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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Barbara Anderson African Studies Center, UNC-Chapel Hill November 2013

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Presentation on theme: "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Barbara Anderson African Studies Center, UNC-Chapel Hill November 2013"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Barbara Anderson African Studies Center, UNC-Chapel Hill November 2013

2 How did the trans-Atlantic slave trade begin? Why did Europeans choose Africans?

3 Origins of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Begin with the Age of Exploration—the Portuguese, not Columbus! African and Middle Eastern science and technology were central Portuguese first explored the west coast of Africa, looking for GOLD (& Asia)


5 Muslim international trade world ca. 1500. Long-distance trading throughout this area, including slaves

6 European Invasion and Occupation of the Americas begins African enslavement 1441 Portuguese in West Africa 1492 Columbus 1498 Vasco de Gama 1500 Cabral to Brazil 1517 Spain gives Portugal 1 st Asiento to import African slaves 1542 only African slavery legal in Spanish colonies


8 SLAVE EXPORTS FROM AFRICA 1450-1600376,0003.1% 1601-17001,868,00016.0 1701-18006,133,00052.4** 1801-19003,330,00028.5 Total11,698,000 **This is also the century that most Americans can trace their African ancestors to; by 1755 40% of Marylanders were Black.

9 Destination of Slaves Europe2% Mainland North America (U.S.)5% Caribbean42% Brazil38% Spanish America13%


11 The “Triangular Trade”

12 Places in the slave trade: Have students research! Liverpool Senegambia Dahomey Kongo Rio de Janeiro Jamaica Cuba Charleston Boston

13 Two examples of Africans enslaved in Maryland in 1730 Ayuba Suleiman Diallo – from Futa Toro/Senegambia – enslaved in Kent County, MD _Diallo Grandfather of Charles Ball – probably Senegambia – Calvert County, MD enu.html enu.html See esp. pp. 19-24

14 Diallo and Ball’s Grandfather in MD, both Muslims from Senegambia 1700s “Upon our Talking and making Signs to him, he wrote a Line or two before us, and when he read it, pronounced the Words Allah and Mahommed; by which, and his refusing a Glass of Wine we offered him, we perceived he was a Mahometan, but could not imagine of what Country he was, or how he got thither; for by his affable Carriage, and the easy Composure of his Countenance, we could perceive he was no common Slave.” AllahMahommed Mahometan ett/bluett.html [The night that my father was to be sold away], “about midnight, my grandfather silently repaired to the cabin of my father, a distance of about three miles, aroused him from his sleep, made him acquainted with the extent of his danger, gave him a bottle of cider and a small bag of parched corn, and then praying to the God of his native country to protect his son, enjoined him to fly from the destruction which awaited him. In the morning, the Georgian [slave trader] could not find his newly purchased slave, who was never seen or heard of in Maryland from that day.” [Fifty Years in Chains]

15 Why did Africans sell slaves to Europeans? Were they “selling their own people”?

16 Why did Africans sell slaves to Europeans? Slavery in most of Africa – (and rest of the world!) Long-distance trading a long tradition Demand for European commodities No racial or national identity, “vertical organization” – Local and/or lineage loyalty Prisoners of War or other outsiders Significant African resistance occurred (Queen Nzinga Mbande of Angola), but infrequent

17 European demand for slaves

18 Goree Warehouses in Liverpool How slave trading in Africa developed Europe

19 Goree Island, across from Dakar, Senegal

20 Learning the Trade

21 Capture, coffles, barracoons, factories, branding


23 Middle Passage

24 Arrival in the Americas and Seasoning

25 17 th and 18 th Century Virginia/Maryland Tobacco


27 Urban centers throughout the Atlantic

28 Sugar, Hispaniola, 1500s

29 Cotton, French West Indies, 1762

30 Diamond Mining, Brazil, 1770s

31 Sugar boiling, Trinidad, 1836

32 Rum distillery, Antigua, 1823

33 Tobacco in Cuba, 1850

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