|Delanceyplace.com End of Year Encores: This year a few encores on slavery.|
Today's encore selection -- As brought to our attention by Henry Louis Gates in The Root, more slaves were taken to Brazil from Africa than to any other country, and in 1888, Brazil finally abolished slavery, the last country in the Western world to do so. Slaves were brought first for the sugar plantations, then for gold and diamond mining, and then for ranching and agricultural products, especially coffee. Gates writes that "The most comprehensive analysis of shipping records over the course of the slave trade is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, edited by professors David Eltis and David Richardson. (While the editors are careful to say that all of their figures are estimates, I believe that they are the best estimates that we have. ...) Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That's right: a tiny percentage. In fact, the overwhelming percentage of the African slaves were shipped directly to the Caribbean and South America; Brazil received 4.86 million Africans alone! Some scholars estimate that another 60,000 to 70,000 Africans ended up in the United States after touching down in the Caribbean first, so that would bring the total to approximately 450,000 Africans who arrived in the United States over the course of the slave trade."
The following selection is from The Brazil Reader, edited by Robert M. Levine and John J. Crocitti:
"At least 3,600,000 black slaves were brought to Brazil alive [4.86 million according to Eltis and Richardson], while thousands more perished aboard the ships traveling from Africa to Brazil. Between 1800 and 1852, during the period when some European nations began to turn against the institution of slavery and pressure slave traders to cease, more than 1,600,000 slaves arrived in Brazil. In Africa, slaves were captured, branded, placed in heavy iron manacles, and transported on voyages that sometimes took as long as eight months to reach their final destination. The international trade was outlawed in 1830, but slave ships continued to journey to Brazil. By the 1840s, the British were seizing ships carrying slaves and freeing their captives, although when slavers saw hostile naval vessels approaching, they often threw their human cargo into the sea to avoid fines and the confiscation of their ships. The first two selections [below] were written in logbooks aboard British naval ships in February 1841. The third passage was written by Joao Dunshee de Abrantes, a Brazilian abolitionist, in the northern port of Sao Luiz [Luis] do Maranhao.
The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers)
Author: Robert M. Levine and John J. Crocitti, editors
Publisher: Duke University Press
Copyright 1999 Duke University Press