3. Economics and Organisation

3. Economics and Organisation - Breaking the Silence...

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Breaking the Silence – Learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade www.antislavery.org/breakingthesilence 3. Economics and Organisation The earliest shipments of enslaved Africans The earliest known English slave trading voyages to Africa and America were the London-owned ships Salomon , Swallow and Jonas in 1562. The last known voyage was the Liverpool ship Kitty’s Amelia in 1807. In the intervening 245 years, over 11,000 other slaving voyages left from English ports to Africa for slaves, carrying some 3.3 million enslaved Africans from their homeland to the Americas. The numbers of enslaved Africans carried by English ships represented up to a third of all the Africans forcibly carried to the Americas during the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Initially the largest shippers of enslaved Africans were the Portuguese, who continued to carry slaves from Africa for almost half a century after the English outlawed their slave trade in 1807. But for a century and a half after 1660, the English were the main slave carriers in the western world. The other major carriers of slaves across the Atlantic were the French, the Dutch, the Spanish and, in 1783-1808, the Americans. The Triangular ‘Trade’ Most of the slavers – the ships that carried enslaved Africans – went from ports in Europe to Africa. Bristol, Liverpool, London and Nantes became major slave trading ports after the middle of the seventeenth century. After loading enslaved Africans at the Atlantic coast of Africa, ships from these ports went directly to the Americas, where they sold the African slaves who had survived the Atlantic crossing. This crossing was known as the Middle Passage . Most European ships ranged in size from 50 to 300 tons. Each carried between 200-450 enslaved Africans. On average, one in six slaves died during the Middle Passage. But in some cases many more Africans died from disease and shipboard rebellion, sometimes more than one in two slaves. After the surviving enslaved Africans had been sold in the Americas, ships returned to Europe, usually to the same port they had left from. This completed the ‘triangular’ voyage that the Transatlantic Slave Trade is now usually identified with. These voyages normally took between 12 and 18 months, much of the time was spent either in Africa collecting and enslaving Africans or in the Americas selling and recovering payment for them. The goods that slave ships brought back to Europe were sugar, tobacco, precious metals (or bullion), and African goods such as ivory, dyewoods, and gum. Numbers and losses on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing The numbers of Africans who died during the trans-Atlantic crossings were horrendous.
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This note was uploaded on 01/22/2010 for the course ECO 1101 taught by Professor Sparr during the Fall '05 term at St.Francis College.

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3. Economics and Organisation - Breaking the Silence...

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