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Slave Trade 18/07/2007 07:29:00

Atlantic System
• Atlantic History
o Destination of most European settlers
 Most of the immigration was across the Atlantic
o The sight of production for most of the important commodities
 Sugar, tobacco and such
o Manufactured goods go across the Atlantic
• Overview
o Iberian trading colonies (Spain and Portugal)
 Very much alive and well into the 18th century
 The Spanish was still receiving tons of silver every year
 The Portuguese start to turn to the western side of the
o Dutch trading colonies
 Very active in Atlantic colonization
 Traded furs with the Iroquois
 Coveted the riches of the Iberian empires
 They take over St. Eustatius, Curacao, Aruba, St.
martin from the Portuguese
 They were really interest in shipping
 They were able to make considerable money by
providing a transport for the other nations
 Universal carrier
o France’s fur-trading empire
 The French were primarily explorers of Canada
 The first colony they founded new France
 Contemporary Québec 1608
 They were after beaver skins for hats
 They wanted to keep the Indian system because they
use to buy the skins from them. They did not have to
get the skins themselves
 Many French married with natives and the Métis
population grows
o England’s landed empire
 Relations with the natives was much different than the
 Many different colonies
 All English settlers shared a hunger for lands and they
took it from the native populations
 They built fences to marked their lands
 On the lands they wanted to create profit and start
growing tobacco and other cash crops
 By 1700 there are 250k people in north America and
33k in their Caribbean colonies
 Bermuda, Bahamas, St. Kitts, Barbados, Nevis,
Montserrat, Antigua, Jamaica)
o The New World plantation complex
 The Portuguese start making plantations in brazil with
slaves as their primary workers
The Atlantic Slave Trade
• Definition of a slave
o A human being that is traded or sold as a commodity
• The slave trade was perpetrated by many European nations and
African nations
• Slavery was standard before, it did not come out of nowhere
• Slavery was widespread in Africa and was the only form of private
property that produced revenue
• Slaves became the most important form of making money in Africa
• Because of the slave trade in Africa there is already a slave market
and Europeans just tap into it
o The Atlantic slavery was just an outward growth of the
internal African slavery
o They transform the scale of the slave trade and the form of
• The Portuguese control the slave trade at first
o The Portuguese set up factories
 Slave trading posts. The factor was the resident
merchant trading the slaves
o The Portuguese try to capture slaves at first, but could not do
so, and they then tapped into the current African slave market
for their slaves
o The factories were set up in Africa with the permission of the
African rulers
• Overview
o 1440 – 1867 12 million slaves made it across the Atlantic
 mortality rate was about 10%-20%
o more Africans than Europeans traveled across the Atlantic
 for every 2 Africans 1 European came across the
o Atlantic slavery
 Most of them were adult male
 1/3 women and 10% children
 the high mortality rate and the gender ratio made it
difficult to grow the slave population through children in
the Americas
 unlocking the economic potential of the Americas for
the Europeans
o David Eltis, et al, The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, 1527 – 1867:
A Database on CD Rom
 Thousands of records for slave shipping
 Slave owners, shipping dates, number of slaves,
characteristic of ships, destinations
o Multinational enterprise and that Africans were also involved
• The British
o Most productive slavers in the Atlantic ever
o Luso-Dutch rivalry
 Portuguese / Dutch
 In 1637 the Dutch cease lands from the
Portuguese in the Caribbean
 They also ceased brazil briefly
 Once the Portuguese took over brazil again they
convince English planters to cultivate sugar
• The Dutch made their money in the shipping
 This created a shift from tobacco to sugar for
many Caribbean nations
o Now that the English are heavily into sugar they need more
and more slaves
o In 1670’s the English were transporting more slaves than the
Dutch and Portuguese
o In 1807 is when the English stop trading slaves, however, the
English alone transferred about 3.4 million slaves
 More than the Portuguese and Dutch combined
o Company of Royal Adventures (1663)
 They gave the company an exclusive right to trade
slaves for 1,000 years
 They soon encountered financial problems and closed
o Royal African Company (1672)
 They were interlopers, pirates so the monopoly was
hard to make it enforceable
 The company could not provide enough slaves and the
competition made it difficult to stay alive
 In 1698 the company loses its monopoly rights
 At that point the British government opens the slave
trade to anybody
 Expansionary phases
 1650-1683
 1708-1725
• supplying not only slaves for their own
colonies but for also other nations
• they gained slave trade contract from the
Spanish government
• tobacco, sugar, rice, all depend in slaves
 1746 – 1771
• height: 1763 – 1793
• after the 7 years wars the British empire
was the most powerful European power and
slave trade was a key in their growth.
• Captivity and the Middle Passage
o The journey slaves had to make from Africa
o Slaves moved a lot within Africa, and then they moved a lot
within the colonies where they landed
o Once they got to the coast of Africa they cleaned them and
made them look at best as possible for the buyers
o 2 to 3 sq. ft. per person on the ships
o no circulation of air in some holds
o the journeys were at least 5 weeks
o over 10% died at sea, high mortality rate
o the loading of the slaves took longer than the middle passage
18/07/2007 07:29:00
18/07/2007 07:29:00