Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade

On my mind today is one of the most compelling topics in the history of human relations, when one race for the purpose of commerce and capitalism was designated as inferior and therefore able to be classified as chattel or movable goods by another race. The unfortunate set of circumstances began with the invention of the Portuguese Caravel under the auspices of Prince Henry the Navigator. Then in 1441 Antao Goncalves captured Adahu the Tuareg and took him to Portugal. In 1445 six ship load of slaves took 200 slaves to Portugal.
The "discovery" of the Americas was the factor which gave the trade a focus and a goal. Europeans wanted cheap labour for agriculture. This was what took slavery, which had always existed, to new heights and new definitions with reference to race and trade. The trade was established by1500 A.D. at 13000 enslaved Africans each year to such numbers as 135000 enslaved Africans each year by 1800s.
The TAST wasalso known as the Triangular Trade because the ships set sail from the great ports of Europe, London, Bristol, Cadiz, Bordeaux, Marseilles for Africa. The slave coast, was that area betwen Ghana and Cameroon. Angola and Congo were also significant places for the trade. The middle journey was the 7-12 weeks it took to sail to the Americas. The last leg of the trade was the return trip to Europe when the ships were laoded with rum and sugar and cotton.

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