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Trans Atlantic Slave Trade

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March 7, 2006

Trans Atlantic Slave Trade

Slavery originated from Africa "after the Bantu migrations spread agricultural to all parts of the continent." Africans would buy slaves to enlarge their families and have more power. Also, they would buy slaves in order to sell them to make a profit. It then spread out from Africa to Portugal and was said, "it is estimated that during the four and a half centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans (roughly 40% of the total)." There was one purpose of slaves and that was work, at little or no cost. Nobody wanted to pay others when there really was not that much money in the economy to begin with. The Europeans wanted to expand their lands in the new world, but in order to do this they needed to have a "work force" instilled over there in order to be able to have crops and such to trade to build the economy. No European wanted to travel over to the New World in order to work, so to fulfill tasks, such as the farming in order to have items to trade, they had to get acquire help. The Europeans looked to the Africans to work on big plantations. The only way that Europeans could obtain "help" with the farm work and housework at no cost, was to force others to do it, hence slavery. Since African Americans looked different from the other cultures, they felt as if they were better than them and felt that the different colored skin and the different type of hair had somehow affected the brains of the African Americans. The Europeans decided to force labor upon the African Americans because they were superior workers. They "had experience of agriculture and keeping cattle and they were used to a tropical climate [and] resistant to tropical diseases."

In Africa, the societies were tremendously affected. Africa, like in many other societies, has had roles assigned to the men and women. For example, the women of the society mostly took care of the children and the housework, and the men would do the hard labor and work that brought home the food. When slavery started to occur, the roles had to be altered. The male Africans were strong and used to working harder than the women, they were usually the ones who were, at first, taken from the families and forced into slavery. When the men were gone, the women, who made up 2/3 of the population, were forced to take over the men's jobs as well as worrying about completing their own jobs. That meant double the work for them, which put them into a hard situation since a large amount of the time the women had children to deal with as well. Also, since Africa is where slavery started, the whole society was scared of each other since the wealthier ones in the society were the ones who controlled slavery trade. Slavery was determined by money, or lack there of. Some of the states would sell slaves to buy things such as weapons and the more slaves one state had, the more powerful they were considered. In Africa, the slave traders preferred young males from the ages of fourteen all the up until the age of thirty-five, because they can handle a heavier load of work.

The European societies were breaking apart. "Many European traders who crossed the Atlantic did not want to colonize, but only to profit from the trade." Therefore, Europeans were traveling away from their "native" lands, leaving Europe behind and, sometimes even leaving families behind so that they could establish trade and acquire money in doing so. At first Europe only wanted the fewest number of people that it took to run the trade routes, but soon after the discovery of the New World people started to get the idea of profits. A



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