Ch 4 Section 3
The buying and selling of human
beings for forced labor.
• Direct contact between Europeans and
Africans occurred early in 1400’s
– (they had been trading for years prior)
• Europeans looking for direct route to India
– Prince Henry the Navigator
– Bartholomeu Dias
– Vasco da Gamma
• Brought trade goods and Christianity
Trade in Human Beings
• Slavery existed for hundreds of years before
– Captives of warfare
– To pay debts
– Were treated as part of the community, not property
• During 1400’s demand for slaves was limited
That changed during the 1500’s due to…
• Mercantilism was an economic system of
the major trading nations during the 16th,
17th, and 18th cent.,
– based on the premise that national wealth and
power were best served by increasing exports
and collecting precious metals in return.
How does it work
In order for mercantilism to be successful, one
must first create a favorable balance of trade.
This was done by making sure your exports,
or the items your country produces and sells,
is more than those items that you buy.
• The Atlantic trading network in which
Europeans transported manufactured
goods to the west coast of Africa.
• These goods were traded for slaves who
were then sent off to work in the West
• Goods like sugar, molasses, rum, coffee
and tobacco were then sent to Europe.
• the leg of the voyages from which slaves were
taken from Africa and sent onward to the West
Indies and North and South America. The
conditions of the slave ships was inhumane at
best. It is estimated that more than 20% of the
slaves either died or committed suicide on the
• 9.5 million total slaves imported x 20% = more
than1,900,000 Slaves died along the way.
Consequences of the Atlantic
• Many African nations lost entire
generations of their fittest members.
• The introduction of gunpowder weapons
also created chaos for many cultures.
• Greedy European merchants took the
“young and able”
• Slaves for Guns
• led to years of warfare and chaos that still
exists. In the Americas there continues to
be large African-American populations. In
South and Central America, the mixed-
race population consists of a sizable