Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Middle Passage Trade Winds

The ships using the Middle Passage used the trade winds, meaning path or track. The north east Atlantic trade winds above the equator revolved in a clockwise rotation. The south east Atlantic trade winds below the equator rotated counter clockwise. The result is a directional wind from the West African coast to South America. The westerlies which are the portion of these winds located in the Nova Scotia to Europe in the north Atlantic and from Brazil to the southern tip of Africa. The prevailing winds at the equator are calm sometimes called the doldrums. The trade winds are just north and south of the equator. Near the tropics, 25 degrees north and south of the equator the winds calm again in the horse latitudes.

The resulting changes are due to air pressure. Heat rises at the equator creating a belt of low pressure called the doldrums. The air as it rises from the equator it cools and flows towards the earths poles. At the earths poles the cool air is a high pressure. The air flow is forced back to the equator creating the easterlies. This is known as the Coriolis Effect. The most well known trade winds is the alize’, a steady mild wind out of the northeast which blows across central Africa and the Caribbean bring cool temperatures between November and February.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wk.Five Middle Passage Brazil

Pedro Alvares Cabral a Portuguese explorer was the first European to see Brazil in April 1500. He claimed it for Portugual, naming it the "Island of the True Cross" which later became Brazil named after a plant. The Brazil he landed in was populated with between 2 and 6 million indigenous peoples, living as farmers or hunter-gatherers.

Very early in the settlement process the colonial office requested a sugar technician. By 1518 the first plantation was in operation but it was not until the 1530's that sugar agriculture was firmly established in Brazil.

By the sixteenth century, both demand and prices had risen because refined sugar was replacing honey in most recipes and was increasingly used as a sweetener in jams, jellies and other popular food products. The first commercial production of sugar in the new world was undertaken in 1550, when the Portuguese Donatarios built mills near Pernambuco and Sao Vicnete along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. This early producation was derived principally from techniques developed in Maderia, based upon a system resembling sharecropping, where the owner, or senhor de engenho (leased his land to a number of smaller planters in return for a portion of the sugar produced).

Senhor de engenho - lord of the mill, owned a hughe tract, maintained a large force of salaried artisans, tenant farmers and slaves. Lived nobly in a big house and presided over a self-sufficent, paternalistic community complete with church, court, police force and social welfare agencies.

The senhor lease his cane fields in small units (ten to fifteen acres) to a number of tenant lavradores de cana or cane growers who worked on the share cropping principal. Tilling the land with ten to twenty slaves and sending his cane to the senhor. The cane grower received usually considerably less the half then half the sugar as his share.

Slaves better suited to working on cane plantations then Indians or indentured servants, were used to living in hot, humid climate, and insects. The very harsh manual labour of the sugar cane fields involved slaves using hoes to dig large trenches. They planted sugar cane in the trenches and then used their bare hands to spread manure. They were a better value, cost less the feed and clothe and a permanent acquistion. Africans could be forced to submit to slavery.

In 1591 the sugar industry was expanding rapidly to meet the growing demand in European markets. By the middle of the seventeenth century the Brazilian sugar industry had begun to expand rapidly with support of capital from the Dutch East India Company, which had seized Permambuco from the Portuguese in 1630, and the Dutch importation of slaves from equatorial Africa. In 1612 the total production of sugar in Brazil had reached 14,000 tons, and by the 1640's Pernambuco alone exported more than 24,000 tons of sugar annually to Amsterdam.

In 1660 the focus of sugar production began to shift from Brazil to Barbados and other islands of the West Indies. It may have been that Brazil suffered economic stagnation because of higher cost of slaves and lower crop harvests that negatively affected sugar production in Brazil. Futhermore, the expulsion of the Dutch from Pernambuco in 1654 and the subsequent disruption in trade led the Dutch to focus their capital investments in the West Indies.

The Capham Sect were a group of evangelical reformers that campaigned during much of the 19th century for the United Kingdom to use its influence and power to stop the traffic of slaves to Brazil. Besides moral qualms, the low cost of slave-produced Brazilian sugar meant that British colonies in the West Indies were unable to match the market prices of Brazilian sugar, and each Briton was consuming 16 pounds (7 kg) of sugar a year by the 19th century. This combination led to intensive pressure from the British government for Brazil to end this practice, which it did by steps over three decades. To this day, Brazil still is the world's largest sugar producer.

Brazil obtained 35.4% of all African slaves traded in the Atlantic slave trade, more than 3 million slaves were sent to Brazil to work mainly on sugar cane plantations from the 16th to the 19th century.

The Slave Trade - Hugh Thomas
Sugar and Slaves - Richard S. Dunn

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blieve it or Not

Found these while reading "The Slave Trade'. Thought they were questionable to some extent from all the other info on 'The Middle Passage', you will have to decide for yourselves.

The Portugese did try to better conditions on slave ships whether because of conscience or increasing profits is a matter of opinion. Early in the 16th Century King Manuel set rules for transporting slaves.

They are as follows:

1. All ships and cargos are to be Baptised.
2. Wooden beds are to be provided for the slaves.
3. A roof for protection from rain and cold.
4. Adequate supplies of food and water on board ship for the duration of the voyage.
5. Sticks to calm hunger pangs and clean the teeth.

A Swedish mineralogist named Wadstrom wrote in the 1790's "the Portugese slave ships are never over-crowded and the crews are chiefly 'Negros Ladines'* who speak thier language whose business it is to comfort and attend the poor slaves. The result is that little or no fetters are needed and this lowers the motality rate".

The Portugese in the 18th Century used a system to reduce the mortality rate of slaves during the 'Middle Passage'. Each sailor was allotted 15 slaves to his care. The crewman was paid a New Crown for every slave delivered alive that was in his vare at the end of the journey.

The Slave Trade - Hugh Thomas Pg.414

*slaves converted to Chrisianity and taught rudimentary Portugese vocabulary.

slaves overseeing slaves?

During one voyage during the middle passage a Captain Thomas Philips stated " we have some 30 or 40 Gold Coast negroes ... to make gaurdians and overseers of the Whydah negroes, and sleep amoung them to keep them from quarreling".
The Slave Trade - Hugh Thomas pg. 412

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who's to Blame

what I believe could be next to loss of life and treatment of African slaves, but the loss of a possible developing culture as the greatest crime. Africa was a developing nation, the forging of metals, development of laws in societies, all could be said to parallel early European history. Slavery was not uncommom in Europe but was used internally to develope that contenant. Then if left to their own devices could not Africa have not emulated England, France, or Portugal albit at a later date using their internal work force much as European countries did? The depopulation of the African Contenent destoryed any chance for a developing culture to survive. For this I blame the Portuguese. Subjecated peoples still have a chance to develope cultures, decimated ones don't.
The churches involvement in slavery dates back to the 6th century, as Justin stated in his post the church had been using slave labor to work their lands to suport them, this is how christanity was able to do its work, turning pagans into devout followers through gains made by the blood of slaves.
Or do we all suffer the sins of our fathers for if not for toil of slaves would their have been the monies to be invested in such engineering advances as the cotton gin as mentioned in "Black Cargos". If not for the monetary success of individuals using slave labor when would this country have had its industrial revolution.
In conclusion greed, religious expansion, capiitolism can be said as culprits to the advent to West Africas darkest era but to me the loss of 'what could have been' is the greatest crime of all.
Black Cargos - Manix
The Diligent - Harms

Week 4

Insurance covered slaves that drowned. Insurance on these voyages also covered 'Acts of War'. The owners / captians contended that slave revolts aboard ship should be considered an act of war, this by the captains especially because they were responsible to the owners for all matters that occured aboard ship. This was a matter of contention between the financier's and insurer's of slave ship ventures.
Harms, The Diligent

The Middle Passage

The Middle Passage
The middle passage was the second leg of the triangular slave trade route between 1450 and 1860. Although slave trade was banned by the British in 1807, in America by 1808, France and Netherlands in 1815, Portugal on 1817, and Spain in 1820 illegal trade continued for some years.

Journey length and Crews
Slaves were transported from Africa to North America, South America, and the Caribbean. The average length of the journey lasted six weeks. Weather, condition of the ship and the design of the ship played a role in the length of the time taken to cross the Atlantic. The ships were generally manned with a crew of thirty. The captains of these ships were known for their brutality and crews were often treated harshly. Crews in kind were often made up of men who had been in prison or were fugitives from justice.

Conditions on Board
The conditions on board ship were unsanitary and cramped. A normal between deck levels was approximately five feet. On a slave ship these levels were cut in half by installing another deck between the two making headroom of less then thirty inches. Some ships could carry approximately three hundred slaves in this way. Usually men and women were separated. The slaves were shackled ankle to ankle with leg irons. The slaves placed below decks could not sit up, stand, or roll when sleeping. They received no bedding and the boards they lay on were unsanded. Usually one rudimentary toilet was available so the weak and sick often lay in their own urine and excrement. Ventilation was minimally provided by portholes which were boarded over during bad weather. Dysentery was common among slaves on ship. Communal bowls were used to feed slaves; they ate from these bowls using their bare hands which helped spread disease. The food at first was European in origin but after time the crews found that an indigenous African diet seemed to keep the slaves healthier. The slaves were allowed on deck for exercise once a day to keep them healthy. Exercise often involved dancing for the entertainment of the crew. Women were often allowed more freedom but were prey to the sexual advances of the crew because of this.

Mortality Rate
Ten to twenty percent of the slaves died during the Middle Voyage. An average of thirteen percent succumbed to the hazardous voyage. The majority of deaths (malnutrition and disease) occurred during the first two to three weeks of the voyage due to the forced marches to the coast and prolonged interment at the forts and factories. The slaves were not the only casualties, about one in five of the crew usually died of disease during the journey. While all deaths were not due to disease on the ship ‘Zong’ in 1781 the ships captain threw 133 slaves overboard in an attempt to collect insurance money.

Rebellions on board ship consisted of staving oneself to death, in this event the slave was force feed or tortured using different means to make them eat. Another way to rebel was to commit suicide; some slaves would through themselves overboard. Violent rebellions were dealt with harshly by the captain and crew. On one ship the ‘Unity’ out of Liverpool slaves rebelled five times. In one instance forty men were put in leg irons side by side, in the next the leader was shoot dead, and two women were killed as the result of a revolt on this ship. Many rebellions may have gone undocumented since slaves did not write and the only records were those from surviving ships journals.

In 1788 Dolben’s law was enacted by the British, this law controlled the number of slaves a ship could carry. The law required a doctor be on board. The laws were not driven by humanitarian reasons but ones of profit. The doctors supervised the cleaning of the slave decks and kept the sick slaves separated from the healthy. Less crowding in the slaves ships reduced the number of slaves to sell but the death rate fell to approximately one in eighteen offsetting the reduced cargo.

Figures are estimated that 11,328,000 slaves were transported by the Europeans during this time period not including the years of illegal trafficking. The slaves were traded for sugar, tobacco, coffee, molasses, and rum which were then taken to Europe for sale. The Swahili term for this era of history is called ‘Maafa’ which means Holocaust or Great Disaster.

http://eggs.dadeschools.net, http://afroamhistory.about.com, http://www.mersey-gateway.org, http://africanhistory.about.com, htt:wikipedia.org, The Diligent - Harms, The Slave Trade - Hugh Thomas

Stanley Elkins

Stanley Elkins views on slavery were that the Europeans created an environment which made the West Africian slaves dependent on their owners. The term used was "psychologically infantilizing". In other words the Europeans created a "totalitarian environment" (1. of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life. 2. exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic) which systematically destroyed their ability to resist, plan, and form positive relationships with one another. By making the slaves totally dependent on the white slave owners it instilled a "dependant personality pattern". The slaves looked to their owners for food, shelter after being placed in an alien environment and psychological conditioning. Stanley Elkins based his theory psychological research done by Bruno Bettelheim. Elkins views helped support the institution of Affirmative action program of the late 1960's due to the belief of lingering effects of slavery on Black culture.

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

Peoples of Africa

The people of Africa is divided by Ethnologists.

In the region of South Africa are the Bushmoids, yellow/brown in color with peppercorn hair (tightly kinked) usually less than 5 ft tall. Some were sent to the Brazil but not to the Americas as slaves.

Central Africa Pygmoids.

With average height of 4ft 9 in weight of 85 lbs, brown/black in color with high bulging foreheads. Not the first choice of slavers they were usually rejected.

Madagascar. Mongloids.

Came from Asia centuries ago and mingled with the darker aborignial people and slaves from the mainland. Resemble southeast Asians in stature and pigment.

In the northwest, (senegal to ethiopia) caucasoid.

Deep black to light brown with curly hair but not wooly. They have thin lips and noses and tend to be tall in stature with long legs and slender.

Lower west coast. Negroid.

Dark skins, wooly hair with thick lips and broad noses. Average height 5ft 10 in. The majority of the slaves shipped to the new world were negroids. These consist of the Bantu and Angola and tribes from Angola and Mozambique.

Black Cargoes, Mannix.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Week 2A

The Portuguese and the exploration of the 15th century African West coast

The Moors controlled the Trans-Sahara trade routes between West and NorthAfrica. This gave the Moors control over much on the slave, gold, and spicetrade from this area to Europe. The Portuguese at first were not asinterested in the slave trade as much as the gold and spice trade the Moorswere proprietors of. The hope of obtaining slaves may have been part of theinitial quest but the need for vast amounts of slaves would not expand untillater with the advent of the sugar plantations and mining in Brazil. Prince Henry believed that the source of the gold was the coast of Guineabut in truth the gold came from remote area near the upper waters of theSenegal River and Volta River. (PG. 52)

Prince Henry convinced his father to attack Ceula which was on the northmost point on the West African coast at the Straights of Gibraltar. Thecapture of this port would hopefully have two effects, reduce the attacks byBarbary Pirates on the towns of the Algarve on the southern Portugal coastand gain control of the trade routes of the Moors. The capture of Ceula wasnot a complete success; the Moors simply moved their trade centers furthereast to Algiers. It did help to reduce the attacks by the Barbary Piratesthat had used Ceula as a home port but most of all Moorish prisoners tolddetailed stories of passage trains of merchants and camels carrying goods toexchange for gold and slaves in Timbuktu on the Niger River and Cantor onthe Gambia. Hearing these stories Prince Henry was more determined to find asea route to the source of this lucrative trade. To prepare for theseventures he established a headquarters on Cape Saint Vincent at Sarges inPortugal. Here he gathered astronomers, cosmographers, and promising shipcaptains. At Lagos he commissioned the building of the Caravel Ship whichhad a Lanteen (triangular) sail, these ships were lighter, faster, and couldsail windward. These ships were superior for exploration to other ships ofthat time.Prince Henry financed his ventures partly with his own investments. He had amonopoly of fishing for Tuna along the coast of the Algarve, he owned afishery on the Targus, and from subsidies from the "Order of Christ", aknightly association. As a Grand Master of the order he gained profits fromfairs sponsored by the Order at Tomar as well as Houses and shops leasedaround the fairground.(PG. 53)

The first ventures of the Portuguese under the direction of Prince Henry were the seizures of the deserted islands of Madeira and the Azores. The Azores lay off the coast of Africa at approximately 535 miles from the mainland from the coast of Morocco.

The Azores are a small cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean about 950miles from Lisbon. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:LocationAzores.png)

Prince Henry believed that they would be profitable ventures and to prevent Spanish expansion laid claim to these islands in the name of Portugal. After colonization of both Madeira and the Azores the islands produced Dyes from resins, Wax, Honey, and wood.

Prince Henry continued to send out expeditions down the coast of West Africa reaching Cabo Branco at the extreme northern coast of modern day Mauritania.In 1444 continuing south along the coast, Dinis Dias discovered the Senegal River and further on rounded Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) and realized the coast turned eastward.

The Slave Trade, Hugh Thomas 1997

Saturday, February 2, 2008

week 2

The Infante Henrique, Duke of Viseu

known in english as "Prince Henry the Navigator"

born: March 4, 1394

Oporto, Portugal

died: November 13, 1460

Sarges, Portugal

Prince Henry was the fifth child of King John the 1st. Born March 1, 1394 he founded a school for navigators on the southeastern tip of Portugal in a town called Sarges. One of the most famous alumni was Fernao de Maglhaes (Magellan). The peninsula the school was located on was the western part of the southern coast of Portugal on the Atlantic ocean. This southern most coast is known as the the Algarve.

Prince Henry was an "infante" or prince of the Portugese house of Aviz. His Vila in Sarges became a school for navigators and map makers. he also erected an observatory at this site. Under his direction, a new style ship was developed called a caravel. This was a three masted ship with square sails a lanteen (triangular) sail. These ships were lighter, faster, and able to sail into the wind. The last ablity was very helpful when using the trade winds which changed in rotaional direction on each side of the equator. But also as important was that they were faster so therfor could travel farther. Two of Christopher Columbus' three ships were caravels, the Nina and the Pinta. (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/)

His interest in the coast increased when he took part in the conquest of the Mooish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco. Ceuta had been a long time base fir Barbary pirates that attacked villages on the Portugese coast and sold the inhabitants of these villages in the African slave market. The sucuss of his expedition against the pirates of Ceuta he could send ships to explore the coast of Africa, further search for more pirate bases and to look for the source of the West African gold trade. From 1444 to 1446 as many as forty vessels sailed on Henry's behalf. (http://www.nndb,com/) (www,en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_the_Navigator)

The Moors controled the trade routes into Africa through the north of West Africa. The Portugese wished to cut out the middle man (the Moors) in the gold and spice trade. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_slave _trade)

Factories - were depots for slaves and goods, slaves were ferried to waiting ships. (Black Cargos, Manix, pg.17)

Factors - a group of middlemen usually who had trouble in their home country. They lived permmanently on the coast and would interact with african or mixed race traders that brought slaves to the coast from the african interior. They would prepare the slaves for the long voyage oversea and keep on hand a stock of healty Negroes. Factors usually a representtive of a large firm (Black Cargos, pg. 33)

Obsevation: at best the relationship between the africans and europeans was distrust. Each would take the other prisioner to sell as a slave. Neither trusted the other, the african kingdoms located along the slave coast would not allow the europeans to erect perment Forts. Many ventures in search of slaves appeared to be a quick attack on coastal villages and fleeing back to their ships with their human prizes. The africans seem to have been in a constant state of war with there neighbors over land, etc. so the taking of captives and making them into slaves seems to have been a practice long before the europeans set foot on the african coast line.

The first Europeans to arrive onthe coast of Guinea were Portugese. The first european to actually buy slaves in the region was Antao Goncalves, a Portugese explorer.

"Roots of the Atlantic Slsve Trade(http://www.lifelineexpedition.co.uk/) African Slave Trade (http://en,wikipedia.org/wiki/African_slave_trade)

week 1

week 1:
the west african coast is the western most region of Africa. the United Nations definition of western africa includes 16 countries over an area of 5 million square km. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Africa) I believe the 15th century Portugse definintion included the coast which extended to the Cape of Good Hope discovered by Bartolomeu Dias in May of 1488 having passed it without seeing land whille searching for a route to India on the reurn journey to Portugal. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartolomeu_Dias).

the Portugese exploration consisted of coastal areas only during this period. The west african coast having very few natural harbors for anchorage. The Niger river and The Gambia are the two major rivers in west africa neither of which provided egress to the interior due to large aluval plains at the mouths of the rivers. Small islands were used for bases for the Portugese ships such as the Cape Verde Islands.

The coastal regionknown as the Ivory and Gold coasts are lined with mangrove swamps, sandy beaches and dense vegitation further inland are rain forested plains and mountious plateau. there are two seasons, the rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to May. (en.wikipedia.org)

Another deterant to european exploration to the african coast was mosquitoes, malaria, dengue and yellow fever. Benin was called "the white man's grave". To slavers of that era west africa was three seperate zones, surf, brown sand, and jungle beyond. (Black Cargos, Mannix, pg. 13)

The peoples of west africa were called Negroids. They were devide into two groups, "true negros in the northwest and Bantu in the south and east. The distinction is more due to language then racial. Both peoples have dark skins, wooly hair, and broad noses. they were depicted as of average height by early europeans which means approximitly the same height as temselves. The majority of slaves shipped to the new world were Negroids because the great centers of the atlantic trade were located from Senegal to Angola where the Negroids were predominate. (Black Cargos, Manix, pg. 8)

The area due to climate, insects, dense vegitation, and lack of natural anchorages would make this area seem very inhospitable to the Portugese. They would have to leave the safety of their ships which would be well of shore, to explore, search for slaves, or barter with the area inhabitants.