Peter Mancall's Report

Better Essays
In this class we have read about and discussed the numerous misconceptions about African and European interactions between the 15th and 19th century focusing primarily on the trade and commercial aspect of their relationships. Examining how the theories of Europe’s domination and Africa’s role of willing victim create a damaging and negatively skewed portrayal of the past. Upon studying travel guides and other primary sources John Thornton has presented a more accurate depiction of Africa’s agency in the Atlantic trade system, a picture that was made clearer with the help of a document from Peter Mancall’s collection of primary sources the assists in solidifying this accurate description. What about Mancall’s document allows it to verify all…show more content…
Placing Europe and its economics and trade patterns at the center of Atlantic history while simultaneously placing the other contributors in the background in either the role of victim or as an exploited participant. A point further pushed by the theme of Eurocentrism that was adopted as the popular school of thought for both French and English scholars. Those sources led to the idea of African passivity and thus the lack of African and Afro American culture were proof of Europe’s role. Until studies to better define the African and Afro American experience uncovered resources that endorse the contrary. This is a recurring theme throughout the entire book; the overturn of many contradicting notions about Africa and its involvement in the world economy during the Atlantic…show more content…
Before engaging this topic Thornton describes the difference between international trade and trade amongst merchants and villages or towns. Trade and commerce on a small scale for instance, between merchants and towns would not have been the concern of controlling governments unlike long distance trade like that between countries. With this in mind trade was not without regulation and taxation from the governing bodies involved and the mere existence of African trade regulations works to demonstrate how well developed Africa was at this time. It is further expressed in the complexities of African trade regulations imposed by different governing bodies on the continent. When thinking of trade regulations it is important to understand that the regulation of the time are not the same as current day or even as secure and functional. Never the less countries imposed their own trade policies for the purpose of slightly controlling trade and attempting to push the outcome of commerce in their favor, while allowing those involved for private interest to also profit. From both sides it was more profitable to commission groups of individuals to embark on trade missions and, after paying them place taxes on the goods received by them and selling them in more easily regulated
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