Slavery in Latin America

956 Words4 Pages
Slavery in Latin America After Mexico and South America had been conquered, Spain and Portugal wanted to develop the economy and export the resources that would benefit the monarchy back home. The Indians were working in the silver mines in Northern Mexico, supervised by blacks. The gold mining regions in Central Mexico were hot and tropical, and after the introduction of disease, these areas became death zones. The indigenous people could not stand a chance in these areas, so there was need for people who were able to work under these conditions and that were easier to dominate. The answer to this was slaves from the African continent. The demand for African slaves' labor continued to rise as a result of plantation agriculture, the price of sugar and the demand for miners. The Africans were wanted as labor because they were skilled, and they were experts in tropical agriculture. Also their immunity to malaria and yellow fever made them suitable for labor. There were some differences between the urban and rural slaves in Latin America. The biggest difference was that the urban slaves had much more associational freedom and economic opportunities than the rural slaves. In urban areas slaves and free blacks even worked as artisans. In the cities the slaves could locate and socialize with people from the same part of Africa. Sometimes city slaves came together and formed societies that worked to systematically manumit slaves. The urban slaves definitely had more personal freedom and freedom to develop personal networks, and they also had a greater chance of buying their freedom. Actually the slaves in the city had important functions in urban society. City slaves had the chance to go to the market and do all the shopping for ... ... middle of paper ... ...book we also see a lot of paintings and illustrations related to the situation of the slaves in Latin America. Two of the paintings we look at are two castas paintings from the eighteenth century Mexico. In one of the paintings we see a Mestizo, which is a child of a Spanish man and an Indian woman. In the other painting we see a Mulatto, which is a child of a Spanish man and an African woman. The castas paintings were supposed to portray different racial combinations in the late colonial Mexico. The term castas referred only to those of mixed race. Slavery is an essential part of the Latin America history; a part one should wish was erased from history. People have discussed during the years which slaves who had it the worst. This is really irrelevant, because being a slave is terrible in itself, and this is a fate that no human being should have to experience.
Open Document