impacts of slavery in the caribbean Essay

2574 Words Dec 20th, 2013 11 Pages
How did the African slavery impact the Caribbean region between1640-1985?

Introduction
When the Europeans switched from tobacco to sugar cultivation, the plantation needed more lands and more labour. The labour present came from the Tainos, whose population decreased from abuse, and could not meet the labour demands. The Europeans brought free labourers from Europe, but they could not be forced to work under the conditions demanded by the encomenderos. The church suggested the use of enslaving Africans to replace the fast dying Taino population.
The Africans faced tremendous abuse. They were captured in tribal wars or raids on villages. The conditions of the middle passage were deplorable. On arrival in the West Indies the
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African slavery was already used in Spanish society, so this system could very easily be extended to the Caribbean. Africans were cheaper and the money which procured a white man’s service for ten years could buy a Negro for life and Africans were available in huge numbers.
West Africa was closer to the Caribbean than Europe and the ocean crossing between the two entities made easy by the trade winds which blew east to west. Africans were already accustomed to slavery in West Africa before the European’s intervened. Slavery was used for people who had debt, as a punishment for crime, for sacrifice purposes, and in certain forms of marriage, enemies taken as prisoners and sacrificed. Africans were also accustomed to agricultural labour in a tropical climate.
Chapter 2 The European stayed at the factories and forts while raiding was done by Africans from forest states like Oyo, Benin, Dahmey and Asante. Boys and men between the ages of sixteen and forty were sought. The women, children and the old people were left behind to do hard work. Those captured were marched to the coast, chained together by ankles and neck.
The slaves were carried to quarters called barracoons where they were stripped naked and put into groups. The rejects were either too old or had venereal disease. The healthier ones were branded on the chest with a red hot iron signifying the country which was buying the slave.
The worst conditions the Africans faced were the Middle Passage.

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