The Slave Trade And Its Effects On Early America

Better Essays
The Slave Trade and Its Effects on Early America

Slavery played an important role in the development of the American colonies. It was introduced to the colonies in 1619, and spanned until the
Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The trading of slaves in America in the seventeenth century was a large industry. Slaves were captured from their homes in Africa, shipped to America under extremely poor conditions, and then sold to the highest bidder, put to work, and forced to live with the new conditions of
There was no mercy for the slaves and their families as they were captured from their homes and forced onto slave ships. Most of the Africans who were captured lived in small villages in West Africa. A typical village takeover would occur early in the morning. An enemy tribe would raid the village, and then burn the huts to the ground. Most of the people who were taken by surprise were killed or captured; few escaped. The captured Africans were now on their way to the slave ships. “Bound together two by two with heavy wooden yokes fastened around their necks, a long line of black men and women plodded down a well-worn path through the dense forest. Most of the men were burdened with huge elephants' tusks. Others, and many of the women too, bore baskets or bales of food. Little boys and girls trudged along beside their parents, eyes wide in fear and wonder” (McCague, 14).
After they were marched often hundreds of miles, it was time for them to be shipped off to sea, so that they could be sold as cheap labor to help harvest the new world. But before they were shipped off, they had to pass through a slave-trading station. The slave trade, which was first controlled by Portugal, was now controlled by other European nations. In the late 1600's, Spain,
Holland, England, France and Denmark were all sending ships to West Africa. The slave trade was becoming big business (Goodman, 7).
Selection of the slaves by the traders was a painstaking process. Ships from England would pull up on the coast of Africa, and the captains would set off towards the coast on small ships. “If the slave trader was a black chief, there always had to be a certain amount of palaver, or talk, before getting down to business. As a rule, the chief would expect some pr...

... middle of paper ...

...m for slave owners, because they wanted the most efficiency out of their slaves as possible. In some places doctors were called in to treat blacks as well as whites.
The slave trade played an important role in the growth of the American colonies. Without the trading of slaves in the seventeenth century, American plantations would not have prospered into the export empire that they were.

Works Cited

Buckmaster, Henrietta. Let My People Go. Boston: Beacon Press, 1941.

Davis, David Brion. Slavery and Human Progress. New York: Oxford University

DuBois, William Edward Burghardt. The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America. New York: Schocken Books, 1969.

Goodman, Walter. Black Bondage: the Life of Slaves in the South. New York:
Straus & Giroux, 1969.

Howard, Richard. Black Cargo. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1972.

McCague, James. The Long Bondage 1441-1815. Illinois: Garrard Publishing
Company, 1972.

Stampp, Kenneth M. The Peculiar Institution. New York: Borzoi Books, 1982.
Get Access