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Why SS Africa became the main slave supplier?

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    Posted: 08 May 2011 at 14:37
Consider the 15th century world. Slaves could be bought in several parts of the world: slavs from Eastern Europe, Moors, Arabs, Turks and other political enemies of Europe, prisoners of war from the local European wars.
Why then Subsaharan Africa become the main supplier of slaves? Wouldn't have been cheaper to bring Moors, Jews, Turks and others people in conflict to the Americas?

Another related question. Subsaharan Africa exported many goods to the Mediterranean in ancient times: salt, gold, ivory, skins, etc., but suddenly the export of slaves become the main source of revenue for the region. Why?




Edited by pinguin - 08 May 2011 at 15:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2011 at 19:35
a) Slaves for the New World plantation were specifically required to be able to work in hot hukid conditions. Moreover only in Africa were local rulers willing to sell their subjects or prisoners as slaves so you didn't have to fight wars or anything. Also Africa was physically closer.
 
b) Slaves from Africa were continuously exported from atleast Roman times onward, especially to the Middle East. They didn't startbeing exported to America until people knew America was there. Seems rather obvious that they wouldn't be exporting slaves to the Americas before 1492 at the earliest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2011 at 20:31

I second Graham and add that unlike SS African tribal chiefs, the Moors, Turks and others would probably retaliate in style. This was actually why the barbary pirates began in the first place.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 01:44
I actually believe that Pinguin did something that probably many of us have done in the past (except one) that is mean to say "the 1500's", which is the 16th century, and instead write "15th century!"

So, I will give him the benefit of the doubt!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 01:51
Nope. The explotation of Black African slaves by Europeans started ealy in the 15th centurym when Henry the Navigator started the exploration of the sea coasts of that continent.

Some events

1441

  • 1441: Start of European slave trading in Africa. The Portuguese captains Antão Gonçalves and Nuno Tristão capture 12 Africans in Cabo Branco (modern Mauritania) and take them to Portugal as slaves.

1444

  • 1444: Lançarote de Freitas, a tax-collector from the Portuguese town of Lagos, forms a company to trade with Africa.
  • 8 August 1444: de Freitas lands 235 kidnapped and enslaved Africans in Lagos, the first large group of African slaves brought to Europe.

1450

1452

  • 1452: Start of the 'sugar-slave complex'. Sugar is first planted in the Portuguese island of Madeira and, for the first time, African slaves are put to work on the sugar plantations.
  • 18 June 1452: Pope Nicholas V issues Dum Diversas, a bull authorising the Portuguese to reduce any non-Christians to the status of slaves.

1454

  • 8 January 1454: Pope Nicholas V issues Romanus Pontifex, a bull granting the Portuguese a perpetual monopoly in trade with Africa. Nevertheless, Spanish traders begin to bring slaves from Africa to Spain.

1461

  • 1461: The first of the Portuguese trading forts, the castle at Arguin (modern Mauritania), is completed.

1462

  • 1462: The Portuguese colony on the Cape Verde Islands is founded, an important way-station in the slave trade.
  • 1462: Portuguese slave traders start to operate in Seville (Spain)

1470

  • 1470s: Despite Papal opposition, Spanish merchants begin to trade in large numbers of slaves in the 1470
So, slavery was already in place in the middle of the 15th century, a lot of time before that people was brought to the Americas.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 04:53
Stay away from Africa Penguin your knowledge of its geography is abysmal. Mauritania is still the Maghreb and Ras Nouadhibou is Cabo Branco. As expected you run across a web site and any acuity you might possess with respect to critical reading goes out the window! Naturally, you are also up to your own tricks and do not reveal the source for your antics with chronology. As for your liberty with usage, such as "sugar plantations" in Madeira, you really do not have even the slightest grasp of that island's colonization history between 1419 and 1450. Coflating traditional Mediterranean practices with what eventually became the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Blacks from the Gulf of Guinea and the Congo Basin is both artful and deceptive.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 12:06
pinguin, no-one denied that slaves were being taken out of sub-Saharan Africa before 1492. In fact al Jassas and I both specifically agreed they were. It wouldn't surprise me if Nubians were exported from ancient Egypt into the middle east. They were certainly captured and kept as slaves in Egypt itself.
 
So all that stuff about the Portuguese in the 15th century (while accurate enough, afaik) is basically irrelevant becaus it had been going on for a long time before that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 13:46
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Naturally, you are also up to your own tricks and do not reveal the source for your antics with chronology.  
 
It seems that Pinguins source is this timeline:
 


Edited by Carcharodon - 09 May 2011 at 13:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 14:22
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Stay away from Africa Penguin your knowledge of its geography is abysmal. Mauritania is still the Maghreb and Ras Nouadhibou is Cabo Branco. As expected you run across a web site and any acuity you might possess with respect to critical reading goes out the window! Naturally, you are also up to your own tricks and do not reveal the source for your antics with chronology. As for your liberty with usage, such as "sugar plantations" in Madeira, you really do not have even the slightest grasp of that island's colonization history between 1419 and 1450. Coflating traditional Mediterranean practices with what eventually became the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Blacks from the Gulf of Guinea and the Congo Basin is both artful and deceptive.  


If you are the expert in the topic, illuminate us with your impresive knowledge, please.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 14:25
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

pinguin, no-one denied that slaves were being taken out of sub-Saharan Africa before 1492. In fact al Jassas and I both specifically agreed they were. It wouldn't surprise me if Nubians were exported from ancient Egypt into the middle east. They were certainly captured and kept as slaves in Egypt itself.
 
So all that stuff about the Portuguese in the 15th century (while accurate enough, afaik) is basically irrelevant becaus it had been going on for a long time before that.


First, there is no evidence of Trans-Saharan slave trade in ancient times. In fact, when the Phoenicians working for Egypt reached subsaharan Africa for the first time, they were surprised to find black people Confused...
But you are right that the Trans-Saharan slave trade started in the Middle Ages with the Arabs, a lot time before the Europeans entered that business.

But the point is other. Why SS Africans, among all other peoples in the Old World, specialized in the commerce of people?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 14:40
Your last point has already been fully answered. If you didn't like the answer (from me and al Jassas) then tell us why.
 
Black people had been known in Egypt pretty well for as long as we have records. For instance http://wysinger.homestead.com/nubians2.html so whether any particular Phoenicians were surprised to come across them seems unlikely, and at best irrelevant.
 
They weren't necessarily slaves of course, but Egypt certainly took slaves as tribute from Kush and Meroe and if they weren't Nubian, they must have been conquered people from further south or possibly south-west.  
 
You overlook thatthe main way for slaves to come from sub Saharan Africa northwards is not by crossing the Sahara, but down the Nile, or over the Horn of Africa.
 
Nubians were not
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2011 at 14:43
You are confusing things. Nubians and Ethiopians were known in the Ancient World, under the common label of Ethiopians, but they weren't slaves; at least not in mass. At most a Roman would met once in a while an Ethiopian traders.
But the large Trans-Saharan slave trade was developed by the Arabs, after they took control of the Maghreb.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2011 at 00:23
No one is confusing the factual here, Penguin, except you who somehow does not wish to read the historical documents with a critical eye. Had you bothered to read any of the Papal Bulls--either Ilius Qui (1442), Dum Diversus (1452) and Romanus Pontificus (1455)--you would note that in a sense they are papal absolution for Christian states to engage in an established practice with respect to the problematics of Islamic expansion and the defense of Christendom, hence Portugal and later Castille had sanction
to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery 
 
The quote from Romanus Pontificus clearly defines the exigencies involved, but to premise such as the principal reason for the Portuguese thrust into the Gulf of Guinea as the creation of a massive trade in Black slaves in the 15th century is not only erroneous but simply serves to misinform, first about the nature of Portuguese colonization in the Atlantic islands and second to the actual role of Sao Jorge da Mina de Ouro and other entrepots not established until very late in that century: post 1482. This entrepot and its fortifications were consolidated to protect the Portuguese traders in their search for the principal commodity sought: gold! In effect the Portuguese were disrupting the traditional route of the African kingdoms North through the Sahara and directing them South to their outposts. It was gold not slaves that drove the Portuguese who by the reign of D. Manuel were transporting some 25,000 ounces yearly. Perhaps you should brush up on the Capuccin archives in Rome so as to understand the proper timelines as well as the specific region where people rather than merchandise became the principal commodity as well as understand that even during the Dutch period (after 1637), the Europeans were principally "middlemen" to the African kingdoms of the interior. A change in this pattern does not surface with respect to the Portuguese until the 16th century, and especially after the 1560s with respect to O Reino do Kongo. By the way even after the Islamic intrusion into the Maghreb the principal commodity flowing North was gold or did you not know the principal impetus behind the Portuguese seizure of Ceuta in 1415?


Edited by drgonzaga - 10 May 2011 at 00:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2011 at 00:43
By the way, Penguin, you should read the material on Lancarote de Freitas more carefully, specially the nature of the "slaves" seized in 1444. They were Berbers! It is now becoming increasingly embarrassing having to compare your efforts to the information encapsulized by even Wiki!
 
 
Perhaps you should read up on the books by George Winius, Bailey Diffie and John Vogt with respect to Elmina--
 
Foundations of the Portuguese Empire 1415-1580
Portuguese Rule on the Gold Coast 1469-1682
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2011 at 03:11
Interesting oppinion, doc. I accept you know more than myself in THIS topic. That's why I opened the thread with questions. Please, let me know more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2011 at 19:55
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:




No one is confusing the factual here, Penguin, except you who somehow does not wish to read the historical documents with a critical eye. Had you bothered to read any of the Papal Bulls--either Ilius Qui (1442), Dum Diversus (1452) and Romanus Pontificus (1455)--you would note that in a sense they are papal absolution for Christian states to engage in an established practice with respect to the problematics of Islamic expansion and the defense of Christendom, hence Portugal and later Castille had sanction
to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens, and other
enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms,
principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods
whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual
slavery 
 
The quote from Romanus Pontificus clearly defines the exigencies involved, but to premise such as the principal reason for the Portuguese thrust into the Gulf of Guinea as the creation of a massive trade in Black slaves in the 15th century is not only erroneous but simply serves to misinform, first about the nature of Portuguese colonization in the Atlantic islands and second to the actual role of Sao Jorge da Mina de Ouro and other entrepots not established until very late in that century: post 1482. This entrepot and its fortifications were consolidated to protect the Portuguese traders in their search for the principal commodity sought: gold! In effect the Portuguese were disrupting the traditional route of the African kingdoms North through the Sahara and directing them South to their outposts. It was gold not slaves that drove the Portuguese who by the reign of D. Manuel were transporting some 25,000 ounces yearly. Perhaps you should brush up on the Capuccin archives in Rome so as to understand the proper timelines as well as the specific region where people rather than merchandise became the principal commodity as well as understand that even during the Dutch period (after 1637), the Europeans were principally "middlemen" to the African kingdoms of the interior. A change in this pattern does not surface with respect to the Portuguese until the 16th century, and especially after the 1560s with respect to O Reino do Kongo. By the way even after the Islamic intrusion into the Maghreb the principal commodity flowing North was gold or did you not know the principal impetus behind the Portuguese seizure of Ceuta in 1415?



The above post is great. I really appreciate the devices that the good Doctor is able to present us almost in a few minutes, etc..

But, if I may become some what controversial, in just what period, other than those ancient time periods of Roman or pre-Roman periods whereby, it was reported that "slaves" were used to row "galleys", into the seas and into battle. Heck, even Ben Hur, was a "galley slave!" I would presume to state that even the Phoenicians used slaves to row their Galleys? Were slaves used to row the galleys of the Heruli? How about the galleys of the so called Vikings?

NO, it seeems that most information concerning the use of slaves to row such ships, happened much nearer to our common era.

The "middle" and "Late" Middle ages might well describe the epogee of this practice?

Your views.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2011 at 20:58
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

But, if I may become some what controversial, in just what period, other than those ancient time periods of Roman or pre-Roman periods whereby, it was reported that "slaves" were used to row "galleys", into the seas and into battle. Heck, even Ben Hur, was a "galley slave!"
Ben Hur is set in the Roman period: not in 'other than those ancient time periods of Roman ...' 
Quote
I would presume to state that even the Phoenicians used slaves to row their Galleys? Were slaves used to row the galleys of the Heruli? How about the galleys of the so called Vikings?
The Vikings not. The Phoenicians on occasion, rather like the Romans and the Greeks. I don't know that the Heruli had any significant naval or commercial fleets. Much depends on whether you mean fighting vessels (in which case probably not) or commercial ones (in which case more likely). 
Quote
NO, it seeems that most information concerning the use of slaves to row such ships, happened much nearer to our common era.

The "middle" and "Late" Middle ages might well describe the epogee of this practice?
The apogee of the practice comes well after the middle ages, in the 16th-17th and even 18th centuries. France for instance only started sending felons to the galleys as slaves in the mid-17th century.
 
(I'm referring to the Mediterranean and other European waters here. I don't know about the practices in India/China, thogh I don't think the use of galley was particularly developed there.)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 02:38
Thanks for your support in the above response Graham! It is a most gracious pleasure to have you upon my side for a change!

Concerning Al Jasses', responses, he also holds a title quite next to you in my support, since he brings into the conversation the actions of those personages with whom he identifies as the "barbary pirates!"

I would suggest to all, that these people seemed to hold the entire Med. area within their hands for a multiple of hundreds of years.

What is always apparent in this area, at least to me, are those powers who mostly did the same thing hundreds of years earlier, or perhaps a thousand years or more!

But that is but me.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 18:20
The point has already been addressed by gcle and al-jassas, but just my twopence here:
 
In sub-saharan Africa, or more precisely the  west african coastal areas  and near-hinterland, not only were local rulers (such as  the Dahomey state and its predecessors) willing to sell slaves to European slave traders participating in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, but these coastal states and tribal structures were not as organsied or as 'technologically advanced' (relatively speaking for the period) as to be able to confront them, as say the Barbary states and their sponsors the Ottoman Empire, and vice versa. Hence the flow of slaves in the Mediterannean was usually in the context of the spoils of war (e.g. galley slaves) , privateering and piracy, between relatively organised and hostile structures, whilst in sub-saharan Africa, the European traders could, to put it crudely get more 'bang for their buck'.
 
Also, black African slaves were seen as better workers for the sugar plantations in the hot climes of the Caribbean, the indigineous natives were either deemed unsuitable or had been exterminated by 'old world' viruses. Hence the drive to harvest slaves from the West African coast.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kirghiz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 19:20
Cheaper and closer!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 21:14
Also, a lot easier to control. Berbers and other foreigners could hide among the general population. For Africans was a lot more difficult to "pass".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 21:20
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Also, black African slaves were seen as better workers for the sugar plantations in the hot climes of the Caribbean, the indigineous natives were either deemed unsuitable or had been exterminated by 'old world' viruses. Hence the drive to harvest slaves from the West African coast.


Wild fantasy. It is very clear, at least in the Hispanic colonies, that Africans were imported to spare from suffering to Natives. Las Casas proposed to introduce Africans for that reason, actually. The mortality of Africans in the Caribbean in the plantations was very high, but the supply of slaves was continuous.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 21:23
To answer Pinguin's second point about the trade's existence before modern times well the answer is in the good old demand/supply laws.
 
The capital costs to transfer SS slaves either across the desert or through the oceans to either the middle east or europe was high compared with the actual demand for both labour and domestic servants and especially in the latter catagory. An african slave was just as good for domestic service as a white or an Asian person and since there was ample supply for those slaves and at a much reduced cost the need to import slaves was nullified.
 
Then there was the labour side of things and here too things were not good for slave traders. In the middle east and europe there was a massive supply of cheap labour who were either indentured servants or acted as serfs. These people were practically slaves in all but name and remained in europe until the 1800s. Although slavery was cheaper in the long term certain legal and social problems made mass importation of slaves from SS Africa or from other places for that matter difficult. This was brutally demonstrated during the massive Zinj rebellion in Iraq in the first half of the 9th century. The mass importation of African slaves coupled with the fuedalisation of land (local farmers were tenants of the state no a fuedal lord) lead to a civil war that lasted for decades and was a direct result for the sharp decrease of the Arabian sea slave trade.
 
With the conquest of the America's a new reality forced itself upon the conquerors. Already the legal and moral justification for slavery was solidified with the papal bulls mention earlier by the good doctor. Spain/Portugal, the two countries that for over 100 years pioneered colonisation and were the model for the rest of europe for how to (and of course how not to) colonise the Americas, barely had enough resources to conquer the continent and keep the peace and not enough people or colonial subjects to actually exploit the riches especially after the severe outbreaks of diseases that killed millions and then the expulsion of the jews and then the moors which was additional reasons for people to stay put and not leave. African slaves were the best option. Already they have proven themselves elsewhere (East Africa and Portugal's gold coast holdings), they were cheap to get and cheap to transport and easier to control once they were in a foreign land than the natives of that land.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 22:22
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Also, black African slaves were seen as better workers for the sugar plantations in the hot climes of the Caribbean, the indigineous natives were either deemed unsuitable or had been exterminated by 'old world' viruses. Hence the drive to harvest slaves from the West African coast.


Wild fantasy. It is very clear, at least in the Hispanic colonies, that Africans were imported to spare from suffering to Natives. Las Casas proposed to introduce Africans for that reason, actually. The mortality of Africans in the Caribbean in the plantations was very high, but the supply of slaves was continuous.
Hardly fantasy. Refer to this extract from wiki on labour slavery in the Caribbean:
 
The Atlantic Slave Trade was the result of, among other things, labor shortage, itself in turn created by the desire of European colonists to exploit New World land and resources for capital profits. Native peoples were at first utilized as slave labor by Europeans, until a large number died from overwork and Old World diseases.[46]
 
 
It is undeniable therefore that the effect of viruses such as smallpox that decimated the native Carib Indians had a major effect on the labour pool that the colonists could rely on for working the plantations, hence it was one of the drivers for the sourcing of slaves from West Africa and the development of the trans-atlantic trade.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 23:05
Tashfin, it is dangerous to homogenize History and its chronology by speaking in generalities that disrespect the physicial boundaries of time and push back in time phenomena that arose much later. In the Caribbean itself the notion of vast sugar plantations dependent upon large importation of slaves is a phenomenon of the 18th century. The principal role of the major islands held by the Spanish [e.g. Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico] was abastecimiento (that is to say supply) of the annual fleets and the defensive coast guard (Guarda Costa and Avisos). Consequently, the major economic activity was ranching and farming and that perspective prevailed well into the mid-18th century. After 1696 and the consolidation of Saint Domingue by the French, one may speak of plantations [both sugar and coffee] integrated to slave labor but as you can see we are once again discussing an 18th century phenomenon. Yes, there is the experience of Brazil, where sugar plantations were consolidated and expanded in the years after 1580 in association with production (and where the Dutch adapted to the pattern after 1630) but if we are going to address slave labor in the context of Spanish America, we have to address mining and not agriculture. Did you know that one of the principal factors that impeded the development of sugar as an export commodity prior to the middle years of the 17th century was a shortage of copper! Study the history of copper mining at Falun in Sweden so as to explain the ins-and-outs of this essential metal as a commodity required  for the production of sugar in huge quantities.  If one studies the economic decretals of the early 17th century Spanish Habsburg monarchy with respect to copper, you would be in for a surprise.

Edited by drgonzaga - 11 May 2011 at 23:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 23:06
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

[
It is undeniable therefore that the effect of viruses such as smallpox that decimated the native Carib Indians had a major effect on the labour pool that the colonists could rely on for working the plantations,


It was an infection indeed, a disease, which killed the natives. But that wasn't bacteria or virus. That infection was the Europeans Cry


Edited by pinguin - 11 May 2011 at 23:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2011 at 23:42
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Tashfin, it is dangerous to homogenize History and its chronology by speaking in generalities that disrespect the physicial boundaries of time and push back in time phenomena that arose much later. In the Caribbean itself the notion of vast sugar plantations dependent upon large importation of slaves is a phenomenon of the 18th century. The principal role of the major islands held by the Spanish [e.g. Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico] was abastecimiento (that is to say supply) of the annual fleets and the defensive coast guard (Guarda Costa and Avisos). Consequently, the major economic activity was ranching and farming and that perspective prevailed well into the mid-18th century. After 1696 and the consolidation of Saint Domingue by the French, one may speak of plantations [both sugar and coffee] integrated to slave labor but as you can see we are once again discussing an 18th century phenomenon. Yes, there is the experience of Brazil, where sugar plantations were consolidated and expanded in the years after 1580 in association with production (and where the Dutch adapted to the pattern after 1630) but if we are going to address slave labor in the context of Spanish America, we have to address mining and not agriculture. Did you know that one of the principal factors that impeded the development of sugar as an export commodity prior to the middle years of the 17th century was a shortage of copper! Study the history of copper mining at Falun in Sweden so as to explain the ins-and-outs of this essential metal as a commodity required  for the production of sugar in huge quantities.  If one studies the economic decretals of the early 17th century Spanish Habsburg monarchy with respect to copper, you would be in for a surprise.
 
Thanks for the detail drgonzaga. I was using a particular (plantation slavery) to highlight a general. .The main drift of my post was that in the first instance the impact of the Conquista on the indigineous peoples (including the spread of old world viral infections) impacted negatively on the colonists labour pool. This was one of the factors for the initiation of the trans-atlantic trade, and access to African Slave labour. No doubt as some of the phenomena you mentioned of plantation slavery (sugar/coffee) developed later, the driver was obviously cheaper costs and higher margins (for example in the triangular trade), since the presence or otherwise of these native populalations was no longer a key factor.


Edited by Tashfin - 12 May 2011 at 12:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2011 at 01:41
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Thanks for the detail drgonzaga. I was using a particular (plantation slavery) to highlight a general. .The main drift of my post was that in the first instance the impact of the Conquista on the indigineous peoples (including the spread of old world viral infections) impacted negatively on the colonists labour pool.


That's a simplification of reality. In the Spanish Caribbean colonies the reason for the introduction of slaves wasn't the lack of indigenous manpower. The reason was the restriction that the crown put to the explotation of natives after Las Casas trial. Blacks were imported because the laws that protected the Indians didn't cover Africans. Confused And that was also the reason of the huge number that were brought to the Caribbean.

And Drgonzaga is right in the timing. Trans-atlantic slavery is a phenomenon of the 18th century, a time when most of the population of the Spanish caribbean was already admixed.




Edited by pinguin - 12 May 2011 at 01:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2011 at 12:14
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Thanks for the detail drgonzaga. I was using a particular (plantation slavery) to highlight a general. .The main drift of my post was that in the first instance the impact of the Conquista on the indigineous peoples (including the spread of old world viral infections) impacted negatively on the colonists labour pool.


That's a simplification of reality. In the Spanish Caribbean colonies the reason for the introduction of slaves wasn't the lack of indigenous manpower. The reason was the restriction that the crown put to the explotation of natives after Las Casas trial. Blacks were imported because the laws that protected the Indians didn't cover Africans. Confused And that was also the reason of the huge number that were brought to the Caribbean.

And Drgonzaga is right in the timing. Trans-atlantic slavery is a phenomenon of the 18th century, a time when most of the population of the Spanish caribbean was already admixed.


No, it is part of the reality. Before the Spanish Crown enacted legislation to prevent Indian enslavement, indigenous labour was heavily exploited, hence the impact of overwork and disease had severely depleted the  local labour force , before the laws were put in place to extend protection to the native populations and slavery restricted to Africans. So as I stated 'in the first instance' in my post, this was an important driver for the import of African slaves. Just for reference here is a wiki reference:
 
As for trans-atlantic slavery being a phenomenon of the 18th century. This is not accurate. The trade was initiated in the early 16th century with Spain and Portugal ramping up the number of slaves imported from Africa through this period, until the arrival of Dutch (& French) and English slave traders who slowly began to dominate the trade. The extensive use of plantation slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries (sugar/coffee plantations) gave greater impetus to the trans-atlantic trade, and in the case of England (and later Great Britain) the 'triangular trade'. So the trans-atlantic trade can be said to have been a phenomena spanning this period(16th -19th century).
 
 


Edited by Tashfin - 12 May 2011 at 12:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2011 at 12:23
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

Also, black African slaves were seen as better workers for the sugar plantations in the hot climes of the Caribbean, the indigineous natives were either deemed unsuitable or had been exterminated by 'old world' viruses. Hence the drive to harvest slaves from the West African coast.


Wild fantasy. It is very clear, at least in the Hispanic colonies, that Africans were imported to spare from suffering to Natives. Las Casas proposed to introduce Africans for that reason, actually. The mortality of Africans in the Caribbean in the plantations was very high, but the supply of slaves was continuous.
 
The import of slaves from Africa was not only for reasons of sparing the natives out of humanitarian reasons, that is mostly a way of trying to beautify reality.
 
The brutal fact is that the death toll among the natives was so high that it was neccesary to replace them with African slaves.
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