The African Slave Trade - DOC by liwenting


									                        The African Slave Trade
Directions: During class we have been discussing the slave trade in Africa and
the Middle Passage. Use the links provided to help answer the following

                               Slave Traders and Captains

Nicolas Owen -

What nickname was given to Africa’s coast? Why?

What was Owens’s occupation?

What did Nicolas Owens think of the slave trade?

How did Owens collect many of his slaves?

What did Nicolas Owens think of Africans in general?

What supposedly happened to one of Owens’s fellow traders?
John Newton -

What was Newton’s occupation in relation to the slave trade?

Who gave Newton his start as a sailor?

What did Newton think of the slave trade as a way to make a living? How was the slave trade
thought of in England at the time?

After he retired, what did John Newton think of his time working on a slave ship? What reasons
does he give as excuses for his actions?

What did Newton write in 1770?

What happened just before Newton’s death?
Consider the differences in the point of view of Nicolas Owen and John Newton. How did each
of them view the slave trade during their lives? Do you think either of these men’s reactions
was unusual for the time period?

Barry Unsworth

“For The Sake of Profit” -
“Desperation of European Slave Traders” -

Now read the two articles above from an interview with Barry Unsworth. Each gives an
“excuse” for the actions of Europeans during the slave trade. Briefly explain them. Is he right in
saying that many Europeans were victims of a corrupt system? Why or why not? Do you agree
that humans have a natural ability to ignore their conscience for the sake of profit? Are there
still some actions that people engage in today that you find impossible to justify? Explain.

                                    The Middle Passage

Where did many Africans spend up to a year before ever boarding a slave ship?

How did the Middle Passage get its name?

Briefly explain how the triangle of trade between Europe, Africa, and America operated.
What did Europeans sometimes tell Africans they going to do in America? What did many
Africans, including Olaudah Equiano think was going to happen to them at the hands of the

What was prevalent on slave ships? How did the living quarters compound the problem?

What did many Africans attempt to do as an escape? How was this dealt with?

What is the estimated mortality rate of the Middle Passage?

Barry Unsworth –
“Keeping Control On A Slave Ship” -

According to the article above, how many crew members were there aboard a typical slave
ship? How many slaves?

What did the crew always face the risk of at the hands of the Africans that outnumbered them?
How did Europeans keep control aboard these slave ships? Briefly explain.

We talked in class about the importance of slave traders being careful not to capture too many
slaves from the same area of Africa. What kinds of differences would Africans of different
backgrounds have? How would this add to the system of fear aboard slave ships?


Consider the articles above and what we have discussed in class about the slave trade. In your
opinion, was the film Roots an accurate depiction of the slave trade? Why or why not? Give a
few specific examples to support your answer.

                                     Modern Day Slavery

In what African country does slavery still exist?

What percentage of people is estimated to live in slavery in this country today?
Briefly describe what life is like for these modern day slaves. What kind of work is expected of
men, of women?

What justifications are made for slavery in Mauritania today?

Former or freed slaves in Mauritania face limited opportunities. What are some examples of
the types of jobs they might hope to find outside of slavery? How are they treated by society?

When was slavery first prohibited in Mauritania? When was slavery officially abolished?

What kind of attention have past governments of Mauritania given to the issue and existence of

What step in the right direction was made in August 2007?
Consider everything we have discussed in class up until this point. How does the practice of
slavery in Mauritania differ from the practice of slavery in Africa and the Americas? In what
ways is it similar? Were you surprised to learn that slavery still existed in the world today?
Explain why or why not. Do you believe that the world will one day be completely free of

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