The first thing that needs to be established is just how many slaves were brought to the Americas. This has proven to be quite difficult at best. There have been many scholars debate just this subject alone. As you will see, many well known scholars have problems justifying their own estimations or guesses.
A quick study of Philip D. Curtin’s work: From Guesses to Calculations: Shows his writings are a compilation of bits-n-pieces of information from previously thought of unimportant publishing’s. His sole purpose was to try to determine a more accurate account of the number of people brought over from what parts of Africa and to what final location. He goes on to make it clear his findings should not be construed as being accurate or to be relied upon with any degree of certainty: but rather an accuracy range of about 20% approximations.
“It should also be understood that some estimates would not even reach that standard of accuracy. They are given as the most probable figures at the present state of knowledge. These considerations have made it convenient to round out most quantities to the nearest one hundred, including data taken from other authors...”
By the following chart you can see clearly the late eighteenth century was the apex of the slave trade, as described by Philip Curtin. You can clearly see that over 60% of all slaves delivered to the New World were brought over between 1721-1820. Eighty per cent of the total were landed during a century and a half, 1701-1850. 2 I suppose one could find a similar spike in the sugar trade of the Americas, as well as the Rum exports from the colonies and the firearm exports from Europe.
A variety of Opinions
One conclusion that might be drawn is that, in reducing the estimated total export of slaves from about twenty million to about ten million, the harm to African societies is also reduced by half. This is obvious nonsense.
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...rice of the transatlantic slave trade on Africa was absolutely devastating. Not only was there a massive shortage of young women and men especially, but also the future potential of the continent was essentially gone. Many of the young men and women would die before reaching the New World. Thus not being given the chance to hand down their own culture to their children. Their culture was rarely a written culture, but an oral culture. A major factor that must be understood is what is called by some as the “brain drain” Which is considered a by-product of the Triangle Trade of the time. Craftsman, Warriors, politicians, Artist, Princes, Healers, Farmers, and Musician were all sent to be slaves by their enemies, both personal and political or even coincidental. All to serve the white masters on their sugar, cotton, and tobacco plantations on the other side of the world.5
Slavery does still persist. The reports of the United Nations International Labor Organizations, the British Anti-Slavery Society, and the U.S. Department of State show there still is large margin of slavery going on in the Northwestern (Mauritania) and in the Sudan region. The past isn’t dead: it’s not even past. 6
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