Roots of Slavery on the Sugar Plantation
Two things that can be linked to the roots of slavery are the Mediterranean region and sugar. It wasn’t until the time of the Crusades that Europeans even knew about sugars existence, they had previously depended on fruits and honey to amplify the taste in their dull diets. Europeans learned about sugarcane and the labor intensive processes for making consumable sugar from the Arabs. Armed with tremendous amounts of capital investment, technology, and a disciplined work force, Europeans started building sugar plantations around the Mediterranean and several islands off the West African coast. Hardships and hazards of the work as well as limitations fastened to serf labor, and the overall lack of wage workers altogether, pointed to slavery as a foundation for labor on the sugar plantation. (Strayer 2013) So why Africans? Through a process of elimination, we can deduce why they were chosen as the primary source for slave labor instead of the plentiful and readily available native Indians (who were already in the Americas); poor whites and indentured servants.
Why Not Native Indians?
The native Indians were a poor choice to use as the source for slave labor because in addition to their unwillingness to conform to the new way of life, they rapidly died from European diseases such as smallpox and malaria, and harsh labor demands. The Indians, being native, had a ...
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...re not part of the common creation, that they were not human?” (Wood)
Depictions of black demons, devils and torturers gave the implication that the color black was evil in nature and reinforced the idea that blacks were the ultimate outsiders. (Northrup 2011)
Sixteenth century English people regarded themselves, their nation, as they very personification of civilization; they were the hub. The outer rings of the wheel of civilization were represented, in order of their divergence from the English model. The English who viewed both Native Americans and West Africans as strangers, uncivilized and dark skinned, used them as “social mirrors.” That is to say, they set both groups against themselves to emphasize what they conceived of as being completely different qualities of religious, social, political organization, sexual behavior, and skin color. (Wood)
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