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

Unit 4: Empires and Slaving   In the latter 18th century, proponents of the Atlantic slave trade defended the commerce by arguing that slavery and the slave trade had existed in Africa for centuries. This was correct. Many African societies included slaves, but slavery was often akin to domestic or indentured servitude. Slaves were not enslaved for life or treated as chattel, as in New World societies.

*There were several slave trades in Africa. The trans-Saharan slave trade transported enslaved men and women across the Sahara Desert; most served as prostitutes, soldiers, or servants. Two other trade systems – the Red Sea and Indian Ocean trades – brought African slaves to the Middle East. When European traders began buying slaves in western Africa, they were capitalizing on an existing system. The men, women, and children purchased by European traders were often prisoners of war or criminals. However, as European demand for Africans increased exponentially, so did the incidents of kidnapping by African slave-catchers. As a result, slaving factories were created along the western coast of Africa; they served as holding areas where African slave dealers could sell captives to European traders.

In this unit, we will examine the relationship between African slavery, the African slave trades, and the Atlantic slave trade. We will also study how Europeans’ exploitation of existing slave trade networks affected African societies.*

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 6.25 hours ☐    Introduction: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3.1: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3.3: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3.5: 0.75 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - evaluate and assess the historical existence and nature of slavery within African societies; - identify the trans-Saharan and Red Sea/Indian Ocean slave routes; and - evaluate how European empires rose at parallel with the expansion of the Atlantic slave trade.

4.1 Slavery in Africa   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “History of Slavery”

Link: Wikipedia’s [“History of
Slavery”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery#Africa)
(HTML)  

 Instructions: Scroll down to the sections titled “Africa” and
“Sub-Saharan Africa,” and read these brief sections up to the
section titled “The Americas.” Note that some of this material is a
review; for example, you previously read “African Participation in
the Slave Trade” in subunit 1.1.1. As you read, consider the
following questions: In what ways did African slave societies differ
from one another? What percentage of the African population was
enslaved, and when and how did this percentage fluctuate? Where did
the majority of slaves in Africa end up prior to the 16<sup>th</sup>
century? In what ways did the arrival of European competitors for
slaves alter slave-trading practices in Africa?  

 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](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Wikipedia. 
  • Reading: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo’s “He Was No Common Slave”

    Link: Ayuba Suleiman Diallo’s “He Was No Common Slave” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this excerpt from a slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: What does Ayuba Suleiman Diallo’s account of capture and enslavement reveal about the slave trade in Africa? What does his account reveal about enslavement and the slave trade in the American colonies?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

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

  • Reading: United Methodist Women: John Wesley’s “Thoughts upon Slavery” 1774

    Link: United Methodist Women: John Wesley’s “Thoughts upon Slavery” (PDF)

    Also available in:

    iBook
     
    Instructions: John Wesley (1703–1791) was a Church of England priest and a Christian theologian who was opposed to slavery. In this pamphlet, he describes slavery practices as a part of a vast and lucrative business.

    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource has been dedicated to the Public Domain under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal

4.1.1 What Was a Slave? Who Was a Slave?   Note: This topic is covered by the resources assigned below subunit 2.1.5.

4.1.2 Slaving Practices   - Reading: Alexander Falconbridge’s “The Men Negroes…Are…Fastened Together…by Handcuffs” Link: Alexander Falconbridge’s “The Men Negroes…Are…Fastened Together…by Handcuffs” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this excerpt from a slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: How does Falconbridge describe the purpose of slave fairs and the individuals who participate in these fairs? What are the concerns of Europeans and their role at these fairs? Describe the ships that carried slaves and the conditions under which slaves boarded a ship and resided on it. Describe daily life for slaves on a slave ship. In Falconbridge’s opinion, what was the primary cause of illness among slaves on a ship?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 The Islamic World and African Slavery   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Bernard Lewis’s Race and Slavery in the Middle East: “Chapter 1: Slavery” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Bernard Lewis’s Race and Slavery in the Middle East: “Chapter 1: Slavery” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read “Chapter 1: Slavery.” As you read, consider the
following questions: In what ways did the ancient world obtain and
use slaves? What evidence does the author present of the acceptance
of slavery by the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths? What
changes did the Qur’an make to the institution of slavery? Under
what conditions did slaves exist in the Islamic Empire? From which
populations did the Islamic world obtain slaves? What type of
functions did slaves perform in the Islamic world? This reading also
covers the topic outlined in subunit 4.2.2.   

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.  

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

4.2.1 Obtaining Black Africans   - Reading: John Barbot’s “Prepossessed of the Opinion…That Europeans Are Fond of Their Flesh” Link: John Barbot’s “Prepossessed of the Opinion…That Europeans Are Fond of Their Flesh” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this excerpt from a slave narrative. As you
read, consider the following questions: How does Barbot describe the
means by which Africans capture individuals for the slave trade? Who
was involved in the process? What avenues were available to those
wishing to purchase slaves? Why does Barbot conclude that enslaved
Africans potentially fared better in America than in their native
lands? Describe the circumstances in which enslaved individuals
found themselves while awaiting sea journey.  
    
 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.

4.2.2 Muslim Traders and Islamic Slavery   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 4.2.

4.3 Capture and Enslavement   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Olaudah Equiano’s “Life of Gustavus Vassa” Link: Fordham University’s Internet *Modern History Sourcebook*: Olaudah Equiano’s “Life of Gustavus Vassa” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this text. Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, wrote the first ever slave autobiography to be published. In this excerpt, Olaudah describes his transportation from Africa to the West Indies (the Caribbean), and the treatment of slaves in the New World.

 Reading this article should take approximately 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource has been dedicated to the Public Domain
under a [Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication
1.0](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)[ Universal
License](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). 

4.3.1 Warring States   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Atlantic Slave Trade”

Link: Wikipedia’s [“Atlantic Slave
Trade”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Scroll down to the section titled “Human Toll,” read
the introductory paragraph, and then read the brief section titled
“African Conflicts.” As you read, consider the following questions:
What effect did the presence of Europeans have on legal codes in
African societies? What role did wars between African kingdoms play
in the transatlantic slave trade? Give an example from the reading
of how the slave trade factored into the ways in which African
rulers governed their kingdoms.  

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

4.3.2 Slave-Raiding   Note: This topic is covered by the section titled “African Participation in the Slave Trade” in the Wikipedia reading “History of Slavery” assigned below subunit 1.1.1.

4.3.3 Kidnapping   - Reading: Venture Smith’s “I Then Had a Rope Put about My Neck” Link: Venture Smith’s “I Then Had a Rope Put about My Neck” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this excerpt from a slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: What was Venture Smith’s social status prior to enslavement? How did the farmer with whom Smith stayed describe the attack on his home? Why did Smith’s father retreat with his family from their home? How does Smith describe his capture by the enemy?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Hanover Historical Text Project: Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African: “Chapter II” Link: Hanover Historical Text Project: Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African: “Chapter II” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the text. As you read, answer the following questions: what was the content of Equiano’s early education? What were the circumstances under which Equiano was kidnapped? How does Equiano describe the first part of his journey? Why did he flee the home of the chieftain? How many times was Equiano sold after his initial kidnapping? How does Equiano describe his experience on the slave ship? What were Equiano’s first impressions upon landing at the island of Barbados?
     
    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 3 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.3.4 Traders on the Coast   - Reading: George Mason University’s History Matters: “‘Carried Thence for Trafficke of the West Indies Five Hundred Negroes’: Job Hortop and the British Enter the Slave Trade, 1567” Link: George Mason University’s History Matters: “‘Carried Thence for Trafficke of the West Indies Five Hundred Negroes’: Job Hortop and the British Enter the Slave Trade, 1567” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this primary source text. As you read, consider
the following questions: What obstacles did Hortop encounter on his
expedition to Africa? How does he describe his encounters with
Africans?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 45 minutes.  

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