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Slavery and Empire 1441 – 1770.

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Presentation on theme: "Slavery and Empire 1441 – 1770."— Presentation transcript:

1 Slavery and Empire 1441 – 1770

2 The Beginnings of African Slavery
1441: the Portuguese opened up the African slave trade by trading European goods for slaves Slaves were sent to work on sugar plantations on the island of Madeira off the coast of Africa The expansion of sugar production in the Caribbean increased the demand for slaves as disease wiped out the Indian populations European countries seized islands in the Caribbean as sugar and slaves became the core of the European colonial system


4 West Africans Slaves mainly came from well-established societies and local communities of West Africa Most West African societies were based on sophisticated systems of farming Established extensive trade networks (Timbuktu) Slavery existed, but were treated more as family than as possessions

5 The African Slave Trade
The African slave trade was the largest forced migration of people in world history, lasting over 4 centuries 10-12 million Most were transported to the Caribbean and South America; 1/20 sent to North America Men outnumbered women 2:1


7 Slavers of All Nations All Western European nations participated in the African slave trade 1st dominated by the Portuguese during the 16th century The Dutch took control of the sugar and slave trade during the 17th century The English entered lucratively in the 17th century and by the 18th century New Englanders were profiting greatly from the slave trade

8 The Middle Passage Captives were kept in dungeons, separated from anyone, and branded: dehumanization Slaves were crammed into ships and packed into shelves 6 ft. long and 2.5 ft. high Little or no nourishment; no sanitation; diseased-ridden conditions: 1/6 died during the voyage Slaves would jump overboard, starve themselves, or sometimes organize revolts

9 The Development of North American Slave Societies
By 1770 Africans and African Americans numbered almost a half-million in British North America—roughly 20% of the colonial population Between 1675 and 1700, the Chesapeake went from being a society with slaves to a slave society Decline in immigration of English servants European immigrants had better opportunities in other colonies The Planter Elite had taken up most of the land requiring a significant amount of labor England began shipping slaves directly to the region to satisfy the labor shortage (unprecedented growth from ) Expansion of slavery prompted Virginia to develop a comprehensive slave code

10 Tobacco and Slavery Tobacco was the most important commodity produced in 18th century North America (25% of all exports) Required a sizeable labor for the crop Unlike the West Indies and Brazil, better treatment of slaves resulted in self-sustained population growth

11 Slavery in the Lower South
South Carolina was always a slave society as it was active in the Indian slave trade The production of rice and indigo helped to transition SC to use African slaves Georgia was founded as a buffer colony against Spain and was soon accepting slavery By 1770, 80% of the Lower South’s coastal population was African American

12 Slavery in the French and Spanish Colonies
Slavery was a basic part of the Spanish colonial labor system: varied by region Florida was made into a haven for runaway slaves from British colonies in an attempt to undermine the profits made by British planters French Louisiana was more diversified, but slavery did exist (only 1/3 of the population)

13 Slavery in the North Slavery existed in the Northern commercial farming areas, but only made up 10% of the rural population Port cities saw higher concentrations of African populations due to their involvement in the slave trade and their use in craftwork The Quakers first spoke out against slavery in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but little was done

14 The Development of African American Culture
Large plantations provided the population necessary for the development of an African American culture Though families were often separated by sale, they created a family structure developing marriage customs, naming practices, and developing a system of kinship to try to re-humanize their world

15 African American Culture
Africans sustained their culture through dance, religion, music, and the oral tradition But music and dance formed the foundations of African American culture Not baptized, Africans practiced death and burial rituals in secret African American languages and dialects developed in the coastal regions

16 The Africanization of the South
Both English and African cultures influenced each other: Cooking (BBQ, fried chicken, stews, use of spices) Basket weaving, wood carving, architecture Music and dance (banjo, fiddle, jigs…) Language (yam, buddy, banjo…)

17 Violence and Resistance
Resisted by refusing to cooperate, malingering, mistreating tools and animals, running away, or revolt Revolts were rare due to the risk of losing culture and community (which they had established) New York 1712 Stono (1739)

18 Slavery and Empire Slavery was the foundation of the British economy
Southern exports made up 95% of their total commodities, which could not be achieved without their dependence on slave labor


20 The Politics of Mercantilism
Economic system where the government intervenes in the economy for the purpose of increasing national wealth Colonies existed to benefit the mother country A “zero-sum” game where profits for one country meant losses for another Competition between states was to hoard the fixed amount of wealth that existed in the world

21 Wars for Empire The English, French, and Spanish all struggled for control over North America and the Caribbean in a series of wars that occurred both in Europe and in the New World (world wars, essentially) In the Americas, the wars focused either on slavery/slave trade or control of the Indian trade (furs, etc.)

22 British Colonial Regulations
European nations created state trading monopolies to manage the commerce of its empires Navigation Acts passed between 1651 and 1696 created the legal and institutional structure of British colonial system Colonies were not allowed to impose tariffs on English imports; use their own money; or produce their own manufactured goods Yet, England practiced a policy of salutary neglect with the colonies since profits were good, many laws were not enforced

23 The Colonial Economy Between 1730 and 1770 the economies of the North and South became integrated as Northern ports offered outlets for goods produced in the South New England shipbuilding was stimulated by trade and northern port cities prospered: Participation in the slave trade Traded foodstuffs for sugar

24 Social Structure of Slave Colonies
Slavery produced as highly stratified class society Elite planters held more than half of the land and 60% of the wealth Even small planters and farmers kept 1-4 slaves Landless men constituted 40% of the population and worked as tenant farmers or indentured servants

25 White Skin Privilege Skin color determined status
Slave codes were developed Mulattoes and free blacks were denied citizenship and basic rights Contempt of slave codes and white skin privilege produced mistrust and led to racism between white colonists and African Americans

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