4.5 Slavery

AGE 7. The Time of Wigs and Revolutions
4.5  Slavery
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AGE 7. The Time of Wigs and Revolutions
4.5  Slavery

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Who are in your group?

Slide 3 - Open vraag

What is this lesson about?
European traders and settlers used the existing African slave trade to supply their plantations with a workforce. The slaves lived under horrible circumstances during their journey as well as on the plantations in the New World. The abolitionist movement successfully tried to end slavery.

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Main Questions

  1. How did the Europeans profit from the African slave trade?
  2. Why did European settlers use slaves on their plantations?
  3. How did the Triangular Trade work?
  4. What were the conditions in which slaves were captured, transported and sold?
  5. What was life as a slave on a plantation like?
  6. Which circumstances eventually led to the abolishment of slavery?

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Word Duty

Slavery: a system wherein people can own, buy and sell other people as property 

African slave trade: slave trade within the African continent 

Plantation farming: growing of crops which require a lot of manual labour on large plantations using slaves 

Dehumanising: treating people as less than humans, like animals or goods 

Transatlantic slave trade: European traders bought slaves in West-Africa and sold them to plantation owners in America 

Triangular trade: form of trade between three places where ships never travel empty 

Abolitionism: a movement of people questioning slavery and attempting to end it

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Since the dawn of written history, some form of slavery has always existed. The Greeks and Romans knew slavery.
However, in Western Europe at the start of the Early Modern Period (1500-1800) slavery did not exist. In these countries it was even illegal. How did the same European countries then become the world’s biggest slave traders and users of slavery during this period? 
And how did slavery work?

First, watch the video in the next slide.... 

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Slide 8 - Video

1. Questions about the video "The Atlantic Slave Trade"

a) What crops were grown in the Americas that were labor-intensive and helped lead to the slave trade?
Corn, beans, and squash
Carrots, beans, and peas
Sugar cane, tobacco, and cotton
Corn, tobacco, and flax

Slide 9 - Quizvraag

1b) Tribalism in Africa led to intense competition and warfare amongst tribes. Prisoners were sold into slavery and traded for manufactured goods, weapons, and rum. Which one of these goods was most valuable to tribes that looked to expand their power and influence in the region?
Manufactured goods
None of it was helpful

Slide 10 - Quizvraag

1c) Once Africans boarded the slave ships for the journey to the Americas, what percentage did not survive the six to eight week voyage?

Slide 11 - Quizvraag

1d) In the video you hear that many captains
of slave ships were "tight packers" (at 02.47 min.).
What does that mean?
And can you explain why they were tight packers?

Slide 12 - Open vraag

African and Arabian slavery

During the fifteenth century, the first Portuguese ships sailed down the West coast of Africa, marking the start of large scale European exploration of the world. These sailors encountered many strange things. First of all, they were surprised to see well-developed people living in large kingdoms, often with powerful and rich leaders. Another thing the Portuguese noticed was that slavery seemed to be common practice in West Africa. Slavery is a system wherein people can own, buy and sell other people as property.


Slide 13 - Tekstslide

The Western African kingdoms had existed there for a long time, separated from North Africa by the Sahara desert. The only contact with other people they knew had been with Arabs. In the Arabian world, slavery was a normal part of the economy and the slave trade could be found from West Africa to deep into Asia. In the African slave trade, run mostly by Arabs and some African traders, slaves were sometimes bought from poor families selling some of their children in order to make ends meet. There are also many cases known of traders travelling inland to capture and kidnap people.
Aside from the African slave trade, one of the main ways to acquire slaves was through war. Conquered people were made into slaves and forced to work for their conquerors or sold for a profit. The European nations used this African slave trade for their own benefit over the course of the Early Modern Period.


Slide 14 - Tekstslide

2. Write down a definition of slavery

Slide 15 - Open vraag

Workers needed!
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain, Portugal, England, the Dutch Republic and France conquered large areas of land in America and turned them into plantation colonies. The areas in the south of North America, Middle America and South America had a warm climate and European colonists discovered that they would be able to grow products like coffee, sugar and tobacco there. This plantation farming required a lot of manual labour and a lot of space. European settlers founded large plantations and at first tried to use Native Americans as a workforce; however they died in large numbers from disease and bad working conditions. The next step was to try and attract European workers to come to America, but there were not enough people willing to risk the journey in order to fulfil the demand. This high demand for workers and shortage of supply was the main reason for traders and settlers to turn to the African slave trade as an alternative.


Slide 16 - Tekstslide

3. What was the main reason for traders and settlers to
turn to the African slave trade to get workers for their plantations?

Slide 17 - Open vraag

Sold and shipped to America

In the wake of initial voyages of discovery, European traders had set up trading posts with forts along the African West coast. As soon as Europeans showed interest in buying slaves from the African traders, these merchants flocked to these trading posts trying to sell their goods. The buying process included a thorough inspection of the slaves, because healthy slaves were worth the most. This process was very dehumanising for the people being sold as slaves, because they were treated as less than human beings.


Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814; in 1872, the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of the British Empire.

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

The living conditions of slaves in the trading posts were atrocious. People were crammed into badly ventilated and lit rooms, while waiting for a ship to take them to an unknown fate in America. The journey itself was equally bad. The traders saw the slaves as merchandise and treated them as such. The slaves were chained below decks with not much room to move. Once a day they were let out on the deck in order for them not to become ill or too weak to work, because then they would be worthless. Still many slaves died during the journey, and so did many of the crewmen.


Slide 19 - Tekstslide

4. Judging by the place where this
ship sank, who are the people on the
The loss of the slaver "Luxborough Galley" in 1727, lost in the Atlantic Ocean, as part of the Triangular Trade between The Caribbean and Britain. Painting by John Cleverly the Elder, 1760
the crew
immigrants travelling to America
crew and slaves
Native Americans

Slide 20 - Quizvraag

Triangular trade
After the long and perilous journey, the ships would arrive in Brazil or the Caribbean, where some slaves were sold and others were shipped even further north to North America. We call this the transatlantic slave trade. After delivering their cargo, the trade ships would take American products back to Europe, where they would sell these. With this money they would buy products to trade for slaves in Africa. This triangular trade made sure that the ships were never empty and therefore as efficient as possible.


Print shows sailor on a slave ship suspending an African girl by her ankle from a rope over a pulley. Captain John Kimber stands on the left with a whip in his hand. Published in London in 1792; attributed to Isaac Cruikshank.
source A
slaves are thrown overboard from the slaver "Zong" in 1781
Triangular Trade

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

5. Look at source A. Why are these slaves thrown overboard?
You can copy/paste the answer from the website text.

Slide 22 - Open vraag

Life as slaves in America
Upon arrival at their supposed destination, slaves were detained close to a market where they were sold at an auction. The more healthy and or skilled a slave was, the more they were worth. After being bought by one of the plantation owners, the slave would be this person’s property until their death or until their owner decided to sell them. In South America it was common for a slave to receive some kind of small reward, which could eventually be used to buy their freedom. In North America this practice was not used and slaves had no hope of buying their own freedom. On the plantations there were many slaves and only a few Europeans to keep them under control. Because of this, the plantation owners imposed very strict rules. Breaking these rules meant that a slave would be punished severely. Corporal punishment, torture and the death penalty were used to terrorise them and to make sure they would not rebel against their owners.


source B
Slave Auction, United States. From the book by Henry Bibb, "Narrative of the life and adventures of Henry Bibb, an American slave", written by himself (New York, 1849), p. 201.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

6a) Look at source B.
What does it tell you about slave families being sold?
families were kept and sold together
family members would be sold seperately

Slide 24 - Quizvraag

6b) Explain your answer to the previous question
using information from the source.
(that means you need to describe what you can see in the source)

Slide 25 - Open vraag

6c) Do you think source B is a reliable source?
Explain your answer

Slide 26 - Open vraag

SOURCE A. An 18th century engraving of how a slave ship was loaded.
source C
An 18th century engraving of how a slave ship was loaded.

Slide 27 - Tekstslide

SOURCE D - Written in 1789 by Olaudah Equiano, who was kidnapped and enslaved aged 11, but eventually bought his freedom, settled in Britain and campaigned against the slave trade.
"The airlessness and the heat in the hold, added to the number of us (crowded so each had scarcely room to turn over) almost suffocated us. We sweated heavily; the air soon became unfit to breathe, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, many of whom died. 
Our wretched situation was made worse by the rubbing of the chains, now unbearable. The 
toilet buckets were full of filth and the children often fell into them and almost drowned. The shrieks of the women and groans of the dying made the hold a place of almost inconceivable horror."

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

7a) Write down four words from source D
that support source C .

Slide 29 - Open vraag

From a book about Surinam written by John Stedman who was with an army sent there in 1744 to crush a slave rebellion
A planter gets out of his hammock at dawn and goes to the porch around his house where breakfast is a waiting for him. He is served by the most attractive of his young male and female slaves. After breakfast the overseer reports on which negroes deserted, died, fell sick, recovered, were caught, bought or born. 
Captured runaways or anyone who has been a slow worker, or broken any other rule, are brought up for 
punishment. Without being allowed to speak in their defence, they are hung from the beams of the porch, or a nearby tree and beaten with whips, while the master and overseer walk up and down talking.
The planter then walks or rides over part of his estate and, at ten, has another meal. He reads, plays chess or otherwise amuses himself until the heat of the day, when he goes to his hammock. 
He rises at about 3 o'clock, washes and eats another meal. At 6 o'clock the overseer returns and makes another report. There are more punishments. Then they decide on the work for the next day. 

Slide 30 - Tekstslide

source F
An engraving of a Surinam plantation, printed in 1820

Slide 31 - Tekstslide

7b) Give two examples from source E
that are supported by source F.

Slide 32 - Open vraag

7c) If one source supports another, does it mean it has to be true? Explain your answer.

Slide 33 - Open vraag

Movement to end slavery
Under the influence of Christianity during the Middle Ages, slavery had slowly disappeared from Europe. The Christian church preached that no Christian could own another Christian, because all souls belonged to God. However, the church was willing to make an exception for slavery in the colonies.
Even though slavery was widely accepted in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, not everybody supported it. The first protests came from Dutch and German Quakers in North America in the late seventeenth century, who believed all humans were created equal and should be treated equally. However, the first real protest in Europe came from England, where in 1772 a judge set a slave free on the grounds that slavery was forbidden in England and that the transaction in which the man was bought was illegal. This in combination with the ideas of the Enlightenment, created a movement of people questioning the morality of slavery and attempting to end it. This was called abolitionism. The abolitionist movement slowly gained more and more support and in the early nineteenth century, slave trade became illegal in most European countries and their colonies. It would take another half century for the Western world to completely abolish slavery.


"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?", 1787 medallion designed by Josiah Wedgwood for the British anti-slavery campaign

Slide 34 - Tekstslide

8. How would some Enlightenment thinkers feel about slavery? Explain your answer.

Slide 35 - Open vraag

9. The next questions are all true / false questions about the entire lesson:

a) Slavery had been around in Africa long before the arrival of the Europeans.

Slide 36 - Quizvraag

9b) European traders often travelled deep into the heart of
Africa to capture slaves.

Slide 37 - Quizvraag

9c) American plantation owners started using African slaves because there were no alternatives readily available.

Slide 38 - Quizvraag

9d) The African slaves were better off in the hands of the
European traders than they were in the hands of fellow Africans

Slide 39 - Quizvraag

9e) During their voyage to America slaves were treated well, because they were so valuable.

Slide 40 - Quizvraag

9f) Slaves were very cheap to buy and therefore stave traders as well as slave owners treated their slaves very poorly.

Slide 41 - Quizvraag

9g) In North America slaves usually received some sort of payment, so they could eventually buy their own freedom.

Slide 42 - Quizvraag

9h) In the eighteenth century, the practice of slavery was still widespread in Europe.

Slide 43 - Quizvraag

9i) The Church preached that no Christian could own another
Christian, but allowed slavery in the colonies.

Slide 44 - Quizvraag

9j) The abolitionists were able to abolish the slave trade completely in the early nineteenth century.

Slide 45 - Quizvraag

Summary 4.3: Slavery

Slide 46 - Tekstslide

Write down a question about something from this lesson that you don't understand.

Slide 47 - Open vraag


Slide 48 - Tekstslide

Slide 49 - Video