The Atlantic Slave Trade Essay

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The Atlantic Slave Trade Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1189

  • Pages: 5

The Atlantic Slave Trade

The Atlantic Slave Trade in Africa was one of the most widespread forms of slave trade in the continent of Africa. As such, it had major implications on both the social, political and economic lives of the West Africans. Patrick Manning, in his article contours of slave trade and social change in Africa, suggests that treatment of the Atlantic slave trade follow on two approaches; the emergent Africa and the Afrique Engagee. Whichever approach, it has an implication on the understanding of the impacts of the Atlantic slave trade as well as its Abolition in the continent of Africa. The Emergent Africa approach postulates that there is a school of thought that holds that the history of Africa is controlled from within. The Afrique Engagee approach postulates that the history of Africa was externally dominated. To put matters into perspective, this paper will consider the Afrique Engagee approach and analyze the implications that this approach has on the impact of the Atlantic Trade and the eventual; abolition in Africa. CITATION Man83 l 1033 (Manning, 1983)The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade had a huge effect on the economy of Western European countries. As a matter of fact, Britain gained tremendously from this trade. The profits that were made by Britain were enough to steer up the industrial revolution in Britain in the 17th century. As a result, Britain , and other countries like her had all t gain and little or nothing to lose at the end of the day. The profits that were made by Britain were too much to the extent that Britain was in the favor of the abolition of the trade in the year 1833. This shows how much that the Britons were able to tap out of the African continent, and specifically the West African region. Britain is considered as one country that greatly dominated the Atlantic Slave trade. In fact, the ships from the British empire carried the most slaves from the African continent. CITATION Ell07 l 1033 (Frost, 2007)Britain was able to benefit hugely until the UK parliament came up with a bill that would fuel the abolition of slave trade in Africa. Britain, together with the United States, declared the abolition of slave trade as one of the major reforms that they were zealous to see that it came to pass. To date, it has not been established why the British government decided to take this move. It was probably for economic reasons, since the abolition came at a time when that was a great economic decline in the British Caribbean islands. On the other hand, it could be due to the awareness of the non-humanitarian nature of the trade. Whichever way, Britain still abolished the trade and this meant a great deal. The fact that other countries outside the continent of Africa gained a lot from this trade that was in no way lucrative should mean a lot. The fact that other countries played a role in determining whether the trade had to be abolished means even much more. This is when the Afrique Engagee approach makes a lot of sense. These occurrences simply describe the impacts of the Atlantic trade as well as its abolition was influenced by external powers to a very large extent. CITATION Reb14 l 1033 (Shumway, 2014)The Atlantic trade had a great demographic effect both within and without the continent. In Africa, there was a very big demographic disaster that was created. To the other parts of the world, there was a positive increase in population. The depopulation of the African continent had a negative implication on the lives of many Africans. The massive decrease in population simply implied that there was a shortage in terms of labor. Labor is a main factor input in the process of production. As result, the absence of labor or rather the insufficient labor situation that was experienced in Africa meant that the poor economic situation in the continent worsened even further. As a result, the other external forces only led to a deprivation of labor of the African continent. On the other hand, the slaves were used as laborers at their places of destination. They were overworked with little or no wages. The implication of this is that the external forces gained at the expense of the loss by the African countries. The external forces in the Atlantic trade indeed affected the impact of the trade to a very large extent. CITATION Jam05 l 1033 (James A. Rawley, 2005)The effect on labor was not the only population or demographic effect of the Atlantic slave trade. It is important to note that the European countries had a say over the kind of slaves they wanted. As a result, it was noted that the European countries chose the able bodied and well-built men as the preferred candidates for the trade. This had a great social impact on the lives of Africans. It created intense social changes. The women had to take up the roles that were earlier played by the men. As a result of the absence of men there was a switch in the roles of children as well. They had to take up the roles that were previously played by the women. The fact that the European countries had a say on the specifications of the slaves they wanted was the result of this social change. This basically means that the social change of reversal of roles was brought about by external forces. CITATION Ell07 l 1033 (Frost, 2007)From this analysis, it can be clearly seen that the course of the Atlantic slave trade, the implications it had on both Africa and the entire world as well as the eventual abolition of the trade in Africa, were greatly determined by external forces. These forces mostly included the non-African countries and organization. The Afrique Engagee approach thereby is a very effective approach in the analysis of the Atlantic trade. This approach, as put forward by Patrick Manning is a very successful approach in examining the effect of the external forces on the impact of the Atlantic slave trade as well as its abolition. As a matter of fact, we see a couple of events in Africa, taking the same course of events. That is, a lot of African issues are still tackled by external forces even after the countries acquired their independence. For instance, the International Criminal Court still handles most African criminal cases. African countries have not come up with their own ways of handling the issues that face them. This is what is referred to as Neo-colonialism. CITATION Man83 l 1033 (Manning, 1983)

References

l 1033 Frost, E. L. (2007). Trans -Atlantic Trade- A Strategic Agenda. New York: Peterson Institute.

James A. Rawley, ‎. D. (2005). The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade- A History. University of Nebraska Press.

Manning, P. (1983). Contours of Slavery and Social Change in Africa. American Historical Review.

Shumway, R. (2014). The Fante and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

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The Atlantic Slave Trade Essay

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The Atlantic Slave Trade Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1226

  • Pages: 5

The Atlantic Slave Trade

The Atlantic Slave Trade had a both positive and negative impact on those involved in it to an extent. Britain’s economy benefited greatly from the slave trade as many industries flourished. This was an immense opportunity for those who were unemployed as it provided thousands of jobs. People were employed in industries like the building and repair of slave ships, selling the goods produced by slaves such as sugar and cotton, and banking. This resulted in the slave trade becoming the financial base of development of Britain. However, not everyone benefited from this trade as it had an enormous negative impact on Africa’s society and economy. The 37 years of slave capturing and exporting resulted in wars between tribes and drained Africa’s population of 12 million of its strongest youth. This resulted in Africa’s economic development in being hindered. For Africans the physical experience of slavery was painful, traumatic and long-lasting.

Britain benefited from the slave trade in many ways including the economy, as slavery became part of the financial base of development in Britain. Many economic factors contributed to slavery including the demands of plantation farming, servant slaves and the growth of the slave trade as its own industry. Plantation farming emerged as a way to earn a profitable crop and dominated the southern colonies. In plantations African slaves worked in hundreds from dawn until dusk producing goods that supplied Britain. These goods consisted of sugar, cotton, tobacco and rum. All these crops were very labour intensive requiring hundreds of workers to preserve them. The British became the largest and most efficient carriers of slaves to the new world. Therefore huge profits were made by the labour of unpaid slaves. Liverpool and Bristol were the main trading ports in Britain, Liverpool alone made £300,000 per year from the slave trade.

Scotland was also heavily involved in the slave trade, Scots went out to colonies and generated great wealth for Scotland based on slave labour. Glasgow’s “Tobacco Lords” profited from the slave trade, as did the merchants of London, Liverpool and Bristol. The city of London catered the economic services that were necessary for the slave trade, this included insurance and loans for slave traders. F.G Kay wrote about the social changes that happened in Britain following the growth of the slave trade, in a book named “The Shameful Trade” published in 1967. He states “the slave trade created a new class of wealthy colonial families”. Bristol merchants who were great dealers increased their trade with the islands of the Caribbean. They also became specialists in trading with West Africa and retailing captured slaves. The trade also created, sustained and relied on a large support of shipping services, ports and finance companies employing thousands of ordinary people. Many slave ships were need and thousands of jobs were created through this. Jobs in making slave ships, repairing, financing and insuring all flourished. By 1780 Liverpool had become the largest slave-ship building site in Britain.

This also provided thousands of sailors with work. . Insurance was one of the biggest industries during the slave trade, insurance and long term loans created new opportunities for making more money. Slave merchants and sugar plantation owners needed to borrow money to keep their businesses going. Merchants involved in the triangular trade found that insurance was vital because if their ship hit a storm during the voyage its cargo could be lost, and if that ship is not insured then they could lose everything. There were huge profits in selling the goods produced by slaves such as cotton, sugar and tobacco. Thousands of people were employed in factories to make exportable goods that were traded in for slaves in Africa these were guns, textiles and pottery. People were also employed in making brass and copper in Yorkshire, weavers in Birmingham, chain makers and sugar refiners in Greenock. The slave trade made Britain the world’s leading sea power and it helped finance the industrial revolution. The British government made a fortune from the taxes related to the slave trade.

Nonetheless not everyone profited from the slave trade, The Atlantic Slave Trade had enormous negative effects on the continent of Africa. Many parts of Africa suffered from an increase in violence, drain of people and an economy increasingly reliant on slavery. As a result of this Africa fell behind the rest of the world. Having fewer young healthy people to produce food would make famine more likely and the rates of death worse. Slavery led to the movement of thousands of people across Africa, allowing disease to spread between different parts of Africa. A lot of good land was left uncultivated and not looked after because there were not enough young people left to farm it. African slaves took with them their religion, traditions, cooking, clothes, music and dance. These had a negative impact on Americans as it led to voodoo in the West Indies. The slave trade encouraged conflicts between African tribes, raids and kidnapping.

The demand for more slaves led to increased hatred and violence between communities in Africa. There was also the spread of racist ideology to justify the enslavement of Africans. It is estimated that up to 12 million Africans were snatched from their homeland shipped to the Caribbean to work on plantations. Thousands of African villages were ruined as they were raided for slaves. The farming in Africa changed to grow crops which were brought to supply slave ships. African chiefs and kings stopped ruling by law as they became greedy cunning tradesmen. The 37 years of slave capturing and exporting drained Africa of millions of its strongest youth.

As a result of this the population became unbalanced and the adult male population was reduced to 20%. Overall Africa was the only continent to be affected in this way, and because of the loss in population it became a major factor leading to its economic hardship. John Newton was a British slave trader in West Africa. In a small extract from his journal he comments on the immoral methods used between Africans and Europeans, he states “Europeans try to cheat Africans at every turn. Any article of trade that can be cheapened is so. Spirits are diluted with water, kegs of gunpowder have false bottoms and pieces are cut out of rolls of cloth”.

In conclusion it is clear that Britain benefited from the Atlantic Slave Trade. We know this because of how it boosted the British economy as many industries grew, created thousands of jobs and supplied Britain with essential everyday life goods. We also know that colonies were established on the backs of hard-working African slaves. However not everyone benefited from the slave trade as it made Africa suffer greatly. Up to 12 million young strong Africans were forced out of their homelands and brought to the Caribbean to work without pay. Families separated and sold to go and work on plantations from dawn until dusk. Thousands of villages were wrecked because of the raiding for slaves. African leaders became dishonest, deceptive greedy tradesmen which resulted in Africa becoming corrupt.

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