The African Slave Trade

1 January 2017

African Slave Trade and Slavery until the End The African population from the 1500’s to the 1800’s was treated inhumanly, enslaved and put to work on plantations, forced to grow many goods for trade. The Europeans chose the African people for a few reasons: There culture, build and being used to hard labor. The African Slave Trade was the largest migration of people in the world. Twelve million moved but only Ten million made it alive. There was a passage that the Europeans used during the African Slave Trade called the Middle Passage for simpler transport.

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On this middle passage, the treatment of the slaves was horrific and many did not survive the journey. Once in the New World, treatment of the slaves did not get any better. The Slave owner/Slave relationship was not good at all. Slaves did contribute to the formation of their own social and religious ways. Many people did believe that slavery was the wrong thing to do to a person and outburst of support opened around the world. This idea of freedom gave the slaves the courage to escape and had ways of doing so. Haiti was an important part of the history of slavery and is important to review.

Why did the Europeans take the African’s for slaves? African’s used slavery as a part of their everyday life. When the Europeans arrived overseas in Africa they were intrigued by this idea of slavery. They felt that the African people were used to the hot weather and long and hard working days. They thought of the blacks as inferior as well. They needed people to do their labor in the New World and were sent over in the African Slave Trade (Corretti). Slavery had a different meaning in the New World than it did in Europe. People were considered chattel in the New World.

This means that one human was the property of another human. The Europeans needed to find people to keep up with the labor on the plantations in the new world (Corretti). There was a route that was taken from Africa to the new world during the Slave trade. This route was named The Middle Passage. The Middle Passage had a triangular shape and sometimes was called the Triangular Trade. The passage started in Africa and then could go either to Europe to drop off textiles from Africa and to refuel then go to the New World to trade out the slaves or vice versa (Corretti). The journey was a traumatic time for the laves. John Barbot, an agent for the French Royal Company said “Many of those slaves we transport from Guinea to America are prepossessed with the opinion, that they are carried like sheep to the slaughter, and that the Europeans are fond of their flesh; which notion so far prevails with some, as to make them fall into a deep melancholy and despair (Barbot). ” The slaves were packed closely without a lot of air, food and no restrooms. They were treated badly and some so bad that they committed suicide. Out of twelve million slaves moved, only ten million made it to the new world alive. They were all branded, like sheep, with the owners’ marks” (Maryland State Archives). Once the African slaves made it to the new world their journey was not over. The slaves were shipped to the coast of the New World because it was closer to the ocean and had fewer diseases than territories further from the coast. They went to the south because there were larger plantations and the North was more industrialized. Cotton, tobacco, rice and sugar cane plantations needed labor the most and were located in the south. They were traded off to plantation owners to start their new life (Corretti).

The way that the Africans were treated by their owners was negative. “These slaves are severely and barbarously treated by their masters, who subsist them poorly, and beat them inhumanly, as may be seen by the scabs and wounds on the bodies of many of them when sold to us” (Barbot). Slaves were auctioned off, families were split. They had small houses to sleep and eat in. Work for the slaves started at dawn and went until dusk. They were overseen by a work hand that beat and whipped them (Corretti). The African slaves were from all different areas of the continent.

When they were brought to the Americas, they were forced to assimilate into the American culture. A mixed language called Creole was invented by the slaves. They took all of the different dialects of Africa and some American words and phrases and mixed them together. Not only was a language invented but a whole African/American culture was birthed. “Slaves sang spirituals filled with lyrics about salvation and references to biblical figures like Moses, who led his people to freedom (Sambol-Tosco). They had their own form of dancing, music, cooking and living (Corretti).

The religion that the slaves followed was European Christianity. Slaves saw baptism into Christianity as a way out. A lot of plantation owners promised freedom with the conversion to Christianity. This lasted until 1667 when Virginia passed a law stating that the conversion of religion did not give the slave freedom. Many colonies followed Virginia soon after. In the 1800’s a large-scale conversion of enslaved men and women began to the religion of Protestant Evangelicalism (Sambol-Tosco). The Northerners in the New World felt that slavery was against god’s will.

In the 17-1800’s a movement against slavery started to pop up in the North. This was called the Abolitionist movement. The Quakers and Puritans of the North started to voice their outrage against slavery. In 1787 the North West Ordinance was written up. This prohibited slavery in Northern Middle America. Abolitionism also existed in England and France. In 1807 the Slave Trade Act was passed in England. This made it Illegal in the British Empire for slavery to exist. Although France took part in the slave trade for a long time, in the 1500’s the Abolitionist movement started in France as well (Corretti).

The slaves tried to escape as many times as they possibly could. In France in the 1700’s a revolution of San Dome was declared. The fighting happened until the win of San Dome happened and they declared themselves free and changed their name to Haiti. In the Americas you could run away but there were strict laws if you were caught. The slaves escaped to the North where Slavery was not allowed. Fredrick Douglass was a slave that escaped and got an education. Douglass wrote a biography and argued for the end of slavery. John Brown led a revolt on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

The Underground Railroad was an escape route that white abolitionists and free blacks made to help slaves escape to the north (Corretti). Haiti, known in the 1600’s as Saint-Dominque, a name given to them by the French. The main crop of this country is sugar cane crop. This crop is very hard to grow and required a lot of labor. This is why the Africans had enslaved themselves. In 1789, Saint-Dominque made 40 percent of all the sugar in the world and more than half the world’s coffee. 80-90 percent of the population was black and mainly slaves.

The remaining 10 -20 percent were white men who explored. In 1791 the Revolt of Saint-Dominque began and started a civil war with France. Because of the number of slaves they were successful. Whites were armed and ready and 4,000 were killed in battle. Finally in 1794, slavery was abolished in all French owned colonies (Corretti). The African Slave Trade was the largest migration of people in the world. Twelve million moved but only Ten million made it alive. The Europeans were attracted to them because their culture had already been accustomed to hard labor.

There was a passage that the Europeans used during the African Slave Trade called the Middle Passage for simpler transport. The treatment of the slaves during the journey was horrific and many did not make it alive. Once in the New World, treatment of the slaves did not get any better. The Slave owner/slave relationship was not positive. An outburst of support to the abolitionist movement opened in England, France and America. Haiti was an important part of the history of slavery. The African population from the 1500’s to the 1800’s was treated inhumanly, enslaved and put to work on plantations, forced to grow many goods for trade.

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