Dr. Tuan Hoang
May 18, 2014
Slavery became an established activity in America by 1600’s. The slaves were mostly to provide free and cheap labor. Apart from America, slavery was practiced in other parts of the world throughout history, and in fact it can be traced back to the time of the ancient civilization. With industrial revolution especially with the rise of sugar plantations, the slaves were used to grow sugar in the periods from 1100.This intensified between 1400 and 1500 when Portugal and Spain ventured into sugar growing in the Eastern Atlantic regions. The growth of the plantations required labor, hence African slaves were bought from Africa, to provide labor.
As the Europeans set up colonies in America, they brought the plantation ideas with them, which led to the need for labor hence they tried to enslave the Native Americans to work in their mines and fields. The Native Americans were prone to diseases hence most of them died as a result of diseases and overworking. Apart from the ones who died, a number rebelled and formed alliances forcing the Europeans to look for other sources of labor. They settled on acquiring African slaves due to a number of reasons; The African slaves were more stronger and immune to a number of diseases in Europe and America, the Africans had no friends and family in America hence it was not easy for them to form alliances or to escape, they provided a permanent and a cheap source of labor, and most of them had worked on farms before in their native lands. In addition, there were also white slaves for cheap labor.
Slave trade grew gradually when it began in 1600's. As the demand for labor in the colonies increased, a number of plantation owners resorted to slave labor. These plantation owners used slave labor to create wealth in their plantations. Slave trade was mostly perpetrated by Europeans. There were special slave traders of European origin who shipped slaves from Africa to America. A number of rulers in West Africa also participated in slave trade. As the Atlantic Slave Triangle mentioned in the lecture, an estimated 17 million slaves were transported from Africa to west indies between 17th an 19th centuries (Lecture 2). Also from this trade triangle we can conclude that the slave trade had already form a matured commodity and industry chain, as Africa provided slaves and gained manufactured goods in turn. Local African leaders and kings would gather captives from their lands on the coast. The captives would then be traded for European as manufactured goods such as iron bars, guns, glass and glass beads, and cotton cloth. This matured commodity chain intensified the growth of slaves trade. In addition, Atlantic slaves trade brought both the African Kingdoms and England large profit. As Kolchin mentioned, the African Kingdoms that were established along the coastlines became very rich from the slaves trade. The trade continued even as West African leaders such as...