The Slave Trade


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Intro: Slavery, the owning of slaves as a practice or institution. The condition of being a slave, bondage, servitude. Slave, a human who is owned as property by, and is absolutely subject to the will of another: bondservant divested of all freedom and personal rights. Hard to believe but on of the most horrifying occurances in World History, is the Slave Trade. It was a time in which people were sold as merchandise, where human beings were being treated as if they were not human. Beaten, being taken on a ship to an unknown land, drowned because of rations, and space, inhumane........ yes, unrealistic........ no. What was it? The capture and forced labor of Africans by Europeans began in the early 16th century. Africans were rounded up by other Africans as objects of trade with the Europeans. Eventually, slave ships became a regular sight in what came to be known as "the Middle Passage." These ships provided a constant flow of African slaves to Brazil and the Caribbean Islands, where the human cargo was auctioned off and brought to Europe or the New World.. Many of the ships wee not cleaned. The "cargo" was not feed or cleansed properly. Many captives died from the inhuman conditions on these voyages. Who had control? England gained control of the slave trade under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and managed the shipment of slaves to Spanish colonies. As the colonies gained independence from Spain, they outlawed slavery, and soon slaves were most in demand in North America, particularly on plantations. Few were fortunate enough to be house servants; most performed menial labor in the fields. How did it end? As far back as the mid-1500s, Jean Bodin, a French political philosopher, condemned the institution of slavery as immoral and unnatural.

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Few held the same opinion until the late 18th century, when abolitionist movements began to grow in Europe and the British colonies of the Americas. England abolished the slave trade by 1807. In America, the issue of slavery led to the bloody American Civil War and the addition of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States.

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