Africa and Atlantic World

by Emily and Nikita

Social Effects of Slave Trade

The Atlantic Slave trade alone deprived African societies of about sixteen million individuals, in addition to several million consumed by the continuing islamic slave trade during the early modern era. West African societies between Senegal and Angola were especially vulnerable to slave raiding because of their proximity to the most active slave ports. The slave trade also distorted African sex ratios, since approximately 2/3 of the exported slaves were males.
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Political Effects of Slave Trade

Besides its demographic toll, the slave trade, and the Africans' resistance to it, led to profound social and political changes. Social relations were restructured and traditional values were subverted. The slave trade resulted in the development of predatory regimes, as well as stagnation or regression. Many communities relocated as far from the slavers' route as possible. In the process, their technological and economic development was hindered as they devoted their energy to hiding and defending themselves.

The disruption was immense: the relationships between kingdoms, ethnic groups, religious communities, castes, rulers and subjects, peasants and soldiers, the enslaved and the free, were transformed. In some decentralized societies, people evolved new styles of leadership that led to more rigid, hierarchical structures, thought to better ensure protection.

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Plantation System

Beginning in the 1530s, portuguese entrepreneurs organized plantations in brazil, and by the early 17th century English, Dutch, and French plantations has also appeared in the caribbean and the americas. Many of the plantations produced sugar, which was one of the most lucrative cash crops of early modern times. During the 17th century, tobacco rivaled sugar as a profitable product. Rice also became a major cash crop, as did indigo. By the 18th century cotton and coffee had begun to emerge.
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Some form of slave resistance was mild but costly to slave owners. Slaves often worked slowly for their masters but diligently in their own gardens. They sabotaged plantation equipment or work routine. A more serious form of resistance involved running away. The most dramatic for of slave resistance was the slave revolt. slaves would organize and overwhelm their masters because they were larger in number. The Often led to widespread death and destruction.
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