MAR 3326 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Scurvy, Hookworm Infection

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29 Jan 2015
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2. Middle Passage
Middle passage – Middle leg of a triangular journey
oIt was from the Middle Passage that the first African Americans emerged
The European Age of Exploration and Colonization
Atlantic slave trade was a product of Western Europe’s expansion of power (explore,
conquer, colonize)
Columbus enslaved American Indians at first
Many indigenous peoples died of European diseases and overwork
European colonizers needed laborers, increasing demand for a workforce in the Americas
The Slave Trade in Africa
Race was not the major factor in Islamic slave trade
oArab merchs and W. African kings imported white slaves from Europe
Women and children were sought after as slaves for concubines and domestic servants
oContrasts with Atlantic slave trade which sought for young men for agricultural
labor in the Americas
The Origins of the Atlantic Slave Trade – Late 1400s~1870s
Involved 4 continents: Europe, Africa, N. America, S. America
European interest piqued after African pilgrimages
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Portuguese traded chiefly for gold, ivory, pepper, and slaves
oRaiders captured Africans to work as servants in Portugal and Spain
Dutch drove Portuguese from W. African coast
oMost Africans came to the Americas in Dutch ships
oDutch shifted center of sugar production to the West Indies
English took control of the Asiento by driving Dutch, English, French away
Africans didn’t consider it wrong to sell members of their own race to foreigners
oVictims of the trade believed that a concept of racial solidarity should exist
Early demand for African slaves was miniscule until Columbus’ discovery of Americas
Disease and overwork caused numbers of American Indians to rapidly decline
oEuropeans relied on Atlantic slave trade to replace them
Spanish Mexican mines and Portuguese Brazil plantations produced enormous demand
for labor
oAtlantic slave trade grew to huge proportions to meet this demand
Growth of the Atlantic Slave Trade
80% of W. Africans ended in S. America
Large sugar market in Europe made cultivation in Americas extremely profitable
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oSugar plantations spread from Brazil to Caribbean islands
Coffee in Brazil and tobacco, rice, and indigo in N. America increased demand for
African slaves
Slavery in Americas was based on race, unlike elsewhere in the world
Most slaves were men or boys who were utilized as agricultural laborers
oChattel – personal property
Males were preferred for their strength over women
oW. Africans also preferred women to do agricultural work, withholding them from
the Atlantic trade
Asiento – contract
Dutch shifted the center of sugar production to the West Indies
Profits from slave trade were invested in England and helped fund industrial revolution
oIn turn, Africa became a market for cheap English goods
Two triangular trade systems developed:
oTraders carried English goods to W. Africa for slavesTraders carried slaves to W.
Indies for sugarBrought sugar back to England
oRum to W. Africa for slavesSlaves to W. Indies for sugar/molassesMolasses to
distill into rum
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