TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE The European Role
A. Defining the slave trade
II. European Role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
1. The Portuguese
2. The Dutch
3. The English and the French
2. Detail of the information
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was the most abominable and cruel from of slavery, but it was neither the first nor the only slave trade. Slavery was a recognized institution around the world long before the Egyptians enslaved the Jews. By the 18th century, large parts of the European population were descendants of serfs and slaves. Worldwide domestic slavery was the most common form of enslavement. In West Africa severe forms of slavery existed. The slaves were usually men and women captured in war whose labor led to surplus production and whose numbers amplified the armies of imperial expansion. In most parts, slaves born within the master’s household were better treated than war captives or trade slaves often as members of the family. Slaves could occasionally rise to positions of importance or but their own freedom. Usually this type of slavery was not a problem. The disgrace of slavery all fell in the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. During third period is where the inhumanity of the treatment of slaves occurred. The ultimate degradation of slaves singularly characteristic of the Trans-Atlatntic Slave Trade.
The European Role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the late 15th century, became an important factor. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to extensively explore the African Coast. Even though the Europeans were neither the first nor the only ones to have slaves. They mostly profoundly interacted with influenced the cultures and lives of the Africans with whom they came in contact.
Before the late 15th century, Europeans were neither economically nor politically able to set up and maintain a long distance trading relationship. By the middle of the 15th century the Portuguese were the first to go to Africa. The Portuguese were the first to establish a lasting commercial tie between Europe and Western Africa because of religious, political and commercial reasons. Some scholars believe the Portuguese wanted to be the middleman in the trade between Asia and Europe. Because the Portuguese were looking for grain and gold, they traveled to the country that was known to have both, Africa. Hoping to secure some of the Trans-Saharan trade in gold, ivory, and slaves monopolized by their enemies, they organized trade to the West Coast of Africa.
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