Sugar was introduced in South America in 1494. By 1500, the region was biggest the world’s sugar cane growing belt in the world. The introduction of cocoa and tea in Europe increased the demand for sugar. Further processing led to the production of chocolate. This made the popularity of sugarcane plantations grow. 60% of sugar produced in South American and the Caribbean was consumed in Britain. Being a labor-intensive crop, there was a need for more labor to supply the rising demand in Europe and North America. This demand signaled the start of the slave trade in Latin America.
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Between 1505 and 1572, over 25,000 African “slaves were transported to Brazil in chains” (Wagner). By 1652, the price of slaves had doubled, marked by increased demand for slave labor and the increased price of sugar in the new world. The price of slaves was determined by the health, age, and strength of the Slave. Most slaves who were shipped to South America came from African regions of Cape Verde, the Oriental coast of Mozambique, and the occidental coast. Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador were the important port of entry.
Increased shipment of African slaves to South America led to the increased population of the black population. In some parts of Brazil, for example, Africans outnumbered the white population. The slaves were able to keep their customs. There were constant incidences of revolt by slaves. This influenced slave revolt in other countries with the biggest taking place in Haiti in 1791. In that revolt, “over 50,000 slaves rebelled against their French owners and took over the country” (Andy). By the time the slave trade was coming to an end, over 10 million slaves were transported to Brazil and other South American countries to provide labor in sugarcane plantations.
European colonies controlled most of Latin America during the period of Slave trade. They showed significant concern for the welfares of slaves and even allowed them to marry, and buy their freedom from cruel owners (Andy). Although the colonies gave provision for such laws, they were rarely enforced. This made slave to lead a cruel in Latin America than slaves in North America. In the United States, slaves had access to medical care, ate better food and lived longer than slaves.
Although the abolitionist movement is credited with the decline of slave trade, it was not responsible for the end of slave trade in South America. Both political and financial interest had kept the slave trade going for more than three centuries. What actually caused the end of slave trade was technological advancement that led to alternative source of sugar. French and British discovered that sugar could be produced from beet. Again, French and British sugar ship were experiencing continued blockade leading to loss of thousand tons of sugar in the sea. By 1804, commercial production of sugar from beet started. This sealed the fate of sugar cane plantation in South America and the subsequent end of slavery.
South America was a major source of sugar for European market. Increased popularity of sugar created the need for more labor to work sugar in plantation farm. African slave were shipped to South America in chains to work in the plantation. In some parts of Brazil, the population of slaves was higher than the White. Reduced demand for sugarcane as a source of sugar in 1800 led to the end of slave trade in South America.
Andy, Michelle. The Slave Trade. 2010. Web.
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Wagner, Phillip. Sugar and Blood. 2002. Web.