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Impact of Transatlantic slave trade still being felt 400 years later

From 1619 to 2019

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Correspondent | 1/10/2019, midnight

At the conference, which took place over three months in Brazil beginning in February 1884 and attended by 13 European nations and the United Sates, ground rules were established to split Africa.

“Africans still are suffering the consequences,” said John W. Ashe, the president of the United Nations General Assembly:

“The Transatlantic slave trade … for 400 years deprived Africa of its lifeblood for centuries and transformed the world forever.”

There’s no question that legacies of the slave trade persist today in most of the countries Africans were taken to, said Ayo Sopitan, founder of Pendulum Technologies in Houston, Texas.

“I have been thinking about how Africans and the Diaspora need to get together – through proxies in the persons of recognized leaders – and have a conversation about the past, the role that African collaborators played and how we can unite as a people. Then, and only then will we be able to excel as a people,” Sopitan said.

“I have sat at lectures by Henry Gates and learned about blacks in the Americas. The conclusion is that wherever we are, blacks are usually at the bottom of the totem pole. This does not have to continue,” he said.

The transatlantic slave trade was an oceanic trade in African men, women, and children which lasted from the mid-sixteenth century until the 1860s. European traders loaded African captives at dozens of points on the African coast, from Senegambia to Angola and round the Cape to Mozambique. The great majority of captives were collected from West and Central Africa and from Angola, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – UNESCO.

The trade was initiated by the Portuguese and Spanish especially after the settlement of sugar plantations in the Americas, UNESCO officials noted in a 2018 web presentation titled, “Slavery and Remembrance.”

European planters spread sugar, cultivated by enslaved Africans on plantations in Brazil, and later Barbados, throughout the Caribbean.

In time, planters sought to grow other profitable crops, such as tobacco, rice, coffee, cocoa, and cotton, with European indentured laborers as well as African and Indian slave laborers. Nearly 70 percent of all African laborers in the Americas worked on plantations that grew sugar cane and produced sugar, rum, molasses, and other byproducts for export to Europe, North America, and elsewhere in the Atlantic world, according to UNESCO. Before the first Africans arrived in British North America in 1619, more than half a million African captives had already been transported and enslaved in Brazil.

By the end of the 19th Century, that number had risen to more than 4 million.

Northern European powers soon followed Portugal and Spain into the transatlantic slave trade. The majority of African captives were carried by the Portuguese, Brazilians, the British, French, and Dutch. British slave traders alone transported 3.5 million Africans to the Americas, UNESCO reported. The transatlantic slave trade was complex and varied considerably over time and place, but it had far-reaching and lasting consequences for much of Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia.