The Slave Trade Emerged As A Prominent Enterprise Essay

896 Words Nov 17th, 2016 4 Pages
During the fifteenth century, the slave trade emerged as a prominent enterprise in Brazil causing thousands of Africans to endure racism, violence, and exploitation. The Portuguese stripped the African slave’s identities and cultures away, diminishing their humanity in the process. With this in mind, it was difficult for slaves to maintain their own unique identities as many came from diverse backgrounds in Africa, where they spoke various languages and belonged to separate cultures. To identify slaves, the Portuguese created subdivisions of slavery, which consequently created the feeling of inferiority among slaves. Identity became quite complex for them because they did not want to feel inferior to the Portuguese and each other, so to retain superiority, they aimed to reject their given identities and take on identities that elevated their social standing like Criollos, wet nurses, free slaves, or mulattos. Africans had to emulate the Iberian culture to escape severe racism, leading them to infuse their own African traditions with European ones creating a new sense of identity while simultaneously maintaining their unique African heritage. Even though there were efforts to create a homogenous culture, they were largely unsuccessful because new identities were constantly being formed and changed based on social status and skin color, which gave way to the Brazilian culture we see today. As a form of assimilation, Africans blended Western Christianity and the traditional…

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