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The Transatlantic Slave Trade

The concept of slavery has existed for millennia. The way in which this concept would be executed has varied from region to region over time. The most recently world wide accepted form of slavery occurred a few centuries ago and was known as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

This particular phrase describes the forced capture of millions of African most of whom lived in communities along the eastern coasts. They were put into cramped ships and sailed to the New World which included North and South America as well as the various islands of the Caribbean.

The main purpose of this trade was economic. There were many plantations in the New World and the majority of the colonies no longer had large enough indigenous populations to enslave. They died out due to a combination of lack of resistance to European diseases and outright murder. The enslaved Africans were forced to grow cash crops for European colonies instead. These varied from sugar and cocoa in the West Indies to cotton and corn in the United States.

The conditions under which Africans in the colonies worked were not identical. In the Americas they managed to survive long enough to bear children who grew to adulthood some of the time. In some islands of the Caribbean, the brutality was so intense that new shipments of enslaved Africans were frequently needed to replace the ones who were worked to death by their captors.

The abuses meted out to enslaved people resulted in several revolts. The most successful of these occurred in Haiti and resulted in the creation of first Caribbean nation state. In combination with the decline in profits from many of the plantations, this led to the eventual abolition of the slave trade. While abolitionists were helpful in this, they were unlikely to have succeeded if an economic reason were not also obvious. They had attempted to stop the slave trade for many years prior with little or no success.

To this day, slavery exists illegally among people of all different races and ages. Most commonly, women and children are trafficked from one part of the world to another to be forced to work in brothels and homes as domestic workers. If nothing else has been learned from the Transatlantic Slave trade it is that all people should be given access to the freedom that they were born to enjoy. Until the day that this happens, the world will continue to harbor a grave injustice.

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