Friday, February 12, 2021

The Atlantic Slave Trade

Slave market in New York

From History:

The United States was not alone in outlawing the slave trade—all major slaving nations abolished it by 1836—but that didn’t end anti-Black racism or the profit motive. Global demand for sugar, coffee and cotton grew enormously in the 1800s, and planters in the Americas sought captive laborers to help them meet it. Traffickers themselves had big incentives to defy international abolition: Profits for slave traders rose to 90 percent, up tenfold from a century earlier.

The United States played a key role in this illegal traffic from the start. Slave traders brought some 8,000 captives to the American South in the decades after the 1807 ban, including hundreds just before the Civil War. Among the last captives brought to U.S. soil was Oluale Kossola (renamed Cudjo Lewis), a young Yoruba man who sailed aboard the Clotilda, the last slave ship to arrive in the United States in 1860; before his death in 1935, he gave a powerful series of interviews to anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, chronicling the trauma of being captured, sold and shipped to a foreign place to live—and labor—in bondage. (Read more.)


From Voice of America:

Slavery in America is usually associated with Africa and the American South. But Ohio State University historian Margaret Ellen Newell told VOA that up until 1700, Native Americans comprised the majority of slaves in America.    

“The first documented case was in 1605, when an English expedition captured four Wabanakis in what’s now Maine and brought them back to London,” Newell said. “The expedition was run by a man named Ferdinando Gorges, who hoped to establish a colony in northern New England and was looking for captives to use as guides and interpreters.”    

Since the start of their settlement, Puritan colonists sought Indians as indentured servants as a solution to labor shortages, she said. (Read more.)


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