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Why SS Africa became the main slave supplier?

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    Posted: 01 Jun 2011 at 00:33
Here is an interesting essay on Hygiene in the 18th century aboard slave ships, the author whilst not detracting from the conditions of the middle passage, argues that a level of cleanliness was maintained to try to ensure that as many slaves reach their destination, hence preserving revenue.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2011 at 07:28
Here is the wiki link to 'Slave ship', not much in the actual entry but useful references and links.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2011 at 04:53
An interesting sidelight on the Zong case that would be easy to miss is that at the time it would probably not have been considered murder even if everyone involved had been free men.  At least on the facts as claimed by the captain it would not have been considered ipso facto murder, though if the captain and crew had been lying about the conditions it might have been different.
 
There are numerous examples of members of a crew or passengers being sacrificed 'in peril on the sea' to save the others, including several involving cannibalism of the victims. It wasn't until 1884 in the case of Regina vs Dudley and Stephens (the 'Mignonette' trial) that necessity was excluded as a defence against a murder charge in the common law. And even though Dudley and Stephens were convicted, they were nevertheless only sentenced to six months imprisonment.
 
Wikipedia has a fair account of the case and some other precedents in UK/US law, though all later than Zong.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2011 at 04:25
OK. I got cough in another "Black legend" then, like the Dutch images of tortured Tainos. thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2011 at 02:43
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

So, do you mean the image false?
What is your possition in this issue? Perhaps that slaves were treated kindly on first class cabins, when crossing the Atlantic? Please clarify.
 
Yes, the image is false if it is asserted as a representation of a typical slave ship because it was printed as an idealization of how to load a slaver in accordance with the 1788 legislation governing the conduct of the slave trade on English "bottoms"! Review the links provided that clearly assert both the origins and the nature of this propaganda broadside.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2011 at 00:24
So, do you mean the image false?
What is your possition in this issue? Perhaps that slaves were treated kindly on first class cabins, when crossing the Atlantic? Please clarify.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 15:42
Do you know just how often this image of the "Slave Ship Brookes" has been reproduced since printed in 1788 in Plymouth for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Penguin?
 
 
 
 
Recall my reference to an earlier 1788 Act of Parliament...that bit of legislation is intimately connected to the designing of this print.
 
 
 
 
Why an enterprising Internet geek has even brought a parallel reference with respect to the stowage problem in contemporary long distance travel and the pressures of economic rationales:
 
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 30 May 2011 at 15:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 10:27
Absolutely. These image shows the conditions.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 08:16
On the theme of transport through the middle passage, even by 18th century standards the conditions could be considered  relatively 'brutal', for want of a better word.
 
Slaves were often packed in like sardines to maximise the cargo (and hence sale/revenue), leading to terrible conditions of disease, dysentry etc..Furthermore the treatment of the slaves, since they had no status other than chattel was subject to the whims of the crew, with regards to punishments (whippings etc) and also sexual exploitation of female slaves (which theoretically, on UK slave ships, was subject to punishment (John Newton punished his crew members for the same) but not always in practice). No doubt as dr g states  the conditions of the crew would not  have been much better, and on  slave ship crews in particular the hierarchy of misery would have put the slaves in the bottom wrung.
 
Schama's 'Rough Crossings' is an interesting read, though obviously adopts a more 'popularist' historical approach...
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 07:24
I found this, which looks interesting, though I haven't had a chance to assimilate it yet.
 
I find it a little irritatinig that in the first few pages he does not draw the usual UK distinction between life insurance and life assurance, but he may take the point later.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 03:48
Thanks dr, again useful sources.
 
There is no doubt that the 'ways of the sea' would seem 'brutal' looking at it from a contemporary angle, but the 'norm' at the time due to the conditions of sea travel, disease etc, but the Zong affair does highlight and was used on the face of it as a sort of 'cause celebre' for the abolitionists (Clapham Sect, Wilberforce (later)) where the question of the treatment of Africans as chattel and merchandise was raised not so much on the basis of legality within the law but more broadly humanity by the abolitionists themselves, looking back at the affair.  No doubt they were seen as a group of dangerous 'enlightenment radicals' at the time.
 
Interestingly, Wiberforce was challenged himself on the basis that he did not extend his humanitarian views to the treatment of the rights of the poor, and other disenfranchised classes within British society, he saw that as too 'revolutionary' and against his support for the established order (of which he was a part of course, being a close friend of William Pitt the Younger), however that is a separate topic.


Edited by Tashfin - 30 May 2011 at 07:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 03:30
PS: Modern epidemiological analyses has placed the mortality rate overall at 5.7%  and such is the focal point as a "teaching tool" as summarized here:
 
 
Nor would it hurt to peruse this multivolume work:
 
Elizabeth Donnan and C. A. Vasconcellos. Documents Illustrative of the Slave Trade to America. 2v. New York: Octagon, 1965.
 
Pay close attention to the annotations produced by Ms. Vasconcellos with respect to the Dolben's Act of 1788 [2:585-587].


Edited by drgonzaga - 30 May 2011 at 03:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 03:24
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

The range of the estimate, is what most historians agree upon, and the fact that tens of thousands of slaves died due to the horrendous conditions, and brutality of the middle passage are indisputable. So no one is trying to exaggerate the problem, its just understanding the scale.
 
However there has been a trend by some with right wing agendas to underplay the significance, impact, brutality and scale of the trans-atlantic slave trade in the America's, which we should also be wary of......
 
The key point of the Zong massacre was firstly this was not isolated but an accepted practice in law at the time, but more importantly the inhumanity of the treatment of slaves was highlighted and and gave impetus, at least in the context of the UK, to the abolitionist cause..
 
What politics might have to do with sound scholarship depends entirely upon the qualifications and competence of the reader for wingnuts (be they of the Left or the Right) are a hazard in all interperetative analyses. "Brutality" is a colorful noun but in discussing maritime practices of the 18th century, our modern sensibilities would be scandalized with respect to the hierarchy of power and decision aboard any vessel. Discipline, disease, and the vagaries of weather led to actions that while scandalous in our eyes were little more than the "way of the seas" with respect to survival. Mortality aboard 18th century maritime transport was a vivid danger and a major problem affecting all, not just the slaves in transport. Hence florid prose and contemporary "political correctness" should warn all that hyperbole is playing fast and loose with the historical record.
 
Herbert Klein and Stanley Engerman compiled an extensive collection of data with respect to the Triangle Trade and Jamaica--
 
 
--hence to take one incident and project it as the standard pattern is ridiculous on its face. Besides, if the discussion is to prosper then one had better be familiar with the existing literature, beginning with
 
R. Hastings and P. Hair, eds. Liverpool: The African Slave Trade and Abolition. Chesire: The Historic Society, 1976. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2011 at 01:16
The range of the estimate, is what most historians agree upon, and the fact that tens of thousands of slaves died due to the horrendous conditions, and brutality of the middle passage are indisputable. So no one is trying to exaggerate the problem, its just understanding the scale.
 
However there has been a trend by some with right wing agendas to underplay the significance, impact, brutality and scale of the trans-atlantic slave trade in the America's, which we should also be wary of......
 
The key point of te Zong massacre was firstly this was not isolated but an accepted practice in law at the time, but more importantly the inhumanity of the treatment of slaves was highlighted and and gave impetus, at least in the context of the UK, to the abolitionist cause..


Edited by Tashfin - 30 May 2011 at 01:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2011 at 07:59
Sure, we could throw figures out of our hats untill the pigs come home. Figures are mostly the result of people trying to exagerate a problem, and via the use of "figures" most any-thing can be either asserted, and proved, or dis-proved.

I am glad that you reported the semi-famous "Zong massacre!" As you noticed, the slaves were merely considered as "chattel", or "Wood", but if one was paid for the delivery of a certain number of "slaves" or a certain number of board-feet of lumber, then the owner of the cargo, seems would have a good deal of lee-way in going to court to save his investment. But, since "Maritime Law" is something of a different type of special law, that sometimes over-rides tratditional law, then this type of trial seems wrongfull?

But, those were the times and the deals!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2011 at 04:22
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

I think that some of ignored my post above, but that is to be expected. But there still exists numerous examples extant from old accounts, concerning the loss of life that reportedly occurred during the transport of thousands upon thousands of SS African slaves to the colonies, to be ignored.

Or should such reports be ingnored?

One has a valuable cargo, that is worth nothing if the cargo is allowed to rot, or decay, or die, during the process of transportation.

Just what business man would like it if only half of the cargo he agreed to finance, could not be brought alive to port?

Just what is the financial justification?
 
The fact that significant numbers of slaves died during transportation through the middle passage is not disputed, but what is disputed are the actual numbers, so according to wiki out of an estimated 9.5 to 12 million (estimates vary) transported between the 16th and 19th centuries, approximately 10-20% died during the actual transportation between Africa and the Americas, itself. However the exact figures are the subject of debate, so would be interesting to understand forumites views on this.
 
With regards to throwing slaves overboard, for example, a famous event was the 'Zong massacre' case of 1781, which became an inspiration for the abolitionists in England. Here is a wiki link:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 07:16
I think that some of ignored my post above, but that is to be expected. But there still exists numerous examples extant from old accounts, concerning the loss of life that reportedly occurred during the transport of thousands upon thousands of SS African slaves to the colonies, to be ignored.

Or should such reports be ingnored?

One has a valuable cargo, that is worth nothing if the cargo is allowed to rot, or decay, or die, during the process of transportation.

Just what business man would like it if only half of the cargo he agreed to finance, could not be brought alive to port?

Just what is the financial justification?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 05:03
There is no exact statistics. It is all number guessing. That's the problem.
Even more, it is quite clear that colonial masters wanted to minimize the figures to the crown, so they could get slaves to exploit them freely
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 04:47
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Although the crown successfully subjugated the Tainos, this only hastened the elimination of the Tainos as a reliable work force. The demographic decline set in motion by disease, warfare and ecological displacement in the first decade of the Spanish presence gained impetus and proved irreversible.Concern over the possible disappearance of the Tainos affected Spanish policy in 1505 (Maya Pons 1987:49

What a ridiculous way to repeat over and over again the same myth.
 
Is it a myth? Please furnish alternative evidence to the contrary, if that is the case. This was not a policy of deliberate genocide (if that is the myth you are referring to) but this situation occured due to a variety of factors, disease being the most obvious and prominent one. It was not only humanitarian concerns (which have already been cited) for the protection of the native population that prompted the initiation of imported slave labour from Africa.
 
According to another reference ( H. Thomas: The Slave Trade) by 1510 the population had been reduced to  circa. 25,000 from an initial level of approx  200,000 (though the exact statistics have been the subject of debate), primarily due to disease (smallpox), since there was a relatively small colonist population, this represented a declining labour pool, that needed to be supplemented with an alternative  and more easily managed labour force, due to their obvious racial distinction, as stated (J. Black. The Origins.)
 
'The difficulty of ensuring sufficient numbers of malleable workers, encouraged the speed of African slavery which started in the 1510's'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 03:41
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

 
Africans were considered better workers, more resistant to disease and also better able to work with horses than the native amerind population.

Indeed. Africans weren't considered humans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 03:39
Although the crown successfully subjugated the Tainos, this only hastened the elimination of the Tainos as a reliable work force. The demographic decline set in motion by disease, warfare and ecological displacement in the first decade of the Spanish presence gained impetus and proved irreversible.Concern over the possible disappearance of the Tainos affected Spanish policy in 1505 (Maya Pons 1987:49

What a ridiculous way to repeat over and over again the same myth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2011 at 01:44

On the point of motivations for the initiation of the African trade, here is a passage from Volume I 'Origins of the Atlantic Slave Trade' compiled by Jeremy Black - with reference to the essay by Arroyo on 'The Failure of Spanish Medieval Colonisation of the Canary and Caribbean islands':On pg 93 (I could not find an internet link so this is a direct quote):

'Although the crown successfully subjugated the Tainos, this only hastened the elimination of the Tainos as a reliable work force. The demographic decline set in motion by disease, warfare and ecological displacement in the first decade of the Spanish presence gained impetus and proved irreversible.Concern over the possible disappearance of the Tainos affected Spanish policy in 1505 (Maya Pons 1987:49)'
 
and on pg 94:
 
' the encomienda was used as a mode for co-ercing native labour'
 
'agriculture/ranching was the main activity'
 
Mining also constituted a portion of this, for example the Sierra Cibao gold mines and Cuban gold mines, to which the 300 slaves were sent in 1524, that I was referring to previously, the post regarding 4000 slaves, was referring to the permission (an individual assiento) given by Charles V to his  Flemish courtier Lorenzo de Goevod to export this number (via Genoese merchants/intermediaries and Portuguese ships) directly from Africa to the Spanish Carribean, from 1518 onwards.
 
Africans were considered better workers, more resistant to disease and also better able to work with horses than the native amerind population. So these were some of the  key drivers for the trade in this context.
So, fundamentally the Spanish implemented what was effectively a feudal system to exploit native labour, but due to the demographic impacts highlighted, prompted the Spanish colonial authorites to look for other sources to supplement/bolster this declining labour pool.  No doubt, pressure from missionaries with regards to protecting the native amerind population was also there, and provided greater impetus for accessing these alternative sources, but the core and primary reason was driven by economics.


Edited by Tashfin - 18 May 2011 at 01:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 07:26
Perhaps the good doctor, and Tashfin, would like to refute the numbers sometimes found on the "Net" where by "Sharks would follow Slave Ships to the New World, because at least One Million slaves were dropped into the Sea, as dead, during the "strife" to import more and more of them.

Just where does one place claims like those above?

Nut cases?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 06:46
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Good analysis, doc. Only a small hole in your argument. The Spanish crown was very careful in keeping records and tracks, but you shouldn't forget that smuggling was quite widespread in the Spanish empire. How many people entered the Americas without the blessing of the crown is a mystery.
 
There is no "mystery" here unless one wishes to postulate that smugglers were rampant in the 16th century, hence with respect to the Caribbean and slaves the problematics of transporting valuable commodities to hidden coves is more Hollywood than fact. Further, the effort requires the coflating of time and sheer ignorance of such salient facts as the Guarda Costa, the Avisos, and the Armada de Barlovento that regularly patrolled the Caribbean during the years 1560-1649.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 23:14
Yes, clear analysis from drgonazaga. In terms of slaves sent to Cuba, one did not assert that 4000 slaves were sent there in 1524, but what was being referred to was the permission granted by the Spanish Crown  (Charles V) as an individual assiento to import  up to 4000 slaves annually to the Hispanic Carribean (Cuba, Hispaniola, etc) from 1518 onwards.
 
We were not aiming to establish that in the early 16th century, Spain was involved in a huge transit in slaves volumes to work on plantations, but rather the reasons that stimulated this demand, which were outlined in earlier posts, namely a shortage of the number, to work on specific projects, and perceived quality of the labour pool and the desire to supplement this labour force with what was perceived as a cheap, reliable and more easily controllable resource: namely African slaves.


Edited by Tashfin - 16 May 2011 at 23:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 21:53
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


I know 100 more documentation on the topic that your "survival INC." could lend you.
The problem with you, Carcha, is that you lack perspective. You can't see things beyond the cartoon.

 
It is hardly a cartoon that indigenous peoples in Latin America (and other places in the world) have been exterminated or driven to the brink of extermination by invading societies and exploiters. For the people that became the victims of genocide, displacement or forced aculturation it was hardly a cartoonish experience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 11:35
Good analysis, doc. Only a small hole in your argument. The Spanish crown was very careful in keeping records and tracks, but you shouldn't forget that smuggling was quite widespread in the Spanish empire. How many people entered the Americas without the blessing of the crown is a mystery.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 10:29
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Yes the Encomienda system was a form of serfdom similar to the Feudal system in Europe, and hence a source of forced labour. There were mines in the Caribbean, for example gold mines in Cuba, to which African slaves were sent in 1524. Other activities related to agriculture and ranching were also important as you state.

 
Fee Fi Fo Fum I smell the detritus of Wiki flowing through the Forum. Here and in another post there are some egregious assertions. Gold in the Caribbean (Cuba and Hispaniola) was hardly a labour intensive chore given the fact that it was placer mining and not even in a more intricate form. Instead, it was simple panning of the arroyos. And no matter what those general narratives on the Internet maintain [one has 40,000 Arawaks slaving away in gold mines], the simple fact is that Columbus lied when he postulated vast amounts of gold on that island, this lie has been accepted as fact when the truth is to the contrary. By 1519 the principal economic activity on Hispaniola followed classic Andalusian patterns: ranching and farming. Nor was Cuba transformed into any slave emporium at any time in the first decades of the 16th century, after all its consolidation as a Spanish possession does not come until the years of 1509 to 1515 and if gold had been discovered in appreciable quantities of what need the Cortez venture of 1519! The simple fact here is that both Cuba and Hispaniola became little more than staging bases for subsequent exploration and incursion onto the mainland. The claim that 4000 Black slaves "were sent" to Cuba in 1524 is sheer tommy-rot! The first recorded arrival of enslaved Africans into Cuba comes in 1513 and they number but four individuals transported by their owner Amador de Lares, who was emigrating from Hispaniola to the new island of Cuba! It was Governor Velazquez de Cuellar who in the years 1519/1520 arranged for the transport of 300 African slaves to Santiago as laborers in his quest for gold through placer mining in Eastern Cuba. What also has to be placed in context here is the fact that in 1526, Carlos I issued a royal cedula (decretal) that asserted that slave laborers held the right to "purchase" their freedom from servitude! As for vast slave plantations in the 16th century such an assertion is hogwash. By 1607 Havana had become the principal port on the island and in its countryside there were but 16 sugar ingenios, the largest consisting of but 26 slaves. Given the fact that in 1538, the island consisted of six towns, Santiago with 80 households, Havana with some 70 vecinos, and the remaining four (Baracoa, Puerto Principe, Santi Spiritus, and Bayamo) averaging some 35 households each, the notion that there were thousands of Africans tilling in slavery by this time is nonsense. By 1774 the royal census of the island identified its inhabitants rather succinctly: 172,620 personas--96,640 colonists; 31,847 free people of color; and 44,333 slaves. Of these last, the majority are Yoruba whose importation began in sharp numbers from the Oyo region subsequent to 1763.
 
It should be of interest that if we are to discuss the Slave Trade within the context of the Spanish Caribbean we need but turn to the Reales Cedulas none more important than that of Carlos III in 1789, which officially opened the port of Havana to the Slave Trade and authorized shipbuilding in that port and proclaimed a new code, On the Trades and Occupations of Slaves. Enforced work could only be applied on those at least 17 years of age and no older than 60 years; labor could only be required for a maximum of 270 days per year; owners were required to feed and clothe their charges to accepted standards; and they were required to instruct them in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. Notice the use of the plural, Trades, and cogitate on its implications.
 
PS: The records of the original Asientos concerning slaves are of interest and rather than go into intricate citations of AGI documents, here is a competent summation drawing on sound secondary sources:
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 17 May 2011 at 06:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 03:29

Yes the Encomienda system was a form of serfdom similar to the Feudal system in Europe, and hence a source of forced labour. There were mines in the Caribbean, for example gold mines in Cuba, to which African slaves were sent in 1524. Other activities related to agriculture and ranching were also important as you state.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 00:29
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

 
-  The relatively low native population levels of the spanish carribean at point of contact and after, and the need to supplement this labour pool and enable the colonists to exploit additional labour sources in mining and later agriculture.


In the Caribbean, mining was irrelevant. It was agriculture the main source of income there.

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:


- The impact of disease in the first few decades after contact and the effects of the encomienda system that effectively enslaved parts of the population, that diminished the native labour force and provided the stimulus to look to alternative and cheap labour i.e. African slaves.


The Encomienda system was a Feudal system; natives were converted in servants, like it also happened in many places of Europe at the same time. At least in Peru, with the Mita system, a labour tax system that started in precolumbian times You can't compare the encomiendas with the plantation system. Real slavery was only on Africans, without forgetting abuses existed to the other populations as well.
 
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:


 The impact of the Conquista on the native population combined with the increased  need for cheaper labour to work in newly discovered gold/copper mines (and later sugar), required that a new source for slave labour be utilised, and hence the requirement for African slaves.

That paragraph needs to be clarified. First, the Caribbean wasn't a great source of gold or copper mines at all; that was in the Spanish main. The more important mines were in Mexico and in the Andes, and in those regions slavery was superfluous, and marginal at most, because they had millions of native labour force.


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