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5 enlightening facts about Atlantic slave trade

September 25 2014, 15:33pm

Posted by Guillaume

5 enlightening facts about Atlantic slave trade

In 1980, Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery. Unfortunately, there's a big (a huuuge) difference between official things and the daily reality. Indeed, we estimate that about 27 million person are currently enslaved around the world, maybe more...

 

1) Slave trade existed in Africa a longtime before Atlantic slave trade begins...

Some countries in the African continent had their own systems of slavery. People were enslaved as punishment for a crime, payment for a debt or as a prisoner of war, and children of enslaved people didn't automatically become slaves. However, African slavery was different from what was to come later.

 

2) ...but it was not the same at all
It was a sign of good reputation and honor if a slave owner treated his slaves with respect and kindness. The better you treated your slaves, the more honorable and highly regarded you were.

 

3) African slaves were not captured by European...they were sold !

Contrarily to what a great majorirty of persons think, African people were not caught like prisonners and sent in America (buy the way they were only a minority to go there, that's the next point). Indeed they were just prisonners (from war for example) sold for next to nothing by local chiefs.

5 enlightening facts about Atlantic slave trade

4) USA were just a marginal place of exchange

As I highlighted it in a previous post, the USA were far from being a major place to welcome slaves. On the 9,4 million slaves sold between 1514 and 1866, "only" 366 000 went to North America (ok that's huge but it represents 4% only). In comparison, 4,9 million slaves arrived in the Carribean and 3,5 in Brazil.

 

5) Slavery in Virginia was established by... a former slave

Slavery was officially established in Virginia in 1654, when Anthony Johnson, a black man, convinced a court that his servant (also black) John Casor was his for life. Well, technically Anthony Johnson wasn't a slave. He had been brought in Virginia a few years earlier as an "indentured servant" : he had to work to pay his debt (so, in the facts he was a slave) but he didn't officially belonged to anyone.

 

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