Atlantic Slave Trade – Causes and Effiects Essay

The longing of the Europeans particularly Portuguese. Spanish. British and the Dutch for geographic expedition. colonization and imperialism was a major factor in spread outing the slave trade webs in the Atlantic. As discussed by Timothy P. Grady in the book The Atlantic World 1450-2000. “explorers from Portugal. Spain and other European states expanded the geographic cognition due south along the seashore of Africa and westward across the Atlantic shores of the Americas” .

The impulse for this geographic expedition was triggered by the autumn of Constantinople in May 1943. the last trace of the Roman Empire. to the Muslim Turks which shook the fortitude of the European states and the Christian religion. The enlargement of the Ottoman Empire around the Mediterranean part deprived European merchandisers of the moneymaking trade paths along the Silk Road to the East.

The menace of lost communicating and trade paths across the Mediterranean into China. India and other parts of eastern Asia and lost entree to silk and other cherished trade goods carried along this path. forced Europeans to research alternate trade paths to Asia by turning due west for new chances. Discovery of new paths west of Europe through the Atlantic. led to European reaching off West seashore of Africa in the late 15th century.

By mid 17th century. the seashore line of West Africa was infiltrated by 50 garrisons and slave merchandising stations of viing European states – Portugal. Spain. Britain. Holland. Denmark. Sweden and Germany spliting the coastline into – Ivory Coast. Gold Coast and Slave Coast. The political set up in Africa besides facilitated slave trade. Africa was divided into a figure of little and big provinces. chieftainships and independent small towns each with their ain signifier of authorities. faith. imposts and traditions. These districts frequently fought with each other and the prisoners of war were taken as slaves.

Such struggles were justified wars which harmonizing to Warren. C. Whatley was “natural battles of state building” conducted in the normal class of personal businesss. The prisoners referred to as “joint-products of war” or “stolen goods” were so exported. With the coming of the Europeans. domestic struggles became slave foraies. As Robin Law asserted. the Kingdom of Dahomey dominated the slave raiding and trading from 1715 to 1850. Their male monarchs held a royal monopoly on the trade and conducted slave foraies through their ground forcess.

Therefore the political aspirations of the European and African monarchy led to the development of the slave trade. The developments in engineering and its impact on pilotage. ship edifice. and pieces aided the growing in Atlantic slave trade. Navigation The desire for geographic expedition spurred European bookmans. sailing masters and crewmans to spread out their cognition of geographics and invent new ways of charting and mapping their journeys. Increased usage of the hr glass and logs to mensurate clip and distance and the Portolan charts clearly documented pilotage.

In 1462. the Lusitanian sailing masters devised methods of calculating out latitudes by mensurating the tallness of the Pole Star above the skyline. Later in 1484. uranologists in the tribunal of King Joao II. utilizing the noon Sun to calculate latitudes. produced a set of decline tabular arraies. Under the backing of Prince Henry of Portugal. other important developments were made in the survey of air currents. tides and ocean currents ; paperss from old geographic expeditions were compiled and maps and charts were continuously improved. Thus a good figure of jobs associated with pilotage were resolved by late 15th century.

As pilotage across the great oceans became manageable. the transit of the slaves between the continents – Europe. Africa and America became less complicated. Ship Constructing The alterations to the design and functionalities of the European ships were another major factor that contributed to the enlargement of Atlantic slave trade. Between the 14th and mid- 19th centuries. sailing ships were the chief agencies of conveyance of the slaves. These sailing ships kept altering over clip in footings of design. adjustments. equipments and stuffs used as canvas.

Use of three to four masts. hardy hull. square lateen and sprit canvass. and austere rudder enhanced their seafaring power. velocity and eased control of the ships in wild conditions conditions. Small ships such as the caravel. extremely maneuverable ships introduced in the 15th century encouraged the Portuguese to research parts around West African seashore such as Senegal and Cape Verde and Canary islands to procure basics. gold and slaves. Other ships designed by Portuguese for travel in the Atlantic Ocean were the caracks. four masted ships and the galleon. to a great extent armed multi deck sailing ships.

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The ships besides grew in size and multi decks were able to suit larger figure of slaves. The average tunnage of the slave ships from Liverpool in 1730 was 75 dozenss. This increased to 130 dozenss in 1790 and 226 dozenss in 1805. Weapons The domination of Europe in the slave trade was driven by its guns. cannons and restraints. They used a assortment of arms to endanger the slaves and the enemy ships at sea. to keep control both on land and at sea. The diffusion of the new gunpowder engineering accelerated the slave trade. The African communities. threatened by armed neighbors. resorted to merchandising the prisoners for gunpowder. guns and muskets.

In the words of Warren. C. Whatley. the barbarous rhythm. “a foray or be raided” weaponries race known as the Gun- Slave-Cycle was created. The replacing of the uneffective matchlock musket by the firelock in1680s. drastically increased pieces demand in West Africa. Harmonizing to J. E. Inikori. the pieces imported from England during the 18th century were between 283. 000 and 394. 000 guns per annum. The demand for pieces from West Africa was so high that fabricating companies such as Farmer and Galton were forced to supercharge their workers to increase production.

The demand for pieces was matched by supply of slaves. The developments in keeping engineering aided the slave trade in footings of terrorizing the slaves and cut downing flights. The restraints used in the trade included. cervix restraints. Fe neckbands linked by ironss. lingua restraints and leg and carpus bonds to trap motion. The ability to stow more slaves per three-dimensional pes of the ship. ability to voyage better around the seashore of Africa. the decrease in escapees due to Draconian restraints. and the administration of garrisons around the seashore to lodge the prisoners helped to cut down costs and promote trade.

African Demand for goods from Europe The debut of a broad scope of ingestion goods in West Africa. the ownership of which was a affair of societal position and power. was another factor taking to the development of Atlantic slave trade. The African demand for Fe and Cu bars. fabrics. salt. earthenware. arms and pieces. rum. vino. gin and cowry shells and a assortment of both European and oriental goods had a profound impact on slave trade. The demands for these goods were so high that the European providers could non get by with the increased demand.

J. E. Inikori commented that pieces and fabrics were in such high demand by the slave bargainers that they were non prepared to unclutter their slave lading. if they were non satisfied with the measure of supply of these points of trade. The merchandisers were willing to merchandise their morality to capture slaves in exchange for European goods. Alan Rice clearly identifies this when he asserts. “The desire for luxury goods was so great that these African elites would consign war prisoners and domestic slaves to an unknown destiny across the ocean in exchange for them” .

Growth in Slave trading establishments Growth in societal establishments to execute a more organized slave trade was a cardinal factor in Atlantic slave trade. The addition in demand and monetary values of slaves encouraged the development of assorted establishments to turn to the issues associated with the trade – gaining control. captivity. flavoring. trade. ordinances and revenue enhancement. The merchandisers explored new ways of pin downing the slaves – misrepresentation. snatch. ambuscade onslaughts. advancing struggles between small towns and the pretension of household permutation for the blowouts.

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The kidnap of Olaudah Equiano in 1750s in his words. “One twenty-four hours when all our people were gone out to their plants as usual and lone I and my sister were left to mind the house. two work forces and adult female got over our walls and in a minute seized us both… and ran off with us into the nearest wood” . The drouth and dearth in Africa due to fringy rainfalls in the Savannah countries – Angola and the grasslands widening from Senegambia to Cameron. forced desponding households to sell themselves. Peoples were excessively hapless to last and offered themselves as collateral for credits. Non refund made them slaves.

Development of enforcement mechanisms besides encouraged the slave trade. Credit was offered to break one’s back bargainers to cover costs of geting. transporting and lodging slaves until they were boarded on the ships. Other types of such mechanisms. described by Warren. C. Whatley were “the usage of mills and garrisons as keeping pens and warehouses. African canoe houses and other trade alliances. secret societies and pacts between European and African states. The rhythm of force to run down the slaves continued taking to an rush in slave trade The diminution in population in the United states

This was another of import factor that led to the development of Atlantic slave trade. With the European colonization of the Americas. there was a growing in excavation and plantations in the islands between North and South America and the labour demands were met by native Indians. The monolithic mortality rates of the indigens due to hapless on the job conditions and new European and African diseases such as rubeolas. little syphilis. the pestilence. grippe. malaria and xanthous febrility led to worsen in the population of Americas.

Figure 1 nowadayss informations on the drastic diminution in population in Americas which led to a diminution in labor. The Europeans now turned to the Negroes in Africa for labor. They shortly found that the African slaves were more productive and the end product quadrupled. Shiploads of slaves were exported to work in these American islands and shortly the slave trade was transformed from a fringy establishment to a planetary phenomenon. Growth in Plantations The development of Atlantic slave trade stemmed from the growing in plantation agribusiness such as sugar. cotton. baccy. tea and rice in the New World.

The demand for plantation workers in 16th century Brazil. 17th century Caribbean and 19th century Cuba instigated slave supply from Africa. The strength of the growing in plantations could be seen in little islands like Barbados. By 1650 Barbados had 300 plantations which multiplied to 900 by 1670. a rate of 100 % per annum. The turning demand for sugar. multiplying at a compound rate of 5 % per annum in the 17th century to about 10 % in the 19th century. increased the demand for African slaves to work in the sugar plantations in the New World lands.

As H. Hobhouse puts it. “‘food’ became responsible for the Africanization of the Caribbean” . This little group of islands accounted for 80 % of the sugar and slave trade until the 18th century. The slave labor for bulk of these plantations was secured from Africa through the Atlantic. As plantations became the expanded into a planetary trade web. so did the Atlantic slave trade. Slave Trade and Profitability There were assorted groups of stakeholders in the Atlantic Slave trade who participated in it due to the profitableness from the trade in slaves.

African Rulers profited in footings of revenue enhancements and custom responsibilities paid by the European merchandisers. They were given the first pick of any ware that was brought into Africa for trade and were able to dicker lower monetary values for these goods. The swayers besides commanded premium monetary values for their ain slaves. They besides received considerable gifts from the merchandisers in order to procure discriminatory trading understandings. Ouidah. a coastal town in Benin. West Africa was a strong European trading station since 1720 and was accessed by 40 to fifty European trading vass per twelvemonth.

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Therefore the swayer who started off with 10 slaves in exchange for opening his market in 1700 was able to command a higher monetary value of 20 slaves by 1720. This was in add-on to the privileges in the purchase or sale of the trade goods which included the slaves every bit good. Harmonizing to Miles Ogborn. by 1800s the swayers in Africa were able to obtain “goods for each slave deserving three or four times every bit much in 1700″ . Both African and European slave bargainers were paid good. Overwhelmed by the net incomes from slave exports. affluent merchandisers both in Africa and Europe. expanded slave merchandising webs to colossal Numberss.

Figure 2 analyses alterations in supply by African slave merchandisers in response to alterations in monetary values. The information reveals that the supply increased as monetary value increased. Hence. the largest out-migration of slaves in the 18th century can be attributed to the addition in monetary value from? 14 to? 25. Between the old ages 1779 and 1788. there was a lessening in demand for slaves due to the War of American Independence. This created extra supply of slaves in the African seashore. Hence the plantation owner in Americas started restocking their slave supply.

The European slave bargainers capitalised on this by procuring supply at cheaper monetary values from Africa and selling higher monetary values in the Americas ; thereby doing unnatural net incomes between these old ages. Therefore slave trade allowed African and European slave bargainers to maximize net incomes from the trade. The consumers of Europe profited in footings of cheaper trade good monetary values due to increased end product by African slaves in the plantations. Figure 3 nowadayss informations on the production of sugar and baccy by British settlements.

The increased volume of production of these trade goods reduced their monetary values much to the favor of European consumers. Tobacco which fetched 20 to forty shillings in 1619 was sold for a shilling or less while the monetary value of sugar halved between 1630 and 1680. Thus the consumers were able to bask the luxury of these trade goods at low-cost monetary values. The plantation owners were another group of stakeholders in the trade who profited in their ain manner. Labour became inexpensive and more available due to Atlantic Slave trade.

The plantation owners ever worked with a motivation of profitable development of the factors of production. particularly labour and work was dictated by subject and force. Successful plantation owners were able to make huge wealth and have excessive life styles. While the slaves slogged twenty-four hours and dark in the plantations. the proprietors were able to withdraw in the Great Houses built on commanding places. with beautiful gardens. imported China. furniture and trappingss. The luck and life style of Sir Charles Price. the largest land and break one’s back proprietor of Jamaica between 1738 and 1772 demonstrates the tallness of plantation owner life styles. The Decoy” . the Great House he built was a sign of the zodiac with magnificent suites with mirrors and wood carving in the decor. lakes and Parkss around the house and elegant gardens with fruits. flowers and veggies.

This essay has clearly illustrated the factors that led to the development of the Atlantic Slave trade. Eventhough the political set up in Europe and Africa and the growing in plantations laid the foundation for the trade. it was the technological developments and societal influences on the Europeans and Africans that took the trade to planetary highs.

Overall. the technological betterments lowered conveyance. handling and transportation costs enabling the accomplishment of economic systems of graduated table. Similarly. the turning demand for goods from Europe in Africa. the growing in slave trading establishments and the diminution in Americas’ population fostered the slave trade. Finally. the profitableness from the trade influenced assorted groups of stakeholders to go intensely involved doing it an international trade crossing four continents and changing their societal. economic and political composing.