The long voyage from Africa to America was called the Middle Passage. • Millions died on the trip. • Those who survived were later maimed through the course of their slave labor. • Very few were fortunate, like Olaudah Equiano, to escape slavery or live to tell and write about it.
Africans Suffered During The Middle Passage • Some thought they were being taken away to be eaten. • Slaves were chained together in very cramped conditions. • Diseases such as fevers, small pox and dysentery. (ship captains tried to have a doctor on board.) • Seasickness and oppressive heat.
Those who died were thrown into the ocean. • Every morning the slaves were given water to wash themselves and then they were checked for sores and disease. • Two meals a day. • Slaves trying to starve themselves were whipped.
Precautions Against Revolts • Revolts were common, given the terrible conditions. • Slaves often tried to kill European traders. • Rebellious slaves were severally punished. • Slavers checked the holds every day, looking for pieces of iron, wood or knives gathered by the slaves
Many Died • Rebellions, disease and lack of food made the Middle Passage difficult. • The length of the voyage and the time it took disease to take hold determined how many died. • 3% to 5% died before they ever even got to the ship! • 18% died on the passage. This was brought down to 6% through efforts to improve living conditions. • The crews of these ships faced some of the same dangers and many of them died as well.
The Americas • Slaves were taken to the European colonies in the Americas. • How many? Unknown – 12 million? 100 million? • Brazil imported the most , followed by the British Caribbean, the French Caribbean, Spanish America, North America and Dutch and Danish Caribbean • They were used on sugar, coffee, tobacco and cotton plantations. • They worked 16 hour days, with a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. Gold mining in Brazil also killed a lot of slaves.
Abolitionists • Demand for slaves reached its peak in the early 1800’s. • The movement to end slavery was known as the abolition movement. It had two stages; • 1. By 1820, Britain, Sweden, France, Holland and Spain had abolished the slave trade. • 2. Britain abolished slavery outright in 1833, followed by the United States in 1865 and Brazil in 1888.
Lasting Effect of The Slave Trade • Sacrificed millions of Africans for the commerce of Europe and the Americas. • Caused immense cultural and economic changes. • Consequences are still being felt today.
The Slave trade greatly affected Africa • 1. Depopulation – Millions of Africans, most between the ages of 15 and 25, were transported from their homelands. • They were the healthiest and strongest members of African communities. • This robbed Africa of a creative, inventive and productive part of its population. • The wars and raiding associated with slavery also caused depopulation. • Slavery divided Africans, leading them to fight and enslave each other.
2. Economic problems – Wars, violence and raiding hurt the development of African business and trade. • Hard to plan for an uncertain future • Talents and skills of slaves were lost to Africa. • The guns, alcohol and luxury goods received for slaves did nothing to help Africa develop economically.
3. Racism – Africans were perceived as an inferior race. • Lumped together with gold and ivory, just another good. • To justify enslavement, Europeans claimed they were taking Africans to a better place. • The image of exhausted Africans being unloaded from slave ships became the overriding image most whites had of Africans.
Sierra Leone and Liberia • The slave trade is responsible for the founding of the countries Sierra Leone and Liberia. • The British establish Sierra Leone as a settlement for ex-slaves who tried to settle in Britain. • Their settlement was called Freetown and is the capital city today. • Liberia was founded as a colony for freed slaves from the southern United States.
Slave Trade Affected Europe • The slave trade brought great economic benefits to Europe…. • 1. Plantations in the Americas brought huge profits to their European owners. • 2. Major ports such as Liverpool in England and Nantes in France grew because of the slave trade. • 3. Shipping industry grew as it provided the ships for the trade. • 4. Money from the trade was reinvested into European industry. Many believe the slave trade was a major factor in the industrial revolution.
Affect On The Americas • Africans brought their ideas, music, foods, folklore, views of government, art and creativity, making a huge cultural contribution to the Americas. • Foundation of the Agricultural industry. • Worked as carpenters, masons and mechanics. • Former slaves even invented new machines. • Influence on religion.
Look At The Past • Some believe that the American government should compensate the descendants of slaves. (reparation) • Some African Americans returned to Africa to find their roots. One such place is the old slave castle at Elmina in Ghana.