Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Effects on the American Economy

Topics: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, African slave trade Pages: 5 (1627 words) Published: February 25, 2012
Transatlantic Slave Trade and the effects on the american economy

Transatlantic Slave Trade
The Transatlantic slave trade is a “wrenching aspect of the history of Africa and America” (Colin Palmer). The transatlantic slave trade transported African people to the “New World”. It lasted from the 16th to the 19th century. Slavery has had a big impact on African culture. The Africans were forced to migrate away from everything they knew, culture, heritage and lifestyles (Captive Passage). Coupled with they were faced with racism and overcame life-threaten situations everyday. Nevertheless the Africans preserved and survived tremendous conditions. Even though the slave trade was horrible it still contributed to the economy of the Americas-“New World” and Africa. The journey to the economy can be discussed through Africa before and after the slave trade, slavery within Africa, products produced, and many more.

Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be the property of others. Slavery was prominent all over the world before the transatlantic slave trade, but the Atlantic slave trade is remembered as an account of horrible history in the African culture and even America. In the 15th century the Atlantic slave trade began. The journey to the Americas is another act of perseverance of the Africans, for who survived. The journey started in Africa where slaves were cram into very small boats. Usually the ships were divided into three platforms decks, which were only five feet apart. One each of these decks slaves were assembled similar to how books are arranged on a shelf. Needless to say the ships were very cramped and confined. In addition the slaves were shackled together by their feet and hands. Only those women who did not pose a threat could go without shackles, and children nearly never wore shackles. In such terrible conditions it is estimated that 100 million slaves survived the journey, and 40 percent of slaves who boarded the slave ship died before reaching the Americas (Captive Passage). After a long journey to the Americas the slaves who survived were usually sent to the southern colonies for labor. Most of which had no idea of the life they would have in America. The slave trade was a forced journey from the African coast to the Americas. “It is the taking of freedom, suffering-extreme basically survival of the fitness. It symbolizes loss of African descent – homeland, familiar places and identity” (Captive Passage 53).

The Atlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration. It began in the 15th century and was the staple of human interaction. It was launched specifically to provide labor to the European colonies, North America, South America and the Caribbean. In the 15th century Europeans were creating colonies all over the world, as they expanded colonies in the “New World” they realized their was more labor needed to supply needed goods. In the beginning the Europeans brought over indigenous people to provide a work force. But, the indigenous people were unreliable, most of them died from disease brought over from Europe and they lacked experience. As a result the Europeans resorted in Africans. Africans were excellent workers; they often had experience of agriculture and keeping cattle. Also they were used to the hot climates and resisted diseases. All characteristics making them better than the indigenous people. The Europeans now having a source of work force had the first Africans to arrive in North America during 1526 in Cape Fear, North Carolina (Captive Passage). The purpose of the slaves coming to America was “purely economic”. There was a constant problem on early America, shortage of labor. Between 1526 and 1793, about 5 million slaves transported into America (Google Books). In 1793 the demand for slaves increased as the creation of the Cotton Gin by Eli Whitney became prominent in American economy. The slaves were very useful in providing labor, but they also were a...

Cited: 1) Barr, Gary E. Slavery in the United States. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library, 2004. Print.
2) Captive Passage. N.p.: Smithsonian Institution, 2002. Print.
3) Curtin, Philip D. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. N.p.: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969. Print.
4) Davis, Ronald. “Escaping Slavery.”‌history/‌hs_es_overview.htm#Escaping. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2010.
5) Inikori, Joseph E., and Stanley L. Engerman. The Atlantic slave trade: effects on economies, societies, and peoples in Africa, the Americas and Europe. N.p.: Duke University Press, 1992. Google Book Search. Web. 12 May 2010.
6) Kachur, Matthew. The Slave Trade. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2006. Print. Slavery in the Americas
7) Klein, Herbert. The Atlantic Slave Trade. N.p.: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Google Book Search. Web. 1 May 2010. .
8) Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Print. The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440 - 1870
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