Changes and continuities in world trading systems during 1450-1750.

Topics: Slavery, Africa, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 5 (1418 words) Published: March 19, 2005
The ratio of population between Europe and Africa declined and it is believed that this caused a significant impact on African civilizations. During the fifteen century, Africa became one of the major location for European explorers, mainly Portuguese. For centuries, Europeans traded gold and spices, but during the fifteen century, one of the most important change occurred; a new type of trade began; influenced by the Portuguese and starting the most shameful period of history. It quickly expanded, and with the time more countries joined.

This new type of trade was, what we today recall, as slavery which had major impacts on developments of the countries involved: Spain, Portugal, and later England.

The European trade had its origins in Mali, around 1450, when the famous leader Mansa Musa converted to Islam, and on his way to the Mecca, one of the five pilasters that a Muslim has to follow, donated so much gold that Europeans from all the Western heard of the amount; which stimulated the eyes of the many Europeans who were looking for gold.

Once the Portuguese arrived, for example Henry the Navigator which founded the city of Sagres, their main goal was to explore and to find large quantities of gold. By the fifteen century the Portuguese achieved both of their goals, but there was something more that they wanted: maybe a better economy or maybe a faster way to earn money. With these new goals in their minds, the Portuguese started to occupy most of Africa, and started creating commerce between the two.

By the fifteen century the Portuguese had established a well organized trading system with most of the Southern parts of Africa, including Cape of Good Hope in 1488, the southernmost trip. The trade was similar throughout most of the country. The main goods that were trade by the Portuguese were gold, spices (in particular salt), ivory, kola nuts, cotton cloth, ebony, gum, leopard skins, ostrich, feathers and copper.

Since in Sub-Saharan the way of building was very unique, the Europeans traded a large quantity of wood and construction materials such as ebony, which is a type of wood. Also, one of these materials is gum, which is specifically a colloidal substance that is extracted from plants.

During the late mid-1400s, at Cape Bojador, a new type of trade was found. A type trade which will stay in the history as one of the most shameful period. It was started by the Portuguese Antom Goncoles, but we have evidence that the African tribes often enslaved other members of their tribe as in a formal quest for more workers, wives, and children. In addition, also the Arab traders had created a large and long-lasting slave trade that extended throughout the Sahara and its South part.

Before the Europeans arrived in Africa, Muslim merchants had already being trading slaves, in fact the system of capturing, selling and distributing slaves was very well functioning when they arrived. Instead of abolishing this horrible trade, the Europeans developed this kind of market.

The Portuguese soon found a good occupation to all the slaves, and with the time their number just kept increasing. Since the Portuguese had many colonies in the Western Hemisphere; such as Madeiras, Cape Verde Islands, and Sao Torre, which all dependent on sugar plantations; they always needed a large amount of workers. This was the new position that Portuguese invented for the many slaves that they traded.

As a result of the increasing number of slaves on sugar plantations, the production of sugar, along with its "contract" with Europe had also increased. This factor is due to the increase of slaves which from a few hundred, grew almost to two thousand a year in 1520. Also, during 1530 Portuguese started importing slaves to Brazil, which soon became the wealthiest sugar-producing land in the New World. It is logic, that this is a result of the quantity of slaves which grew higher with the time.

During the sixteen century, the slave...
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