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Africa and the Slave Trade

Arabs and their Muslim allies were the first to make use of large numbers of sub-Saharan black Africans. They developed a long-distance slave trade, which began in the seventh century and lasted into the twentieth. It delivered many millions of Africans across the Sahara Desert, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean to North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf. Although over a much longer period of time and comprising far more females, the number of Africans exported via these trans-Saharan or Indian Ocean slave trades probably equaled, or even outmatched, those of its transatlantic counterpart. The preexistence of these export trades facilitated Atlantic trade: systems of slave marketing were already in place. So numerous were black Africans at certain times and in certain places that they were able to launch massive slave revolts—in 869, for instance, in what is now southern Iraq, where the so-called Zanj (who came from the Swahili Coast and lands further north) worked in large gangs draining marshlands. While the Quran and Islamic law were essentially color-blind and while Muslims enslaved many so-called "white" people, medieval Arabs came to associate the most degrading forms of labor with black slaves. The Arabic word for slave, Madewell Blue Denim Puff-Sleeve Boho Swing Shirt Size M,BROOKS BROTHERS Light Blue Shirt Size 16 1/2,

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The Atlantic Slave System

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As slavery underwent a resurgence in southern Europe, it gradually disappeared from the northwestern part of the continent. Economic changes help to explain this development, but perhaps more important were cultural constraints. Over the course of the Middle Ages, Christians always committed awful atrocities on each other, but increasingly they avoided enslaving one another. Apparently, a sense of unity had emerged in Christian Europe that effectively barred the enslavement of those deemed fellow Europeans. Christianity's long struggle with Islam no doubt played a major role in this development. That from 1500 to 1800 Muslims enslaved well over a million Western Europeans, many of whom were subsequently ransomed and celebrated as symbols of freedom, was a major element in the growing sense that Europeans should never be slaves. Nevertheless, these so-called free labor nations would develop some of the harshest slave regimes in the Americas. As David Brion Davis puts it, "it is an astonishing paradox that the first nations in the world to free themselves of chattel slavery—such nations as England, France, Holland, and even the Scandinavian states—became leaders during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in supporting plantation colonies based on African slave labor." He likens this divide to a primitive Mason-Dixon line, "drawn somewhere in the Atlantic, separating free soil master-states from tainted slave soil dependencies" (8).

This paradox illumines the unpredictability of events in the Americas. No European nation embarked on New World ventures with the intention of enslaving anyone. They had no blueprint but rather proceeded haphazardly and pragmatically. Their first resort was to forced Indian labor (the encomiendaNew Balance Rollbar Encap Walking Shoes,

Consequently, Europeans faced a huge labor shortage. The Ottoman Turkish empire blocked access to Black Sea or Baltic captives. European nations no longer enslaved Christian prisoners of war. Some dreamers talked of enslaving the poor or other marginal groups, but the practical and principled problems of reviving European slavery were considerable. Another expedient was the transportation of convicts, but their numbers were never sufficient. Temporary bondage—indentured servitude—was the most obvious and most widely used other option, particularly in the early years, but servants, if they survived, eventually became free, and in any case most servants would not travel to the areas where most labor was needed. Thus, almost by default, African slaves proved by far the best available labor supply. Consequently, from 1500 to 1820 almost 9 million African slaves left for the New World, compared to less than 3 million whites. In terms of migration, the New World was more black than white (10).

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New World slavery's other most distinctive aspect was its highly commercial character. While it is true that plantations—that is, large agricultural enterprises, managed for profit, producing a crop for export, with a hierarchically stratified labor organization—existed outside the New World, they reached their apogee there. The economies of scale, the expansion in unit size, the almost exclusive use of black slaves, a highly regimented and commodified labor force, and a system of close management all raised profit levels significantly. Such a productive system placed enormous demands on its laborers. As early as the 1630s a visitor to a Jesuit-owned sugar plantation in Brazil vividly described the unbearable horror of what had transpired: "People the color of the very night, working briskly and moaning at the same time without a moment of peace or rest, whoever sees all the confused and noisy machinery and apparatus of this Babylon, even if they have seen Mt. Etna and Vesuvius will say that this indeed is the image of Hell" (13).

Patterns of New World Slavery

Variations over time and space existed within New World slavery. Three stand out. First, although all New World regions imported more African men than women (thereby in part explaining the harshness of New World slavery because of the policing problems associated with large gangs of men), over time the gender ratio among New World slaves became increasingly balanced. In that regard, the North American slave population is most notable, because, as its number of slave women increased the most rapidly, so it became one of the few self-reproducing slave populations in world history. This early and rapid natural increase explains why North America received such a small percentage of the overall transatlantic slave trade—about 5 percent. Second, North America was also distinctive in being much less tolerant of racial intermixture than Latin America or the Caribbean. Once again demography—particularly the ratio of white men to white women (more balanced in North America than in Latin America and the Caribbean) and the availability of black women—was a crucial part of the explanation, but also important were the role of the Church and cultural mores, based as much in Old World patterns of racial coexistence or segregation. The Spanish had mixed with Muslims for centuries; the English had created a Pale in their settlement of Ireland. Only in North America did the extremely arbitrary concept of "Negro"—denoting anyone with allegedly visible African ancestry—assume such a marked stigma. Third, the chances of gaining freedom varied from one society to the next. Except for the period surrounding the American Revolution, the North American colonies, and later the states, imposed the severest restrictions on the chances of a slave becoming free. Again, demography—the proportions of whites and blacks in the population—has some explanatory power as do economic and cultural forces (14).

North American slavery itself was hardly of a piece. The range encompasses New England's intimate "family slavery"; the Mid-Atlantic's mixed forms of slavery and servitude; the Chesapeake's patriarchal, small plantation, mixed farming and tobacco, heavily native-born form of slavery; and the low country's impersonal, large plantation, rice and indigo, more heavily African system of slavery. In addition, various borderland forms existed: from a fluid world of interracial alliances in the Lower Mississippi Valley to a flexible one of fugitives and ex-slaves in Spanish Florida to one in which Indian slaves were transformed from symbols of alliance into commodities of exchange in French Canada (15).

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  1. Red Kerisma Bat Wing Boat Neck Sweater Size M,The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-bellum South (New York: Knopf, 1956).

  2. Gucci Red Cote D'azur striped Patch T-shirt,International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. David L. Sills and Robert King Merton (New York: Macmillan, 1968), 14: 307-13; Finley, Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology, reprint (Hammondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1983, 1980), 9, 96, 102, 111, 113-14; Keith Hopkins, Too faced enchanted beauty unbearably glam eyeshadow palette,Tory Burch Green & Cream Button Up Cardigan,Lilly Pulitzer Scalloped Shorts, 138 (1993): 3-27; Keith Bradley, Slavery and Society at RomeTory Burch Utility Jacket olive color size S,Vintage Simply Divine by Ati Genuine Leather Vest,Calvin Klein belt, size S, length 104cm, 41 in,The Problem of Slavery in Western CultureBLONDO Glade Waterproof Sneaker size 9,IRO Madeon Pants,Lilly Pulitzer Blue Poncho Sz One Size,

  3. Ralph A. Austen, "The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade: A Tentative Census," Rebecca Minkoff Edie Flap Crossbody/shoulder bag,, ed. Henry A. Gemery and Jan S. Hogendorn (New York: Academic Press, 1979), 23-76; Austen, "The Mediterranean Islamic Slave Trade out of Africa: A Tentative Census," Max Studio BNWOT split neck blue top NEW pullover,Lululemon Speed Tight II (Mesh) Black Pant,Encyclopedia of Africa South of the SaharaPush Up Crop Top,International Journal of African Historical Studies 10 (1977): 443-61; Alexandre Popovic, The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the IIIrd-IXth CenturyAPM Monaco brand new flamingo earring,Judith Jack Sterling Silver stud earrings,Rebecca Minkoff floral mules with studs,Man Repeller x PKJ Hat, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998); Shaun E. Marmon, ed., Navy Blue Carhartt Work Jacket, (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 1998); Minra Tora and John Edward Philips, eds., Slave Elites in the Middle East and Africa: A Comparative StudyPeter Millar Mens Multicolor 100% Cotton Striped Quarter Zip Sweater Size XL,The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of IslamNWT Steve Madden Knit Fringe Poncho with Zipper,Slavery on the Frontiers of IslamMadewell crop size Large,

  4. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, eds., Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological PerspectivesVintage 1970's Polyester Bullet Collar Geometric Top,A arm cut crop top, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); John Thornton, Love pink gray sweater with tiger sequins,Calvin Klein sandals size 7.5,Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in AfricaPetite Belted Wide Leg Pant XXS P,

  5. PLUS AZALEA WANG SO STUDDED MOTO JACKET,Archivum latinitatis medii aeviAigle Polartec Full Zip Fleece Sweater L,L'Esclavage dans l'Europe médiévale, vol. 1, Pénisule Ibérique—France (Bruges: De Tempel, 1955); vol. 2, Italie, Colonies Italiennes du Levant, Levant Latin, Empire Bysantin (Ghent: 1977); and Verlinden, The Beginnings of Modern Colonization: Eleven Essays with an IntroductionJ Crew bright pink shorts,Slavery and Society in Medieval ScandinaviaWOMENS DANSKO STAPLED LEATHER CLOGS,Kate Spade small cardholder wristlet, (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 1995); Steven Epstein, Speaking of Slavery: Color, Ethnicity, and Human Bondage in Italy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001); and Sally McKee, "Inherited Status and Slavery in Late Medieval Italy and Venetian Crete," WYLDR Red Burgundy Oblivion Deep V Jumpsuit Sz S,Coach Naya Graffiti Sneakers with Orange Patent Leather,

  6. NWT Kirundo Orange and cream color block knit Striped Turtleneck Sweater,Pronto Uomo Mens Dress Shirt Size 17 1/2 34/35, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), 21-24, 48-86.

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  8. NexxUnlimited Motorcycle Jacket,American Historical ReviewNWT black Kate Spade Graham WLRU5200 wallet,Tory Burch leather black Jackson Riding boots, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003), 14; Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003). For more on the development of freedom and slavery, see David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), and Sue Peabody, There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien RégimeSweaty Betty Metallic Silver Goddess Foil Leggings,

  9. Dansko Professional Patent Leather Black Clogs 41,The Early Spanish MainTumi Purse,Men’s Gill OJ Racer, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992); William L. Sherman, Forced Native Labor in Sixteenth-Century Central AmericaVintage Big Dogs Fleece Vest,COPY - Felt Brim Fedora,Free People We The Free One and Only Button Down,The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717TALBOTS NWT AUTHENTIC MAJESTY BLUE & BLACK DESIGN COLLARLESS CLASSIC JACKET,LK Bennett Peep Toe Pump Heels Patent Leather Womens 36 US 5 Black Stilletto,, ed. Elizabeth Mancke and Carole Shammas (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 75-121. For a recent discussion of Indian population decline, see David S. Jones, "Virgin Soils Revisited," Floor Length Jeweled Prom/Pageant Dress,, 3rd ser., 60 (October 2003): 703-42.

  10. David Galenson, White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic AnalysisRAE DUNN Weekend Grey Long Sleeve Scoopneck Sweatshirt Size Medium,HUGO BOSS MENS SZ 16.5 34/35 LONG SLEEVE BUTTON UP DRESS SHIRT,Banana republic heather Zip-up sweater With Collar,William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 58 (January 2001): 17-46. Two good microhistories of the transatlantic slave trade are Robert Harms, Kasper CardiCoat with removeable fur collar,Free People Size Medium Moonbeam V-Neck Sweater,The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004).

  11. David Eltis and William G. Clarence-Smith, "White Servitude," NWT Rebecca Minkoff Berry Smoothie Avery Crossbody,HP Raccoon Fur Multicolor Pom Pom Keychain,Polo Ralph Lauren Men's 3XB Big & Tall Button Up Shirt O815AFA, (London: Longman, 1996); Stanley L. Engerman, ed., Terms of Labor: Slavery, Serfdom, and Free Labor (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1999); and Bush, COACH~One~Mirror Heart Animal Print~Key Chain~FREE SHIP, (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2000).

  12. Frank M. Snowden Jr., Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1970); Snowden, RAE Dunn Hope Cream Scoopneck Sweatshirt Size Various Comes With A Pouch,MOSCHINO **PONY**Long Sleeve Shirt,The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004); Jean Devisse and Michel Mollat, eds., The Image of the Black in Western Art, vol. 2, Vince Camuto Herringbone print cascade cardigan,5 Furla Italy Melany Onyx Black High Boots Shoe,Images of the Medieval PeasantCUSTOM HAWAIIAN QUILT PILLOW,Judith Jack Sterling Silver earrings,Fringe Shrug,White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812Anthropologie Angels of the North Curved Cables Poncho Sweater,Race: The History of an Idea in the West (Washington, D.C.: The Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1996); the essays in "Constructing Race: Differentiating Peoples in the Early Modern World," William and Mary QuarterlyDOLCE&GABBANA Vintage Fur Mesh T-shirts Tops #24/38 Rhinestone White,The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003). The best account is David Brion Davis, "The Origins of Anti-Black Racism in the New World," chap. 3 in Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of New World SlaveryLULULEMON Top,

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  14. Frank Tannenbaum, Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the AmericasCarbon38 Tanjang Macrame High Rise Full Length Hibiscus Pink Legging Sz XS,Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

  15. Vintage Distressed Classic Leather Moto Jacket,Black Yankees: The Development of an Afro-American Subculture in Eighteenth-Century New England (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988); Graham Russell Hodges, Root and Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863Nora Quinonez Pillow Covers,Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and LowcountryPolo Ralph Lauren Mens Swim Trunks,14k amathys earrings,Max Studio BNWOT split neck green top sz Large NEW pullover,Brand new 12th tribe slate blue velvet pants with tags,Rebecca Minkoff MAB Crossbody,William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser., 60 (October 2003): 777-808. To this list might be added other forms of aboriginal slavery: see Theda Perdue, NWT Rebecca Minkoff mini Mac leather Key Fob/charm, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979); William A. Starna and Ralph Watkins, "Northern Iroquoian Slavery," Hobo Burgundy Purse, 38 (Winter 1991): 34-57; and Leland Donald, Aboriginal Slavery on the Northwest Coast of North America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

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Sources

  • Columbia Photographer/fisherman vest,The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800Saucony Women's Cohesion TR11 Wide Running Shoes size - 7,
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  • Sperry Maya Belle Leather Chelsea Ankle Boot NIB,Children of God's Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil❗️COMING SOON❗️Glow In The Dark Ring,
  • Davis, David Brion. Krimson and Klover two button sweater . Woman’s size L NWT,. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003. The first short essay in the volume is a superb introduction to the origins of New World slavery, but it should be complemented by a number of other books by this great historian of New World slavery. I particularly recommend his Vionic 356MIDI Splendid Sneaker Slip On Women 7 Blue Denim Orthotic Comfort Walk,Dansko women’s shoes size 42 preowned,
  • Davis, Robert C. Supreme x thrasher boyfriend hooded zip-up jacket,tshirts ( each),
  • Black Sexy Deep V-neck Crochet Bodice Jumpsuit,A Historical Guide to World Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. A useful reference work that covers most regions where slavery was important, together with topical examinations of the subject.
  • Vintage Valentino Jeans 90s Y2K Button Up Shirt Preppy,The Rise of African Slavery in the AmericasBANANA REPUBLIC STRIPED CARDIGAN,
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  • Men's cool black leather jacket anti-wind waist,Macmillan Encyclopedia of World SlaveryAnthropologie white embroidered Blouse NWT,
  • Finley, M. I. Ugg Adria bootie size 6,. Reprint. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1983, 1980. An exploration of the emergence, functioning, and decline of the slave societies of classical Greece and classical Italy, with comparisons to New World slavery, by the greatest historian of ancient slavery.
  • Fredrickson, George M. Racism: A Short HistoryMadewell Crushed Velvet Wide-Leg Jumpsuit Black sz 2,
  • The Impeccable Pig scrunched sleeve crew neck top,Victoria’s Secret key chain/ wallet.. Contains about 1,000 pictorial images of slavery in Africa and the Americas, arranged thematically.
  • Armani wide leg trouser,Fedora hats (adult),. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993. A good general account by a historian alert to comparative history.
  • 6 decorative pillows,Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. A good survey of slavery and the evolution of racial prejudice in the Islamic world.
  • Miers, Suzanne, and Igor Kopytoff, eds. Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1977. The long introduction on slavery as an "institution of marginality" is a classic, and many of the individual essays on particular regions and groups are stimulating.
  • Miller, Joseph. C., ed. Slavery and Slaving in World History: A Bibliography, 1900-1996. 2 vols. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1999. The most comprehensive work of its kind. Annual updates are available in the journal fendi blue mohair sweater,. The entire bibliography is being prepared for Internet access as a searchable database by the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia.
  • Morgan, Philip D. "African Americans." In A Companion to Colonial AmericaNWT Calvin Klein Men's Extra Fine Cotton Button Front Shirt Blue Size Large,
  • Patterson, Orlando. POLO RALPH LAUREN MENS PLAID LONG SLEEVE BUTTON UP SHIRT SIZE LARGE,. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982. The best general survey of slave systems in 66 societies, written by a sociologist.
  • Fedora hat (adult),Glamorous Doncaster Sweater,. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985. A useful account that focuses on slavery in medieval Europe, the world of Islam, and the rise of the Atlantic slave system.
  • Thornton, John. Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800Fabletics Athena Hooded Pullover II,

Philip D. Morgan is the Sydney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton University. He is the author of Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998) and coeditor (with Sean Hawkins) of Black Experience and the Empire: The Oxford History of the British Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). He would like to acknowledge in particular the assistance of David Brion Davis, who generously sent him two early chapters from his forthcoming manuscript, "Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of New World Slavery."

Authored by

  • Philip D. Morgan
    Victoria’s Secret PINK Lanyards (12),
    Princeton, New Jersey