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Africans in America was an insightful, if not a thoroughly resounding history of the

origins of a people that have assimilated completely into modern day America. Speaking
contextually, slavery has always existed across various civilizations, mostly as a means to benefit
a certain society through the use of enslaving foreign prisoners or captured enemies in war. What
was fairly interesting, was that it was noted that prior to the Triangular Trade (a good 50 years
before Columbus arrived in America), the Europeans had already begun a system for trading
slaves with Africa, in search of prized gold in Africa. From the Africans first arriving to America
on vessels carrying slaves, to the systematic oppression that lead to a profitable growth as a
result of plantations utilizing forced labor to produce cash crops, the Africans began to fill out
their metaphorical naturalization forms.
Reading through the first section, incidentally, enslavement of Africans began with
Portugal, where Prince Henry the Navigator (who sponsored the exploration for gold, rather than
actually traveling) would search for gold from gold dust they were using as a justification for the
existence of more gold. Portugal would then build a trading outpost on Africas coast, called
Elmina, and used to be a location that mined for gold, but quickly evolved into a port for slave
trading. Conditions of slavery in the earlier trade to Europe were much different from that of
their American counterparts, which developed into something more brutal and cruel, leaving
much to compare. The slavery from the pre-colonial America time period was much different,
with slavery lacking a racist connotation, and rather was relative to individual wealth and status.
New World Exploration and English Ambition mapped Spain and Portugals rapid
expansion into almost all of South America, the Caribbean, and much of North America. The
invested interest of people from many different backgrounds and statuses to race to colonize
reflected upon the different kinds of people targeted by promises of glory, profit, and adventure.

Land, wealth, and opportunity presented themselves to the English. This was quickly amplified
by the settlement of Jamestown, established by The Virginia Company of London, offering
contracts to the rich to invest in their ventures, and essentially hiring indentured servants in
exchange for passage to the New World. The first set of colonists, facing much hardship due to
new terrain and animosity towards the Native Americans, eventually died out from starvation.
Eventually they figured out how to sow and reap Tobacco, making it one of the most profitable
cash crops that eventually made its way back to England and continuously grow the economy of
Jamestown. During this time, Africans purchased as slaves would work alongside others under
the terms of indentured servants. However, this system would make way for the grim reality of
the more profitable system of slavery.
While our relatively short lifespans as humans limit our understanding of change
across time, slavery did not explode into its most memorable aspects, but began in the colony of
Virginia. What began as a system of indentured servitude gradually became recognized as
slavery. Servants who ran away and were captured would be sentenced to lashings, but black
ones in particular would be sentenced to a life of slavery. Virginia would then create laws that
centered on the consistent subjugation of countless generations of Africans to enslavement. The
law essentially captured the rise of the oligarchy that subjected a group of people to a fate that
would create a rift in the classes for the next couple centuries.
The African Slave Trade and the Middle Passage discussed about a cluster of about
sixty forts that the Europeans constructed along the west coast of Africa. These forts were used
as a trading post where the European sailors would bring their goods in order to barter for human
beings and use them as slaves. Slaves were packed onto ships tightly in huge quantities as if
they were mere cattle to be transported across the Atlantic, and this was known as the Middle

Passage. Slaves faced horrid conditions on those ships for most of the time they had to sleep on
each others urine, feces, and blood. During the journey, a lot of slaves ended up dying from
disease, starvation, or thirst but they were just left there without any attention. Those still alive
aboard had to lie next to other slaves who were potentially dead and rotting.
The Growth of Slavery in North America discussed how slavery was a growing custom
because it was highly profitable. White plantation owners would pay a large sum of money for a
healthy, young slave who could do the farm work for them which in turn garnered them more
wealth. Laws were eventually developed in order to keep the African American population under
control because slavery was becoming an integrated part of life for the whites in the south.