Slavery and the Atlantic Trade

Satisfactory Essays
The demand for agricultural goods in European countries created the Atlantic Economy. Europeans wanted certain things that were too expensive if bought from Asia, one of the most important of these being sugar. Other important trading commodities were tobacco, cotton, rice, cacao and coffee.

Slaves were the number one commodity for trading. The slave trade started when European shops sailed to African ports. Through this, Africans (captured to be slaves) were taken to the New World and Forced to work.

Britain, France, the Dutch Republic, Spain and Portugal all participated in the slave trade. These European empires created an Atlantic economy in which slave trade was a major feature. These five countries came into contact with each other through the want and demand for slaves. Political and religious ideas became intermingled and developed within new environments.

Plantation owners in the New World needed slaves for agricultural labor of their plantations. The slaves became disciplined and were forced to work in bad conditions for long hours at young ages in harsh temperatures.

Slavery has been used throughout history but the African slave trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth century is the most brutish known to history. It was unique in three major ways. The amount of slaves being traded was tremendous. More than eleven million African slaves were “shipped” to the New World between 1519 and 1867. Of these eleven million, only 9.5 million reached the sure because of disease and extremely poor traveling accommodations.

Also, during this time, whites had an attitude of supreme superiority over the black people.

The third major feature was commercial character. The whole purpose was to give slave trades a profit and slave owners the free labor they desired. African slaves were viewed as property, they were not seen as equal to the whites. A good example of this is Captain Collingwood who compared the slaves to horses in court, they were seen as just property.

The slave trade became a competition between the five major powers. Each country tried to create a monopoly over certain trade routes.
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