Slavery transformed America into an economic power. The exploitation of blacks as free labor made the South, the richest and most politically powerful region in the country. The British demand for American cotton made the southern section of the Mississippi River the “Silicon Valley” of its time, offering the largest concentration of millionaires in the nation.
But slavery was a national enterprise. Many Wall Street companies such as JPMorgan Chase, New York Life and the now defunct Lehman Brothers made a fortune by investing in the slave trade, the most profitable business in the 350-year history of New York. Slavery was so important to the city that New York was one of the most pro-slavery urban municipalities in the North.
According to Harper’s
magazine (November 2000), the United States stole an estimated $ 100,000,000,000 for 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compound interest of 6 percent.
2 ° England:
Between 1761 and 1808, British traders transported 1,428,000 African captives across the Atlantic and pocketed $ 96.5 million (about $ 13 billion worth of today) to sell them as slaves.
From 1500 to 1860, according to very modest estimates , about 12 million Africans were sold as slaves in the Americas. In the only British ships, 3.25 million Africans were shipped. These trips are often very profitable. For example, in the 17th century, the Royal African Company could buy an African slave with commercial goods worth $ 5 and resell it in the Americas $ 32, making an average net profit of 38% per trip.
Planters and slave traders who sold slaves and slave products were among the richest people of the 18th century in Great Britain, but many other British citizens benefited from the human trafficking industry.
Profits from slavery were used to endow Oxford with a splendid library; To build a score of banks, including the Bank of London and Barclays; And to finance the experiments of James Watt, the inventor of the first efficient steam engine.
As the main catalyst of the Industrial Revolution, the transatlantic slave trade provides owners of factories in textiles, iron, glass and firearms with a mega-market in West Africa, where goods Were negotiated for the slaves. Birmingham had more than 4,000 weapons manufacturers, with 100,000 weapons per year for slave traders. The boom in the manufacturing sector provides many jobs for ordinary people in Britain who, in addition to working in factories, could be used to build roads and bridges as well as in hunting, mining, Etc.
3 ° France:
With more than 1.6 million African slaves transported to the West Indies, France is clearly a major player in the slave trade. Its slave ports contributed greatly to the economic progress of the country in the seventeenth century. Many of its towns on the west coast, such as Nantes, Lorient, La Rochelle and Bordeaux, built their wealth thanks to the main benefits of triangular trade.
Between 1738 and 1745, from Nantes, leader of the slave ports of France, 55,000 slaves were embarked in 180 ships for the New World. From 1713 to 1775, nearly 800 slave ships left Nantes.
In the late 1780s, Santo Domingo, now Haiti, became the richest and most prosperous colony in the West Indies, cementing its status as a vital port in the Americas for goods and products destined for And from France and Europe.
The income and taxes of the production of slave sugar have become an important source of the French national budget. Each year, more than 600 boats visited the ports of Haiti to transport sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, cocoa and European consumers.
4 ° Netherlands:
The Dutch West Indies Company (IOC), a licensed Dutch merchant company, was created in 1621 as a monopoly on the African slave trade to Brazil, the Caribbean and North America.
The IOC had offices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Middelburg and Groningen, but a quarter of the Africans transported across the Atlantic by the company were transferred to slave ships from Amsterdam. Almost all the money that financed the slave-holding plantations of Surinam and the West Indies came from bankers in Amsterdam, just as a large number of ships used to transport slaves were built there.
Many of the raw materials that were processed into finished products in Amsterdam, such as sugar and coffee, were grown in the settlements with slave labor and refined in factories in the Jordaan neighborhood.
The income from slave labor produced a large part of the golden age of the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, a period known for its artistic, literary, scientific and philosophical achievements.
Slave labor created vast sources of wealth for the Dutch in the form of precious metals, sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee and cotton and other goods, and helped finance the creation of beautiful and famous canals in Amsterdam downtown.
5 ° Portugal:
Portugal was the first of all European countries to become involved in the transatlantic slave trade. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, the Portuguese exported 4.5 million Africans as slaves to the Americas, making it the largest trafficker of human beings in Europe.
Slave labor was the driving force behind the growth of the sugar economy in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, and sugar was the main export product from 1600 to 1650. Gold and diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil in 1690, prompting an increase in the import of slaves from Africa to fuel this new profitable market.
Much of the interior of Brazil, where gold was mined, was known as Minas Gerais (General Mining). The gold mines in this region became the main economic activity of colonial Brazil during the eighteenth century. In Portugal, gold was mainly used to pay for industrial goods such as textiles and weapons, and to build magnificent baroque monuments such as the Convent of Mafra.