The mechanics of the Atlantic Slave Trade had an impact on the cultures of European Societies, West Africa and the enslaved people themselves. In Europe, the economy completely shifted its focus and changed priorities, while countries fought over control of the trade. West African people were betrayed by their own rulers, and economic patterns were shattered for the trading system. An extremely high percentage of those involved in the trade did not survive slavery, and the lives of those who did survive were greatly altered. The trafficking of enslaved human beings proved to affect every society it involved.
Previously to the seventieth century, the European economy was oriented toward the Mediterranean and Asia, but after the beginning of the Atlantic Slave trade, it shifted its emphasis towards the Atlantic. Countries competed for control of the slave trade; whoever had control of it, controlled the world’s economy. At first the Portuguese dominated the trade, but in the 1630’s were defeated by the Dutch. In a war against the English, known as the Anglo-Dutch wars, the Dutch were defeated by the English. The English then controlled the slave trade through the Royal African Company. Europeans would purchase slaves from Africa for resale in colonies, and in return received sugar and tobacco from America. By the end of the seventeenth century the Atlantic Slave Trade constituted for the basis of the European economic system.
The majority of slaves brought to North America originated in West Africa, bringing about consequences for the nations there. Since the trade system had a tendency to centralize, it helped create powerful kingdoms. This destroyed smaller polities and economic patterns were disrupted. Agricultural production also intensified due to the need to supply hundreds of slave ships with food for their voyages. Many nations initiated conflicts to acquire captives since prisoners of war accounted for many of the exported slaves. While many...
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