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The European traders reached the Atlantic Coast of Africa in the 15th Century in search of gold, ivory and a labor force. The Atlantic Slave trade started transporting the enslaved Africans via slave traders from Africa to the New World and Europe. However, this trade survived more than three centuries. A large number of people were enslaved and traded through different sea routes. A time arrived that the countries of the South Atlantic and Caribbean countries’ economies relied on the supply of labor for the production of crops, manufacture of goods and apparel that was sold to Europe. Over time the trade of slaves got stronger and started expanding throughout the Western World. The historians have identified several reasons for the development of Atlantic Slave Trade from the 15th century to the 18th century. However, this paper aims to study the factors of the development of the Slave Trade in an economic and social perspective. At the same time, it identifies the three most important factors that caused the expansion of Atlantic World Slave Trade.
One of the main factors for the Slave Trade was the greed of the Caribbean and Brazil entrepreneurs. In the 16th Century, it was noticed that the international market for sugar was increasing quickly. With the expansion of the market, the demand for slave labors also increased. When the Slave traders felt the need, they quickly grew the transportation of African slaves to the southern part of the New World. The massive demand for sugar all over the world made Brazil and the Caribbean to develop more industries and hire more slaves who were skilled to meet the demand for production (Davis, 104). It was the time when the slave owners emerged who were derived economically, and this economic motivation made them force their bounded slaves to work more. They used to push their slaves into harsh labor tasks in order to make a return on the money they invested on their slaves. Moreover, the food and homes were not provided to those slaves because it would increase the costs for their masters. As a result, slaves as forced labors were bearing all the complications. Slaves were treated like animals that the death rates of Slaves increased in the Caribbean. Moreover, the demand for refined sugar led to technological development in the 17th century.
The second most important factor could be the availability of African slaves at lower costs. When the death rates of slaves increased in the Caribbean, it was easier for the slave owners to buy new slaves from Africa to replace them because of lower prices (Davis, 110). People living in the Caribbean were more into making money and getting rich. Other than, sugar mills slaves were also needed for the cultivation and mining. Therefore, more number of salves were traded to Brazil, the Caribbean, and Spanish Colonies. In the 15th Century, the demand for skilled laborers also increased because of the displacement of the Moors. When the small African market could not satisfy the need, people were enslaved through wars and made them work when their families did not pay reparations. However, when European Traders felt that wars are not enough to provide slaves, they involved the African elites in the enslaving business, and it was more efficient for them. The Slave Traders would use all the possible ways to find more slaves from the coast of Africa. It is believed that most of the African slaves who were traded were kidnapped from the shores of Africa (Falconbridge, 13).
Likewise, the 3rd most factor of the development of the Slave Trade is the involvement of European Empires in the Slave trade. Initially, in the Atlantic System, the Portuguese and Spanish Empires were involved in the promotion of enslaved African trading. When Portuguese were doing the trade of slaves, the Spanish Empire would issue a license for the trade of Slaves to their colonies. This was one of the positive elements for the merchants to win the award of license and they got motivated to trade the slaves to the Spanish colonies. It was giving the initial Slave traders a monopoly during that era. Later on, Dutch, English and French traders also participated in the Slave trade (Falconbridge, 7). However, in the 17th century, the primary traders of enslaved Africans were English, Portuguese and French traders who were trading the slaves to colonies in the Caribbean and Brazil in order to build the economy through slaves. The slave business boosted in the 18th century.
In conclusion, a large number of people were enslaved and traded through different sea routes. A time arrived that the countries of the South Atlantic and Caribbean countries’ economies relied on the supply of labor for the production of crops, manufacture of goods and apparel that was sold to Europe. The Slave Trade started in the 15th-century boom in the 18th century. The three most important factors that caused the development of Atlantic World Slave Trade were the economic, availability of African slaves for lower prices and the promotion of slave trade by the European empires for the uplift of their colonies. During the 15th to 18th-century slaves were primary sources in the production of crops, manufacture of goods and apparel in the southern part of New World. In the 16th Century, it was noticed that the international market for sugar was increasing quickly. With the expansion of the market, the demand for slave labors also increased.
Davis, David B. Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
Falconbridge, Alexander. An account of the slave trade on the coast of Africa. J. Phillips, 1788.
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