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Neutral Portfolio

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1: Imagine living every day in fear of slave traders that would one day invade your home. You didn't know their intentions exactly, but you knew that you didn't want to be a part of their agenda. No matter how much you tried to prepare for them, it was no use. As soon as you heard their footsteps, you knew it was inevitable. The people you love begin to cry. You start to weep. You are separated from your Mother and Father, not knowing if you'll ever see them again. You may feel anger and disbelief. You had no control over the life you were born into. You were just born into a prison; a prison with no walls. You can't see them, but they're there. Unfortunately, for over 10,000,000 Africans between the 1500s and the 1800s, this was their lives. This is the story of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in the history of the world.

3: The map on page 2 summarizes and combines the many different paths by which captives left Africa and reached the Americas. Approximately 12,500,000 sub-Saharan Africans were victims to the slave trade between the early 1500s and mid 1800s. Voyage length was determined as much by wind and ocean currents as by the actual distance that was needed to be covered from one port to the other. Since sailing was the major transportation method, two separate slave-trading systems were created. There were the ones in the north with the first leg beginning in Europe and North America, and the other in the south with the voyages beginning in Brazil. The Caribbean and South America received 95 percent of the slaves arriving in the Americas. Slave voyages were organized and left from all major Atlantic ports at some point over the nearly four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, few commercial ports remained unaffected by the slave trade during that era. South American ports like Rio De Janeiro were among the largest. In Africa, most of the embarkment began on the western side of Africa, ranging from the limits of Senegambia to West-Central Africa. Notice how wide of an area West-Central Africa was. In fact, West-Central Africa was the largest regional departure point for captives through most the slave trade era. See the map on page 2 for reference. Over 40% of captives left from West-Central Africa alone with the rest mostly leaving from the Bight of Benin, the Bight of Biafra, and the Gold Coast. Approximately 1 in 8 dies aboard the slave ships with many others not even making it to the coast.

5: The Spanish took the first African captives to the Americas from Europe as early as 1503. This set off the trend, and by 1518, captives were being formally and efficiently shipped from Africa directly to America. The conditions that they were being transported in were simply inhumane. Hygiene was deplorable, all human senses were denied normalcy, and the mental hardships took its toll as many slaves preferred death than to be tortured alive. The forced removal of up to 25,000,000 people from the continent obviously had a major effect on the growth of the population in Africa. This was the major factor that contributed to its economic depressions. The fact that Europe's economy flourished while Africa's economy experienced underdevelopment could be the result of racism, or the belief that Europeans were superior to Africans.

6: With such an important era in World History, it helps to know some of the reasons why something like this happened. After all, when Africa began its role with Europe during the 1500s, Africa was home to some of the wealthiest and most thriving civilizations in the world. For example, Mali and their Emperor Mansa Musa were believed to have the richest and most powerful kingdoms in the world, mostly due to gold. However, devastation and depopulation soon followed. In return, Europe would be more wealthy in resources than ever. So why would African kingdoms and merchants enter into a trade that was so disadvantageous to Africa and its inhabitants? One could make the case that slavery was characteristic for the time and trade relationships just happened to develop, but would subsequently get out of the control. Others could argue that, like throughout all of history, the rich had control over the poor. In this case, the slave trade was generally the business of rulers or wealthy and powerful merchants who had control over their poorer slaves. History shows that it's not the people who are racist and evil (in some cases they are), but rather the corrupt rulers (elite).

7: However, as resistance and support for abolitionism increased, the slave trade slowly begin to dissipate. In 1803, Denmark makes history and becomes the first country to ban the slave trade. In 1807, The British Parliament soon follows and bans the trans-Atlantic slave trade while the | U.S. passes legislation banning the slave trade, taking effect in 1808. Hopefully, with greater knowledge comes greater responsibility, and an era like this does not happen

8: Front Cover) Image #1 on Page 1) Image #2 on Page 1) Image #3 on Page 2) Image #4 on Page 4) Image #5 on Page 6) Text References:

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  • Title: Neutral Portfolio
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  • Published: over 5 years ago