Essay Slave Trading

1900 Words8 Pages
“African slavery is the corner-stone of the industrial, social, and political fabric of the South; and whatever wars against it, wars against her very existence. Strike down the institution of African slavery and you reduce the South to depopulation and barbarism.” –Lawerence Keitt, South Carolina Congressman, 1860 Slave trading dates back to ancient times, but it did not become popular until the fifteenth century when the Portugese began engaging in slave trading for profit. The colonization of the Americas brought about a new wave of slave importation in the late seventeenth century. A large percentage of the indentured servants and Native Americans were dying from diseases bought to the land by Europeans, and the American…show more content…
Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, many Europeans found their careers in the slave trading market. Approximately twelve million African Americans were captured from their native land of Africa and forced to board ships bound for the New World by way of the “Middle Passage.” In order to maximize profits, slave traders would load a ship well over its capacity. African Americans were shackled and then ordered to lay in rows below the decks of the slave ships. The captives had no room to move around, and therefore laid in their own filth and that of others for several months. Since the slaves were packed into such tight, unsanitary quarters, diseases such as typhoid, measles, and small pox claimed the lives of thousands before the ships ever reached the shores of America. Many slaves escaped a life of bondage by throwing themselves overboard. On average, twenty percent of Africans died before arriving at their destination. Olaudah Equiano, a child of only eleven years old, was kidnapped from his native land of Africa in the 1780s and sold into slavery. He was one of millions that traveled the infamous Middle Passage to the Barbados Islands and one of few who was later able to purchase his freedom. His voyage to the New World was, indeed, brutal, evidenced by the horrific stories included in his
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