Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680

TitleAfrica and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsThornton, John
Number of Pages309
PublisherCambridge University Press
CityCambridge, UK

This book focuses on the African role in shaping the Atlantic world that developed after the navigational breakthroughs of the fifteenth century. It focuses especially on the causes and consequences of the slave trade, in Africa, in Europe, and in the New World. Prior to 1680, Africa's economic and military strength enabled African elites to determine how trade with Europe developed. In this volume, the author examines the dynamics that made slaves so necessary to European colonizers. He explains why African slaves were placed in significant roles. Estate structure and demography affected the capacity of slaves to form a self-sustaining society and behave as cultural actors. The degree of African initiative displayed in this period is stressed, both by African elites in dealing with the new visitors and trading partners and, even by African slaves in the New World. Evenly divided into sections on Africa and Africans in the New World, this study stresses cultural and institutional backgrounds to Africa and African slaves.

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