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New World - the Middle Passage

Autor:   •  February 10, 2018  •  Essay  •  440 Words (2 Pages)  •  304 Views

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When the Europeans found the ‘New World’, they were immediately attracted to the abundance of wealth due to the newly found natural resources. They found crops like gold, sugarcane, tobacco and silver which they thought could bring them riches. These colonists established mines and huge farms, called plantations, to take advantage of these natural resources. The downside to these plantations however, were that a huge amount of labor was needed to collect and process these raw materials. Initially, the Native Americans were used as a source of forced labor. However, the population eventually started to decrease and these colonists now realized that they had to look elsewhere for their labor force. Unlike these Native Americans, Africans were less likely to succumb to European diseases or to successfully hide after escaping. As early as 1502, Spanish colonists, transported the first black slaves to the Caribbean. The numbers of slaves started out small, but the growing demand led to an active slave trade in slaves from Africa to the Americas.

The Middle Passage was the journey on which these African slaves were transported to the Americas. The slaves were not kidnapped directly by the Europeans. There were middlemen in Africa who acquired captives from local rulers who happened to be prisoners of war or guilty of criminal activity. These rulers received things like cloth, weapons and liquor. These captives were chained and had to march thousand of miles where they had to wait in trading posts. At these posts, slaves were examined by the slave traders because they wanted strong, healthy men to do the strenuous work they had set out for them. Strong, young men were in high demand. The treatment aboard the ships had to be the most horrifying experience. The captives were crowded together, crammed in quarters below the ship’s deck. They were chained together and forced to lie on their backs to make as much room as possible for more to join. Due to the closeness


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