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Lecture 8

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Camille Begin

HISA04 – World History I Lecture 8 Slaveries in the Atlantic World - Newthorlds wthe created after the biological exchange (1492) - 16 and 17 century = early modern period - After 1492 – economic exchanges took place in 16-19 centuries - Of all commercial ties of the early modern world, the slave trade was at the center; none had more profound consequences than the Slave Trade - Without the slave trade, the atlantic world economy would not have happened - The Atlantic world economy is based on what the slaves produced - The Atlantic world economy is the seed of the modern world, where exchanges of wealth led to modern capitalism Transatlantic Slave Trade - Approximately 12.5 million people were taken from Africa to the Americas - 14-15% of them died during their voyage - Countless others died on the coast of Africa, waiting to be shipped out - Slavery existed before this period, before the 16 century, in Rome, Greece, and in Africa - Slavery also still exists today - To distinguish the Atlantic and traditional slave trade, the Atlantic trade is called new slavery New Slavery - Main features o Unprecedented scale – largest forced migration in history (12 million Africans over 4 centuries) o Based on racial differences – mainly blacks; slavery became a lifelong, hereditary and despised status for blacks o People were looked down upon, status was flexible – they were not thought of as different o Race became the explicit basis for enslavement o In establishing racial differences, Africans were dehumanized, therefore justifying slavery - New slavery was integrated into the international network of trade o Trade of the produce that slaves grew were at the center of the developing Atlantic economy - Only 3.6% of all slaves went to the US states o Different forms of slavery existed in the states - The beginning of slavery o In the north, traded fur o In the south, traded for gold and silver o Europeans realized that trade was not efficient and not sufficient for sustaining wealth, so they turned to wealth and agriculture o Spanish – first to start directly mining for gold and silver and agriculture  Needed a lot of people to do this work, so they tried to enslave the native peoples  But the natives had knowledge of the environment and they knew how to leave, so the enslavement of the natives was not successful  Problems faced:  The population was dying of diseases and horrendous working conditions  Some native populations had been converted to Christianity and the Church opposed the enslavement of the natives because they were Christian  Because the natives knew the land so well, they could leave and disappear th  At the beginning of the 16 century, the Spanish and the Portuguese got slaves from Africa - The modern slave trade took off at the same time as European colony expansion - The basis of new economic development was grounded in what the slaves grew/crops: sugar cane, tobacco, rice, indigo crops, and later cotton - Sugar cane, rice and cotton originated in Eurasia and Africa - Cash crops: rice, sugar cane, tobacco, cotton – because they were grown for profit o as compared to subsistence crops – which were grown for specific feeding of a family or small group o Cash crops created cycles of economic boom and bust o But crops were sustainable because sugar and tobacco are addictive substances , which kept the market stable Sugar Cane and Slavery - Present diet: high fructose concentrated syrup and beet sugar = main source of sweetness - Sugars came originally from New Guinea (?), and arrived in India and the Middle East in the 14 century when trade in the Mediterranean really took off - Sugar cane was grown in Italy, Cyprus, etc. o Italy was the biggest sugar cane producer in the world at the time - Growing sugar cane = labour intensive process (grow, cut, crush, etc.) - From sugar cane, can make molasses, brown sugar, not white sugar - Slaves were working in the sugar cane fields in the Mediterranean o The slaves were Slavic people who had not been converted yet so it was okay to enslave them - When sugar crops were growing well in the Mediterranean, they started growing sugar crops in the Canary Islands o The Portuguese started developing sugar plantations on these islands - New colonies in the Caribbean were found to be good areas for sugar crops - Europeans would not move to these colonies in the Caribbean so the import of slaves from Africa began - Sugar revolution: transformed the Caribbean to predominantly black and slave societies - In the early 1700s – blacks outnumbered whites 4 to1 in the Caribbean, which was directly linked to the development of sugar cane - Sugar cane is also used to make rum Tobacco - Tobacco was previously unknown to Europeans o Although they started to become acquainted with sugar, they did not know tobacco and it took them a while to learn that they could make a profit from it - Jamestown, Virginia, founded in 1607 o (King was James at the time) o First British settlement, which was unsuccessful and almost disappeared o Colonizers arrived late and had a harsh first winter, so they could not plant food o The colonizers were all men looking for adventures and were more interested in gambling than growing food; more interested in traded for gold o The beginning of the colony was very rocky o In the 16 century, the colonizers realized that tobacco could be their gold o Tobacco was considered a medication  Panacea of universal medicine o Workers were needed to grow tobacco, so they also imported African slaves o 1600s – first 19 Africans arrived in British North America  The millions that arrived after them were enslaved North Atlantic System - System of trade in the Atlantic Ocean - Europe, Africa, Americas - Set of commercial networks - Princes of Caliber navigated the network at length - Economic system in Europe o In the cities, capital and ships were gathered for Atlantic trade  They loaded ships with manufactured products (guns, cloth, etc.) for trade in Africa for slaves o All Europeans living on the Atlantic Coast were involved o When the ship arrived in Africa from Europe, the Europeans started to raid for slaves but that was unwise because the African societies could defend themselves and were also willing to sell their slaves peacefully o Europeans also died from tropical diseases during their raids o The slave trade came to operate largely on the coast - From the initial capture, the enterprise was in the Africans’ hands – they decided who to sell to who – but that doesn’t mean that the African leaders only sold to their own people o The Africans had no idea of the unified black identity o Identified with tribes, or class, rather than skin colour o Africans were divided in different cities, kingdoms who were sometimes at war with each other - People they sold to were often outsiders; when there was a potential for gain, they would sell the slaves - In African societies, the impact of the slave trade different in different regions and it operated differently as well - Kingdom of Benin o King banned slavery and the slave trade o Regulated the slave trade – only thousands involved, compared to millions - Kingdom of Dahomey o Vigorous involvement in the slave trade o Government depended on revenue from the slave trade - The slave trade caused economic stagnation in Africa o Memba – African king wrote to the Portuguese king describing the conditions his slaves were enduring o Slaves would spend months on the African coast waiting to be shipped, but the living conditions were poor and many died o They would then embark to the Middle Passage to the Americas  The middle passage took place in horrendous conditions
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