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Effects Of The Transatlantic Slave Trade

1016 words - 5 pages

Although the European colonization and subsequent development of the Transatlantic Slave Trade system from 1490-1750 left many social and political continuities such as the constant mistreatment of slaves, it led to many political and social changes like the rise of the French in the West Indies.
During this time period, the Spanish held most of the land in the Americas, therefore holding the most power, but newcomers such as the French and Dutch rose to power later on, taking much land away from the Spanish. During the 1490s-1550s, a few factors contributed to the rise of Spain in the Americas. First, the Treaty of Tordesillas ordered under the pope in 1494 gave the most beneficial lands to the Spanish, like the lands of the Inca and Aztecs. This led to increased production of products like sugar and silver, probably the two most influential products of the time behind slaves. This also showed how the pope still held power in politics, dividing lands among the countries to resolve conflict. This rise of the Spanish continued through the next century, from 1550-1650 but also gave way to the Portuguese. The Portuguese took lands in Brazil and focused on the sugar crop in the area. They put into practice a feudal system on the sugar plantations, much like those instated in Europe before the plague. This is important because this shows how the feudal system was used to put select higher lords over the laborers. This is a continuity that can be traced back to before the Black Death, which shows how important it was for elites to have power over the poor. In addition to slaves being used, the natives were also enslaved for purposes of working. The village elders developed a draft system to pick who would work for the Europeans. This is significant because it showed that the so called primitive natives could also have an organized system to pick workers. The Spanish decline in the Americas started around 1650 when the French and other newcomers began taking lands in the Americas, especially those in the West Indies. The rise of the French is important because it shows a shift in power from the Spanish, who held most of the land, to the French, who benefited from befriending the native population.
The status of slaves and natives during the 1490s to 1750s was continually harsh but the natives would soon gain status when Europeans started looking to them for guidance and more friendly relations. Most natives were dead once the Europeans settled in the Americas. This led to the high importation of slaves from Africa. Starting in the 1490s, the condition of slaves was already established as horrible and inhumane. They lived in overcrowded barracks with little to no food and water. This is significant because it shows how the Europeans saw other people who were different than them, lower and not human. One European even described then as nearly the “same as the cows, their soul the only thing separating them.” This time period also saw the...

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