Slavery: As it Pertains to the Triangle Trade

Alright, so the time has come for me to get on a roll with The Agenda— my agenda— for this blog and I am delighted to do so. As stated previously, it has always been my intentions to get into a groove of sharing information, especially “black” history. To began my acquisition of “knowledge of self”, I simply Youtube’d “black history before slavery” and since have been diving deeper into and expanding on the information I acquire by way of various web sources, books and like-minds. So while slavery inheritedly (that absolutely should be a word) is not my favorite subject, I feel it’s the perfect place to start and from here retrace my steps. Everyone knows there were “400 years of slavery” yet when I google ‘when did slavery began?’, I get “1619” —which can be misleading to a young (or just lazy) scholar, so I set out to comprise my own timeline accompanied by my remarks (in bold). Slavery has been around since ancient times (I will elaborate another day), but for the purposes of keeping this post a concise timely read, I will focus more so on the enslavement of “blacks” via the triangle slave trade.


Europeans started to capture Africans for enslavement in European countries, such as Portugal.


Christianity is further forced on Portuguese citizens. Any citizen that refused to adapt christian beliefs is reduced to slave status. The indigenous race (“blacks” or moors) were still prevalent in Europe at this time and had their own spiritual system.


Spanish traders introduced African slaves to Spain. Portuguese slave ports are completed. Portuguese and Spain started exchanging slaves and by 1470 the Spanish began to trade in large numbers.


The Portuguese established a sugar plantation on an unsettled West African island, São Tomé.


The Moors of Granada (city in Spain) surrendered to Spaniards, ending an ongoing war. Christopher Columbus landed in the new world (modern day Bahamas).


Christopher Columbus returned to New World (modern day Dominica) and initiated the transportation of Taino (the indigenous Caribbean race aka “blacks”) to Spain and about a month later on December 8, 1493 established the first European colony on Hispaniola Island (modern day Dominican Republic).


Christopher returned to Spain from his second voyage with 30 captured Native Americans (“blacks” bka the original occupants of the land before was colonized into America).


Two Italian voyagers, Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Hojeda, transported 200 indigenous occupants of northern South America to Spain as slaves.


African slaves began being sold into the Americas (western world or the New World)


Sugar cane plantations became prevalent in the DR and in 1509 Columbus’ son, Diego Cólon, complains that Native American slave do not work hard enough.


The systematic shipment of slaves from Africa to the New World (Americas) commence, specifically Dominican Republic.  


The first European reached modern day America (Florida).


The first documented successful slave revolt takes place. Captives killed the ship crew before sailing home. Author of Utopia, Sir Thomas More, argued that his ideal society would have slaves but they would not be 'non-combatant prisoners-of-war, slaves by birth, or purchases from foreign slave markets.' Rather, they would be local convicts or 'condemned criminals from other countries, who are acquired in large numbers, sometimes for a small payment, but usually for nothing.' (Trans. Paul Turner, Penguin, 1965)”


The capturing and transportation of Africans to the New World by the thousands became the norm after Charles V, Ruler of The Holy Roman Empire grants permission for 4000 Africans to be captured and transported to New Spain.


Mexico fell under Spanish rule after King Cuahutemotzin was captured overthrowing the Aztec Empire.


30 Africans were taken to Cuba to mine gold as slaves.


Germany enters trade


The first African slave landed in modern day US (Florida).


Africans were captured and transported directly to the US, cutting out the usual stop in Europe.


Portuguese sailor, Fernão de Oliveira, book Arte de Guerra no mar (The Art of War at Sea) denounced slavery as an abomination and would later serves as the basis of abolitionist views in the 18th and 19th centuries, meanwhile the first french colony, La France Antarctique, is established in South America (close to modern brazil).


The slave trade between Spain and England commenced illegally, further perpetuating the tension between the two countries.


The Parlement of Bordeaux freed all slaves, declaring slavery illegal in France.


Spanish-Mexican lawyer, Bartolemé Frías de Albornoz, published Arte de los contratos (The Art of Contracts), which doubts on the legality of the slave trade


Spain and Portugal unite, making Spain and the most influential colonial power and slave trade participant.


Queen Elizabeth I of England wrote a letter complaining about the presence of blackmoores and insisted they be transported out (as slaves). The letter also highlights that “blacks” were not christians at the time.


King Philip III of Spain made the use of Native American slaves in Spanish colonies illegal.


Slavery commeced in Bermuda.


The first 19 slaves were sold into colonized America (Virginia).


In Massachusetts all African descent and Natives were required to obtain military training.


George Fox, the Quaker leader, wrote a letter “to Friends beyond sea, that have Blacks and Indian Slaves”. This is the first letter written by a Quaker expressing some doubts about slavery in the New World. Also notable here is that Europeans were aware that “black” groups had different origins, and were not all from one place.


A group of Quakers set out to Barbados to suggest to Barbadian government that slave-owners should treat their slaves with humanity and attempt to convert them to Christianity. (Again, because “blacks’ had their own spiritual system)


Virginia made it illegal for “blacks” to congregate in large numbers, own guns, and for slaves to insult Christianity. (along with so many other ridiculous regulations rooted in guilt and fear of “blacks”


Pennsylvania Colony is founded and later becomes the center of antislavery thought


An exhortation and caution to Friends concerning buying or keeping of Negroes, the first distributed pamphlet to denounce slavery and the slave trade, is published.


Slavery is legalized in Pennsylvania


The US Constitution is written and signed; it states the slave trade cannot be banned until 1808, however slavery in the Northwest regions are made illegal. At this point the officials knew slavery was immoral but was more concerned about establishing enough wealth.


The cotton gin is introduced and increased the demand for slave labor. The Fugitive Slave Law is enforced, stating any slave that escapes and crosses state lines into free land must be returned to enslavement. Pathetic.


British voted to abolish slavery.


The importation of slaves abolished, but that didn’t stop them.


Denmark Vessey, a former slave who bought his freedom, is hung along with 34 others after their plans to lead a revolt and siege Charleston, SC was discovered.


Nat Turner led a revolt and was later hung. William Lloyd Garrison called for the complete abolishment of Slavery with the establishment of the weekly paper called Liberator. The term “Underground Railroad is made official”.


Slaves were valued at $2500 each, ten times the average person’s salary at the time.


Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published.


Dred Scott case induced the argument that African-Americans had no right to U.S. citizenship (fair treatment) further fueling tensions between those in favor of slavery and abolitionist.


The Civil War began after the enslaved southern states form The Confederacy as result of opposing views of free northern states in regards to state rights and western expansion.


The Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln called for the release of slaves.


The Civil War ended. Slavery was “abolished” by 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, stating “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States , or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Trash. The amendment definitely needs to be updated for those who are hellbent on disagreeing with everything Kanye says because you think he’s coo-coo.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Article 4 states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” The Civil Rights movement commences. My grandma was living. Just saying.