The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Barbara Anderson
African Studies Center, UNC-Chapel Hill
November 2013
[email protected]
http://africa.unc.edu/
How did the trans-Atlantic
slave trade begin?
Why did Europeans
choose Africans?
Origins of the
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
• Begin with the Age of
Exploration—the
Portuguese, not Columbus!
• African and Middle Eastern
science and technology
were central
• Portuguese first explored
the west coast of Africa,
looking for GOLD (& Asia)
Muslim international trade world ca. 1500. Long-distance
trading throughout this area, including slaves
European Invasion and Occupation of the
Americas begins African enslavement
• 1441 Portuguese in West
Africa
• 1492 Columbus
• 1498 Vasco de Gama
• 1500 Cabral to Brazil
• 1517 Spain gives Portugal
1st Asiento to import
African slaves
• 1542 only African slavery
legal in Spanish colonies
WHY DID EUROPEANS NEED SLAVES?
SUGAR AND GOLD
MONOCULTURE CASH CROPS AND MINING
SLAVE EXPORTS FROM AFRICA
1450-1600
376,000
3.1%
1601-1700
1,868,000
16.0
1701-1800
6,133,000
52.4**
1801-1900
3,330,000
28.5
Total
11,698,000
**This is also the century that most Americans can trace their
African ancestors to; by 1755 40% of Marylanders were Black.
Destination of Slaves
Europe
2%
Mainland North America (U.S.) 5%
Caribbean
Brazil
Spanish America
42%
38%
13%
The “Triangular Trade”
Places in the slave trade: Have
students research!
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Liverpool
Senegambia
Dahomey
Kongo
Rio de Janeiro
Jamaica
Cuba
Charleston
Boston
Two examples of Africans enslaved in
Maryland in 1730
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo
– from Futa Toro/Senegambia
– enslaved in Kent County, MD
Grandfather of Charles Ball
– probably Senegambia
– Calvert County, MD
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayuba_Suleiman http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/ballslavery/m
_Diallo
enu.html See esp. pp. 19-24
Diallo and Ball’s Grandfather in MD,
both Muslims from Senegambia 1700s
“Upon our Talking and making
Signs to him, he wrote a Line
or two before us, and when he
read it, pronounced the Words
Allah and Mahommed; by
which, and his refusing a Glass
of Wine we offered him, we
perceived he was a
Mahometan, but could not
imagine of what Country he
was, or how he got thither; for
by his affable Carriage, and the
easy Composure of his
Countenance, we could
perceive he was no common
Slave.”
http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/blu
ett/bluett.html
[The night that my father was to be
sold away], “about midnight, my
grandfather silently repaired to the
cabin of my father, a distance of
about three miles, aroused him
from his sleep, made him
acquainted with the extent of his
danger, gave him a bottle of cider
and a small bag of parched corn,
and then praying to the God of his
native country to protect his son,
enjoined him to fly from the
destruction which awaited him. In
the morning, the Georgian [slave
trader] could not find his newly
purchased slave, who was never
seen or heard of in Maryland from
that day.” [Fifty Years in Chains]
Why did Africans sell slaves to
Europeans?
Were they “selling their own
people”?
Why did Africans sell slaves to
Europeans?
• Slavery in most of Africa
– (and rest of the world!)
• Long-distance trading a long tradition
• Demand for European commodities
• No racial or national identity, “vertical
organization”
– Local and/or lineage loyalty
• Prisoners of War or other outsiders
• Significant African resistance occurred
(Queen Nzinga Mbande of Angola), but
infrequent
European demand for slaves
Goree Warehouses in Liverpool
How slave trading in Africa developed Europe
Goree Island, across from Dakar, Senegal
Learning the
Trade
Capture, coffles, barracoons, factories, branding
Middle Passage
Arrival in the Americas and Seasoning
17th and 18th Century
Virginia/Maryland
Tobacco
Urban centers
throughout the Atlantic
Sugar, Hispaniola, 1500s
Cotton, French West Indies, 1762
Diamond
Mining, Brazil,
1770s
Sugar boiling, Trinidad, 1836
Rum distillery, Antigua, 1823
Tobacco in Cuba, 1850
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