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Acs Essay 1

Transatlantic Slave Trade in Europe’s Industrial Revolution

Michelle Moravcik

D Block

Ms. Arbogast

February 27th, 2007

The Atlantic slave trade was the capture and transport of Africans into slavery in
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the New World. The word that is sometimes used by African-Americans for this is Maafa.

It means great disaster in Kiswahili. Many Africans saw slavery as a great disaster but the

continents involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade seemed to think that taking innocent

African’s to slave for other people’s needs other than their own was a brilliant idea.

Europe did and still does have a high economy and many like to believe it was built on

the backs of slavery. The slave trade led to new ways of economic and social power

which than led to the industrial revolution.

European’s and Africa have been involved with trading long before the Atlantic

Slave Trade began. There was an extensive trade in gold and salt across the Sahara

Dessert. Soon European’s became involved in this trade and soon had a high demand of

gold for their economy.

After the sixteenth century slavery became a huge economic importance with

European’s defeating South and Central America. Portugal, French, Spanish and British

were one of the first out of many European nations to join the Atlantic Slave Trade. The

Spanish and Portuguese found that the original slaves were not willing to cooperate with

the labor force and than decided to use numerous of increasing slaves transported from

Africa. (S.I. Martin, “Breaking the silence “ N.D.)

As European nations such as Portugal, Spain, France and England began to grow

more powerful, they began to strive for control of the African slave trade. The first

European to buy slaves was Antao Goncalves, a Portuguese explorer. He originally was

interested in trading for gold and spices and set up colonies along the islands of Sao

Tome. In the sixteenth century the Portuguese settlers found out that the islands were

volcanic and were great for growing sugar. Sugar growing involves lots of labor and it
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was difficult for the Portuguese to work with such great heat. To grow the sugar and keep

it going for trade the Portuguese than relied on many African slaves to do this hard labor

for them. (Lovejoy, Paul E. “Transformations in Slavery “,1983) They not only used

slaves for planting fields such as growing different kinds of sugar but they used the slaves

for many different plantations.

Spain sponsored Christopher Columbus for his attempt to find a sea route to Asia

by sailing to the west. Prince Henry and the Portuguese were also trying to find a route by

sailing around the coast of Africa, which started as the trade in gold and spices and soon

became a trade network exporting African slaves. ("African History, the Era of Global

Encroachment" N.D.)

Through the fifteenth century the Portuguese began a long-term trade with the

Kongo Kingdom. A Portuguese explorer named Diogo Cao, sailed the Atlantic ocean

down into the Congo River. Before reaching the Kongo Kingdom, Diogo took Kongo

emissaries back to Portugal, who later went back to Africa with European soldiers, priests

and goods. That started a strong trade with Kongo exporting slaves and ivory and

importing European luxury goods and guns. ("African History, the Era of Global

Encroachment" N.D.)

In most cases the European’s didn’t need to use force for the slaves. Many times it

was the king or the leader who would sell their own people into slavery for goods that

would catch their eye or that they would need. Traders didn’t need to risk their lives to

get slaves so they didn’t; they simply purchased them. (Scaruffi Piero “The Origins of the

African Slave Trade” N.D.

After the long journey to the Americas from Africa, they sold the slaves. Most of
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the months on their voyage was spent either in Africa collecting slaves or in the Americas

selling the slaves and getting goods in return. The entire voyage would take between

twelve and eighteen months to complete the whole triangle, the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

After selling the slaves they would get goods in return such as sugar, tobacco, metals, and

African goods which were ivory, dyewoods and gum. (S.I. Martin, “Breaking the

silence “ N.D.)

Although it was a terrible way of building the economy, slavery contributed to the

growth of many colonies. Slavery helped economies build higher and stronger. Europe

today wouldn’t have become what it is if it was not for the hard working slaves that made

it what it was. There are many things that came out of slave trade some good such as

Europe’s industrial revolution and some bad such as torturing innocent husbands, wives

and children. Slave trade led to new ways of economic and social power, but stopping

slave trade led to an even better industrial revolution.

References
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"African History, the Era of Global Encroachment"N.D.

“African History, the Era of Global Encroachment"N.D.

Burnside, Madeline, “Spirits of the Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade in the
Seventeenth Century”, 1997

Lovejoy, Paul E. Transformations in Slavery 1983,


http://www.answers.com/topic/african-slave-trade

Piero Scaruffi, “The Origins of the African Slave Trade”


http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/slavetra.html