Saturday, February 9, 2008

Week 2C

Relations between Europeans and Africans.

As the Portuguese sailed down the west coast of Africa it was apparent that the position of the negro was nothing more than trade good. To practices that were employed by European traders were (Panyaring and Razzies).

Panyaring or the kidnapping of persons into slavery, was a common occcurence during the early exploration of the African coastline. As an example of how the Europeans felt about the status of the African people, in 1493 Captain Nuno Tristao took 14 men that were in canoes and 15 more later on regreting that only their boat was so small they were unable to take as much cargo as they desired. As can be seen, the Africans were considered more than cargo or trade goods. They made these people into slaves without feeling or negotiating their purchase. The African tribes along the coast quickly developed a mistrust of the wite men and stayed away from the ships that sailed up and down the coast. The Portuguese began to buy slaves around 1445 A.D. A Captain named Joao Fernandes was ordered by Prince Henry to stay on the coast and gather information. Fernandes learned of markets where both slaves and gold might be acquired for European goods. When relieved of his post a year later, by Captain Anto Goncalbes, purchased 9 slaves and some gold dust which commenced the Portuguese practice of purchasing slaves and how they would be acquired for the next 400 years. The slaves were usually prisioners of war from other tribes in this region. The tribes continually attacked each other for different reasons such as land, water, or increasing their kingdom size etc. The Portuguese used this tribal turmoil to their advantage by supplying the Africans with knives, swords, flintlocks and powder. In this way they perpetuated their supply of slaves as each tribe would sell their captives to the portugues in return for more weapons. With more weapons the tribes would become stonger and less likely attacked and sold into slavery themselves. The more weapons a tribe had the more powerful the king and the more richer he became. The slave trade was built on greed of both parties and not condusive to relationships of trust.

The Slave Trade, Hugh Thomas 1997

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