The Atlantic Slave Trade Essay

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I. Introduction S lavery first enters human history with the dawn of civilization. The most primitive hunter-gatherer peoples had no economic advantage by owning another individual. Only once humans began to gather in centralized communities with a surplus of food, they could reap the benefits of cheap labour. Slavery can be found in historical records dating back to even the earliest civilizations. The Code of Hammurabi details the oldest confirmed use of slavery in the 18th century B.C.E. (Fage 1969, 394). With such incredible longevity, it was inevitable that the institution of slavery would find its way to the new world. The Atlantic Slave trade can be divided into two eras. The first era of the Atlantic slave trade began on significant scale in 1502, with the Southern American Portuguese and Spanish colonies accounting for the majority of slave imports. Soon, the British, French and Dutch began to abduct people from Africa for the purpose of forming slave populations in the New World. This was the second era of the Atlantic slave trade and accounted for 97% of the total volume of the Atlantic Slave trade, with over 50% of imports occurring in the 18th century (Fage 1969, 396). The origins of slavery in America can be traced back to a Dutch ship, the White Lion, in 1619, when 20 Africans were traded as indentured servants to colonists in Jamestown, Virginia for food and supplies (Fage 1969, 396). In the years following this many more Africans arrived as indentured

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