Pan Africanism : What Part of Africa Did The Majority of Enslaved US Africans Come From?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Destee, Sep 14, 2004.

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    Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hello Family,

    As i read Brother Pan's thread, Africa and Her People, i'm wondering do we know where the majority of enslaved Africans that ended up in the United States came from?

    Is there a general area that most believe we came from?

    Thanks in advance.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
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    panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister Destee:

    The general region most African Americans are believed to have come from is West Africa. The specific countries are Benin/Togo, Ghana, Senegal. However during the TransAtlantic slave trade, people were taken from all over the continent (West, Central, and South). Therefore, no one can really say for sure. In addition most African American slaves were in reality taken from the Caribbean, because the British colonies could not afford to take slave directly from Africa (unlike the wealthier Spanish & Portuguese colonies of the Caribbean and South America).
     
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    toylin

    toylin Active Member MEMBER

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    But if the majority of US slaves came from the Carribean, where did THEY come from?
     
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    panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The slaves in the Carribean came from Africa!! Let me explain fully: When the Spanish & Portuguese went to South America and the Caribbean, they attempted to enslave the native (Amerindian) population there. This was called the Encomeninda (mispell) system. However most native Americans died off from exposure to European diseases, and the type of work being forced on them. In the first 10 years of European contact, literally millions (hundreds of millions) of Amerindians died, as a result...the Spanish & Portuguese were forced to look elsewhere for slave labor. The place they decided to look was Africa. Through the Trans-Saharan trade, and the contact which Portugal had with Africa over the previous 50 years, both countries were familiar with African slave labor.

    The plantations (sugar & tobacco) of the Caribbean were extremely profitable. So much so that Spain could afford to regularly ship slaves from Africa every few months (to replace the slaves who died with frightening frequency). Indeed conditions were so harsh in the Caribbean that once slaves arrived they had an average life expectancy of only 7 years. Keep in mind that slaves were taken from 12-30 years of age (these were people in the prime of their lives)! Because slaves were regularly supplied directly from Africa, they were not bred like in America. Birth rates were extremely low, in fact they did not happen in significant numbers until the slave trade was abolished in 1809.

    Unlike the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean. The British colony of North America was poor in comparison. The 1st North American settlement (of what is now the USA) was founded in Roanoke, Virginia in 1607. This was over a 100 years after the Spanish Caribbean settlements. The 1st planations of the British (cotton, indigo, rice, etc) were no where near as profitable. As a result, they could not afford to ship slaves directly from Africa on a regular basis. What they do instead was to buy slaves from the Caribbean Islands. In addition because of their limited funds...they bred slaves, and in turn enslaved their children.

    This is a general (extremely basic) explanation about the major difference between US & Caribbean slavery. It also explains why blacks in the West Indies have a closer connection to African than most African Americans
     
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    toylin

    toylin Active Member MEMBER

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    Oooooohhhh! Okay! Thanks, Brother Pan!
     
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    MrBlak

    MrBlak Member MEMBER

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    Interesting Pan!! I had a basic knowledge of the history and how the Carribean was actually the stepping stone between Africa and the US for some, but I did not know the details like that.

    Great post!!
     
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    Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    http://www.black-collegian.com/issu...anroots12.shtml

    Mr. Blak, check out the above web link... You'll find some very fascinating information there-in... African Americans were brought to the United States, after a period, from the rice-growing central African areas for that express purpose, to utilize their rice-growing skills in the Carolinas... Professor Robert Farris Thompson has done research that proves Africans, for example, in Mississippi and the Carolinas have strong KONGOLESE cultural backgrounds, grammatically, and through their social and artistic habits...

    The theory holds that though MORE Africans numerically were brought from the West of Africa than elsewhere, Cultural ascendency(or the culture which African Americans "chose" to make homogenous for the group)bent toward the Central African Kongo-Angola-Bantu... I don't know if that is a consensus yet, but most of the literature I've read seems to lead there...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
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    panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank You brothers Isaiah & MrBlak!
     
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    AfriKing

    AfriKing Member MEMBER

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    The majority of African slaves came from West Africa,from present day countries like the Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal etc., but alot also came from Angola and the Congo. I heard Yoruba traditions( even the religion) are very strong among Black Brazillians and in parts of the Caribbean.
     
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    Moo moo

    Moo moo Member MEMBER

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    % Total Imported Slaves
    16th - 19th Centuries


    U.S. > 6
    Brazil > 38
    British Caribbean > 17
    Spanish Americas > 17
    French Caribbean > 17
    Others > 6

    Distribution in %
    Slaves in 1825


    U.S. > 36
    Brazil > 31
    British Caribbean > 15
    Spanish Americas > 11
    French Caribbean > 4
    Others > 2

    These tables imply that, relative to other slave importing countries/colonies, slavery in the U.S. was not as harsh. For example, more Slaves were imported into Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica than to the U.S. throughout the centuries. The difference is primarily due to Sugar -- almost 70% of all imported slaves into the Western Hemisphere were sent to the various sugar colonies and the working conditions in the sugar colonies were very harsh. Most slaves lived no longer than 10 years.... while U.S. slaves were "bred" and did not start to pick cotton until after the invention of Eli Whitney's cotton gin in 1793. After that, U.S. slaves were engaged at least 90% in this trade. Sugar did not exist in the U.S. South.

    Europeans initially became familar with sugar as a result of the Crusades (Sugar Cane was grown in Palestine). The Europeans first cultivated sugar cane in Cyprus, Crete, and Sicily using White slave labor during the 12th to 15th Centuries. It was in these colonies that Europeans developed the institutional apparatus they later used in the Caribbean. The increasing demand for sugar led the Spanish and Portugese to islands off the African coast where they began to cultivate sugar cane using African slave labor.

    By 1600 focus shifted to the New World and Brazil was temporarily the leading supplier of sugar. Spanish and Portugese monopolized sugar production until 17th Century when the British, French, and Dutch moved into the Caribbean and established sugar colonies (Haiti, French; Barbados and Jamaica, English; etc.).

    The Yoruba were actually the last ones to arrive. The majority of Africans came from Central Africa (ie. the Congo). They were Bantu-speaking people. They came in great numbers during the early part of the tranatlantic slave trade. They tended to be more agricultural than the Yoruba. When the West African Empires were eventually sacked, the Yoruba and other West Africans were brought over as well. The Yoruba (and some other ethnicities) were a highly organized urban people and quickly took the the helm of the African population in the Americas and became the merchants of the African Groups. They established "cabildos" or clubs based on national origin in Cuba and Brazil.

    If you can locate a copy of this book, it is worth the read The Oyo Empire C1600-1836: A West African Imperialism in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Modern Revivals in History) by Robin Law

    The interesting thing is that Spain kept a good log of the areas from which they purchased captured africans. They only did this mainly because this was BUSINESS (censuses are another story). The Anglos were Protestant and more frugal in nature. They brought many Africans who were already adapted to the Caribbean. It was cheaper.

    Research the "Amistad Affair".... the "Amistad" ship was doing business with another slave ship and was blown off course.

    http://amistad.mysticseaport.org/library/misc/turnbull.cuba.html

    http://amistad.mysticseaport.org/timeline/amistad.html

    On another note, the Indigenous people did not DIE OFF. They were absorbed and gave rise to the "mestizo".... bastard children of the Spanish and Portuguese. Once they were conquered the culture almost disappeared. Africans came in because of Las Casas' defense of the Indigenous horros the Europeans committed. It was because of Bartolome de las Casas depiction of the horrors which the Spanish conquistadores did that caused Spain to decree that Africans should become the new source of free labor.... and even on the mixing of three different gene pools caused all the groups to infect each other with diseases never seen. Tainos gave Europeans and Africans syphillis. Europeans brought their "cold weather" diseases: influenza, measles, pleurisy and whooping cough. Africans brought their "warm weather" diseases with them such as smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, hookworm, and schistosomiasis (flatworm) and passed them on.

    The Western Hemisphere was largely disease free. This was due to the fact that most of the original human inhabitants migrated during the Ice Ages over the Bering Land Bridge. They were relatively free of disease because they traveled in small groups and they had no domesticated animals so that they had no zoonotic diseases.

    As far as their representation in the Spanish and portuguese censuses, many mestizos and natives also bought "white papers" to move to the top of the class hierarchy. There's a lot of information to pick apart there. It takes understanding the historical processes that set these things in motion. They did not simply die off just to disease. This is one reason why mtDNA studies today are showing different numbers then recorded by Imperialistic nations like Spain.
     
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