Atlantic Slave Trade

1471 Words6 Pages
Between 1500 and the 1860s it is estimated that over 12 million Africans were abducted from West Africa’s coast and forced to work fertile lands cultivating crops such as sugar, tobacco, rice and cotton which was part of what we know today as the Atlantic Slave Trade. This essay will discuss the main reasons that the Atlantic Slave Trade began, these reasons are; deep-rooted racial attitudes, religious attitudes towards slavery, the legal position on slavery, military needs, the British economy, and the labour shortages in the West Indies. While it can be suggested that the labour shortages were the most important reason in the rise of the Slave Trade, this essay will argue that the deep-rooted racial attitudes towards Africans was the key…show more content…
However they also realised that sugar was an incredibly difficult crop to grow because of the high temperatures, long hours and physical exertion needed which, unsurprisingly, lead to many Europeans not wanting to do the job – they required another solution. They initially enslaved the native population (Native Americans) but it became clear that this was not a permanent solution – the natives did not have the skills to farm and also began to contract diseases that the Europeans had brought with them such as measles and smallpox, so many Native Americans were literally worked to death. The next source of labour came from indentured servants who were men and women working for a specified amount of time, these were often criminals working for their freedom. However this also proved to be only a temporary solution due to the nature of the servants leaving after they had done their time. This left only one option in the minds of the Europeans; African slaves. It is apparent that the labour shortages in the West Indies played an important role in the development of the Atlantic slave trade and while it can be argued that this was the most influential reason for the enslavement of Africans – it’s hard to imagine that those in the sugar trade would have particularly cared who grew the sugar as long as the…show more content…
It is my belief that the racist attitudes towards Africans is the main cause of the growth and expansion of the slave trade because it can be argued that if Africans were white with no cultural differences, the slave trade simply would not have occurred because the Europeans would have had no reason to think of African civilisation as different and would therefore have no reasoning to enslave their
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