The slave trade was the largest forced movement of people in history. There are over 200 million people of African descent in the Americas. About 12.5 million slaves are estimated to have been embarked on ships. Many died, with only 10.7 million arriving in the Americas, and one in four slaving vessels failed to return to their homeport, victims of sea risks, rebellion and capture.
In the beginning of slavery in the New World, most (or at least many) of the forced laborers were Europeans bound by indentured servitude. That is, they agreed to be slaves for a set number of years in order for their master or seller to pay their fare to the Americas. After that time period, the servant would be free to go and work on their own if they hadn’t already been worked to death, as was sometimes the case.
Indentured servitude had its problems, though. For one, servants could escape quite easily and blend into the population. They’d look like most other poor settlers, and would be hard to pick out and find once they’d escape. Another thing I believe I remember (and take this with a grain of salt), is that indentured servants often lived outside the settlement’s walls which allowed them, once they gained freedom, to claim land (and therefore power) on the frontier. Once they gained their freedom, they’d have enough land such that they were actually more powerful in a sense than their former masters. This created tensions between the city-dwelling elites and the poor on the frontier, which materialized in the form of rebellions such as Bacon’s Rebellion, where Nathaniel Bacon led a force of Virginia poor farmers on Jamestown because of increased tensions with the Governor.
African slaves fixed these problems. For one thing, they could be easily picked out from the crowd if they ever got away. It was also much harder for them to organize rebellions or form alliances against their masters, because most spoke different languages and were from different tribes.
In the end, Africans made more sense for use in America. Indentured servitude was still used, but enslavement of Africans outgrew it.
While some people were taken during raids and wars, it was not the most common way for people to become enslaves, contrary to popular belief. One of the more common ways for people to become enslaved were to be sold off. For example, if a thief was caught in a village, the person would be sold to the slave traders by the elders. The elders would then use the money for the betterment of the community. Another example is for people who were unfaithful to their spouse. Women who had committed adultery could be sold off by their husbands. Another common way to be brought into slavery was to be sold, or “pawned” to settle debts. Children were often used to settle these debts.
Kidnapping is also a common way to be forced into slavery. Slave traders would often seek out children who were alone, or small groups of people who were traveling and ambush them. This forced people to have to travel in rather large, armed, groups to protect themselves. Although this is similar to war and raiding, it is at a much smaller scale. Children who were home alone while their parents were working were especially easy targets for the slave traders.
the slaves were transported from
This was the largest slave port in Africa. With 1.3 million sent. Mostly to Brazil. The first 19 slaves sent to America in 1619 came from this port.
Goree Island, Senegal
Ethnic groups that were taken
- Hausa Fulani 60 million
Hausa: 1. Easy going for the most part. But very volatile and prone to extreme violence, especially if they feel they have been crossed. 2. They can be very trusting of their kin and leaders to a fault. It is why northern Nigeria as a whole is such a stable united force. They will do virtually anything their leaders ask them too. You will be hard-pressed to find this trait amongst yorubas. 3. They cherish the simple things in life and generally tend to not aspire to very much. They are content with having a daily bread and wife(ves) to bed. They live their lives simply and would rather establish a relationship based on trust first. This is why they don’t like Ibos because they don’t feel they can be trusted.
Yoruba people of Nigeria 50 million
Places where Yoruba genes predominate = Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico
What are the Yoruba known for or Stereotypes
Yorubas: 1. Highly intelligent people and given to intellectual pursuits. If you see someone who has 5 degrees and speaks as if he received lectures from celestial beings, chances are that person is yoruba.
- Yoruba people can be lazy, and have a tendency to ascribe mundane life situations to spiritual control. You often hear things like “all fingers are not equal”, “we all have different paths to take”, the sky is big enough for everyone to do their own thing”.
- they love their life- too much. Yoruba people never want to fight for anything if it means someone may have to die. It is why they have taken a lot of the shit that Nigeria has to offer for so long. If Yoruba people decided to leave the union tomorrow, they could probably pull it off. But they won’t, because they love their lives so much.
- Yorubas like to party, and they are awesome musicians
3. Igbo of Nigeria 40 million
Where they predominate US, Trinidad, Barbados
An estimated 14.6% of slaves were taken from the Bight of Biafra between 1650 and 1900, the third greatest percentage in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.It is estimated that a total of 1.4 million Igbo people were transported (via European ships) across the Atlantic in the era of Atlantic slave trade. Most of these ships
Very enterprising, with an extraordinary drive to succeed financially in life. Ibo people will go ANYWHERE to get money. Most will do nearly ANYTHING to get money. Remember the returnees from Libya? I am willing to bet a finger that more than 70% of them are from southeastern Nigeria. Many don’t even know what desert look like, but they are willing to pass it if it means reaching a place with opportunity. This drive for individual achievement can make them cold and calculating. Almost manipulative in a sense. This is a major reason why Hausa people don’t like them. Family is very big for Ibos. And they have a ritualistic way about many aspects of their lives. Very heavy on tradition and ancestor stuff. Once they acquire wealth, they have a strong desire to show that they have made it. Hence, they have a tendency to be flamboyant at ceremonies. But they don’t have quite as many ceremonies as the Yorubas. Igbos are also known for being light skinned.
4. Ovimbundu people of Angola 11 million
It is estimated that, incredibly, there were more than 5 million slaves who came to the Western Hemisphere from Angola; more than half went to Brazil. Far fewer, in terms of absolute numbers, came to the U.S. In fact, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, of the 388,000 Africans who landed in the various ports in North America over the entire course of the slave trade, 24 percent, or about 93,000 of them, came from Angola. In other words, an African American has about a one in four chance of being descended from Angola.
Akan of Ghana 20 Million 10 percent
Where they Predominate Jamaica, Suriname
9. Mande people of Senegambia 13 million 6 percent of all slaves
Rice, the staple crop underpinning the early Carolina economy, was widely cultivated in West Africa, and planters commonly requested that merchants sell them slaves skilled in the complex process of rice cultivation. Slaves from Senegambia were particularly prized. The expertise of these slaves contributed to one of the most lucrative economies in the colonies. Senegambia was the fiercest in fighting the slave trade in West Africa. They were the first to outlaw slavery and the Europeans stopped going there after the 18th century.
From these Ports of Entry Africans received a new identity in instead of Nigerian, Angolan, Ghanaian, Beninese, Senegalese they would become Black Americans 1526, Black Brazilians, AfroColombian 1513, Haitian, Dominican 1502, Afro Cuban 1513, Jamaican 1518, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, etc.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. Baltimore. Maryland
3. Savannah, Georgia
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
Slave ports of Cuba
Slave port of Hispanolia
Slave port of Puerto Rico
Slave port of Jamaica
Slave ports of Colombia
Cartegena was largest slave port in Spanish speaking America
Slave ports of Brazil
1. Rio de Janeiro
2 million slaves arrived – Rio de Janeiro was the largest slave port in the history of the World
Who was responsible
Portuguese Colonies 39%
Sadly there no events to seriously commemorate these events