In previous weeks, in our discussions on religion, on discovery and on the growth of empires, we have touched on the main themes for this week – the Columbian Exchange and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This week’s documents talk about the slave trade from a variety of different perspectives. The textbook and supplementary materials put these experiences into the larger economic context that was the motivation for the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
For this week’s discussion, I want you to think about the different experiences of those represented in the documents – the slave himself, the European trader, and the African kings. How were their experiences different? Why might the different African kings have had different ideas about the slave trade? Is there anything that you found surprising, or that changed the way that you previously thought about the slave trade?
This discussion topic is a bit more open-ended than those of the previous weeks. You are free to bring in your prior experiences of learning about the slave trade, but I would like you to really engage with the documents, and focus on how they complicate or reaffirm the general narratives of this historical theme.