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Reasons for the Atlantic slave trade

15 Reasons for the atlantic slave trade

  1. Industrialization in Britain

Development of industrialization in Britain resulted in high demand for labour. The British population alone could not provide the required labour and as a result there was need to look for more labour hence slave trade.

2. Increase in demand for sugar in Britain.

As the demand for sugar was increasing in Britain due to rapid industrialization, it became more affordable for the majority of the population, and was used to sweeten and preserve foods. The increase in demand for sugar meant increase in demand for labour hence the need to look for more labour through slave trade.

3. The renaissance philosophy.

The renaissance and its focus on the centrality of the human being in changing one’s status and environment gave people a new kind of freedom. People got the freedom to pursue those avenues that would be most beneficial to their souls and bodies. In other words, due to renaissance, people could do anything that they want for them to earn a living and as a result people ended up enslaving others for them to survive.

4. The inefficiency of the natives

Before the enslavement of the Africans, the Europeans were enslaving fellow countrymen. However, this proved to be inefficient as most of these people soon died out through overwork and their lack of resistance to European diseases. This made Europeans to look for alternative labour from the Africans.

5. Failure of European slaves to cope with hot climate

The other reason why the European slaves proved to be inefficient is that they were easily affected by different diseases due to hot climate. As a result, Africans were regarded as fit to provide labour to these Europeans and this is another reason why Africans were enslaved.

6.Racist tendencies.

Racist ideas made the British public think it was acceptable to use Africans as slaves as they were perceived to be uneducated, uncivilized and barbaric. The whites believed they belong to a superior race and they thought it was good and acceptable for them to enslave the Africans whom they regarded as inferior.

7. The involvement of the Church in slave trade.

The Church was involved in slavery which made slavery look like a morally acceptable system. One good example is Bathlomew De Las Casas who was a Spanish bishop who in 1517 permitted the Spaniards to import African slaves and that move marked the formal beginning of trading in men.

8. Interruption of British supply of sugar and spices by Turkey.

 The supply of spices and sugar to Britain from India and other areas to the east was interrupted by Turkish control of the Middle East. The Caribbean offered an alternative, with ideal growing conditions for sugar cane, but the plantations needed vast numbers of labourers and these labourers were sought from Africa.

9. Lack of unity among Africans

Slave trade and slavery was made so common by the fact that Africans themselves lacked unity. They failed to collaborate and denounce slave trade. Instead, some of them could even direct the Europeans where they can find more slaves. They sold each other for very minor or no benefits. Their lack of unity made it easier for slave traders to get more slaves.

10. The need to maximize profit.

The British wanted to maximize profit from their plantations and farms. For them to get maximum profits they needed cheap labour and this is the reason why they enslaved Africans so as to get cheap labour.

11. Improvements in shipbuilding.

This meant that more slaves could be transported on a single ship and this reduced cost hence high profits. About 700 slaves could be transported by one ship and this means it was easier for the British to transport slaves from Africa.

12. Africans possessed some skills which were required by the plantation owners.

Africans had vast knowledge in agriculture because it was one of their major economic activities even before the coming of Europeans. It is this knowledge and experience which the plantation owners needed as Africans had skills to grow crops in tropical climate.

13. Voluntary emigration

Among the Africans, there were some who wanted to migrate to the new world out of their own volition (desire/choice). These people wanted to seek some adventures in the new World. They would negotiate with the slave traders so that they get transported to Europe and the Americas. However, upon arrival in the new world these people ended up being used as slaves.

14. The need to do away with witches. (Superstitious beliefs)

Africans practiced witchcraft and they also believed in witchcraft. They then took advantage of slave trade to export all those believed or suspected to be witches because they were not wanted in the society.

15. The need to do away with criminals.

Slave trade also developed because Africans wanted to export all the people who were believed to be criminals and troublemakers in the society. As a result people like thieves, robbers, prostitutes and all those who failed to comply with the laws of the society were the first targets.

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