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HIST311: The Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1500-1900

Unit 1: Origins of The Atlantic Slave Trade   Slavery existed in Africa long before European contact. In fact, slavery within African societies and slave trade routes across the Sahara Desert, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean had been in place for centuries. However, the beginning of the European-dominated Atlantic slave trade in the 16th century had a new and profound impact on African peoples. In all, historians estimate that approximately 12 million Africans were transported to the New World through the Atlantic slave trade.
      
That the Atlantic World and the Atlantic slave trade both emerged in the 1500s was not a coincidence. European empires that sought to explore and colonize territories in the New World also attempted to forge lucrative commercial networks in the Atlantic littoral (the regions that touched the Atlantic Ocean). Gradually, a triangular trade came to define the Atlantic World; ships departed from Europe, sailed to western Africa to trade, embarked to the Caribbean and South America to sell slaves, and then returned to Europe laden with New World produce. Although the trade routes often varied, western Africa remained an important destination for European traders who bought and sold gold, ivory, cloth, and African slaves.
      
In this unit, we will study European exploration and colonization as impetuses for the development of the Atlantic slave trade. We will also examine the development of the Atlantic economy, of which the trade in Africans became a critical component.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 7.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 4.25 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- identify and assess the historical meanings of slave and slavery during the age of Atlantic slave trade; and - identify and describe the term triangular trade, and discuss its vital importance to the Atlantic trade and the development of the New World economy. 

1.1 Origins of the Slave Trade   1.1.1 Europeans in Western Africa   - Web Media: iTunes U: Arizona State University History Department’s “The Slave Trade, Part 1” Link: iTunes U: Arizona State University History Department’s “The Slave Trade Part 1” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Listen to this lecture, which discusses the origins and development of the transatlantic slave trade.

 Listening to this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: The University of Calgary: “The European Voyages of Exploration: Africa” Link: The University of Calgary: “The European Voyages of Exploration: Africa” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the text on the webpage. As you read, consider the following questions: Why is 1415 a breaking point in the history of exploration? What were Portuguese motivations for attacking the Moroccan city of Ceuta? Describe the progression of Portuguese movement along the African coast. What role did Prince Henry play in the exploration of the western coast of Africa?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade”

    Link: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade” (HTML)

    Instructions: Scroll down to the “Background” section, and read the following parts: “Atlantic Travel,” “African Slavery,” and “European Colonization and Slavery in West Africa.” Describe Portuguese exploration of the coast of Africa. Describe European and African involvement in the slave trade. As you read, consider the following question: What were the motivations of the main figures doing the exploration?

    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Wikipedia. 

  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “History of Slavery”

    Link: Wikipedia’s “History of Slavery” (HTML)

    Instructions: Scroll down to the subheading titled “African Participation in the Slave Trade,” and read this brief section. As you read, consider the following questions: What were some consequences of the European presence along the African coast? Where did Europeans settle in Africa? This reading also covers the topic outlined in subunit 4.3.2.

    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Wikipedia. 

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Hans Mayr’s “The Voyage and Acts of Dom Francisco, 1505” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Hans Mayr’s “The Voyage and Acts of Dom Francisco, 1505” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this primary source document. As you read, consider the following questions: What were some of the effects of European colonization? What role did African kingdoms play in the slave trade? What motivated this participation?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.2 São Tomé and the Slave Trade   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “São Tomé and Príncipe”

Link: Wikipedia’s [“São Tomé and
Príncipe”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Tom%C3%A9_and_Pr%C3%ADncipe)
(HTML)  

 Instructions: Read the first section, titled “History,” up until
the section titled “Politics.” Describe the location of Sao Tomé. As
you read, consider the following questions: Who established Sao
Tomé, and when? What crops did the settlers cultivate, and what were
the consequences of doing so?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 15 minutes.


 Terms of Use: This resource has been licensed under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareALike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Wikipedia. 

1.2 The Atlantic World   1.2.1 New World Exploration   - Reading: WikiBooks’ “European History/Exploration and Discovery” Link: WikiBooks’ “European History/Exploration and Discovery” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage for an overview of European exploration. As you read, consider the following questions: What were the motivations of European explorers? What innovations and instruments assisted with exploration?
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareALike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to WikiBooks. 
  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Christopher Columbus’ “Extracts from Journal” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Christopher Columbus’ “Extracts from Journal” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this primary source document. As you read, consider the following questions: How does Columbus describe the situation in Spain and its monarchs on the eve of his first voyage? What clues and knowledge did Columbus and his crews rely on to determine when they were approaching land? What rewards did the Spanish monarchs promise those who participated in the voyage? What details of the sailors’ arrival on shore does Columbus include in his journal?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: American History: Richard Hakluyt’s “Discourse of Western Planting 1584” Link: American History: Richard Hakluyt’s “Discourse of Western Planting 1584” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this primary source document. As you read, consider the following question: How does Hakluyt the benefits of exploration, the land and people of his destination?
      
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.2 A Maritime World   - Reading: Smithsonian Institution: On the Water: Living in the Atlantic World, 1450–1800: “Web of Connections” and “Narrative Accounts, 1680-1806” Link: Smithsonian Institution: On the Water: Living in the Atlantic World, 1450–1800: “Web of Connections” (PDF) and “Narrative Accounts, 1680-1806” (PDF)

 Also available in:  

[iBook](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-1.2.2-Web-of-Connections-Smithsonian.epub)  

 Instructions: First, read the introductory paragraph of “Web of
Connections”; afterwords examine the ships listed and read each
vessel’s description in order to get a good sense of the maritime
Atlantic World. Finally, listen to or read the transcripts of each
of the “Narrative Accounts, 1680–1806” in order to understand what
life at sea was like for enslaved Africans, sailors, and women.


 Reading this article and listening to or reading the transcripts
should take approximately 1 hour.


 Terms of Use: This resource was reposted by The Saylor Foundation
with permission for educational, noncommercial use by the
Smithsonian Institution. The original version can be found
[here](http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/1_2.html) (HTML).
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder. 

1.2.3 Trade and Consumption Patterns   - Reading: The Smithsonian Institute: On the Water: Living in the Atlantic World, 1450–1800: “New Tastes, New Trades”

Link: The Smithsonian Institute: *On the Water: Living in the
Atlantic World, 1450–1800*: [“New Tastes, New
Trades”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-1.2.3-On-the-Water.pdf)
(PDF)  

 Also available in:  

[iBooks](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-1.2.3-On-the-Water-Smithsonian.epub)  
    
 Instructions: Examine each of the objects listed and read their
descriptions; you will get a good sense of the goods and people who
helped define the Atlantic World.


 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource was reposted by The Saylor Foundation
with permission for educational, noncommercial use by the
Smithsonian Institution. The original version can be found
[here](http://amhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/1_3.html)
(HTML). Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot
be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder.