Slavery In Africa, Europe, And Jamaica

5950 words - 24 pages

Slavery in Africa, Europe, and Jamaica

Traders, businessmen, African slavers and slaves each had a unique experience and involvement in the business of the transatlantic slave trade. This lucrative process, that lasted between 1500 to 1870 AD included three different hemispheres: Europe, Africa, and the Americas, specifically Jamaica.

In Africa slavery existed long before European exposure, however, over time the motivation for slavery changed. Originally slavery existed because of the expanding of African territories or the need to pay off debts. Europeans, during their attempts to make a shorter trade route to India and Asia, encountered the African custom and adopted it. Therefore, the Europeans filled their pockets with goods from West Coast Africa, including human cargo. Those persons who were captured were auctioned to other Europeans in Western Africa, and then shipped to European colonial lands including Jamaica. The slaves were then put to work on a plantation-based colony, whose goods were sent back to its mother country. The triangular system perpetuated the demand for slaves by Europeans in order to increase their country’s wealth. Throughout all of the shipping of goods, including human cargo, individual people were involved in the evolution of the transatlantic trade. The main focus of this paper is to see the overall dynamics of the system, and involvement of individuals and countries, like Jamaica. The evolution and immersion of the transatlantic slave trade not only strengthened capitalism for individuals and their countries, but in turn it weakened Africa and Jamaica by making it dependent economically on outside nations.

The slave trade in Africa began long before the introduction of Europeans. Africans would enslave people for different reasons contrary to the modern stereotype, profit.
According to the memoirs of an Italian born French slave trader, Captain Theodore Canot (also spelled Canneau) there are five principles for the enslavement of Africans by other Africans. The first reason for slavery was the prisoner of war. War between rival communities over land or for other fractions left people who were captured. These people were mainly adopted into the new culture, in order to increase the power of the dominant society; they were not only used for labor purposes.

War between communities was not the only means of fighting that caused slavery. The second principle concerns fighting between family members. If a household becomes too upset by a certain member of the family, the remaining members have the option to sell the troublemaker into slavery. This in turn would solve the familial problem, as well as enable profit for the family and the individual. The family gains wealth and goods, as the individual is able to learn how to control oneself as well as gain a sense of responsibility.

Debt proved to be another main resource for the buying and selling of people in Africa, which is the third principle....

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