HST Essay Version 2.0

HST Essay Version 2.0 - 1 Question #1 Africa: The...

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1 Question #1 Africa: The Manipulation of an Entire Continent By the seventeenth century, Africa became a major point of trade in the triangle which was the Atlantic system. Many exotic exports were shipped across the world, but the major export which was shipped to the New World and played a major role in the colonization was the slave trade. Slaves were needed in the New World to grow new cash crops that took a precedent in the developing colonies. I believe that the slave trade undoubtedly wrote the course of history and by allowing for the expansion of European philosophy and influence to two new continents by strengthening the great powers of Europe of that time. It caused a decline of any major power in Africa due to manipulation and dissension caused by the Portuguese beginning the slave trade. Interest in Africa began in the fifteenth century when Prince Henry of Portugal (otherwise known as Henry the Navigator) became curious about the riches and the empires that supposedly lie underneath the Sahara desert. Henry was motivated by two factors, first was to find a new ally in combating the rise of Islam and the power of the Ottomans in Mediterranean trade. The second one was to find a new trading partner to ultimately monopolize all trade with the kingdoms found there. The reason why Henry wanted to form new allies for a crusade against the Ottomans and Islam is because of the rising power of the two. By the fifteenth century, the Ottomans played a major role in the world, controlling the Western side of the Mediterranean as well as most of Northern Africa. The Portuguese feared that they would lose priceless trade to the Ottomans and what the Europeans believed the Ottoman’s “inferior” religion. This dissension between the two was not new, and the two Iberian kingdoms (Spain and Portugal) often went into quarrels as well as war with each other countless times in history, dating back to the eighth century 1 . This is issue prompted Henry to seek new alliances within Africa 1 .
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2 Portugal’s view of Africa is somewhat understandable, since Henry and the monarchs of the country were only trying to expand their influence to other countries and strengthen their foreign trade. Since the Ottomans, their bitter rivals, controlled the Western part of the Mediterranean, Portugal could not benefit from trade coming out of Asia. However, the means by which the Portuguese allied themselves with the Western African rulers involved injecting Christianity into the West African culture and taking advantage of the various African countries, and the ways the Europeans achieved the alliances
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HST Essay Version 2.0 - 1 Question #1 Africa: The...

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