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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Vocabulary Abolitionist: a person who advocated that the institution of slavery be done away with. Avaricious: Greedy.

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Presentation on theme: "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Vocabulary Abolitionist: a person who advocated that the institution of slavery be done away with. Avaricious: Greedy."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

3 Vocabulary Abolitionist: a person who advocated that the institution of slavery be done away with. Avaricious: Greedy for money. Commandeer: To take possession of by force. Commerce: The buying and selling of commodities (goods & services); trade. Mutiny: The willful refusal to obey authority; a revolt against one’s superiors. Slaver: A ship or person engaged in transporting slaves

4 Movie Clips Introduction: Slave Ship

5 African slavery & slavery in the Americas African slavery was more like European serfdom. It was harsh servitude, but they still had rights. African slavery was used by Europeans to justify the trans- Atlantic slave trade.

6 Africa: why here? Not the only source of slaves: “Slavs,” Caucasus, Balkans, Mediterranean Europe, indentures Geography: Old World Market logic (?) accessibility + iron + agriculture + disease immunities Low population (uneven) Desire for imported goods (see below) Alternative exports: GOLD, ivory, tropical hardwoods

7 Impact on Africa New Atlantic food crops: maize, cassava, peanuts Local use of slaves Land/population ratios (“wealth in people”) Military (slave raiding) “Legitimate trade “ production and transport Import goods “Luxury” consumer goods: cloth, beads Weapons: HORSES, sword blades, armor, GUNS “Currency”: cowry shells Tools: machetes, iron bars

8 African Slavery Lacked two elements that slavery in the America’s had. The desire for massive profits that comes from agribusiness. Reducing the slave to less than human status based solely on race (ethnicity).

9 Slavery in the Colonies Why didn’t colonists enslave the Indians? How does the answer of the above question explain the choice to import black slaves?

10 “…where whites and blacks found themselves with common problems, common work, common enemy in their master, they behaved toward one another as equals.” (Zinn, 1997, p. 27)

11 Trans-Atlantic Trade Route One of the most profitable business in the world. Lasted approximately 400 years. 39,000 voyages from Africa to the Americas (South, Central & North America) Largest forced migration


13 Chronology and Numbers* *all somewhat approximate Atlantic: 1450-186011-12 million Mediterranean: 700-19006-7 million Indian Ocean (and Red Sea) 800-19002-3 million


15 Economics: Mediterranean Domestic service concubinage eunuchs: A eunuch is a castrated man; the term usually refers to those castrated in order to perform a specific social function, as was common in many societies of the past. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian cities of Lagash in the 21st century BC [citation needed]. Over the millennia since, they have performed a wide variety of functions in many different cultures such as courtiers or equivalent domestics, treble singers, religious specialists, government officials, military commanders, and guardians of women or harem servants. Military service agriculture (Sahara, Nile Valley)

16 Economics: Indian Ocean Domestic Military (Yemen, Gulf, India-”Habshi”) Agriculture (Gulf; “Zenj rebellion” Basra 869– 883) *Pearl Fishing (Gulf) Dhow (sailing craft) crews


18 Economics 1. Atlantic Plantation system: SUGAR, coffee, rice, indigo, tobacco & cotton Mediterranean & Western Africa to New World, Caribbean & Brazil Triangular trade (+ India) Navigation: “Middle Passage”

19 Receiving zones: New World U.S. vs. Brazil/Caribbean U.S.: under 10% of slave trade, high population, less explicitly “African” cultural impact Brazil/Caribbean: 90+% of slaves lower population (Brazil “mulatto category), very explicit “African” culture Why different demographic patterns? Sugar vs. other labor/climate regimes (2/3 male imports) acculturation (?)

20 Oxum Bahia (Brazil)

21 Santeria Altar Havana


23 Receiving zones: Islamic World Generally less visible Demography of migrations: numbers, intensity, gender, disease/climate Demography of deployment: domestic vs. labor projects




27 Austen, Ralph A. African Economic History: Internal Development and External Dependency (London: James Currey, 1987). *Austen, Ralph A., The Trans-Saharan World: Africa’s Great Desert as a Highway of Commerce and Civilization (NY: Oxford, forthcoming) Clarence-Smith, William Gervase (ed.). The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century (London: Cass, 1989) *Curtin, P. Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex (Cambridge, Cambridge U. Press, 1998). Fenoaltea, Stefano. "Europe in the African Mirror “The Slave Trade and the Rise of Feudalism," Rivista di storia economica XV, no. 2 (August 1999), 123-165. **Gomez, Michael. Reversing Sail : a History of the African Diaspora Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2005. *Hunwick, John O. and Eve Trout Powell. The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam. Princeton: M. Wiener, 2002. Savage, Elizabeth (ed.), The Human Commodity: Perspectives on the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade (London: Cass, 1992). *Thornton, John. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World (ambrdie:P Cambridge U. Press,1998) William and Mary Quarterly, LVIII, 1 (2001) “New Perspectives on the Atlantic Save Trade” Bibliography

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