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ADW Week __
Transcript of ADW Week __
By Michael A. Gomez *Gomez points out that many of these slaves were women. *It is important to think about how skin color played little role in the decision to use Africans as slaves in the new world. It was more of a economic strategy rather than an issue of race. *Not every African that came to the Americas came as slave. Some came as travelers. In conclusion, Michael Gomez discusses the transatlantic slave trade and the similarities of slavery in the Americas. In Chapter 4, entitled "Transatlantic Movement", Gomez writes on the origins and various branches of the transatlantic trade. Continuing in Chapter 5, " Enslavement", Gomez delves further into examining how the slave trade differed depending on the circumstances of the country. The discussion of how the slave trade began and how it developed branched out to discuss many aspects such as area of origin, skin complexion, and the fact that Africans were not the only people to be enslaved. This week's reading was about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the enslavement of Africans in the Americas. Chapter 4: Transatlantic Movement
As we know, prior to the 1400's there was a trade market between Africa, Europe, India, as well as the Middle East, and during the year leading up to that point the Muslim world had dominance over that trade. However Gomez tells us that the emergence of Europe into the world scene in the 1400's changed the course of trade, particularly of human capital.
Gomez talks about the beginning of this shift with the "Reconquista" which means reconquest of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. Muslims controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula, however they began to war with Italian Christians who wanted to reclaim their country. During the exploration of the Americas devastation consumed the indigenous people of that region who were not immune to the diseases that the Europeans brought with them. For example, in Mexico, it is estimated that the previous population of 25 million was reduced to 1.5 million by 1650. This type of dramatic drop was common between both of the Americas and it raised a question to the new European conquers: Who will work on the plantations in the new world?
The logical answer was the Africans. Not only were they not dying from the European's diseases but they already had a relationship with trade in Africa already. These Africans knew how to work on plantations and cultivate things like sugar. In addition Africa was geographically accessible. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was in full effect by the 1500's. Although many European nations participated, the trade was mostly controlled by the Spanish and the Portuguese.
African slaves were transported throughout the New world, however the about 90% of them went to Brazil and the Caribbean Islands between the years of 1662 and 1867, thus creating the second largest population of people of African descent. Conclusion The Transatlantic Slave Trade During this war the Christians as well as Muslims sold their captives into slavery. It became a key component for not only fighting the war but strengthening the economy as well. These slaves were used mostly for domestic purposes, fighting, and textile-making. However, with the introduction of sugar to the European world there became a demand for plantations to cultivate it.
The Italians and the Portuguese began to work together to expand, produce sugar, and gain control over the trade the Muslims had so long controlled. They started to travel, originally to find India. They however, sailed to the Americas in the late 1400's. Although there were many cultures that were enslaved during the mid-16th century and 17th century, Africans experienced the most detrimental and ultimately the harshest form of enslavement. The majority of Africans were transported to Brazil, and later on to many islands such as, Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica causing a complete diaspora of Africans. In the Caribbean, enslavement was more common than in the Americans, the ratio to this was about 20:100 or even more or less. Another ratio that was interesting with enslavement was men to women. Men were considered more important than women because owners felt that men were able to participate in more laborious work, and that their bodies were more durable. 85% of the enslaved Africans came from these regions: West Central Africa: 36.5%
The Bight of Benin: 20%
The Bight of Biafra: 16.6
Gold Coast: 11% Gomez highlights that the Africans had power, religious culture, and economic sophistication in their homeland. For example, the Igbo were very advanced in their Agrarian economy and the Yoruba were steeped in their worship of the Orishas. *You can still find Brazilians dancing for the Orishas. Transportation Enslavement Enslavement Continued Due to brutal treatment and the terrible conditions of slavery, many diseases were spread and began to kill off many of the natives and slaves themselves. Because many of the slaves began to die, it was "necessary" for owners to regain more slaves . Slaves were transported on slave ships. The harsh conditions on these ships such as bad sanitation and serious illnesses caused many causalties. Many depressed slaves chose suicide.
The busiest ports of the four regions were Cabinda & Luanda (West Central Africa), Cape Castle and Anomabu (Gold Coast), Bonny and Calabar (Bight of Biafra), & Whydah (Bight of Benin).
Africans emanating from the same regions tended to be transported to the same New World destinations. Transportation Continued The transatlantic voyage, also called the Middle Passage, was a movement across the Atlantic that began on African soil.
Europeans used "boating" or the sailing of small vessels upriver to purchase captives from villages along the banks.
Captured Africans were forced to march, and depending upon place and time could take up to four months or longer to reach a coast.