The Atlantic Slave Trade Demand for Labor • Sugar and tobacco farms required a large supply of workers. • Europeans planned to use Native Americans as cheap labor, but many died from disease and warfare. • Europeans in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the southern colonies of North America soon turned to Africa for workers. • European colonists forced the Native Americans to work in mines and plantations. • As the Natives began dying from disease and warfare, the Europeans became desperate for workers. Indian slaves working the fields Exploration of Africa • The first explorers were the Portuguese during the 1400s. • At first, the Portuguese were more interested in finding gold, but that changed with the colonization of the Americas. African Slavery • African slavery began during the 7th century with the rise of Islam. • Slavery was justified with the belief that non-Muslim prisoners of war could be bought and sold as slaves. • Between 650 and 1600, 4.8 million Africans (mostly prisoners and criminals) were bought and sold as slaves. • Later it became anyone they could capture. Slaves had some mobility • In most African and Muslim lands, slaves had some legal rights and opportunities for advancement. • Some slaves occupied positions of power. – Served as generals in the army – Bought large estates and owned slaves of their own – Marry into the family they served and earn freedom • Slavery was NOT hereditary. Sons and daughters born to slaves were considered free persons. Advantages of using Africans • Many Africans had already been exposed to European disease and built up immunity to them. • Africans had experience in farming. • Africans had no familiar tribes in which to hide so they were less likely to escape. • Many African leaders had already been involved in selling slaves to Muslims and other African groups. • They saw little difference in selling to the Portuguese, Spaniards, and English. Massive Enterprise of Slavery • Between 1500-1600 nearly 300,000 Africans were transported to the Americas. • Over the next 100 years, over 1.5 million more Africans were enslaved. • By the time, the Slave Trade ended 300 years later, nearly 10 million Africans had been sold into slavery. Brazil • The Portuguese imported slaves to Brazil to work on the sugar plantations. • The demand for sugar in Europe was high, so more and more sugar plantations were created in Brazil. • During the 17th century, 40% of all slaves were being bought by Brazilian sugar plantation owners. • Brazil received 3.6 million more slaves than North America. Sugar Cane Plantation 1850 Ledger of Sugar Shipments Sugar Plantation, Caribbean 1823 Working in sugar cane fields Caribbean • Slaves existed throughout the Caribbean as well. • Worked on sugar, tobacco, and coffee plantations in French, Dutch, and English colonies. Triangular Trade • Traders left from Europe with a ship loaded with goods to Africa. • Traders exchanged these goods for captured Africans. • Africans were then transported across the Atlantic Ocean and sold in the West Indies. • Merchants bought sugar, coffee, and tobacco to sell in Europe. Another triangular trade route • Merchants carried rum and other goods from the New England colonies to Africa. • They exchanged merchandise for Africans. • The traders took the slaves to the West Indies and sold them for sugar and molasses. • Then they sold these goods to rum producers in New England. Various other triangular trade routes existed • The Triangular trade route encompassed a network of trade routes criss-crossing the Northern and Southern colonies, the West Indies, England, Europe, and Africa. • The network carried a variety of traded goods. – Furs, fruit, tar, tobacco – Millions of African people The Journey • How did the African Slave Trade work, and how did it fit into the idea of triangular trade? • What was the experience for a slave like? Slave Trade In Africa • Rather than travel inland, slave traders waited in port cities along the western and eastern coasts of Africa. • African merchants, captured Africans to sell into slavery. • They traded them for gold, guns, and other goods. The Middle Passage • The voyage that brought captured Africans to the West Indies and later to North and South America was known as the Middle Passage. • This was a difficult journey, characterized by cruelty, sickness, and death. Travel Conditions • Europeans crammed as many slaves as they could fit into the slave ships. • Africans were whipped and beaten by merchants. • Diseases swept through the vessel. • The smell of blood, sweat, and excrement filled the vessel. • Captives were surrounded by vomit and human waste. – “…The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome....The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died -- thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers.” Death • Many Africans died aboard the slave ships from disease or cruel treatment from merchants. • Many committed suicide by jumping into the ocean, rather than be enslaved. • 20% of Africans aboard each slave ships died during the brutal trip to the Americas. • The voyage typically lasted 3-4 months. • Many times, there would be more than 600 slaves on the ship. • So many people died during the middle passage and were thrown into the sea. The sea has been personified in this verse as the ‘holder’ of African history. • Where is the history of the people? It died with them in the sea. Where is their heritage and culture? It is dead in the sea. • When slaves died during the middle passage, their histories died with them. Effects • In Africa, numerous cultures lost generations of their young to slave traders. • Families were torn apart. • The slave trade also brought guns to Africa. • Warfare began spread throughout Africa as kings tried to conquer new territories with these new weapons.