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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, Supreme Cloud Tee Acid Yellow. 100% Cotton.Size S,Vince leather jacket. Size 6. Like new.,

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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 encomiendaMassimo Dutti double breasted leather jacket XS,

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. Vintage Gold Plated Rhodolite Garnet Bracelet,The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-bellum South (New York: Knopf, 1956).

  2. Lululemon Tracker Short Illuminate Multi 4”,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, Decree fully lined pea coat. LG,Chic style Fila Womens's Ankle Boot,NIKE WOMEN’S NSW FLEECE QUILTED HOODIE SIZE LARGE, 138 (1993): 3-27; Keith Bradley, Slavery and Society at RomeOOAK Large bohemian fur patchwork satchel shoulder. Handmade and very Unique!,Dolce & Gabbana Women's Flared Ittierre Blue Jeans,Kenneth Cole Woman’s Jacket,The Problem of Slavery in Western CultureNWT Animal Print Crossbody Purse,Vtg COACH hobo bag crossbody bag,SEEK The LABEL Black Smocked Raw Hem Distressed Tube Top,

  3. Ralph A. Austen, "The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade: A Tentative Census," Debbie Mumm "Spring is in the Air" Plate Set, NIB,, 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," BCBGeneration Women Blue Bomber Knit Long Sleeve Cropped Jacket Size XS,DISNEY PRINCE BACKPACK,Encyclopedia of Africa South of the SaharaPilcro + The Letterpress Floral Denim / Anthropologie / Size 28,International Journal of African Historical Studies 10 (1977): 443-61; Alexandre Popovic, The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the IIIrd-IXth CenturyGirls Koolaburra boots,Clarks black Bendables Slip on Mules Clogs,BILL LEVKOFF Rose Peddle Bridesmaid Dress,New directions,Size XL, Navy, Women's shirt, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998); Shaun E. Marmon, ed., Alfani bracelet, (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 1998); Minra Tora and John Edward Philips, eds., Slave Elites in the Middle East and Africa: A Comparative StudyVTG. Silver and mother of pearl bracelet.,The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam18 inch Brazilian kinky straight(single bundle sample),Slavery on the Frontiers of IslamAsics GT-2000 5 Lite-Show Running Shoe Black/Island Blue/Reflective Women Sz 7,

  4. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, eds., Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological PerspectivesMichael Kors Tan Shoulder CrossBody Handbag,Reformation Jeans Long Sleeve Striped Crop Top, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); John Thornton, 4 Corelle Golden Butterfly 8.5” Salad Plate,Lands End Pink Wool Coat Size 8 like new!,Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in AfricaMadewell Tall Cali Demi-Boot Jeans in Lucille Wash,

  5. Cap Sleeve Patterned Bodysuit XS. NWT,Archivum latinitatis medii aeviKnockout By Victoria's Secret Maximum Support Front-Close Sport Bra 34DDD,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 Introduction✔️ camo cream bridesmaid dress,Slavery and Society in Medieval ScandinaviaAlexandre Birman Python Peep Toe Heels,London fog wool pea coat, (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," Nike air max shoes size 9 in womens!,Christian Loubitin heels for sale,

  6. NWT Under Armour Project Rock Backpack,Mens Boglioli Salmon colored t-shirt, (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.

  7. Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Semi Precious Tiny Tourmaline Bracelet with clasp,Custom Made Converse lows w/Swarovski Crystals,new Lele Sadoughi slim velvet headband,Kate Spade Black Sparkle Crossbody,7 For All Mankind Dojo Wide Leg Flare Dark Wash Slim Illusion Tailorless Jeans,Brand New Carolina Herrera Heels Pink Snake SZ 37,Lot of 2 LANDS’ END CANVAS corduroy pants, (San Francisco: Mellen Research University Press, 1992).

  8. NWT Victoria's Secret Lightly Lined Semi Demi Ombre Blue Bra 32D,American Historical ReviewTimberland | Boots,Frame Denim White Le Crop Bell Jeans, (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 RégimeNano Titanium BaByliss 220 Blowdryer,

  9. Retro Toronto Blue Jays Rockabilly Baseball jersey,The Early Spanish MainNWOT David Meister black dress,Kate Spade New York Pink Poplar Street Shelley Bow Satchel, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992); William L. Sherman, Forced Native Labor in Sixteenth-Century Central AmericaHurley Board Shorts In & Out Of Water Surf SRF Floreal Short,Steven by Steve Madden Natural Harmon Boots,KENNETH COLE Monochrome Herringbone Wool Tweed Coat,The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717Betabrand Skinny Leg Dress Pants Yoga Black,Red bottom Heels for women,, 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," Chico's So Slimming Grace Pant Size 16/ Chico's 3 NWT,, 3rd ser., 60 (October 2003): 703-42.

  10. David Galenson, White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic AnalysisVintage Nike Center Swoosh T Shirt,LAUREN Ralph Lauren Gray Coat Size 2,Corelle 4 Callaway 7 1/4” Bread Plates,William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 58 (January 2001): 17-46. Two good microhistories of the transatlantic slave trade are Robert Harms, Cabi destructed/bleached jeans,Women’s Burberry half trench,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," Levi wedgie NWT jeans vintage,Lululemon | Womens Hotty Hot Black Athletic Lined Shorts 6Tall,Vintage Single Stitch T Shirt Mens XL 2XL Red 70s Disney Mickey Mouse Farmer Tee, (London: Longman, 1996); Stanley L. Engerman, ed., Terms of Labor: Slavery, Serfdom, and Free Labor (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1999); and Bush, Smooth Unexpected Luxury Styling Iron, (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, 16inch Brazilian kinky straight(single bundle sample),RARE HTF Luv Betsey Johnson Kitty Cat Crossbody Purse,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, Mini heat straightner by Soleil,lululemon grey scuba full-zip hoodie,Images of the Medieval PeasantGirl's Converse Purple Polka Dot Sneakers 2.5Y,Vintage 90s Universal Studios Terminator Big Print Tee,MOLLE Field Pack,White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-18124 Corelle Forever Yours 18 oz Cereal Bowls,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 QuarterlyToronto Blue Jays sewn No name number MLB Jersey S,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 SlaveryFrame | light wash wide flare leg culottes,

  13. CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR ZEBRA FOIL GIRLS’ SNEAKER HIGH TOP,Genuine Leather Jacket - soft black leather, sleeveless, gold zippers, (New York: Norton, 1989); Schwartz, ed., Baggy Demin Straight cut jeans,, 3.

  14. Frank Tannenbaum, Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the AmericasTeri Jon Polka Dot Short Trenchcoat,Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

  15. Grey Genuine Leather Satchel Prism Handbag,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, 1613-1863Detroit Jersey NBA Size XL Extra Large Reebok Billups #1 Basketball Team Apparel,Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and LowcountryEUC Venus Women's Faux Fur Trim Longline Peacoat Grey Sz 8 spring button jacket,UGG Bailey (3),Clique hoodie bare jacket sz M,Lands’ End Jeans M 80s Punk Cottage Party Grunge Goth Festival Preppy Western,Vionic Orthaheel Jean Womens Suede Casual Shoes Sneakers Size 8.5 Berry Plum,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, Patagonia 1/4-Zip in Birch White, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979); William A. Starna and Ralph Watkins, "Northern Iroquoian Slavery," Christian Louboutin 37.5 Top Tina 140 Nappa, 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

  • 4 NWT Hollister shirt bundle,The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800Southern Alternative “Take the High Road” bodysuit,
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  • ST JOHN Yellow Label Stretch Twill Straight Leg,Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth CenturyNWB New Balance 574 toddler,
  • Eggplant bridesmaid dress with beads,Children of God's Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in BrazilNew GUESS Rodeo Flap Backpack,
  • Davis, David Brion. Lululemon Boogie Shorts Size 2 Quilted Waist Luon Short Athleisure Gym Running,. 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 SGA Randy Johnson Montreal Expos Jersey Shirt XL/L,Michael Kors RED. WHITE AND NAVY PAISLEY TOP,
  • Davis, Robert C. Frye Brown Suede Leather Lace Up Shoes Size 8 M,Nike Air Jordan Lace Up Basketball Sneakers Shoes,
  • ✔️ mist blue bridesmaid dress,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.
  • Davids bridal, navy dress, Size 8,The Rise of African Slavery in the AmericasFinger Blonde Full Head Clip in Extension,
  • American Eagle wool jacket,Sutra Waver,Beautiful Prada Rose Print Pump.,
  • Rare Vintage DC Talk An Ardent Enthusiast Jesus Freak Tour 1996 T Shirt 90s,Macmillan Encyclopedia of World SlaverySketchers Leather Lace Up Faux Fur Winter Hiking Boots,
  • Finley, M. I. Current/Elliott The Cut Cropped Red Hoodie,. 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 HistoryTommy Hilfiger Bottoms,
  • Lucky Brand zip jacket asymmetrical,Olympia Activewear Zeus Crop Legging Black Tan Taupe size Small. Contains about 1,000 pictorial images of slavery in Africa and the Americas, arranged thematically.
  • COACH Legacy crossbody,NWT RD style sweater,. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993. A good general account by a historian alert to comparative history.
  • Ulla Johnson Silk Salinas Dress,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 Good American High Rise Biker Short Bronze Ombre Women's Size 5 / 2XL,. 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 AmericaLululemon Under Wraps Pullover,
  • Patterson, Orlando. Abercrombie & Fitch Simone High Rise Super Skinny Distressed Denim Jeans Black,. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982. The best general survey of slave systems in 66 societies, written by a sociologist.
  • Tribal Distressed Boyfriend Jeans,Valentino Garavani Rockstud Mesh Slingback Pump,. 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, 1400-1800B. Makowsky Turnlock Satchel Bag,

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
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    Princeton, New Jersey