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Why SS Africa became the main slave supplier?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2011 at 18:49
Wow! Thanks guys for keeping the discussion civil. I would just like to say that I feel very strongly "Both ways!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 13:32

To focus back to the subject of SS African slaves, and the reasons for their use. Despite the fact that Spain enacted the legislation in the New Laws of 1542 to prevent the enslavement/exploitation of the Amerind population and regulation of the encomienda system, in the decades immedialtely after first contact disease (especially smallpox) and the effects of enslavement on the native labour force took a heavy toll of the population hence prompting the need to replace the existing labour pool with slaves imported from Africa. Incidentally Spain did not directly trade on the West African Coast but would purchase slaves from Portuguese and English slave traders.

We should also state that whilst it is  clearly inaccurate to allege that any systematic amerindian genocide too place, the completely opposite view that the Conquistadores arrived with the Bible in one hand and a packet of boiled sweets in the other is also pushing the packet of reality a bit far. The colonial enterprise was essentially exploitative and so it is as disingeneous to gloss over the brutalities directed towards the native populations that accompanied the initial wave of conquest (1492 - 1540), as it is to overemphasise their scale as being akin to genocide   ...... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 14:49
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

To focus back to the subject of SS African slaves, and the reasons for their use. Despite the fact that Spain enacted the legislation in the New Laws of 1542 to prevent the enslavement/exploitation of the Amerind population and regulation of the encomienda system, in the decades immedialtely after first contact disease (especially smallpox) and the effects of enslavement on the native labour force took a heavy toll of the population hence prompting the need to replace the existing labour pool with slaves imported from Africa. Incidentally Spain did not directly trade on the West African Coast but would purchase slaves from Portuguese and English slave traders.


Again. Repeating the dogma learn at school, eh?
The only reason why Black slaves were imported to the Spanish Caribbean was because, unlike Indians, Blacks didn't have rights, and weren't under the protection of the crown. Also, unlike Portuguese, who had experience in Africa with colonies included, and had an ambiguos attitude towards blacks, Spaniards were very racist towards Africans.

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:


We should also state that whilst it is  clearly inaccurate to allege that any systematic amerindian genocide too place, the completely opposite view that the Conquistadores arrived with the Bible in one hand and a packet of boiled sweets in the other is also pushing the packet of reality a bit far. The colonial enterprise was essentially exploitative and so it is as disingeneous to gloss over the brutalities directed towards the native populations that accompanied the initial wave of conquest (1492 - 1540), as it is to overemphasise their scale as being akin to genocide   ...... 


Indeed. There is no excuses. All the point is that, as genetics show, the extermination of the Tainos in the Spanish Caribbean is false: they mixed with the Europeans. Even today in Cuba, 33% of the mtDNA is indigenous, and in PR the figure is higher. Even in DR, where Africans were brought in mass, and living besides Haiti, a country that invaded DR and contributes with an endless migration of black peoples (20% of DR are Haitians). No matter that, there the 15% of the people had Amerindian genetics. The lowest figure for all countries of Iberian America, but almost twice the figure detected in White Americas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 15:03
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

To focus back to the subject of SS African slaves, and the reasons for their use. Despite the fact that Spain enacted the legislation in the New Laws of 1542 to prevent the enslavement/exploitation of the Amerind population and regulation of the encomienda system, in the decades immedialtely after first contact disease (especially smallpox) and the effects of enslavement on the native labour force took a heavy toll of the population hence prompting the need to replace the existing labour pool with slaves imported from Africa. Incidentally Spain did not directly trade on the West African Coast but would purchase slaves from Portuguese and English slave traders.


Again. Repeating the dogma learn at school, eh?
The only reason why Black slaves were imported to the Spanish Caribbean was because, unlike Indians, Blacks didn't have rights, and weren't under the protection of the crown. Also, unlike Portuguese, who had experience in Africa with colonies included, and had an ambiguos attitude towards blacks, Spaniards were very racist towards Africans.

Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:


We should also state that whilst it is  clearly inaccurate to allege that any systematic amerindian genocide too place, the completely opposite view that the Conquistadores arrived with the Bible in one hand and a packet of boiled sweets in the other is also pushing the packet of reality a bit far. The colonial enterprise was essentially exploitative and so it is as disingeneous to gloss over the brutalities directed towards the native populations that accompanied the initial wave of conquest (1492 - 1540), as it is to overemphasise their scale as being akin to genocide   ...... 


Indeed. There is no excuses. All the point is that, as genetics show, the extermination of the Tainos in the Spanish Caribbean is false: they mixed with the Europeans. Even today in Cuba, 33% of the mtDNA is indigenous, and in PR the figure is higher. Even in DR, where Africans were brought in mass, and living besides Haiti, a country that invaded DR and contributes with an endless migration of black peoples (20% of DR are Haitians). No matter that, there the 15% of the people had Amerindian genetics. The lowest figure for all countries of Iberian America, but almost twice the figure detected in White Americas.
With regards to your first point. It is historical fact, not dogma. I refer you to the reference provided in my earlier post. African slaves started to be imported before the laws protecting the indigeneous populace were inacted, hence highlighting the need to fill the labour gap presented by the aforementioned reasons I presented.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 15:20
You shouldn't forget that the Spanish colones wanted licenses to import Blacks, and exagerated the demographic situation. It is also true that Las Casas exagerated as well. But don't forget that the European colones came without women to the Americas, so by the time this crisis happened, they were already monopolizing native women in the Spanish islands, beside the fact for a Spanish, a Christian native that spoke Spanish wasn't much "Indian" anymore. So not much "native" labour force was found there.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2011 at 15:54

^ But you have to ask yourself why there was such a demand?, and why would they 'exaggerate' the demographic situation?. The fundamental reason was that the population had been decimated in the decades after first contact, primarily by disease.The fact that amerinds were also enslaved through the encomienda system, also put a strain on the population due to overwork and brutality of their masters. Indeed, missioniaries in Dominica had highlighted the abuses of the 'native' population, and this was one of the reasons that eventially led to the inaction of the New Laws. The first slaves began to be imported in significant numbers in 1518 so this was a good two decades before the laws were brought into place. As for admixing, of course this prevalent ( between Spanish colones and native women) but the main labour force of male amerinds would have been hit hard in any case. Hence the need to supplement the labour force, especially in the context of mining, with slaves sourced from Afirica.



Edited by Tashfin - 14 May 2011 at 15:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 00:12
Why? Spaniards and others Europeans considered the Americas a place to produce money. In the Caribbean, because its climate and lack of minerals, the main source of revenues was the explotation of suggar, that required lot of manpower. A lot more than the historical populations of those regions, that were low to start with. You shouldn't forget, either, that the natives of those islands went regularly to South America, Yucatan and Florida, so I wonder how many just leave.
With respect to the explotation of people, indeed, the hardest hit were males, not only Amerindians but Africans as well. In Latin America, Native mtDNA is very common and majoritary almost anywhere, but European Y-Chromosomes are predominant. It is easy to see, then, what happened in historical times.

And for Africans was't different. You can see in the Caribbean that the proportion of mtDNA is a lot higher than the survival of African Y-Chromosomes. Now, if you consider that most of the Africans that came to the Americas were male, then you start to realize the magnitude of the genocide on Africans.

You should know that in the Spanish empire, Portuguese empires  and French Haiti blacks were treated with extreme brutality. I believe slaves in the U.S. were treated a lot better, by comparison.





Edited by pinguin - 15 May 2011 at 00:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 01:34
Originally posted by Tashfin Tashfin wrote:

To focus back to the subject of SS African slaves, and the reasons for their use. Despite the fact that Spain enacted the legislation in the New Laws of 1542 to prevent the enslavement/exploitation of the Amerind population and regulation of the encomienda system, in the decades immedialtely after first contact disease (especially smallpox) and the effects of enslavement on the native labour force took a heavy toll of the population hence prompting the need to replace the existing labour pool with slaves imported from Africa. Incidentally Spain did not directly trade on the West African Coast but would purchase slaves from Portuguese and English slave traders.

We should also state that whilst it is  clearly inaccurate to allege that any systematic amerindian genocide too place, the completely opposite view that the Conquistadores arrived with the Bible in one hand and a packet of boiled sweets in the other is also pushing the packet of reality a bit far. The colonial enterprise was essentially exploitative and so it is as disingeneous to gloss over the brutalities directed towards the native populations that accompanied the initial wave of conquest (1492 - 1540), as it is to overemphasise their scale as being akin to genocide   ...... 
 
As with all things, the Devil is in the detail and when one chooses to constrict a particular topic without respect for time lines one falls into the pit of misrepresentation. Living in the era that can best be described as the Apex of Bureaucracy and Systemic Law, one had best look very closely with respect to the how, because the Spanish Conquest of the Americas stands as the base for modern International Law. However, being a careful card player, I will choose to play the trump cards at the needed times; hence, here I will simply pose a question: Has anyone heard of or understands what is meant by the
Requerimiento?
 
Tashfin also made an assertion with respect to the Spanish and the slave trade that is a bit misrepresentative. It is essential here that one understand the function of the Casa de la Contratacion in Sevilla and the regularization of trade with the Americas by the mid-16th century. It is even more important to recognize that after 1580, the union of the Portuguese and Castillian crowns in the person of Philip II carried interesting implications, not least of which falls within the ambit of what had become known by then as the Asiento de Negros negotiated at Sevilla. As an introduction to this subject Wiki does perform a decent chore--essentially by giving breath to a respectable historian--C. Goslinga--as a source:
 
 
One simple point that has to be observed here is that the Spanish crown did not "purchase" any slaves at all, but that merchants "purchased" from the crown the right to conduct trade in which the "merchandise" involved were the slaves themselves. The records here are meticulous since such "trade" also involved the payment of taxes and duties at the ports of destination. The records are there, and as one would have it they clearly indicate that the isles of the Caribbean played a scant role as ports of destination in the 17th century much less the 16th. As for the English providing the Spanish any slaves at all in the 16th century, English bottoms were proscribed from the Americas--all non-Castillian vessels had to trade in Castille itself from the very beginning and they were even forbidden these ports by the 1560s. The situation in the 16th century does not tranfer into the 17th century, and by the 18th century all bets were off. Here is an interesting essay on the situation in the 18th century, where colonials themselves were re-writing matters for their own benefit:
 
 
With respect to the English--and in the Age of the Internet--go take a dip in British History On-Line and the extracts they regularly include from the Calendar of State Papers, here's a beginning:
 
 
All I am doing here is issuing a caution: Do not transfer conditions and realities of one period into that of another no  matter how comfortable the generalization might appear.
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 15 May 2011 at 01:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 01:52
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

And for Africans was't different. You can see in the Caribbean that the proportion of mtDNA is a lot higher than the survival of African Y-Chromosomes. Now, if you consider that most of the Africans that came to the Americas were male, then you start to realize the magnitude of the genocide on Africans.

You should know that in the Spanish empire, Portuguese empires  and French Haiti blacks were treated with extreme brutality. I believe slaves in the U.S. were treated a lot better, by comparison.
 
And here is another example evoking the pit of misrepresentation. As I hint, I will simply post a link:
 
 
An appeal to DNA is even equivocal, for example in both Cuba and Puerto Rico the vast majority of Blacks descend from 19th century ancestors introduced to the Americas and their genetic links rather forcefully affirm the connection. I do not wish to enter the realm of 1930s sociology as novel--for example as with Gilberto Freyre's Casa grande e senzala--nevertheless, here as in all else one has to understand the laws in place at given periods as well as the juridical structures governing the terms of servitude. After all of the palaver on Las Casas, perhaps it is time to play another trump card as a guide: Pedro Claver Corbelo.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 01:57
Good point. So you are saying that historically, the dramatic demographic shift of the Caribbean is from the 19th century and not before. However, you should remember that up to 1898, the Spanish Caribbean was still controlled by Spain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 02:41
Such is immaterial with respect to what conditions were in the 18th century much less the 16th. There was a drastic transformation in Cuban agrarian enterprise after the 1760s and even more sharp in the early decades of the 19th century that saw the consolidation of industrial slavery in the service of sugar and coffee, which would begin to unravel in the decades after the 1860s.
 
For further discussion:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 03:00
Interesting.
I wonder if in the far away future, when the U.S. become higly Hispanic, people would wonder if there was really a time when it was mainly Nordic. I mean, the Hispanic Caribbean become highly Africanized only at the 19th century, and people don't suspect there was a time when that ethnic group was irrelevant in those islands.


Edited by pinguin - 15 May 2011 at 03:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 13:22
Good points and input/clarifications drgonzaga. The Requierimiento was a declaration that the Spanish used to assert their sovereignty over the New World/Americas, and claimed that the Papal Bull of 1493 bestowed this right to the Spanish Crown. It was not a demand for conversion to Catholicism, but for the conquered populations to submit to Spanish rule and accept missionary preaching. Resistance to this demand would legitimise (or rather provide a loophole) to the enslavement of the subject population. This was, as I stated in my previous post, something that missionaries in Dominica (1510), and indeed Las Casas later, objected to as an abuse of the native population (and depending on your view exagerrated these abuses or otherwise), it was abolished by the Spanish Crown in 1556. The encomienda system, however, effectively institutionalised native slavery, prior to its regulation in the mid-16th century, and the New Laws of 1542, which extended protection to the indigeneous population. 
 
In terms of the discussion at hand, focusing on the period 1492-1600, the reasons for the import of African slaves have been attributed to:
 
-  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.
- 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 two are not mutually exclusive, (subject to an assessment of pre and post columbian demographics,  and their relevance to the areas under discussion). 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.
 
For example the first major shipment of African slaves (4000) arrived in 1518, thereafter thousands of slaves were imported to the Spanish colonies. Prior to this in 1509/10 the governor of Spain's caribbean colonies, Diego de-colon, had voiced his complaints about the suitability of Indian slaves (as an economic resource as opposed to any moral imperative, despite missionary opposition). This coupled with the effects of 'old world' disease and overwork on primarily the male amerind slaves, gave greater impetus for more cheap slave labour to support this flagging and diminishing labour force.


Edited by Tashfin - 15 May 2011 at 13:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 14:29
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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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2011 at 17:29

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 drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 00:29
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 - 16 May 2011 at 20:33
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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 01:35
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 Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 11:53
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 Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 13:14
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 13:16
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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 20:46
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 opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2011 at 21:26
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 Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 15:44

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 - 17 May 2011 at 15:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 17:39
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 pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 17:41
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 Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 18:47
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: 17 May 2011 at 19:03
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 opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2011 at 21:16
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 Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2011 at 18:22
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: 27 May 2011 at 21:59
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: 29 May 2011 at 15:16
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 - 29 May 2011 at 15:18
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