African American Slave Trade Essay

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Europeans originally enslaved Slavic-speaking people from the Black Sea to work on Mediterranean sugar plantations, but when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople, the supply of Slavic slaves were completely cut off. In the mid-fifteenth century Portuguese mariners sailed down the West African coast in an effort to bypass the North African Muslims (who by now had a monopoly on the trade of sub-Saharan gold, spices, and other goods) and seek their own riches in gold. While there Portuguese instead found a new valuable commodity, slaves, who were readily available for sale and could be purchased in mass quantities. In the eyes of Europeans, Africans seemed like a perfect fit for enslavement; they weren’t Christians; their location was …show more content…
Since Land was usually owned by the state, the only source of personal wealth came from owing and selling slaves, so it is of no surprise that slaves became the hottest commodity on the market. For Europeans, there was no need for violence in order to acquire slaves, all they needed to do is bring goods that were appealing to the African kings, and they in turn would gladly sell their own subjects. The fast flourishing market for slaves altered the traditional disposition of neighboring rivalries into wide-ranging raids with no other reason than the gathering of people. For Africans, capturing and selling slaves was not only budget friendly but a fast way to gain prosperity and power. Slaves could be snatched up and transported back to the opposing side’s village or kingdom and forced into labor without having to overthrow and inhabit territory. It is important to stress, those who were captured and sold were normally outsiders and predominantly prisoners of war, taken from different small factions in African communities, therefore sub-Saharan Africans never felt like they were enslaving their own people. The distinctions of tribe were far stronger than the distinctions of race, the "identity" of black Africans was actually concocted by

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