Africa In The Atlantic World Chapter 1 Summary

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Most writings about the age of discovery and the New Atlantic world are centered on the Europeans and the different roles which they played in the making of the new world. Most authors, while focusing on the European side of the story tend to victimize Africans and minimize their roles during this period since little information exists to show otherwise. It is almost always shown that Africans were inferior to the Europeans and that it was through European aid that Africa and its people were able to develop. In the book Africa and Africans in the making of the Atlantic world 1400-1800, John Thornton takes this common view point of the time and challenges it. Rather than being mere victims of the slave trade, Thornton argues that Africans did…show more content…
In contrast, Europeans provide plenty of documentation for this time period but there is the issue of biases involved. European documentation shows the European side of the story and little about the Africans themselves and more importantly it shows European superiority. Regardless of this fact Thornton uses a great deal of European sources especially Portuguese and Spanish ones. Knowing the biases presented in these sources Thornton puts them in contexts that allow him to break them down and get rid of those biases in order to show both African perspectives and errors in the European sources. This allows Thornton to be able to make arguments that show African power and show how negotiations were in fact in the hands of the Africans who participated by their own will as seen through the sources. For this given situation where African documentation is not as widely available to support the main argument, Thornton’s method of breaking down European documentation and putting it in different context makes sense, he needed to be able to do this in order for his argument to

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