The mechanics of the Atlantic Slave Trade had an impact on the cultures of European Societies, West Africa and the enslaved people themselves. In Europe, the economy completely shifted its focus and changed priorities, while countries fought over control of the trade. West African people were betrayed by their own rulers, and economic patterns were shattered for the trading system. An extremely high percentage of those involved in the trade did not survive slavery, and the lives of those who did survive were greatly altered.
The trafficking of enslaved human beings proved to affect every society it involved. Previously to the seventieth century, the European economy was oriented toward the Mediterranean and Asia, but after the beginning of the Atlantic Slave trade, it shifted its emphasis towards the Atlantic. Countries competed for control Of the slave trade; whoever had control Of it, controlled the world’s economy. At first the Portuguese dominated the trade, but in the 1 ass’s were defeated by the Dutch. In a war against the English, known as the Anglo- Dutch wars, the Dutch were defeated by the English.
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The English then enthroned the slave trade through the Royal African Company. Europeans would purchase slaves from Africa for resale in colonies, and in return received sugar and tobacco from America. By the end of the seventeenth century the Atlantic Slave Trade constituted for the basis of the European economic system. The majority of slaves brought to North America originated in West Africa, bringing about consequences for the nations there. Since the trade system had a tendency to centralize, it helped create powerful kingdoms.
This destroyed smaller polities and economic patterns were disrupted. Agricultural production also intensified due to the need to supply hundreds of slave ships with food for their voyages. Many nations initiated conflicts to acquire captives since prisoners of war accounted for many of the exported slaves. While many societies sold their own people into slavery, some did resist involvement in the slave trade. Vessels departing from these areas were more likely to have onboard rebellions occur. Planters preferred male slaves, causing a shortage of men in the remaining population.
This increased work demands on women and encouraged polygamy, opening up new opportunities to them and their children. The voyage that tied the trading system together was often very traumatic. It was often fatal for the people composing of the ship’s cargo. An average of twenty percent enslaved peoples died en route. In addition, twenty percent either died before the ships even left Africa, or shortly after arriving in the Americas. The slave trade also affected the Europeans involved. Exposure to diseases such as yellow fever and malaria, from Africa, caused many of them to die at high rates.
People and products moved across the Atlantic in a complicated web of exchanges tying the Atlantic together. Many countries and companies profited from it, at the expense of enslaved Africans. Societies’ economies changed directions and had new priorities. Certain social changes also occurred, such like polygamy being encouraged in West Africa. Sadly, the trade system had a high number of causalities both in slaves and crew members. Overall the Atlantic Slave Trade had a social, political, economic, and cultural impact on slavery in West Africa, European societies, and the enslaved people themselves.