BLACK SLAVERY IN THE COLONIES 5
Blackslavery in the colonies
Theblack slavery began in fifteenth century and continued for the fourhundred years. According to historians, slavery in the North Americanstarted in 1679. During this time, slave trade was carried onoverland whereby black slaves were transported from the West Africavia Sahara desert to Europe. The first evidence of slave trade issaid to begin in 1972. This is when a Portuguese captain, Ruy doSequiera, arrived at the coast of Benin. He was conducting a king’scourt process where he had received a permission to trade for ivory,gold, and slaves (Gary, 1992). Economics was the primary reason forslavery in America. In order for the colonists to accomplish theirgoals related to business, they had to create reliable workforce tocater for the work in their industries and plantations. Initially, asmall group of African slaves come to America, but gradually theslavery developed. Slaves would be captured in Africa, and later theywould be taken to the coast and transported to America. On the ship,they would be mistreated, beaten and harassed to make them pliant.Upon arrival at America, they would be given new names and undergoinception. As time passed by, more and more African were recruited asslaves. By the end of 1700, there were more than thirty thousandenslaved Africans in the British colonies. In 1740 and 1770, therewere more than one hundred and fifty thousands and four hundredthousand of African slaves respectively. By 1770, the Africanpopulation in the British colonies was about one fifth of the entirepopulation.
Theblack slavery was most common in the southern colonies than in thenorthern colonies. Most slaves in the northern colonies worked incities either at homes or in the shops. However, few families wouldafford to accommodate a handful of slaves. This is unlike in thesouthern colonies where there were large plantation farms and highslaves demand. The northern slaves had more opportunity to attendlearning institution and learn various skills such as tailoring,carpentry, sail making and fishing, and hire-out for wages. Inaddition, most of the northern masters allowed their slaves to ownproperties, cultivates small farms, and sell their farm produce topurchase their freedom. On the other hand, the southern colonies hadan opportunity to buy slaves readily and at a cheaper cost. In 1730,the tobacco market grew stronger, and England signed a contract withthe French to supply them with much tobacco as they demanded (Gary,1992). Therefore, the southern colonies had to increase their tobaccoproduction to meet this demand. Correspondingly, they also had toincrease the number of slaves. The slave masters choose not to treattheir slaves with brutality but instead pay attention to their needs.They started taking care of their health, housing facilities, andsupplied them with sufficient food. They also allowed them to formfamilies and reproduce, to cut down the cost of importing slaves. By1750, the American-born slaves were so many that they outnumbered thenorthern slaves.
Slavetrade made several great impacts both in Africa and Europe socially,politically and economically. In Africa, it led to decrease ofpopulation. According to Gary (1992), more than fifty millionAfricans were lost during slavery trade. In addition, most of thestrong, fit and young individuals were recruited as slaves. Theestablishment of Atlantic slave alerted the process of slaverecruitment. The Portuguese kidnapped African to be slaves.Politically, slave trade contributed to the expansion of politics inAfrica. There was the formation of political alliances. Economically,European countries robbed Africa of its most crucial resources,labor. Slave trade created instability and insecurities in theAfrican economy. In addition, slavery increased African dependency onthe European goods such as sugar, wheat, rice, among others. Slavetrade led to economic transformation of European countries. Forinstance, British became the first country to industrialize. TheBritish plantation depended on slaves’ labor to offer theirservices in the plantation. The profits gained from cheap slave laboradded an extra income in the British economy. Some Britishindividuals and businessmen prospered due to their slave tradebusinesses. The European countries also established an overseasplantation society basing them on slave labor. In addition, thespread of sugar cultivation spread from the Madeira to Portugal,Brazil, and Caribbean.
First,to recruit slaves, members of the family would be moved from theirhomes and driven to dreadful conditions on ships. Some would die andthe ones who survived would be sold as slaves. They were subjected topoor diet with no health care and poor accommodation. On the ship,they would shares the small available space. Women were sexuallyassaulted while men were chained in pairs with barely any space tomove (Gary, 1992). Due to the brutality that they faced, most slavesattempted to commit suicide. Some tried to throw themselves off fromthe ship while others starved themselves to death, while others eatclay. The slave traders mistreated slaves with the idea that theywill be stronger. They urged that if a person would survive all theseconditions, then he or she is likely to offer good services.
Theslave trade and slavery left a negative legacy between the Africanand the European. For instance, it created enmity between theAfricans and the Americans. The brutality in which the Americanhandled Africans, the punishment, and harassed created a negativeattitude toward American. Up to date, the hatred between theAmericans and Africans still exists. African believes that Americanswere so inhuman for separating children with their parents.
GaryB. N.(1992).Red, White, and Black: The People of the Early North America.”Prentice-Hall,Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.P144-161, 208-225.