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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, Margaret M Skinny Slimming Pants Black White Small,Carmel Rectangle Tinted Glasses,

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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 encomiendaTexas Rhinestone Spell Out Brooch, Vintage Pin,

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 Fast Pace Collection Corduroy Zip Up,The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-bellum South (New York: Knopf, 1956).

  2. Bose Tempo Style Bluetooth Sunglasses,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, Unused Coach Poppy Shoulder Bag,Campfire drinking team shirt.,Savee, Laguna Beach, Crystal dress size small, 138 (1993): 3-27; Keith Bradley, Slavery and Society at RomeCACHE BLACK AND WHITE TANK TOP,Peter Nygard Ruffle Off the Shoulder Dress,ZyZi Wave Wigs Middle Part Heat Resistant Black Brown,The Problem of Slavery in Western CultureJuicy Couture Chandelier Ring,NWOT-Premier Designs Silver Purse Charm Bracelet,berek pink Bright Power Trucker Jacket Size: S NWT,

  3. Ralph A. Austen, "The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade: A Tentative Census," Ermenegildo Zegna 42L Navy Sport Coat Y570,, 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," BCBG MaxAzria Clutch,Old McDonald happy meal toys I have 45 of them,Encyclopedia of Africa South of the SaharaReed Krakoff Black Green Tall Leather Boot 41,International Journal of African Historical Studies 10 (1977): 443-61; Alexandre Popovic, The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the IIIrd-IXth CenturyKatie may mykonos wedding gown,SOMEWHAT FUNKY Liz & Jane Linen Tunic Top Jacket,Brand new little black dress from Armani Exchange,Floor Length Gown/ Bolero Jacket, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998); Shaun E. Marmon, ed., Coach Gold C & White Enamel Hinge Bangle Bracelet, (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 1998); Minra Tora and John Edward Philips, eds., Slave Elites in the Middle East and Africa: A Comparative StudyAlexia Admor Black Lace Strapless Cocktail Dress,The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of IslamMichael Kors 5634 women’s watch,Slavery on the Frontiers of IslamAlice and Olivia Clyde Aline Shift Dress,

  4. Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff, eds., Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological PerspectivesVince Wysteria Leopard Print Long Sleeve Knit Top,TopShop-Vintage Indigo Raw Hem Skinny High Rise, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); John Thornton, Collectible Salt Lake Olympic Official Logo Pin,Nautica Lightweight Blue Jacket,Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in AfricaDeTo's Long Middle Part Wigs Synthetic Brown,

  5. Tory Burch tortoise sunglasses,Archivum latinitatis medii aeviAntique 1970s Peking Glass Happy Buddha,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 IntroductionTrue religion shorts,Slavery and Society in Medieval ScandinaviaAlice In Chains vintage RARE t-shirt,TORRID Dress Pant Trousers Black Size 20 Regular, (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," Dress\ Gown,Rag & Bone Brighton Aran Sweater,

  6. Size 7 Sterling Silver Ornate Cubic Zirconia Ring,Dancing Angel Pin by Jeep Collins, Sterling Silver, (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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  9. AllSaints Rita Stripe Tee,The Early Spanish MainExpress mini dress,Diamond Tension Bar Set Solitaire Silver Ring, (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992); William L. Sherman, Forced Native Labor in Sixteenth-Century Central AmericaSet of 2 Vintage Cobalt Blue Drinking Goblets and 2 Small Drinking Glasses.,Gallery dept x lanvin shirt,Rolling Stones M Tie Dye Hoodie 2019 No Filter Tour Sweatshirt Hoodie Crop Top,The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717Vintage Star Wars Episode 1 Phantom Menace T Shirt,Light as a Feather Charm from Pandora,, 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," Free People Sweetest Dream Pink Tunic Size XS,, 3rd ser., 60 (October 2003): 703-42.

  10. David Galenson, White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic AnalysisZara floral & sheer a-line midi skirt Size Large New,Alberto Mikali Lacey dressy jacket,Michael Kors Saffiano Leather Wallet Wristlet,William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 58 (January 2001): 17-46. Two good microhistories of the transatlantic slave trade are Robert Harms, HP ❤️ Burberry Top Blouse or shirt s m men women,Brown knee high leather boots!,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," Silky blue and silver dress,Kate Spade L-Zip Card Holder Medium Odette Glitter,Ikat long dress, (London: Longman, 1996); Stanley L. Engerman, ed., Terms of Labor: Slavery, Serfdom, and Free Labor (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1999); and Bush, Unique Tin Purse, (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, Black ugg slippers,Kurt Geiger Handbag,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, Cargo Jeans,NWT Vineyard Vines Linen Tank in Navy,Images of the Medieval PeasantCZ Ring Engagement Bridal silver size 8 Jewelry,Air Jordan 1 mid : Come Fly With Me,Danbury Mint Princess Sarah porcelain Bride Doll,White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812Trendy Vintage Net Antique Silver Plated Resizable Rings for Woman & Man, K488,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 QuarterlyNWT SUNNY LEIGH long sleeve Tunic top Size 3x,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 SlaveryStrapless floor length dress size 0,

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  14. Frank Tannenbaum, Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the AmericasBeautiful fit jeans with stylish string.,Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

  15. ❤️gorgeous opal flower butterfly rhinestone silver,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, 1613-1863Kipling Rose Gold Metallic Zip Top Shoulder Crossb,Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and LowcountryDental Medi Loupes from Beyond Magnification, color: White, used ONCE.,dooney and bourke purse and wallet,NEW TRINK TURK BLOUSE (NWT) SIZE M 60% OFF,Vintage Design Gold Art Deco 1928 Brooch Pendant,GUCCI Bamboo tassel Tote Bag Shoulder Bag Beige/Br,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, Ray - Ban, 5213 Eye Glasses, Brown, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979); William A. Starna and Ralph Watkins, "Northern Iroquoian Slavery," 2b Bebe Strapless Cocktail Dress, 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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  • Davis, David Brion. Fendi Bag Handbag Brown Silver leather Woman T8,. 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 ‼️ Nautica Little Boys 5-Pc. Vest Suit Set,FOREVER HOME needed. VINTAGE. Large ceramic dog.,
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  • Gretchen Scott Geometric Print V-Neck 3/4 Sleeve Split Side Tunic Size Medium,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.
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  • Finley, M. I. JOHNNY WAS NWT KNIT SLATE BLUE TANK TOP,. 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 HistoryZIMMERMANN LEOPARD BLOUSE,
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  • Micheal Kors over the shoulder hand bag!,American Eagle Outfitters Mens Classic Straight Jeans Blue Cotton Denim 34 x 32,. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993. A good general account by a historian alert to comparative history.
  • Vtg 70s Handmade Victorian Wedding Dress Small Lace Romantic High Neck Cottage,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 Jason Prescott Vtg Black White Watchtower Plaid Full A-line Belted Skirt Size 14,. 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 AmericaFranco Sarto BARELY worn knee boots,
  • Patterson, Orlando. Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni Tweed Wool 2 Button Sport Coat 46L Green Herringbon,. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982. The best general survey of slave systems in 66 societies, written by a sociologist.
  • Wig with Bangs Long Set B,Mare Wavy Wigs Synthetic Heat Resistant Ombre Brown A,. 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, 1400-1800Anthropologie Cartonnier Size 2 Blazer Pin Stripe Bell Sleeve Blazer,

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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