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Historical Background

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Background"— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Background
Slavery in America Historical Background

2 Slave—Someone who is the property of another person and has to work for that person.
On the eve of the American Civil War approximately 4 million enslaved African Americans lived in the southern region of the United States of America. The vast majority worked as plantation slaves in the production of cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. Very few of these enslaved people were African born principally because the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States officially ended in 1808, although thousands were smuggled into the nation illegally in the 50 years following the ban on the international trade. These enslaved people were the descendants of 12 to 13 million African forbearers ripped from their homes and forcibly transported to the Americas in a massive slave trade dating from the 1400s. Most of these people, if they survived the brutal passages from Africa, ended up in the Caribbean (West Indies) or in South and Central America.

3 Earliest History of Slavery
Slavery dates back to beyond recorded history when mankind went from hunting and gathering to farming for subsistence. From the earliest periods of recorded history, slavery has been found in the world's most "advanced" regions. It was known in Shang-dynasty China (c c BC) and ancient Egypt and is recorded in the Babylonian code of Hammurabi (c BC), the Code of the Nesilim (Hittites)( B.C.) and in the Bible (Genesis 9:25-27). The legal codes of Sumer provide documentary evidence that slavery existed there as early as the 4th c. millennium BC. The Sumerian symbol for slave, in cuneiform writing, suggests "foreign," indicating that the slave is somehow different from the master.

4 Slavery Comes to the New World
Slavery in the New World began in the early 1600s when Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean needed cheap labor.

5 Spain and Portugal first to Establish slave trade.
In the beginning, Native Americans were used, but they were not believed to be hard workers and were not immune to the diseases of the Europeans and became quite ill and died. The Europeans discovered that Africans weren’t as susceptible to disease and worked much harder. Spain and Portugal first established the African slave trade, and the Europeans joined in the lucrative business quickly. Slaves were captured and exported by African slave merchants who made a sizable profit.

6 West Coast Africans captured for slave trade
Groups of captured Africans were bound together and marched to the coast where they were traded. Price was negotiated based on the health and physical condition of each slave. After the purchase, slaves were often branded with the mark of whoever funded the expedition. They were then put aboard a ship and forced to live for weeks in close confinement with there food or water until they reached their destination.

7 Trianglular Trade Route
The transatlantic slave trade was the second leg of a triangular economic route between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Traders left European ports headed for Africa's west coast. There they exchanged trade goods for humans and loaded their human cargo into ships. The transatlantic voyage itself-the infamous "Middle Passage" -usually took six to eight weeks.

8 A life of Toil and Drudgery
Africans who landed tin the New World began a life of toil and drudgery. They had no rights and were treated like animals. They were often beaten, starved, and accused of hideous crimes. However, the African people were strong and never gave in to their desolate situation. They created a culture of music, art, and spirituality throughout America.

9 First Slaves brought to English speaking North America
From the beginnings of slavery in British North America around 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony at Jamestown, nearly 240 years passed until the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution officially ended slavery in This means that 12 generations of blacks survived and lived in America as enslaved people-direct descendants of the nearly 500,000 enslaved Africans imported into North America by European traders. Some of the 180,000 African Americans who fought for their freedom as Union soldiers in the American Civil War could trace their families to the time of the Pilgrims. Some of their family histories in America predated those of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and most sitting members of Congress and the U. S. Senate in 1860.

In 1777, Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery and more Northern states followed. However in 1787, the United States Constitution was approved with three clauses that protected slavery. Slavery had become a part of the social structure in the South and therefore continued in the United States for many years until 1863.

11 The Emancipation Proclamation
As a result of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which was written to free the slaves. However, it only applied to the Southern states that were occupied by the North. Freedom for all slaves didn’t come until the end of the Civil War in 1865.


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