Spain as one of the major colonial powers partipated in the African slave trade. The earliest steps were taken by the Portuguese, but the Spanish quickly followed suit. Both Spain and Portugal began enslaving captured Africans when they came in contact with them as Portuguese explorers moved south along the coast of Africa (15th centuries). Spain was primarily involved in the Atlantic slave trade because of their Caribbean colonies. The Spanish used Native Americans as a labor force on their mainland colonies, especially Peru and Mexico. This did not prove feasible in the Caibbean because through abuse and disease, the Native Ameicans largely perished. And as sugar became the dominant crop, labor had to be obtained--large numbers if workers as sugar was a labor-intensive crop. The Spanish imported large numbers of captive Africans as slaves into its Caribbean island colonies. The principal Spanish colonies were the islands of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico). The Spanish began importing slaves into Jamaica, but this island was seized by the British. The French seized the lightly settled western portion of Hispaniola, which became St. Dominique (modern Haiti). Spanish slavers supplied slaves, but Portuguese slavers at first played an important role. Later British and other European slavers also delivered slaves. The Spanish were unable to prevent the other European colonial powers from seizing the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles. Over time other European countries seized Caribbean islands and also turned to sugar and slave labor. After the Napoleonic Wars when Britain began a campaign to end the slave trade, the Spanish were not cooperative. Spain contunued to maintain slavery on Cuba and Puerto Rico into the late-19th century after slavery had been abolished elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Portugal began the great European voyages of discovery (mid-15th century). As a result for the first time Europeans came into direct contact with black Africans. Portuguese traders brought blacks to Portugal for sale as slaves. Others were used as slaves on sugar plantations off the coast of Africa. The Portuguese also sold slves in Spain. This alerted the Spanish to the commercial possibilities. Spanish traders then began their own expeditions south along the coast of Africa. Thus Spanish interst in African slaves began well before they had American colonies and Caribbean sugar islands. Pope Nicholas V issues the bull (papal decree) Dum Diversas scantioning the developing Portuguese pratice of reducing non-Christians to the condition of slavery (1452). The pope did not touch on the issue of race. Portuguese and Spanish competition in the African trade led to a rivalry that threatened conflict. As the Portuguese Pope Nicholas V to defuse the developin rivalry issued the bull Romanus Pontifex which granted the the Portuguese a perpetual monopoly in trade with Africa. (1454), Spanish traders, however, continued voyages along the African coast and among other goods brought back captured Africans as slaves. Portuguese slavers begin to operate openly in Seville (1462). This not only supplies African slaves to the Spanish, but stimulates commercial interest in the slave trade among the Spanish. And the Spanish defying the papal ban began trading in slaves on a substantial level (1470s). Carlos de Valera of Castille brought back 400 slaves from Africa (1476). For some time Portuguese explorrs had been slowly inching down the African coast. It was Bartolomeo Dias who took the hge leap and final step. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope and explored the Indian Ocean and the East African coast (1487-88). This opened European access to the east. Ferdinand ad Isabella complete the Reconquista by conquering the Moorish kingdom of Grenada (1492).
The Moors areallowed to depart the city, taking their Christian slaves with them. The Spanish retain their Moorish slaves. The final sucess of the Reconquista frees resources for other oprjects. Ferdinand and Isabella funded Columbus' voyage. Only a few years after Diaz's great achievement, Columbus' great voyage opened up further oportunities to the West (1492). Both the Portuguese and Spanish attempt to enslave the Native Americans. Columbus on his second voyage initiates the first transatlantic slave voyage, a shipment of several hundred Taino people seized on Hispaniola and brought bavk to Spain (1493). Some Spainards raise doubts about the legality of their enslavement. The Spanish proceeded to enslave Native Americans in the new colonies American colonies. Columbus founded the first European colony in the New World: La Isabela. It was on the northern coast of Hispaniola (modern Dominican Republic) (1493). The Spanish brng small numbers of Native Americans back to Spain. Columbus returns from his second voyage, carrying around 30 Native American (1496). Further questins are raised about enslavng Native Americans. Much larger numbers are enslaved in the Caribbean islands and later the mainland. The Portguese do the same. Portuguese explorers Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Hojeda captured 200 Native Americans along the coast of South America and sell them as slaves in C�diz (1499).
The marriage of Ferdinand V of Castile and Isabella I of Aragon essentially united the Iberaian peninsula, except Portugal, into a Spanish monarchy (1479). The last Moorish city, Granada fell (1492). With the Moors at last defeated, the Spanish could turn their energies into naval expansion, but weree behind the Portuguese in this area. Genonese navigator Christopher Columbus is the most renowned of all the great explorers. He sailed west under the banner of their most Cathlolic magesties Ferdinand and Isabella, hoping to reach the Indies (1492). The voyage was intensely debated by Spanish authorities. Knowledgeable people did not believe that the orld was flat. Many did believe that the world was so large that the crews of ships sailing west would perish before reaching Asia. Coilumbus of course found America, although it was not until his third voyage that he began to realize that he had found an entire new continent. Nu�ez de Balboa reached the Pacific over the Istmus of Panama (1513). Charles I commissioned Magellan to find a passage through the Americas to the Spice Islands. Magellan sailed from Seville (1519) and explored the Plate estuary (1520) before crossing into the Pacific through the straits at the tip of South America now named for him. He claimed the Philippines for Spain, but was killed there (1521). One if his ships managed to return to Seville, completing the first circimnavigatiin of the world (1522). Conquistadores Hernado Cortes and Francisco Pizarro conquered the Aztec and Incan civilizations, laying claim to great wealth and a vast colonial empire for Spain. Although at first disappointed with their new lands, the conquest of the Aztecs and Incas brought vast quantities of gold and silver flooding into Spain and through Spain the rest of Europe and had an enormous impact on the still largely feudal European economies. Many other new products were broughtb back to Spain. One of these, the humble potato, had an even more profound impact than the gold and silver. Coronado and Ponce de Le�n expanded the Spanish claim to North America as well.
The Spanish reduced the Native Amercans in South and Central America to the stay=tus of slavery. The Native Americans provided the primary work force. Only in a few areas were Africans used in South America (northern Ecuador (Esmeraldas) and the Pacifuc coast of Coloumbia and Venezuela. The Spanish did use African slaves in the enormously profitable sugar indusry in the Caribbean.
The Spanish used Native Americans as a labor force on their mainland colonies, especially Peru and Mexico. This did not prove feasible in the Caibbean because through abuse and disease, the Native Ameicans largely perished. Both Spain and Portugal began enslaving captured Africans when they came in contact with them as Portuguese explorers moved south along the coast of Africa (15th centuries). The The Spanish did no, however, immediately begin shipping captured Africans to their new American colonies after Columbus's discovery (1492). Rather they attempted to enslave the local Native Americans. King Philip III of Spain prohibits the use of Native American slaves in Spanish colonies (1600).
Spain as one of the major colonial powers partipated in the African slave trade. The earliest steps were taken by the Portuguese, but the Spanish quickly followed suit. Both Spain and Portugal began enslaving captured Africans when they came in contact with them as Portuguese explorers moved south along the coast of Africa (15th centuries). Spain was primarily involved in the Atlantic slave trade because of their Caribbean colonies. And as sugar became the dominant crop, labor had to be obtained--large numbers if workers as sugar was a labor-intensive crop. The Spanish imported large numbers of captive Africans as slaves into its Caribbean island colonies. The principal Spanish colonies were the islands of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico). The Spanish began importing slaves into Jamaica, but this island was seized by the British. The French seized the lightly settled western portion of Hispaniola, which became St. Dominique (modern Haiti). The Spanish were unable to prevent the other European colonial powers from seizing the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles. Over time other European countries seized Caribbean islands and also turned to sugar and slave labor.
The captured Africans were enslaved in Spain and Portugal or in the case of Portugal, off-shore islabds like Madeira and Sao Tome in the developing sugar plantations. Juan de Córdoba, Seville merchant, appears to be the first merchant to send a captured African to the Americas (1502). At the time, permission from the Crown was required. Córdoba and other were restricted. The Crown only allowed Cúrdoba to send a single African. Other merchants were allowed to send a few more, but very small numbers. While very small numers of Africas were involved, this was in fact the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. The Spanish brought sugar cane to the New World. They began rowing cane in Santo Domingo (Hispaiola) (1505). This was a major development as sugar cane was a labor intensive crop. Large numbers of plantation workers were needed. Columbus's son, Diego Cólon, was appointed governor of the expanding Spanish Caribbean empire. As governor he complained that enslaved Native American can not be made to work hard enough (1509). This and perhaps more importantly the collapse of Native America populations because of abuse and disase created a great demand for labor in the new colonies. The Spanish answer to the problem was te African slave trade. King Ferdinand authorised a shipment of 50 Africans to Santo Domingo (1510). This was the first large shipmet in the Atlantic slave trade. Cuban Govenor Diego Vel�zquez authorised raids along the coast of Central America (1516). The captives on a Spanish caravel rebel and kill the Spanish crew and then manage to sail home. This is the first known sucessful slave rebellion known in the New World. Charles V substantially expanded the Atlantic slve trade. He granted a Flemish courtier Lorenzo de Gorrevod authority to ship 4,000 captive Africans to the America (1518). This was the beginning in earnest of the Atlantic slave trade. From this point thusands of captive Africans are shipped annually to the New World. The final step in the Atlatic slave trade was taken by Juan de la Barrera, a Seville merchant. The first slaves to reach the New World were Africans tht had been brought to Spain as slaves. Barrea begins transporting captive Africans directlt to the New World (1530). Other slave traders quickly adopt this practice.
Sugar was a commodity greatly prised in Europe. Spanist settlers began to grow it on the islands of the Greater Antilles that they colonized (Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica), although on a relatively small scale. Sugar cultivation in the Spanish colonies became based almost entirely on African slave labor.
Events in Europe significanyly affected the slave trade in the late-16th century, changing it from a Portuguese-Spanish enterprise to a pan-European undertaking. King Henry of Portugal died (1580). The Duke of Alva carried out a brief military campaign. This unites Portugal with the Spanish territories of King Philip II. Thus for a time the developing slave trade was under the control of Spain the principal colonial power. Queen Mary I (1553-58) attempted to return England to Catholcism. She was also married Philip II. As a result, she insisted on correct relations with Spain. This changed with the accession of the Princess Elizabeth (1558). Elizabeth permitted English traders to do business with Spanish colonies--in violation of Spanish law. And this man entering the slave trade as slaves were in great demand in Spanish Caribbean colonies. Conflict with the Spanish escalate. Elizabeth secretely authorizes privateers targetting the Spanish treasure ships brining bullion back from their American colonies. The English escalated attacks, targeting Spanish colonial settlements. Sir Francis Drake attacks and sacks Santiago on the Cape Verde Islands, a major slave trading transhipment point (1585). Drake next goes on a rampage in the Caribbean, sacking Santo Domingo, Cartagena, and St. Augustine. These attacks and religious issues which were very important to King Phillip precipitate war with England. Philip dispatches the Great Armada (1588). The Armada fails to link up with the Duke of Alma's army in the Low Countries and is eventually destroyed by rough weather in the North Sea. The weakening of Spanish naval power enables other Europen powers to both found colonies in the Caribbean and become important players in the slave trade. The defeat of the Armada wa also a factor in the Dutch War of Independence. The Dutch became a major naval power and participant in the salave trade.
The Asiento de negros translates as seat (neaning assignment) of the blacks. The Spanish Crown negotiared a contract between a private person or another sovereign power by which the contract parner was granted a monopoly to supplying captive Africans to the the Spanish colonies in the Americas (earjy-16th - mid-18th century). It was an extemely valuable contract and an easy way for the Crown to obrain a piece of the action of the slave trade. The contractor (asentista) agreed to pay a certain sum of money to the crown for the monopoly and in retuen to deliver a stipulated number of male and female captive Africans for sale in the Spanish colonies. This was becessary because the Amerindins enslaved on Hisoaniola were dying and the Spamosh settlers needed labor. The first asientista was a Genoese company that agreed to supply 1,000 slaves over an 8-year period (1517). The Criwn ereaches an agreement with a German firm to supply 4,000 slaves (1528) This reflect the fact that Hapvurg Emperoir Charves V was alaso King of Spain. For the monopoly the firm paid 20,000 ducats annually to the Crown. Each slave was sold at a price not exceeding 45 ducats. Britain eventually acquired the Asiento (1713). The South Seas Coimpamy committed romnsupplying 4,800 slaves annually. In compensation for anticipated losses in the slave trade, the Company was permitted to conduct an extensive trade in merchandise. Legally Nritish merchabts were not allowed to trade with Soanish volonies, but ba great deal mof illgal trade was conduycted. This ompeted with the traditional outlets for British trade to America. This need to rely on foreign contractors to supply slaves to the American colonies threarebed Spain's trading monopoly with its colonies. The presence of British merchants in Dpanish bcolonial ports resulted in further quantities of contraband slaves and merchandise. As a result, the Spanish Criwn asopred a range of measures to limit the Company's trade. ThevCriwn seized all Company property during the wars of 1718, 1727, and 1739. The Criwn was never able, however, to force the Company to relinquish the Asiento for an agreed sum. The Company finally ceased trading at the beginning of the War of Jenkins' Ear. (1739-48). This was because of deminished returns and a changed political siutuation in England. The South Sea Company after causing one of the most moriruious b=bubbles in financial history, curioiusly became invomced in managing Goivernment debt. The Asiento became a minor factor in the Comoamy's operations. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the war mand a provision of the Treaty allowed the Company to continue trading for another 4 years, but it was in no position to resume the trade. Thev Company agents had returned to England at the onsetb of the War. After the severe financial losses, the directors were focused on obtaining compensation. The Spanish Crown terminted the Asiento by purchasing the contract back (1750).
Columbus' voyages centered on the Caribbean and the inital landfall was just north of the Caribbean in the Bahamas. Columbus than turned south into the Caribbean. And it was here that the Spanish colonial empire began. And the Caribbean came to be called the Spanish Main. Surpriingly. given the contless islands in the Caribbean, the Spanish only settled the four islands of the Greater Antilles: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. The didn't ignore the smaller islanfs. They conducted slave raofding rcpeditioins and did some logging, but did nor settle them. There was plently of land in the larger islands. The problem was the labor to make that land productive. Thus there was little interest in the multitude of smaller islands with few resources to exploit. And very quiuckly the settlers ngan to realize that there was vast continrnbtal land to the south and west. And the rumors began pf wealthy native empires. With such alures there was no interest in settling small islands. The settlkers on Hispamiol moved west to Cuba. And from Cuba, Coinquistador Diego Cortez launched the expedition that cinquered the Aztec Empire. The gold and silver ,ean that the Soanish werefiz=xated on expecition on the Contuinent, hopring toi find other wealthy empires to dispoil. It bwould be here thar the Soanish would nuild their empire, eventually rching souyth to the couthern tip of South Amnerica.
Spanish colonizers transport Africans to work in Cuban gold mines (1524). Gold was, however, a minor resource in the Caribbean and the mines were rather quickly depleted. What was more important was sugar. One of the consequences of the French Revolution was the Haitain slave rebellion (1790s) and eventual independence of Haiti. Cuba had not been a major sugar profucer during the Caribbean sugar boom (18th century). After the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), Cuba emerged as the main sugar producer in the Caribbean. The industry grew very rapidly in the 1820s abd 30s. Large numbers of captive Africans were need to work o\all the new plantations. Slavers thus shipped to Cuba to work the plantations. The profitabilty of sugar and the Spanish ability to hold the islands as independence movements swept the mainland, allowed the industry to develop rapidly. Cuba became the last non-Muslim country to outlaw slavery. After Castro seized control of Cuba (1959), Cuban sugar played a role in the Cold War.
Jamaica was first settled by Columbus' son Diego (1509). Juan de Esquivel arrived from Santo Domingo (1509). The Spanish enslaved the Taino, killing those that resisted. Here both mistreatment and disease were factors. The Taino population was largely destroyed by 1560. The Spanish began importing Africans as slaves for labor. The number imported, however, was small because of the limited agricultural development. The Spanish first settled along the northern coast (St. Ann Parish). The major settlement was Sevilla Nueva. Subsequently they setlled the south where the major town was St. Jago de la Vega. This is the modern Spanish Town. The Spanish Criwn gave the island to the Columbus family (1540). They did very little to develop it. The Spanish did not settle Jamaica to the extent they did the other large islands (Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico). The Spanish population on Jamaica was small. The island never attracted substabtil numbers of Spanish settlers, in part because so lille gold was found there. As a result, it was more vulnerable than the other islands with larger Spanish populations. Most Spanish settlers were subsistence farmers, cultivating domestic produce. They were more interested in finding gold and other precious metals. Thus one estimate reveals that only about 1 percent of the potential agricultural land had been developed. The Spanish ventured into the interior looking for gold and hunting (wild hogs and cattle). Jamaica did play a role in the Spanish conquest of Central America. Farmers on Jamaica provided foodstuffs and animals to the Conquistadors. Because of settler activities, the slaves on Jamaica rather than being mostly field hands on plantations learned hunting and backwoods skills. These skills and knowledge of the terraine gave them the skills needed by guerilla fighters. The Spanish slaves when the English arrived ran off to the interior (1655). This was the beginning of Maroon society. The English onvaded asb seize the island (1655). When the English invaded the Soanish released their slaves.
Puerto Rico was one of the first Spanish colonies in the New World. Columbus landed on the island during his second voyage (1493). The Spanish enslaved the Native American population they found on the island and through mistreatment and exposure to European diseases they quickly died out. Many Tainos were killed in an uprising against the Spanish (1506). The Spanish than began importing black Africans to work as slaves. Puerto Rico did not have much of the gold the Spanish were seeking. The main crop quickly became sugar. The Spanish because of the strategic importance of the island built a massive fortification at San Juan--El Moro. The island gradually became a backwater of the Spanish Empire. Puerto Rico and Cuba were after the war of liberation on the mainland, the last two Spanish colonies in the New World. The Spanish King issued a 'Cedula de Gracia' to increase the European population of Puerto Rico which ws largely slaves of African discent. The Crown awarded land grants to immigrants (early 19th century). The Puerto Rican abolitionist movement persued an extended struggle to end slavery on the island. Cuba and Puerto Rico were some of the last places in the Americas where slavery persisted. The Spanish National Assembly finally abolished slavery in Puerto Rico (1873).
Hispaniola was the first Spanish colony in the Americas. The settlers attempted to enslave the Amerindian population. But through a combination of mistreatment and disesase, the population collapsed. The first captive Africans were sold as slaves in Santo Domingo (1503). The Asiento was created to supply captive Africans as a labor force for the Spanish settlers. A slave rebellion erupted on Hispaniola (1522). Native Americans had resisted slavery. This is the first important uprising by enslaved Africans. The French seized the westrrn part of the island, creating the colony of Saint Domomique--modern Haiti (1697). It became enormously profitable and the planters extrodiunarily brutal. The Spanish retained control over the rest of the island. Santo Domingo did not develop as a major slave colony. Unlike other Caribbean islands, the Spanish settlers did not found an important sugar industry. Rather livestock became very important in Santo Domingo and this did not require a large slave work force. It was the French on the western third of the island that founded an extensive sugar industry. Large numbers of slaves were imported to work the plantations. Great fortunes were made, but the slaves were treated brutally.
Spanish slavers supplied slaves, but Portuguese slavers at first played an important role. The British, Duth, and French also become important, delivering slaves to both the Spanish colonies and the colonies they found themselves. Philip II granted Pedro Gomes Reinal, a Portuguese merchant, a virtual monopoly in the slave trade in the Spanish empire (1595). Reinal commits to delivering 4,250 Africans to the Spanish colonies. Another 1,000 slaves were to be delivered by other merchants. When Gomes Reinal dies, the monpoly is transferred to Ja�o Rodrigues Coutinho, Governor of Angola (1600). Angola was a major source of slaves.
After the Napoleonic Wars when Britain began a campaign to end the slave trade. It was the Royal Navy's longest campaign. The Spanish were not cooperative and activeky resisted the effort. In contrast to the Church's effort to protect Amerindians, there was no effort to protect Africans. Nor was there an important Spanish Anoliistiinist movement. Spain contunued to maintain slavery in Cuba and Puerto Rico into the late-19th century after slavery had been abolished elsewhere in the Caribbean.
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