Even before the first humans on Earth, there has always been a constant change in the landscape. From the first cultivated fields of the Neolithic period to the great structures of the first dynasty in China, the landscape has ever been evolving. Arguably one of the most dynamic changes were those of Europe from the 1500-1 sass. During this time, cultural, social and economic beliefs were remodeled or evolved to help create the foundations of societies today.
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Out of the three areas the most influential were the economic changes which not only took place in Western Europe but throughout other continents s well. Most recognizable of these changes was the importance of slavery in the Atlantic World. Slavery in the Trans- Atlantic world referred to the use of people from Africa who had been captured and used for their labor to create goods for Europe. [I] Though there are multiple examples of the benefits, the real SUCCeSS was due to the economic factors which allowed the slave trade and slavery to expand from 1550- 1800.
Through the Atlantic economy, increased trade through the colonization of the New World and also the interdependence of countries and diversity are the three factors that allowed the slave trade and slavery to grow in the Atlantic World as well as the increased wealth of Europeans. One of the factors that expanded the slave trade and slavery was the growth of the Atlantic economy through capitalism. Modern capitalism known today started around this time period. This meant that economic institutions such as banks and the stock market came to fruition. Ii] This capitalism then translated overseas with the collection of cash crops which boosted the Western European economy. In the third document for example there is an example of capitalism in action in the British West Indies. Iii] The sugar [cash crop] is in barrels which would have been shipped off to Europe where it would have been sold to people to create money to circle within the economy. Some may wonder how this boosted the economy if money was spent on these mills across the Atlantic. This is due to the use of slaves which were much cheaper and therefore cost effective for the countries in Europe.
As shown in document 7, thousands of slaves were carried off to the New World to work at the mills and plantation field to produce goods for Europe. [iv] The number of slaves abroad the ship indicate that it has to be a large sell to hold many slaves during one trip. The reason they were so cheap was because African slaves were resistant to diseases more than the natives and also were more productive than them also. [v] Also they could serve fore a lifetime to one owner while previous settlers were indentured servants meaning they worked for a set amount of time; overall a better long- term investment which saved money. Vi] Another reason why they were in demand was because of the number of workers needed in a plantation for it to work. In the documents 4 and 5, the data shows exactly why African Slaves were a better than the natives Meridians) or any of the indentured servants. In document 3 it shows the different jobs that had to be done on the plantation. [vii] Due to the number of jobs that had to be filled not just once but by multiple people is was difficult to do so with Meridians who kept dying out due to the new diseases which made it harder to fill the spots available. Viii] The fifth document shows the birth and death rate that a plantation would have during this time. [ix] From the data given it makes more sense as to why a plantation owner would invest a lot of money initially buying slaves knowing hat they would save much more in the end. This is because with slaves that lasted longer, the need to replace them was less. The second factor which led to the expansion of slavery and the slave trade was the increase in trade due colonization of the New World.
One of the big changes during this time was the number of people who started to explore new places such as the Americas. In document 6 for example, it shows a map of the new colonies created by the big nations in Europe at the time. [x] France for example has created New France in Canada and also down into Florida and Spain had a large portion Of Mexico and Southern America. [xi] These new colonizes helped create trade between the New and Old World. Government ventures landed money for explorers to set forth and trade in the West and elsewhere. Xii] This also led to the role of mercantilism in the Atlantic as well. They helped promote overseas trade between a country and its own colonizes. [xiii] As they controlled more trade, different trading companies began to emerge in response to mercantilism. The Dutch West Indian Company and the royal African Company chartered by their otherworld all participated in a system which included other non- European countries as well. This system was known as the Atlantic Circuit which was a clockwise network of trading links that moved goods, wealth and people around the Atlantic system. Xiv] This helped make the slave trade more efficient because now a vast amount of slaves could be transported to their specific destinations as requested by a country. As document 8 shows, the slaves which came from Africa each followed a specific route in the Atlantic Circuit. [w] tying in with document 4 the work that had to be done on the alienation was a lot and that is why with the help of city ports in Africa they were able to get a large number of slaves to help in the Americas. An example of the type of work they did can be seen in document 1. In this picture of the SST.
Cross’s Sugar Mills, the large numbers of slaves were able to make a lot of sugar which in turn meant more goods for the second leg of the circuit. [xvi] With this incentive, owners of the mills or plantations along with traders back home would continue to pay for more slaves to be deported for their services. Not only was there a demand for the work the slaves provided but also the totality during these trades led more slaves to be sent off as replacements. The conditions in these voyages were very harsh, with the captured slaves being abused, malnourished and gravely ill. Xvii] Document 2 shows just how high the number of these deaths in transit to their destinations was during the middle passage. [xviii] From the graphs shown, it is easy to understand why slaves would have to constantly replace. If slaves did not eventually die from being worked on the plantation or the mills they surely would have died in the middle passage where diseases like dysentery and malaria were meant. Referencing back to document 7, months of living on such a boat would surely weaken the slaves and constant abuse from the slave traders would make them more ill. Xix] The last factor which led to an expansion in the slave trade and slavery was the interdependence and diversity. The first reason it was able to expand so much was because of the reliance of many different countries that all contributed to one goal. Amsterdam for example, had one of the best financial institutions at the time which meant more people along with companies would invest their money there. [xx] These investments would hen be put into the ventures abroad like in the West Indies to help with the plantations. Exile Not only is that but the Atlantic Circuit an example of the growing interdependence between nations. As document 6 showed, the manufactured goods from the Americas would go to Western Europe where it would be traded for more slaves in exchange for the goods. [xii] This global market created a demand for many nations which spurred the further transport of slaves. What is also seen during this period is that not slaves during the time were of the same ethnicity. As document 9 shows, some laves which were captured has also been Muslim. Xiii] This meant that not only were the traders and companies diverse in the people they did business with but also slaves were ethnically diverse as well. This diversity however may have contributed to more slaves being transported. This is because in document 9 it explained how the Muslim slave had never been used to this sort of lifestyle and therefore could adjust well and handle to work which is why he was given back. [xiv] This might indicate this sort of lifestyle which had not been as popular in some societies might mean that the slaves used room these places would not be adjusting well into this lifestyle.
Thus slave traders would need to have more slaves sent over to replace the ones who could not handle the work and had to be returned. The factors which led to the expansion of slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic was because of the Atlantic Economy, increased trade with the New World and lastly the increase in interdependence and diversity. Capitalism which emerged during this time period helped provide money to start up plantations. The goods that it then produced was used to help boost the economy in Western Europe. The increased trade between nations helped create incentive to send over more.
Through the Atlantic Circuit slaves were sent more efficiently and in bigger loads to earn even more goods to trade in the old World. Lastly the interdependence with different nations provided more money to be involved with colonizes abroad. The interdependence with these nations had also meant the source of their slaves also created diversity among them. The evidence provided gave a lot of insight into the slave trade however there are some pieces missing. Real life accounts of the slave traders ND how they felt may have also been useful.
Other articles such as a daily schedule of a slave on plantations might have been useful in explaining how the slaves needed to be replaced due to the hard work. Overall, from what is given it is clear that the slave trade though not morally correct provided many benefits for the people of Europe. It is one of the main events in history which helped Western Europe so strong and feared.