The Atlantic slave trade was the traumatizing
and brutal migration of slaves from Africa to a variety of countries around the
world in the fifteenth century. Colonists decided to enslave close to twelve
million people due to the lack of labor. While slavery was used throughout the
New World, it was mostly seen in the southern colonies to provide labor for the
the beginning of slavery, in the fifteenth century, the Portuguese traded
material items for slaves from Africa which began the process of slavery in the
New World. During the Portuguese slave trade, slaves were more looked at as
indentured servants than slaves. Fast forward to the seventeenth century and
slaves were being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to provide labor to
colonists and Europeans. In the U.S. History textbook by Kevin Shultz, it
states that “as many as 12 million Africans were forced to cross the Atlantic…
and less than 5 percent of the total, came to the future United States “1 (76).
The slaves were treated terribly and kept in awful conditions on the ships.
Once they got to the New World, they were auctioned off and sent to work on
Enslavement is a
process containing the capture, middle passage, and adjustment stages. The
capture stage of enslavement was a brutal process that entailed taking young
children and adults away from everything they knew. They were chained together
and were forced on the bottom floor of a ship for several weeks. This meant
that a majority of them got severely sick and even resulted in death for some.
The middle passage stage was the stage in which they were being shipped across the
Atlantic. As I mentioned before, they were put in horrendous conditions that
caused sickness and death. Many of them were unable to communicate due to a
language barrier between them. The last stage was the adjustment to the New
World. The slaves were auctioned off to slave owners and sent to work on their
plantations. These stages led to the Triangular Trade which is described as a “pattern
of trade in which fish, grains, spices, sugar, ships, slaves, and gold were
traded between the New England colonies, England, southern Europe, the West
Indies, and Africa.”1 The triangular trade was made up of three
stages. The first one was the trade of slaves and manufactured goods. The
second was about the middle passage that was described above, and lastly, the
third stage was about Europeans gaining goods from providing countries and
colonies with slaves.
The most prominent
attitude that took place in the colonial legal system was the fact that slavery
was legal all throughout the New World. It was mostly common in the southern
colonies due to the higher demand for labor but the northern colonies also used
slaves until the United States made it illegal to import slavery, according to
the U.S. History textbook by Kevin Shultz.
1 Kevin M. Schultz, Hist4 (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth