Thursday, December 29, 2011

England and Africa: A Vexed History (1500-1650)





Initially, the British had a clandestine trading relationship with the African Kingdoms, which grew more open as the British naval forces grew. England and Africa were connected in an Atlantic world of commerce and information in what was called the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, more commonly known as the Triangular Trade. Through the Triagular Trade, as you can see from the map above, goods and slaves were traded among Africa, England, the Caribbean, and the Colonies. This was a product of merchanitlism. Merchantilism is when lumber is used to make products and those products are sold throughout the Colonies and the known world all to the benefit of the Mother Country (England, in this case).

Because of the Triangular Trade, there was a creation of Creole Culture. Creole Culture was a fusion of African and European trading practices, dress, and languages. It featured powerful African traders, knowledgeable African translators and clerk, and Africans as human merchandise. People transported in the first half of the 1600s have a greater knowledge of their captors and the religious/cultural systems that they’ll be enslaved in. The British had a grudging respect for African kingdoms and African trading partners during this period. However, the African slave trade was growing increasingly violent; regions plunged into chaos and prosperous peoples have wound up very poor. The British began to imagine that the Africans were just poor, violent, disorderly people and refused to see (for the most part) their own role in creating these conditions.

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