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Chapter 18: The Atlantic System and Africa

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1 Chapter 18: The Atlantic System and Africa 1550-1800
Notes by: Grace Cramer and Mike Rajecki

2 Introduction Slaves branded to show ownership
Royal African Company (RAC)- association of English investors 1672, received a charter from English monarchy Rights to trade Atlantic coast of Africa Slaves had to stay healthy on the ships Atlantic system- moved goods, wealth, people, and cultures around the Atlantic

3 Plantations in the West Indies

4 Colonization Before 1650 West Indies revived after 1600 European settlements Montserrat Barbados French settlements Martinique Guadeloupe New, important cash crop: tobacco

5 Colonization Before 1650 Chartered companies
Private investors get monopolies over colonies for an annual fee Increase of indentured servants, but eventually changed to mostly African slaves 1600 = Brazil is world’s greatest sugar producer Dutch merchants invest in Brazil sugar

6 Colonization Before 1650 Dutch fighting for independence from Spanish crown Dutch West India Company in 1612 Carried conflict to Spain’s possession Private trading company Capture of Spanish fleet in 1628 finances attack on Brazil’s sugar areas Took trading port of Luanda on Angolan Coast, 1614 Shipped slaves to Brazil and West Indies

7 Colonization Before 1650 Portuguese free of Spanish, 1640
Portuguese drove out Dutch sugar planters from Brazil Expelled planters gave knowledge to smaller Caribbean colonies, English, and French Caribbean islands

8 Sugar and Slaves Dutch knowledge brings wealth to European colonies
1700, West Indies surpassed Brazil as the worlds main export of sugar Huge increase in number of slaves Come from Africa Going mainly to Brazil, but also to English, French, and Dutch West Indies

9 Sugar and Slaves Is now decided that the increase of slavery was because Africans had cheep labor costs Slaves not cheep however Indentured servants cost half as much But…slaves lived longer, while indentured servants’ contract was about four years Sugar prices raised to help buy slaves

10 Plantation Life in the Eighteenth Century

11 Intro. England founds Jamaica French take half of Hispaniola
This colony, Saint Domingue (present day Haiti), now the leading producer of sugar

12 Technology and Environment
Tools for sugar Spade for planting Hoes for weeds Machete to harvest Crushing and processing equipment Cane juice boiled, dried, and packed for shipping Typical size of plantation increases

13 Technology and Environment
Plantations were very damaging to the environment Soil exhaustion Deforestation All animals and plants in the Caribbean were ones that Europeans had brought Crowded out indigenous species Some indigenous people also wiped out, Europeans and Africans take over

14 Slaves’ Lives Plantations Slaves 90% Slaves Power = plantocracy
Rich men who owned the slaves and land Slaves Workday: up to 18 hours Assigned task (except for ill, infants, and very old) Organized by age, sex, and ability

15 Slaves’ Lives “Great Gang” “Grass Gang” Women Strongest slaves
Heaviest work “Grass Gang” Children with adult supervision Weeding, and collecting grass Women Field workers Nursing mothers took babies to the field

16 Slaves’ Lives Working hard= food, clothing, time off, or escape punishment Driver- privileged male slave who ensured that work was completed Punishment Iron muzzle Flogging confinement

17 Slaves’ Lives Sunday = live their own life No rest/relaxation
Sing to pass the time No education/schooling Deaths outnumbered births for slaves Males’ life expectancy: 23 years Females’ expectancy: 25.5 years Greatest killer was disease Newly arrived slaves go through seasoning, which is an adjustment to the new environment, 1/3 usually died

18 Slaves’ Lives Lots of slave deaths = increase in slave trade
Slaves wanted freedom Tried to run away 1760, large slave rebellion in Jamaica Led by Tacky Stormed plantations, lighting them on fire and killing Europeans tried to curb African traditions

19 Free Whites and Free Blacks
Social Class Grands Blancs/“Great Whites” Dominated the economy and society Petits Blancs/“Little Whites” Farmed Sold goods Free Blacks Some even owned their own slaves ¾ of the farmland in Jamaica belonged to people who owned at least 1,000 acres

20 Free Whites and Free Blacks
1774, Invested $100,000 to receive medium-size plantation (600 acres) 1/3 money for land 1/4 equipment Most was to buy slaves Rich planters translated wealth into political power , rich planters secured election to British Parliament

21 Free Whites and Free Blacks
Manumission- legal grant of freedom to an individual slave Free blacks less common in British colonies, manumission was rare Runaway slaves were known as maroons 1739, recognized independence of maroon communities in return for stopping runaways

22 Creating the Atlantic Economy

23 Capitalism and Mercantilism
Spain and Portugal trying to keep monopolies Private investors to fund growth of Atlantic economy Capitalism- system of large financial institutions (banks, stock exchanges…) that helped investors to reduce risks and increase profit Banks the center of capitalism Mercantilism- policies adopted by European states to promote their citizens’ overseas trade and bring in precious metals Chartered companies were the first example

24 Capitalism and Mercantilism
1672, royal charter placed English trade with West Africa with the new Royal African Company Headquarters: Cape Coast Castle (picture) Restrictions on Dutch access to French/English colonies provoked wars with Netherlands, 1698, England opened trade in Africa, ending monopolies 1660s, England passed Navigation Acts, confined trade to English ships and cargoes 1698, French mercantilist legislation, Exclusif Britain’s imports = 1/5 from West Indies

25 The Atlantic Circuit Atlantic Circuit Clockwise network of sea routes
Started in Europe, to Africa, then to Americas, and back to Europe Wind and “desire” drove ships First leg Europe to Africa Carried European manufactures (metal bars, guns…)

26 The Atlantic Circuit Middle Passage Slaves to plantations Third leg
Plantation goods from colonies to Europe Other trading voyages also Triangular Trade- carried rum to West Africa, and slaves to West Indies, then rum back to New England

27 The Atlantic Circuit European interests dominated the Atlantic system
1700, annual consumption of sugar in England rose to four pounds per person Started to put sugar in beverages 1750, annual consumption of sugar in Britain had doubled twice to 18 pounds per person Flow of sugar depended on flow of slaves

28 The Atlantic Circuit , boom in sugar production and in slave trade 7.5 million slaves traded 1/2 West Indies 1/3 Brazil 5% in Spanish America Slaves carried on specific ships, packed tight Slave trade in the hands of chartered companies Many deaths on the ship to the Americas

29 The Atlantic Circuit Slaves shackled to prevent them from trying to escape from the boat “Fixed Melancholy”- developed by slave, deep depression Some slaves are said to have willed themselves to death Some slaves tried to overpower their captors Rarely successful Whippings/Beatings took place on the ship Many people didn’t want to be involved with slave trade

30 The Atlantic Circuit Most slaves, however, died of disease rather than abuse Smallpox Dysentery Crew members also died from these diseases, but also had malaria Death of crew could be as bad as deaths of slaves, on board

31 Africa, the Atlantic, and Islam

32 The Gold Coast and the Slave Coast
Europeans didn’t want to colonize Africa, but to trade with it Royal African Company made 40% of profit from gold/ivory/forest products African merchants were picky about what they traded for slaves Mostly wanted: textiles, guns, and hardware 1680s, 60% Indian/European textiles, 30% hardware/weapons, 3% beads/jewelry Cowrie shells (picture) used for money

33 The Gold Coast and the Slave Coast
Eighteenth century: goods needed to purchase a slave on the Gold Coast doubled Each European nation had a trading “castle” on the Gold Coast Reduced Europeans’ bargaining strength 1700, Willem Bosman, head of Dutch East India Company, didn’t like the fact that to stay competitive, he had to add to Africans’ military power 1772, Whydah, small slave port annexed by larger Dahomey Rise in 1720s depended on firepower

34 The Gold Coast and the Slave Coast
1730, Dahomey overrun by Oyo Asante, west of Dahomey, expanded after 1680 Oyo and Asante were stimulated, but not controlled by external trade Slaves were not parents selling their children, but prisoners of war English rulers sentenced seventeenth-century Scottish/Irish prisoners to forced labor in the West Indies

35 The Bight of Biafra and Angola
Coast Sizable States = No wars No prisoners of war Kidnappings were main source of slaves Slaves = debtors, kidnapped victims, and criminals “Slave Fairs” Portuguese = middlemen between inland traders and Brazilian ships Drought of Angola was a huge business for powerful African leaders, who exploited the needs of refugees Most powerful of these leaders became the heads of states established to stabilize the area after the drought Most inland slaves were prisoners of war from expansion

36 Africa’s European and Islamic Contacts
Two main European bases = Angola (Portuguese) and East India Company’s Cape Colony (Dutch) Most slaves imported from Madagascar, South Asia, and the East Indies During 16th century, nearly all of North Africa was added to the Islamic Ottoman Empire Songhai pushed Sahara region from south Drew wealth from trans-Saharan trade Ruled by indigenous Muslim dynasty Moroccan conquest over Songhai yielded massive tributes of slaves and goods After Moroccan conquest, Hausa cities attracted much more attention

37 Africa’s European and Islamic Contacts
Most Islamic slaves were soldiers and servants Bornu = Sudanese kingdom power Islam influential in African trading cities Europeans obtained 4x as many slaves as Muslims Overall African population stayed the same throughout slave trade Local businesses in Africa suffered greatly More men sold than women = greater ability to recover from population loss European goods importation did not affect African local artisans greatly

38 First Hand Account The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor, and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror, which I am yet at a loss to describe nor the then feelings of my mind. When I was carried on board I was immediately handled, and tossed up, to see if I were sound by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had got into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. Their complexions too differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, which was very different from any I had ever heard, united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed, such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand worlds had been my own, I would have parted with them all to have exchanged my condition with that of the meanest slave in my own country. When I looked around the ship too, and saw a large furnace or copper boiling, and a multitude of black people of every description chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted. When I recovered a little, I found some black people about me, who, I believed were some of those who brought me on board, and had been receiving their pay; they talked to me in order to cheer me, but all in vain. I asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces, and long hair? They told me I was not; and one of the crew brought me a small portion of spirituous liquor in a wine glass; but, being afraid of him, I would not take it out of his hand. …

39 continued …One of the blacks therefore took it from him, and gave it to me, and I took a little down my palate, which, instead of reviving me, as they thought it would, threw me into the greatest consternation at the strange feeling it produced, having never tasted any such liquor before. Soon after this, the blacks who brought me on board went off, and left me abandoned to despair. I now saw myself deprived of any chance of returning to my native country, or even the least glimpse of hope of gaining the shore, which I now considered as friendly; and I even wished for my former slavery, in preference to my present situation, which was filled with horrors of every kind, still heightened by my ignorance of what I was to undergo. I was not long suffered to indulge my grief; I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste any thing. I now wished for the last friend, Death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think, the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely....

40 Questions to Consider Why did the slave say he would have preferred death to continued existence on the slave ship? How did the slave find himself is such a terrible predicament? Did he seem to hold any grudge against his original captors? Where was the slave going, and what awaited him when he got there?

41 First Hand Account Not a few in our country fondly imagine that parents here sell their children, men their wives, and one brother the other. But those who think so, do deceive themselves; for this never happens on any other account but that of necessity, or some great crime; but most of the slaves that are offered to us, are prisoners of war, which are sold by the victors as their booty. When these slaves come to Fida, they are put in prison all together; and when we treat concerning buying them, they are all brought out together in a large plain; where, by our surgeons, whose province it is, they are thoroughly examined, even to the smallest member, and that naked both men and women, without the least distinction or modesty. The invalids and the maimed being thrown out, as I have told you, the remainder are numbered, and it is entered who delivered them. In the meanwhile, a burning iron, with the arms or name of the companies, lies in the fire, with which ours are marked on the breast. This is done that we may distinguish them from the slaves of the English, French, or others (which are also marked with their mark), and to prevent the Negroes exchanging them for worse, at which they have a good hand. I doubt not but this trade seems very barbarous to you, but since it is followed by mere necessity, it must go on; but we yet take all possible care that they are not burned too hard, especially the women, who are more tender than the men.

42 continued We are seldom long detained in the buying of these slaves, because their price is established, the women being one fourth or fifth part cheaper than the men. The disputes which we generally have with the owners of these slaves are, that we will not give them such goods as they ask for them, especially the boesies [cowry shells] (as I have told you, the money of this country) of which they are very fond, though we generally make a division on this head, in order to make one part of the goods help off another; because those slaves which are paid for in boesies, cost the company one half more than those bought with other goods. When we have agreed with the owners of the slaves, they are returned to their prison; where, from that time forwards, they are kept at our charge, cost us two pence a day a slave; which serves to subsist them, like our criminals, on bread and water: so that to save charges, we send them on board our ships with the very first opportunity, before which their masters strip them of all they have on their backs; so that they come to us stark-naked, as well women as men: in which condition they are obliged to continue, if the master of the ship is not so charitable (which he commonly is) as to bestow something on them to cover their nakedness. You would really wonder to see how these slaves live on board; for though their number sometimes amounts to six or seven hundred, yet by the careful management of our masters of ships, they are so [well] regulated, that it seems incredible. And in this particular our nation exceeds all other Europeans; for as the French, Portuguese, and English slave-ships are always foul and stinking; on the contrary, ours are for the most part clean and neat. The slaves are fed three times a day with indifferent good victuals, and much better than they eat in their own country. Their lodging place is divided into two parts; one of which is appointed for the men, the other for the women, each sex being kept apart. Here they lie as close together as it is possible for them to be crowded.

43 Questions to Consider From whom did Bosman acquire the slaves he traded for in Guinea? How did the process actually work? What were the conditions of those enslaved? Why did Bosman maintain that the Dutch slave ships were so much cleaner than those of other European states? What is the importance of having both male and female slaves? What role will each play on the plantation?

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