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Profitability Of Slavery Essay

1683 words - 7 pages

Profitability of Slavery
Throughout the years, slavery has been regarded as a profitable investment that fueled economic growth in both Spain and Portugal, but the reality is that it was only profitable in the beginning as it began to depreciate towards the end of slavery. The latter part is precisely the reason slavery ended because it was no longer profitable to slave owners. The cheap labor provided by the African slaves that ensured many Europeans’ wealth eventually backfired as slavery made European slave owner’s dependent on trade rather than self-sustainable. Slavery not only led to dependency and depreciation, but also to wars and disparity amongst Latin American colonies.
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They had no immunity to fight these bacteria and viruses and thus, measles, smallpox, and other diseases took the lives of many Native American societies and communities that had already been established. This was an added advantage to the Spanish conquistadores because it was a form of taking control over the New World alongside advanced weaponry and other tactics that Hernan Cortes implemented and took advantage of. These other tactics included allying himself with native peoples to fight against other natives that were already in conflict with each other. With the declining population of indigenous people, African slaves had to be imported for two reasons. The first was to fight off the resistance of the native peoples, and the second was to make up for the cheap labor needed that the indigenous were no longer able to provide since their numbers were declining. Additionally, a Bartolome de las Casas was present when Hatuey, a Taino chief, was massacred after directly leading a group of his people to fight the conquistadors. This resistance demonstrated by Hatuey led Bartolome de las Casas to believe that the natives should no loner be used as slaves of cheap and forced labor and that instead, African slaves should be brought over in order to replace native slaves. He also wanted to protect the native’s numbers from declining and thus suggested instead to leave natives alone and instead import more Africans. With the large figures of the importation of African slaves, by 1570 a European mine exploited 20,569 Africans and by 1646 more than 35, 089 Africans were exploited. The first colonial enterprise to which the slave labor went was mining, which stimulated other productive activities such as livestock farming, the mills, craft and trade. From there the slaves went to the mills, the farms, ranches, and domestic service. But it is in agriculture where a greater degree black labor was consumed and where Africans displaced the indios since Indian slavery was abolished in the second half of the sixteenth century. Now, African labor was crucial to the development of the sugar industry and thus, they spent the majority of their time at the mills. The production of sugarcane was mainly in the hot areas of the regions of Morelos and Veracruz. Late in the sixteenth century, new crops demanded increased manpower. African slaves also worked by the pacific coast working on cocoa plantations in which their labor was needed, but they also worked in coconut fields and cattle ranches though they were not as important as the production of sugarcane.
Now, turning to the profitability of slavery, Africans yielded a vast amount of profits starting with the availability and the easiness with which they were purchased in large quantities. African slaves quickly became the first choice for slave labor due to this but also coupled with the fact that they possessed an ability to survive under the harshest of conditions. For example, unlike their native...

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