The impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on the different parties involved

IntroductionThe Atlantic Slave Trade refers to the trade involving slaves that occurred during the period between 16th century and 19th century across the Atlantic Ocean. A significant percentage of the slaves that were involved during the Atlantic slave trade originated from central and western regions of the continent. They were sold by slave dealers from Africa to traders in Europe, who in turn transported the slaves their respective colonies found in the southern and northern region of America (Klein, 2010). Current estimates approximate that about 12 million slaves were shipped during the Atlantic slave trade. There are diverse impacts associated with the Atlantic slave trade ranging from demographic impacts to the effects on the parties involved during the trade including the slaves and the owners (Robin, 2008). The forced migration of the Africans in form of slave trade to the numerous regions in America imposed far-reaching impacts that are still evident in the present day in terms of economic perspectives, demographics, culture and the legacy of slavery that affected the African society in the present times. This paper explores the impacts of the Atlantic Slave Trade to the different parties involved during the trade including the slaves and the slave owners.The Atlantic slave trade had significant impacts on the demographic growth of a number of African societies. The slave trade imposed a disruption due to forced migration of the Africans, this resulted a transformation in the African marriage patterns resulting to a stagnant population growth in the African society. For instance, in the upper coastal region of Guinea, slave trade was practiced in great levels and played a significant role in reducing the regional population, and imposed stagnant population growth during the first decade of the 19th century. It is during this period that the ratio of men to women dropped significantly to a notable rate of below 80 men for 100 women. In aIDition, the societies whereby few slaves were captures exhibited stagnant population growth. Demographic impacts of the slave trade among the African community were still an issue because most of the slaves being taken were young men. The disruption due to forced migration of the slaves resulted into inter-tribal warfare in the African societies and the trading of slaves to the market in Europe accelerated the impacts associated with natural disasters like disease outbreaks and famine (Klein, 2010). These effects can be attributed due to the fact the African societies were left with a small population that lacked the capability to produce food, which in turn increased the death toll that would impose demographic variations in Africa by reducing the population in Africa. The aspect of continental interaction was a subject of the Atlantic Slave trade that would result to spread of diseases such as in Angola, whereby the spreading of diseases reduced the population of the region significantly during the 19th century.It is approximated that during the 15th century, the African population was about 50 million, which was about 30% of the combined populations of the MiIDle East, Europe, Africa and the New World. The onset of the 18th century saw the population grow to about 70million, but comprised of only 10 % of the total population combined. In aIDition, it is approximated that the African population during 1850 should have been about 150 % of its population if the Atlantic Slave trade would have not taken place in the African history. It can be argued that the Atlantic slave trade imposed a demographic disaster in Africa and left the continent impaired in comparison to other regions in the world; this can be an explanation for the increased poverty levels in the course of African history (Robin, 2008). The African population faced stagnation during the period of the slave trade while the population of other parts of the world increased. The economic impacts of the Atlantic slave trade were bad because it disrupted other economic sectors because the top merchants during this period left their conventional trade to undertake slave trade. In aIDition, the lower populations impaired economic activities in the continent. The economic model of Africa was not similar to the economic model used by Europe; as such, the African economy could not sustain such a significant population loss due to impacts on the settlement patterns, disease outbreaks and a reduction in the reproductive and social potential of the African societies (Robin, 2008).On the other hand, the Atlantic slave trade resulted to an increase in the African population in the New World, and this has imposed significant demographic impacts that are even evident in the modern day America, whereby 10 percent of the United States population are the descendents of the slaves taken away during the Atlantic Slave trade. The spreading of the Africans in the New World can be attributed to Atlantic slave trade; this is because the slaves were forced to move to wherever there was a demand in labor. After the ending of slavery and slave trade, the slaves lacked the resources to move back to their original land. They were therefore forced to remain in America.The Atlantic Slave trade also had significant economic impacts on the continent of Africa. The harm imposed on the enslaved Africans is an undisputable subject; however, the perceptible influx of goods to the African continent has been debated. The slave owners exchanged slaves for goods as guns, cowries, ammunitions and so on. According to the proponents of slave trade during the time, they claimed that the African society was robust and was less affected by the continuing slave trade. During the 19th century, European abolitionists like David Livingstone disputed the perception of the robustness of the African society and argued that the African economy was fragile and the ongoing slave trade has negative impacts on its economic growth (Klein, 2010).With regard to the impacts of the Atlantic Slavery to the new world, the growth of the plantation economy can be attributed to the African slaves that were exported from Europe to the Americas. Approximately 70 % of the slave population from Africa was subjected to labour in sugar plantations, which is considered as the most labor intensive crop. Other slaves were taken to work under the coffer, cotton and tobacco plantations, with a small fraction undertaking mining. It is arguably evident that the British, who were mainly the slave owners during the trade, benefited significantly from the financial resources located in the British colonies overseas, especially in America. In aIDition, the profits accrued from the Atlantic slave trade played a significant role in improving the industrial investment by the slave owners and the larger British economy. However, it has been noted that slave trade and the plantation economies in the West Indians only contributed approximately 5 percent of the national income for Britain during the period of industrial revolution (Klein, 2010). The basic argument is that the Atlantic slave trade made significant economic contributions to the British economy and the economic well being of the slave owners. Eric Williams, a historian has attempted to evaluate the economic contribution of the African slaves basing the profits accrued from the slave trade by the slave owners, and the use of the profits generated by slave trade to the industrial revolution in England. Williams argues that the slave trade was a core element that led to the success of the industrial revolution, and that the wealth attained by Britain can be attributed to the economic benefits to slave owners during the period of the ongoing slave trade. However, Williams notes that by the time of slavery abolition in Britain, slave trade had lost its initial profitability and that it was the economic interest of Britain to abolish slavery. Karl Max also argued that slave trade played an important role in the buildup of European capital, which he considered as the wealth that created the much-needed financial conditions to make the British Industrial revolution a success (Klein, 2010).ConclusionIt is arguably evident that the Atlantic slave trade imposed significant effects on Africa, America, and Europe, who were key players during the trade including the slave owners and the slaves themselves. The forced migration of the Africans in form of slave trade to the numerous regions in America imposed far-reaching impacts that are still evident in the present day in terms of economic perspectives, demographics, culture and the legacy of slavery that affected the African society in the present times.
REFERENCESBentley, J., & Ziegler, H. (2010). Traditions & Encounters, Volume 2 From 1500 to the Present. New York.Klein, H. (2010). The Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Robin, L. (2008). The impact of the Atlantic slave trade upon Africa. New York: LIT Verlag M√ľnster.