full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Anthony Hazard: The Atlantic slave trade What too few textbooks told you

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Slavery, the treatment of human beings as property, dpeerivd of personal rights, has occurred in many forms throughout the world. But one institution stands out for both its galbol sacle and its lasting lgceay. The Atlantic slave trade, occurring from the late 15th to the mid 19th century and spanning three continents, forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas. The impact it would levae affected not only these slaves and their descendants, but the economies and histories of lagre prtas of the world. There had been cinretues of contact between Europe and Africa via the Mediterranean. But the Atlantic slave tdrae began in the late 1400s with Portuguese colonies in West Africa, and Spanish settlement of the Americas shortly after. The crops grown in the new colonies, sugar cane, tcbocao, and cotton, were labor intensive, and there were not enough settlers or indentured servants to cultivate all the new land. American Natives were enslaved, but many died from new diseases, while others ecfetielfvy resisted. And so to meet the massive demand for lbaor, the Europeans looekd to acfria. African slavery had existed for centuries in various forms. Some slaves were indentured servants, with a limited term and the chance to buy one's freedom. Others were more like European serfs. In some societies, selvas could be part of a master's family, own land, and even rise to positions of power. But when white captains came offering mtnauuacerfd gdoos, weapons, and rum for slaves, African kings and merchants had little reason to hesitate. They viewed the people they sold not as fellow Africans but criminals, debtors, or prisoners of war from rival tbires. By snlielg them, kings ehinercd their own realms, and strengthened them against neighboring enemies. African kingdoms prospered from the slave trade, but meeting the European's massive dnmaed created intense competition. Slavery replaced other criminal senncetes, and capturing slaves became a motivation for war, rather than its result. To defend themselves from slave raids, neighboring kingdoms needed European frmaries, which they also bhuogt with slaves. The slave trade had become an arms race, altering societies and eeionmcos across the continent. As for the slaves themselves, they faced unimaginable brutality. After being marched to slave forts on the coast, shaved to prevent lice, and branded, they were loaded onto spihs bound for the Americas. About 20% of them would never see land again. Most captains of the day were tgiht packers, cramming as many men as possible below deck. While the lack of sntaiaoitn caused many to die of disease, and others were thrown overboard for being sick, or as discipline, the captain's ensured their profits by cutting off slave's ears as porof of purchase. Some cpteiavs took matters into their own hands. Many inlnad Africans had never seen whites before, and thought them to be cannibals, cnotsnltay taking people away and returning for more. Afraid of being eaten, or just to avoid further suffering, they committed suicide or strvaed themselves, believing that in detah, their souls would rertun home. Those who survived were completley dehumanized, teretad as mere cgrao. Women and children were kept above deck and abused by the crew, while the men were made to perform dances in oredr to keep them exercised and curb rebellion. What happened to those Africans who reached the New World and how the legacy of slavery still affects their descendants today is fairly well known. But what is not often dssisuced is the effect that the Atlantic slave trade had on Africa's future. Not only did the continent lose tens of mililons of its able-bodied population, but because most of the slaves taken were men, the long-term demographic effect was even greater. When the slave trade was finally outlawed in the Americas and Europe, the African kingdoms whose economies it had come to dominate collapsed, leaving them open to conquest and colonization. And the increased competition and influx of European weapons fueled warfare and instability that continues to this day. The Atlantic slave trade also contributed to the development of racist ideology. Most African slavery had no deeper reosan than legal punishment or intertribal warfare, but the eopnaures who preached a universal religion, and who had long ago outlawed eivlnansg fellow Christians, ndeeed justification for a practice so obviously at odds with their ideals of equality. So they claimed that aacnifrs were baiolgcllioy inferior and destined to be slaves, making great efforts to justify this treohy. Thus, slaervy in eproue and the Americas acquired a racial bisas, mkniag it impossible for slaves and their future dnnctesdeas to attain equal status in society. In all of these ways, the Atlantic slave trade was an injustice on a msvsiae scale whose impact has cteinnuod long after its abolition.

Open Cloze

Slavery, the treatment of human beings as property, ________ of personal rights, has occurred in many forms throughout the world. But one institution stands out for both its ______ _____ and its lasting ______. The Atlantic slave trade, occurring from the late 15th to the mid 19th century and spanning three continents, forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas. The impact it would _____ affected not only these slaves and their descendants, but the economies and histories of _____ _____ of the world. There had been _________ of contact between Europe and Africa via the Mediterranean. But the Atlantic slave _____ began in the late 1400s with Portuguese colonies in West Africa, and Spanish settlement of the Americas shortly after. The crops grown in the new colonies, sugar cane, _______, and cotton, were labor intensive, and there were not enough settlers or indentured servants to cultivate all the new land. American Natives were enslaved, but many died from new diseases, while others ___________ resisted. And so to meet the massive demand for _____, the Europeans ______ to ______. African slavery had existed for centuries in various forms. Some slaves were indentured servants, with a limited term and the chance to buy one's freedom. Others were more like European serfs. In some societies, ______ could be part of a master's family, own land, and even rise to positions of power. But when white captains came offering ____________ _____, weapons, and rum for slaves, African kings and merchants had little reason to hesitate. They viewed the people they sold not as fellow Africans but criminals, debtors, or prisoners of war from rival ______. By _______ them, kings ________ their own realms, and strengthened them against neighboring enemies. African kingdoms prospered from the slave trade, but meeting the European's massive ______ created intense competition. Slavery replaced other criminal _________, and capturing slaves became a motivation for war, rather than its result. To defend themselves from slave raids, neighboring kingdoms needed European ________, which they also ______ with slaves. The slave trade had become an arms race, altering societies and _________ across the continent. As for the slaves themselves, they faced unimaginable brutality. After being marched to slave forts on the coast, shaved to prevent lice, and branded, they were loaded onto _____ bound for the Americas. About 20% of them would never see land again. Most captains of the day were _____ packers, cramming as many men as possible below deck. While the lack of __________ caused many to die of disease, and others were thrown overboard for being sick, or as discipline, the captain's ensured their profits by cutting off slave's ears as _____ of purchase. Some ________ took matters into their own hands. Many ______ Africans had never seen whites before, and thought them to be cannibals, __________ taking people away and returning for more. Afraid of being eaten, or just to avoid further suffering, they committed suicide or _______ themselves, believing that in _____, their souls would ______ home. Those who survived were completley dehumanized, _______ as mere _____. Women and children were kept above deck and abused by the crew, while the men were made to perform dances in _____ to keep them exercised and curb rebellion. What happened to those Africans who reached the New World and how the legacy of slavery still affects their descendants today is fairly well known. But what is not often _________ is the effect that the Atlantic slave trade had on Africa's future. Not only did the continent lose tens of ________ of its able-bodied population, but because most of the slaves taken were men, the long-term demographic effect was even greater. When the slave trade was finally outlawed in the Americas and Europe, the African kingdoms whose economies it had come to dominate collapsed, leaving them open to conquest and colonization. And the increased competition and influx of European weapons fueled warfare and instability that continues to this day. The Atlantic slave trade also contributed to the development of racist ideology. Most African slavery had no deeper ______ than legal punishment or intertribal warfare, but the _________ who preached a universal religion, and who had long ago outlawed _________ fellow Christians, ______ justification for a practice so obviously at odds with their ideals of equality. So they claimed that ________ were ____________ inferior and destined to be slaves, making great efforts to justify this ______. Thus, _______ in ______ and the Americas acquired a racial _____, ______ it impossible for slaves and their future ___________ to attain equal status in society. In all of these ways, the Atlantic slave trade was an injustice on a _______ scale whose impact has _________ long after its abolition.

Solution

  1. demand
  2. needed
  3. europeans
  4. death
  5. descendants
  6. goods
  7. discussed
  8. firearms
  9. economies
  10. inland
  11. europe
  12. deprived
  13. slavery
  14. captives
  15. trade
  16. slaves
  17. centuries
  18. millions
  19. ships
  20. return
  21. theory
  22. large
  23. scale
  24. tight
  25. africans
  26. sanitation
  27. looked
  28. starved
  29. making
  30. enriched
  31. sentences
  32. tribes
  33. legacy
  34. global
  35. basis
  36. enslaving
  37. effectively
  38. labor
  39. cargo
  40. bought
  41. proof
  42. tobacco
  43. reason
  44. parts
  45. continued
  46. massive
  47. leave
  48. order
  49. africa
  50. treated
  51. biologically
  52. constantly
  53. manufactured
  54. selling

Original Text

Slavery, the treatment of human beings as property, deprived of personal rights, has occurred in many forms throughout the world. But one institution stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. The Atlantic slave trade, occurring from the late 15th to the mid 19th century and spanning three continents, forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas. The impact it would leave affected not only these slaves and their descendants, but the economies and histories of large parts of the world. There had been centuries of contact between Europe and Africa via the Mediterranean. But the Atlantic slave trade began in the late 1400s with Portuguese colonies in West Africa, and Spanish settlement of the Americas shortly after. The crops grown in the new colonies, sugar cane, tobacco, and cotton, were labor intensive, and there were not enough settlers or indentured servants to cultivate all the new land. American Natives were enslaved, but many died from new diseases, while others effectively resisted. And so to meet the massive demand for labor, the Europeans looked to Africa. African slavery had existed for centuries in various forms. Some slaves were indentured servants, with a limited term and the chance to buy one's freedom. Others were more like European serfs. In some societies, slaves could be part of a master's family, own land, and even rise to positions of power. But when white captains came offering manufactured goods, weapons, and rum for slaves, African kings and merchants had little reason to hesitate. They viewed the people they sold not as fellow Africans but criminals, debtors, or prisoners of war from rival tribes. By selling them, kings enriched their own realms, and strengthened them against neighboring enemies. African kingdoms prospered from the slave trade, but meeting the European's massive demand created intense competition. Slavery replaced other criminal sentences, and capturing slaves became a motivation for war, rather than its result. To defend themselves from slave raids, neighboring kingdoms needed European firearms, which they also bought with slaves. The slave trade had become an arms race, altering societies and economies across the continent. As for the slaves themselves, they faced unimaginable brutality. After being marched to slave forts on the coast, shaved to prevent lice, and branded, they were loaded onto ships bound for the Americas. About 20% of them would never see land again. Most captains of the day were tight packers, cramming as many men as possible below deck. While the lack of sanitation caused many to die of disease, and others were thrown overboard for being sick, or as discipline, the captain's ensured their profits by cutting off slave's ears as proof of purchase. Some captives took matters into their own hands. Many inland Africans had never seen whites before, and thought them to be cannibals, constantly taking people away and returning for more. Afraid of being eaten, or just to avoid further suffering, they committed suicide or starved themselves, believing that in death, their souls would return home. Those who survived were completley dehumanized, treated as mere cargo. Women and children were kept above deck and abused by the crew, while the men were made to perform dances in order to keep them exercised and curb rebellion. What happened to those Africans who reached the New World and how the legacy of slavery still affects their descendants today is fairly well known. But what is not often discussed is the effect that the Atlantic slave trade had on Africa's future. Not only did the continent lose tens of millions of its able-bodied population, but because most of the slaves taken were men, the long-term demographic effect was even greater. When the slave trade was finally outlawed in the Americas and Europe, the African kingdoms whose economies it had come to dominate collapsed, leaving them open to conquest and colonization. And the increased competition and influx of European weapons fueled warfare and instability that continues to this day. The Atlantic slave trade also contributed to the development of racist ideology. Most African slavery had no deeper reason than legal punishment or intertribal warfare, but the Europeans who preached a universal religion, and who had long ago outlawed enslaving fellow Christians, needed justification for a practice so obviously at odds with their ideals of equality. So they claimed that Africans were biologically inferior and destined to be slaves, making great efforts to justify this theory. Thus, slavery in Europe and the Americas acquired a racial basis, making it impossible for slaves and their future descendants to attain equal status in society. In all of these ways, the Atlantic slave trade was an injustice on a massive scale whose impact has continued long after its abolition.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
slave trade 6
atlantic slave 5
massive demand 2
african slavery 2
african kingdoms 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
atlantic slave trade 4

Important Words

  1. abolition
  2. abused
  3. acquired
  4. affected
  5. affects
  6. afraid
  7. africa
  8. african
  9. africans
  10. altering
  11. american
  12. americas
  13. arms
  14. atlantic
  15. attain
  16. avoid
  17. basis
  18. began
  19. beings
  20. believing
  21. biologically
  22. bought
  23. bound
  24. branded
  25. brought
  26. brutality
  27. buy
  28. cane
  29. cannibals
  30. captains
  31. captives
  32. capturing
  33. cargo
  34. caused
  35. centuries
  36. century
  37. chance
  38. children
  39. christians
  40. claimed
  41. coast
  42. collapsed
  43. colonies
  44. colonization
  45. committed
  46. competition
  47. completley
  48. conquest
  49. constantly
  50. contact
  51. continent
  52. continents
  53. continued
  54. continues
  55. contributed
  56. cotton
  57. cramming
  58. created
  59. crew
  60. criminal
  61. criminals
  62. crops
  63. cultivate
  64. curb
  65. cutting
  66. dances
  67. day
  68. death
  69. debtors
  70. deck
  71. deeper
  72. defend
  73. dehumanized
  74. demand
  75. demographic
  76. deprived
  77. descendants
  78. destined
  79. development
  80. die
  81. died
  82. discipline
  83. discussed
  84. disease
  85. diseases
  86. dominate
  87. ears
  88. eaten
  89. economies
  90. effect
  91. effectively
  92. efforts
  93. enemies
  94. enriched
  95. enslaved
  96. enslaving
  97. ensured
  98. equal
  99. equality
  100. europe
  101. european
  102. europeans
  103. exercised
  104. existed
  105. faced
  106. family
  107. fellow
  108. finally
  109. firearms
  110. forcibly
  111. forms
  112. forts
  113. freedom
  114. fueled
  115. future
  116. global
  117. goods
  118. great
  119. greater
  120. grown
  121. hands
  122. happened
  123. hesitate
  124. histories
  125. home
  126. human
  127. ideals
  128. ideology
  129. impact
  130. impossible
  131. increased
  132. indentured
  133. inferior
  134. influx
  135. injustice
  136. inland
  137. instability
  138. institution
  139. intense
  140. intensive
  141. intertribal
  142. justification
  143. justify
  144. kingdoms
  145. kings
  146. labor
  147. lack
  148. land
  149. large
  150. lasting
  151. late
  152. leave
  153. leaving
  154. legacy
  155. legal
  156. lice
  157. limited
  158. loaded
  159. long
  160. looked
  161. lose
  162. making
  163. manufactured
  164. marched
  165. massive
  166. matters
  167. mediterranean
  168. meet
  169. meeting
  170. men
  171. merchants
  172. mere
  173. mid
  174. million
  175. millions
  176. motivation
  177. natives
  178. needed
  179. neighboring
  180. occurred
  181. occurring
  182. odds
  183. offering
  184. open
  185. order
  186. outlawed
  187. overboard
  188. packers
  189. part
  190. parts
  191. people
  192. perform
  193. personal
  194. population
  195. portuguese
  196. positions
  197. power
  198. practice
  199. preached
  200. prevent
  201. prisoners
  202. profits
  203. proof
  204. property
  205. prospered
  206. punishment
  207. purchase
  208. race
  209. racial
  210. racist
  211. raids
  212. reached
  213. realms
  214. reason
  215. rebellion
  216. religion
  217. replaced
  218. resisted
  219. result
  220. return
  221. returning
  222. rights
  223. rise
  224. rival
  225. rum
  226. sanitation
  227. scale
  228. selling
  229. sentences
  230. serfs
  231. servants
  232. settlement
  233. settlers
  234. shaved
  235. ships
  236. shortly
  237. sick
  238. slave
  239. slavery
  240. slaves
  241. societies
  242. society
  243. sold
  244. souls
  245. spanish
  246. spanning
  247. stands
  248. starved
  249. status
  250. strengthened
  251. suffering
  252. sugar
  253. suicide
  254. survived
  255. tens
  256. term
  257. theory
  258. thought
  259. thrown
  260. tight
  261. tobacco
  262. today
  263. trade
  264. treated
  265. treatment
  266. tribes
  267. unimaginable
  268. universal
  269. viewed
  270. war
  271. warfare
  272. ways
  273. weapons
  274. west
  275. white
  276. whites
  277. women
  278. world