ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Slavery was a Result of Other Demands

Updated on November 7, 2016

The Portuguese and Dutch played important roles in the establishment of slavery throughout the New World. But what was the drive behind these great endeavors? Transporting millions of humans from one side of the world does not seem like a cost effective task. In David Brion Davis’s, “Inhuman Bondage”, we find that Europe’s wealthiest nations were willing to invest so heavily in the African slave trade for a resource that the world had never seen in great quantity before; sugar.

Between 1500 and 1750 slavery expanded throughout eastern South America. According to Davis, various powers such as the Dutch, British, and French expanded their colonies throughout the Caribbean. In fact, roughly forty-six percent of slaves imported from Africa during this time ended up in the Caribbean (103). While this was happening the Portuguese developed a massive system of slavery in Brazil, where forty-five percent of African slaves were sent (104). Davis tell us that these expansions were “largely because of the expanding international market for sugar, molasses, syrup, and rum”. (103). By 1850 “the English working class was consuming more sugar per capita than the aristocracy”, (104) which shows how demand increased over the previous three centuries. The African slave trade to the New World was a direct result of Europe’s demand for sugar (107).

Portugal was first operating in Brazil in the early 1500’s. In an attempt to substantiate their claim to the area against other colonizers, the Portuguese invested in sugar plantations (103). As the Portuguese began to realize the economic possibility of exporting sugar, the labor to produce that sugar was in short supply. Davis writes that when producing sugar, “everything depended on speed and perfect timing ... if the cane was not crushed within a day of cutting, the treasured juice would go sour” (108). So large numbers of people were needed to produce enough sugar to keep up with demand. Slavery not only provided the cheapest labor source, but the largest available labor source. This led to the Portuguese being the first importers of African Slaves, and “by 1600 Brazilian sugar was bringing Portugal even greater profits than the fabled Asian spice trade” (109).

As the Portuguese increased their production in the New World, they began to hire Dutch merchants to open shipping lanes to Europe (111). The Dutch acted as transporters only for a short period, but soon decided to enter the sugar production market as well. Davis writes, “in 1621 and an intensification of the Hollanders’ war against Hapsburg Spain and Portugal, the Dutch temporarily [captured] Salvador (Brazil’s capital), disrupted the Bahian economy, and in 1630 seized Brazil's largest sugar-producing region” (111). As the Dutch took these opportunities to acquire pieces of the Portuguese sugar empire, they were also establishing colonies in the Caribbean, while maintaining sea passages in the Caribbean. This allowed them to supply the French and British with sugar and slaves. This role of providing valuable resources to their European neighbors secured their economic stability (111).

It is apparent that the Portuguese and Dutch played pivotal roles in establishing the African slave trade for the New World. As Portugal discovered the profitability of a sugar market for the wealthy Europeans, they created a demand for slaves so that they could maintain adequate labor that was needed, while keeping their costs as low as possible. While the Dutch played their part initially as the transporters of sugar, they soon realized that going to war with the Portuguese and taking established plantations by force was worth the risk, because the real money was in creating the sugar. This only increased the demand for African slaves.

Works Cited

Davis, David Brion. “Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World”. Oxford, England: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)