|12 Of Human Bondage 1509
SLAVERY WAS WITH US long before the second millennium began. Ancient, medieval, Asian, European, African--almost every society practiced it in some form. But from the 16th through the 19th centuries, the transatlantic slave trade transformed four continents, as Europeans shipped 10 to 15 million African slaves across an ocean and into the horrors of perpetual servitude.
The largest forced migration in world history started slowly and followed the expansion of European trade and conquest. The earliest African slaves arrived in the New World in 1509, but their numbers remained small until 1530 when Portugal, the first European nation to trade with the kingdoms of West Africa, began sending slaves to work on sugar plantations in Brazil, then in the West Indies. The suffering during the Middle Passage was enormous. Uprooted from family, shackled and marched to Africa's coast to be placed in pens before shipping, the slaves knew no end of degradation. For weeks or months, they stayed chained together in hulls of ships, packed in rows, shoulder-to-shoulder, next to the sick and dying, not knowing their destination or their fate.
Share with your friends: