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Slavery In West Africa And The Caribbean

652 words - 3 pages

Many people around the world believe that slavery was only held in North America with Africans being the only type to face punishment. This widely spread stereotype is actually false. The Caribbean and West Africa were large affected by the transatlantic slave trade in 1450 to1750. While wrong and immoral, the slavery in both places have similarities and differences.

 The Caribbean was one of the worst slave trading operations in the world. European ships sailed from Africa, where they picked up slaves, to the Caribbean. The slaves who were to weak to travel to the US or were proved to cause trouble, were dropped off in the Caribbean. Once there, the slaves harshly worked the sugar cane and tobacco plantations. This sudden flux of black slaves in the Caribbean changed the population greatly. According to Jerome Handler of the International Slavery Museum, “By the early 18th century when sugar production was fully established, nearly ...view middle of the document...

Africa was a family oriented place with slave owners often having some blood relation to the slave. Slaves in Africa also had some basic rights. The sometimes could marry, own property, and even own other slaves. The slaves could be set free at some point by their master for showing loyalty. When the Europeans entered West Africa they often demanded African leaders to sell their own people. As stated by the Virginia University Library, “Wars were started for the sole reasons of taking prisoners to sell.” In summary, the Europeans essentially changed the culture of West Africa because of their cruel slavery practices

 While these cultures were separated by the vast Atlantic ocean, they had a number of similarities. A large shared factor is the invasion of the Europeans. The Caribbean slavery market was started by European merchants and explorers as early as the later 14th century. In West Africa, slavery practices were controlled by kin-based tribes until the Europeans interfered. Another similarity with slavery around the world is the use for unpaid labor. Slavery was only used so that wealthy people and owners did not have to pay for people to work. Caribbean owners grew sugar cane and tobacco but used free slaves to work the fields. In contrast, West Africa used slaves as captives of war and to work in the village. Later on, slavery was a an economic plus because slaves were being sold by the leaders of their own village. While slavery in both West Africa and the Caribbean was a corrupt and unethical system, it did help fuel the economy of both regions.

 Slavery was a cruel part of the world’s history. It killed thousands of innocent people from Africa and beyond. The Europeans played of large part in funding the slave trade in West Africa and the Caribbean. The slaves sent to the Caribbean were apart of the middle slave trade. They worked the sugar cane and tobacco farms. Across the Atlantic ocean, West Africa used slavery in a different way. They relied on slaves to labor inside the village until they were loyal enough to be set free. While slavery is lawfully abolished in the Caribbean and West Africa, it still greatly affects the culture and economy of these regions.

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