The Reasons for the African Slave Trade After the colonization of the Americas, the European rulers wanted to establish a profitable economy to gain as much wealth as possible. Therefore, they started an agricultural system that was focussed on cash-crops (cashcrop is a agricultural product that can be sold for a substantial profit). Sugarcane was one of those cash-crops, but also tobacco, cotton and coffee. Due to the fact that many of the Native Americans died during due to diseases, malnutrition and forced labour, the European rulers were forced to search for an alternative labour force. Also, the Natives were seen as unfit for agricultural labour. Since the Portuguese and the Spanish had good experiences with Africans, they decided to ship many of them over to the Americas as slaves to build a new labour force. Thus, a need for hard-working labour force greatly increased the demand for African slaves that needed to be shipped to the Americas. Assignment: - Summarize the information above (in your own words) in about 5 to 6 sentences. You will have to explain this information later to the members of your team. Plantations Plantations are large, agricultural estates that are focussed on the production of an agricultural product that yields a large profit (so-called cash-crops). Often, plantations were focussed on the production of only one of those crops, instead of focussing on the production of more than one crop. The production, after is was harvested, was often sold to distant markets, mainly located in Europe. Plantations were often possessed by a rich, white farmer, that used slave labour to work his lands and in his house. Numbers differ, but often there were more than 100 slaves working on a single estate. Examples of cash-crops are: coffee, cotton, sugarcane and tobacco. It is interesting to know that all these crops are not necessary to sustain life itself and are thus additional products to ones life-style (luxury products). Assignment: - Make a word-web of the information above. You will have to explain the information later on to your team-members, so make sure you understand everything completely. The Triangular Trade In 1518, the first Spanish vessel transported the first cargo of slaves to the Americas. During the next two centuries, the trade in slaves grew dramatically and became part of the triangular trade that marked the emergence of a new world economy. The pattern of the triangular trade connected Europe, Africa and Asia (the Old World) with the American continents (the New World). European merchant ships left Europe with a payload of European manufactured good for Africa, such as guns, cloth and rum, where they traded their cargo with African traders for slaves. The slaves where then shipped to the Americas and sold at slave markets. Returning home to Europe, the ships brought back products that were produced on the plantations, such as cotton, tobacco and sugar. Assignment: - Draw a simplified version of the image above in your notebook. Make sure every leg of the Triangular trade (including the products) is mentioned. You will have to explain the Triangular trade to your team-members later. The Middle Passage The Middle Passage was the second stage of the Triangular Trade. During the Middle Passage, the slaves were transported from Africa to the New World, where most of them ended up in the Caribbean and Brazil. In total, more as ten million of slaves were brought to the Americas, where most of them worked on the agricultural plantations. Most European traders bought the slaves from African traders at the coast, although some countries also had forts in Africa that were specifically designed for this purpose. The Europeans traded the slaves with the Africans for European products. The Africans themselves obtained the slaves by capturing them or buying them. Most of the slaves were traded on the Gold Coast, Ivory Coast and Slave Coast (which nowadays are called Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin, etc.) During, and immediately after the transportation, many of the slaves died. As you can imagine, the journey itself was not a very pleasant trip since the slaves only had a little room. Most of the ships were packed with slaves to make the transport as profitable as possible. It is estimated that around 15% of the slaves died during transport. After arrival in the Americas, many slaves were so exhausted that they quickly became sick (since they were also not immune for the diseases that killed many of the Native Americans). Assignment: - Summarize the information above. Make sure you understand all of the information since you will have to explain it to your team-members later on. The Effects of the Slave Trade The effects of the slave trade varied from area to area. Obviously, the trade itself had tragic effects on the lives of individual victims and their families. The slave trade led to the depopulation of some African areas and it deprived many communities of their youngest and strongest men and women. The increasing demand for slaves (from the European traders) also led to increasing wars on the African continent. Coastal and near-coastal African tribes, armed with European guns, raided neighbouring villages and tribes to obtain slaves that could be traded. The European demand for slaves fuelled an economy in which tribes started wars with other tribes for the sole purpose of capturing slaves. Besides the effect on demographics, the slave trade also had economical effects. Due to the fact that many of the younger people were captured and transported to the New World, the African continent suffered in an economical way. According to some historians, this is why Africa nowadays is still a developing continent. The European demand for slaves and the fact that Europeans introduced guns and other weapons fuelled an era of violence and wars that is still visible in contemporary Africa. Also, the slave trade led to the rise of racism and segregation, where black people are not seen as equal and similar to the white people. In many Southern American states for example, there is still a heritage of racism and segregation. Assignment: - Make a word-web of the effects of the slave trade. Make sure that you understand everything perfectly, since you will have to explain them to your team-members.