WHOLE TRUTH... Atlantic SLAVE trade #2


CONTINUING FROM  THE  LECTURE  BY  PROFESSOR  EAKIN:


THE  SLAVE  TRADE  BEGINS  IN  THE  1440s.


FIRST  DOCUMENTS  -  PORTUGUESE  SHIPS  COMING  BACK  FROM  WEST  AFRICA.  THE  BEST  ESTIMATES  PLACE  THE  NUMBER  OF  AFRICANS  BROUGHT  ACROSS  THE  ATLANTIC,  SOMEWHERE  BETWEEN  12  AND  15  MILLION!


BUT  FOR  EVERY  AFRICAN  WHO  ARRIVED  ON  THE  SHORES  OF  THE  AMERICAS PROBABLY  ONE  DIED  FOR  EVERY  ONE  CAPTURED  AND  ARRIVED  IN  THE  AMERICAS.


IN  OTHER  WORDS  WHAT  WE  ARE  TALKING  ABOUT  HERE  IS  SOMEWHERE  BETWEEN  24  TO  30  MILLION  AFRICANS  WHO WERE  INTENTIONALLY  ENSLAVED  AND  DESTINED  FOR  THE  AMERICAS.   THIS  WOULD  BE  ROUGHLY  8  TO  10  MILLION  PEOPLE  PER  CENTURY,  IN  THE  3  CENTURIES  OF  THE  HEIGHT  OF  THE  SLAVE  TRADE,  IN  A  CONTINENT  THAT  HAD  80  TO  120  MILLION  POPULATION.


THE  STUDY  OF  THE  SLAVE  TRADE  HAS  BECOME  VERY  SOPHISTICATED  IN  THE  LAST  30  YEARS [THIS  LECTURE  SERIES  WAS  DONE  IN  ABOUT  2004].  WE  HAVE  A  VERY LARGE  LITERATURE  THAT  LOOKS  AT  ALL  ASPECTS  OF  THE  SLAVE  TRADE  AND  SLAVERY  IN  THE  AMERICAS.


UNDERSTANDABLY  THERE  ARE  PROBLEMS  WITH  THE  SOURCES,  AND  THIS  IS  ONE  OF  THE  DIFFICULTIES  HISTORIANS  FACE  WHEN  LOOKING  AT  THE  ATLANTIC  SLAVE  TRADE,  AND  THE  SORDID  CAPTURE  IN  WORLD  HISTORY.


OUR  BEST  QUANTITATIVE   SOURCES  ON  THIS  COMES  FROM  THE  SHIPPING  RECORDS  THEMSELVES,  FROM  EUROPEAN  MERCHANTS,  AND  THESE  ARE  SPOTTY  AND  OFTEN  DECEPTIVE;  THEY  ARE  HIGHLY  DISPERSED  AND  UNEVEN.  IN  THE  USA  FOR  EXAMPLE,  THESE  RECORDS  ARE  DISPERSED  AMONG  MANY  PORTS  AND  DIFFERENT  TRADERS.  THERE  IS  NO  CENTRALIZATION  THAT  TAKES  PLACE.


IN  BRAZIL,  WHICH  IS  THE  LARGEST  IMPORTER  OF  SLAVES,  THERE  IS  MORE  CENTRALIZED  RECORDS,  BUT  THEY  ARE  SYSTEMATICALLY  DESTROYED  AT  THE  END  OF  THE  19TH  CENTURY.


AND  THE  BEST  EVIDENCE  WE  HAVE  ON  BRAZIL,  THE  LARGEST  IMPORTER,  IN  FACT  COMES  FROM  BRITISH  CONSULAR  RECORDS  IN  THE  EARLY  19TH  CENTURY,  WHEN  EACH  BRITISH  CONSULAR  IN  BRAZILIAN  PORTS,  WOULD  SYSTEMATICALLY  WRITE  DOWN  EACH  SLAVES  SHIPMENT  COMING  IN,  AND  WOULD  DESCRIBE  THE  PEOPLE  WHO  GOT  OFF  AND  THE  NUMBERS.


DAVID  ELTIS,  THE  CANADIAN  SCHOLAR,  HAS  LED  AN  EFFORT  IN  THE  LAST  FEW  YEARS  TO  CONSOLIDATE  ALL  THESE  SHIPPING  RECORDS.  THE  RESULT  IS A  CD  THAT  CAME  OUT  IN  2,000  -  "THE  TRANS-ATLANTIC  SLAVE  TRADE:  A  DATABASE  ON  CD-ROM."

INCLUDES  INFORMATION  THAT  IS  EASILY  ACCESSED.


ON  THE  27,000  SLAVE  VOYAGES  ACROSS  THE  ATLANTIC,  ELTIS  ESTIMATES  THIS  IS  PROBABLY  A  QUARTER  OF  ALL  THE  SHIPS  THAT  MOVED  ACROSS  THE  ATLANTIC  IN  THE  SLAVE  TRADE.


HIS  MOST  RECENT  BOOK  HAS  WON  HIM  MANY  PRIZES:  "THE  RISE  OF  AFRICAN  SLAVERY  IN  THE  AMERICAS" (2,000).  IT  IS  THE  FINEST  ACCOUNT.


HUGH  THOMAS'  "THE  SLAVE  TRADE" (1997)  IS  ALSO  A  FINE  NARRATIVE  ACCOUNT.


THE  CAREFUL  WORK  OF  SCHOLARS  LIKE  ELTIS,  PHIL  CURT  AND  OTHERS,  PROVIDE  US  WITH  REASONABLY  GOOD  ESTIMATES  OF  THE  RISE  AND  FALL  OF  THE  SLAVE  TRADE  AND  ITS  PHASES.


THE  FIRST  BLACK  AFRICANS  ARE  SHIPPED  BACK  TO  LISBON  IN  SOUTHERN  PORTUGAL  IN  THE  144Os.  AND  IN  FACT  WE  HAVE  AN  EXCELLENT  EYE-WITNESS  ACCOUNT  OF  ONE  OF  THESE  EARLY  SHIPMENTS,  THAT  ARRIVES ON  THE  SOUTHERN  COAST  OF  PORTUGAL  IN  1444.


GOMES  EANNES  de  ZURARA,  ATTACHED  TO  THE  ENTOURAGE  OF  PRINCE  HENRY  THE  NAVIGATOR,  DESCRIBES  THE  ARRIVAL  OF  235  AFRICANS.  AND  THESE  ARE  HIS  WORDS:

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TO  BE  CONTINUED