Dehumanization Of The Slave Trade Essay

2448 words - 10 pages

Dehumanization of the Slave Trade

Bare feet walked across the rocky dirt road. Hands, feet, and wrists chained together. A long line of black people, men and women and even young maturing children. Beaded up hair from the water and sweat dripping from their filthy bodies from the hot desert-like sun beaming upon them. Dusty looking skin from the times they fell and tried so hard to get up. Empty stomachs; starving people; black people. Some naked and some clothed. They have been walking for some miles, being pulled along, whipped continuously, and told what to do; by the white man. Flies buzzing around them. Rotten smells of all sorts. Swollen feet and hands from the treacherous journeys and over-bearing labor that they had to endure. They were slaves.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the labor of African Americans was in higher demand. This was due to the insufficient amounts of white and Indian indentured servants, for the use of agricultural labor. During the 16th and 17th century time periods, Brazilian and Caribbean sugar plantations were very profitable and the use of African Americans as the laborers/workers provided a model for the European colonists in North America. (historychannel.com)

Africans served as guides and soldiers in the journey of Mexico, however when they were brought to North America they were instead used to produce export crops, such as tobacco, rice, indigo, and cotton, which was a major source of wealth. Once this had begun the English settlers gradually begin to turn to black slavery to solve the labor shortage (history channel.com).

Spain and England engaged in the housing of slaves. In the 16th century Spain brought in 100,000 Africans. However England did not significantly engage in the slave trade until the establishment of the Royal African Company in 1672. (historychannel.com)

The Royal African Company was long before the establishment of Jamestown, and English captains had made occasional profits in the Atlantic slave trade. The English had viewed the idea of trading lives with a certain measure of contempt, until the profits of the sugar plantations greatly increased and they needed labor workers, and they soon would become regular participants in the trade. In 1660 a trading company for the buying and selling of slaves was chartered; the “Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa”. At first it was disorganized but when it became more orderly it became the only company that could engage in the trade in 1663. The company did very poorly and was collapsed in 1667, due mainly to the war in Holland. However, once the Royal African Company was established they transferred 5,000 or more slaves a year and made over 200 trips back to Africa. In 1698 Parliament surrendered and opened up the slave trade to all. Soon 20,000 slaves would be transported every year, and England would leave the world in the trafficking of slaves by the 17th century. (pbs.org)

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