How Did Portugal Influence The American Slave Trade

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Portugal played a major role in the Atlantic Slave Trade from the point which they “discovered” Brazil onwards. Portugal’s fleet of 13 ships first reached Brazil on April 22, 1500. The fleet was originally headed for India. Their purpose was to “forcibly convert the natives to their ‘true faith’ under… The ‘true cross’.” Portugal had begun a series of events that would ultimately lead to the death of millions of Africans and the natives of the Americas. Portugal’s involvement with trade in sub-Saharan Africa led it to utilize these connections to supply labor in South America, where they had found a vast wealth in the production of sugar . Portugal’s role in the Atlantic Slave Trade was that of a sort of “trendsetter” and major leader…show more content…
Between the mid-1400s and the early 1500s the slave trade increased immensely as West Central Africa was brought into it. When the Portuguese can into contact with the Americas their main goals were to Christianize the native inhabitants as well as cultivating sugar. In order to cultivate sugar they needed labor that was cheap so that they could make a larger profit margin. The indigenous people were losing population due to their susceptibility to European disease so the slave trade expanded even further in the 1600s with African replacing indigenous laborers. Portugal gained much from the slave trade economically but it had a negative effect on those it displaced and those it enslaved. Besides leading in the slave trade, Portugal was also a decimator of the indigenous population: “…the exploitation of forced labor was not. The first victims were the indigenous population, who population was cut in half in the first one hundred years by the brutal first wave of settlers. As their numbers declined the number of black faces…show more content…
As a result of lost work force, the Portuguese opted for African labor. Portugal had also greatly influenced world history with the Atlantic Slave Trade. The slave trade, for the first time, brought the new world and the old world into contact. Portugal had an advantage in starting its’ expansion into the old world due to its’ proximity to the Atlantic. The Portuguese has also lead “the largest forced migration in world history” through the African diaspora . The slave trade lasted from the 1440s to the 1860s and 12 to 15 million Africans made it to the Americas. Other European Nations were interested in the fruits of the slave trade when they became aware of Portugal’s prosperity. The Spanish were rivals to the Portuguese and they often fought over land claims. They were the main slave trade powers due to their use of slaves to work in plantations and mines. The Portuguese also set an example for the other European nations by rapidly expanding plantations and “sugar and slavery became the engine of economic

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