African Americans in the New World

Essay by riggie40University, Bachelor'sA+, January 2010

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Expanding land, growing plantations, and a sharp decline with the indentured servant brought Colonial Americas need for laborers to a peak during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Seeing that providing these needy colonies with laborers could in fact become very lucrative, European slave traders were quick with their provisions, Africans, and there was certainly no shortage of them. In fact, according to Taylor (2001, p. 323) the number of African slaves imported into the colonies during the eighteenth century alone was one and a half million, shockingly that number is more than three times that of free immigrants that landed on colonial soil during the same time frame. Whether due to the low cost of maintenance, the fact that Africans became slaves for life or the color of their skin, one thing is certain, it was slavery that brought African Americans into the New World.

During its peak, the life of an African slave began in Africa.

Through various raids and tribal wars African captors often kidnapped their fellow countrymen and marched them, while shackled by the neck, to slave factories on the west coast of Africa, at times the journey could exceed five hundred miles, needless to say not all of the prisoners made it to the coast alive (Taylor 2001). Once the prisoners arrived at these factories they were herded like cattle into small pens where they may stay for up to a year waiting to be bought or die (PBS n.d.). Those who survived, now slaves, were traded to slavers for guns, textiles, beads, and liquor, very seldom were they purchased with cash (Reich 2001).

Once the trade was concluded and the slaver received his slaves they were branded with a hot iron and taken on board ships where as many as three hundred slaves consisting of...