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Week 2.1: African Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade

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Leslie Schwalm

on 29 August 2016

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Transcript of Week 2.1: African Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade

African Slavery
Atlantic Slave Trade
What was slavery like among Africans?
People were a source of wealth, and that wealth ("rights in persons") could be transferred
How slaves were acquired
"Trade" slaves vs. "settled" slaves
Stages in the Atlantic Slave Trade
Census of the slave trade:
We will never know how many African people were enslaved and sent to the coast
Enslaved Africans exported to the New World: ~14-21 million
Enslaved Africans who survive to disembark: ~10-15 million
Proportion of enslaved Africans brought to North America: 5-6% (about 600,000 people)
1451-1871
Of 100 Angolans seized in Africa,
75 reached the marketplaces in the interior of their country
64 would reach the coast
57 would board ships
51 would live to step onto Brazilian soil
48 or 49 would live to see their first New World owner
28-30 would survive their first 3 or 4 years
Mortality and losses in the Angolan Slave Trade
Which nations invested in the slave trade?
Where were enslaved Africans sent to in the New World?
Where were Africans taken from?
What was the heaviest period of the slave trade?
Mapping origins by time period
Africa is a continent,
not a country

17th century map produced by the Dutch West Indies Company
What does Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavas Vassa, tell us about the experience of slavery in Africa?
Enslavement
Transportation to the coast
Embarkation
Middle Passage
Disembarkation
Northern Nigeria, 1857
Senegal, ca. 1789
Angola, 1786-87
Central Africa, 1866
18th century
Gold Coast, late 17th century
West Africa, early 19th century
Ship "Wildfire," 1860, near Cuba
1845, Mouth of the Congo River, Bound for Brazil
British Slave Ship "Brookes," 1789.
The larger the circle, the larger the number of enslaved people sent from that area
http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces
The significance of the APC and the AST
to the history of the modern world:
16th-19th centuries: both APC & AST were major factors in European economic, diplomatic, and strategic thinking
Involved all of Europe's major maritime powers
the AST promoted an expanding arena of international commerce and trade
produced extensive cultural diffusion
AST and APC created wealth that was crucial to Europe's colonial empires
AST and APC stimulated shipbuilding, insurance, investment, banking industries
Transformed African economies and societies
What were the structural links that tied African slavery to the Atlantic Slave Trade?
Slavery was already widespread in Africa
Europeans purchased more Africans than they captured
European slave traders tapped into a pre-existing commercial network
Europeans lacked the military power to force African involvement
The people most affected were not the people who organized & ran the trade.
Why do scholars disagree about the
authenticity of Equiano's autobiography?
26% of the slave trade involved children
Full transcript