The Slave Trade Research Paper by Research Group

The Slave Trade
Examines the history of the African slave trade before the nineteenth century.
# 26911 | 3,037 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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The slave trade carried Africans far from their homeland, but the problem of slavery began in Africa as warring tribes captured members of other tribes and sold them into slavery. The paper shows that the slave trade in West Africa served the labor requirements of the New World and other areas for more than three centuries. The slave trade in West Africa began with the Portuguese in the fifteenth century and increased until it was a major trade linking Africa with Europe and North and South America. The paper examines how slave ships, heading for the New World, would stop at sites along the West African coast to pick up their human cargo, often purchasing members of one tribe from another. The Spanish and English would also become involved in the slave trade over the next two centuries and slavery in the New World in particular would be a matter of economic need because of an agricultural system that needed a large labor force for as little economic outlay as possible. The paper shows that when the Native American population did not prove viable as a labor force, the various European settlers turned to Africa and the slave trade to solve their labor problems.

From the Paper:

"The entry of the Portuguese into Africa came at the same time as the Turkish Ottoman conquest of Africa's Mediterranean and Red Sea areas. Portugal at that time expanded into Africa's Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts and introduced new weapons and new demands for war captives throughout the continent. Different communities and different kingdoms adapted in different ways to this new supply of guns and new demands for war captives, and at the same time, Spanish, Dutch, British, French, German, Scandinavian, and Arab armed ships joined the Portuguese in demanding increasing numbers of young Africans for the international slave trade. This was during Africa's "early modern" period from 1600 to 1800, at which time the gold, sugar, tobacco, and cotton produced by African slaves in the New World contributed toward making more capital available for the "commercial revolution" taking place in Europe in banking, corporate stock arrangements, insurance, and investment houses. This trade then helped fund European expansion in overseas trade, colonization, and the scientific and industrial revolutions (Khapoya 92)."

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