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Essay on Trade Networks between Africa and Eurasia

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Discrimination is the act of unrightfully treating, someone, due to your own personal beliefs and biases. This term is used to call attention to the disparity between individuals from various groups when one group is intentionally maltreated. Slavery is a perfect representation of this act and it is an unfortunate burden that billions of people had to suffer. In this essay, we will explore the key differences between Roman slavery and the slave system that took place in the Atlantic World as well, the beliefs that supported these systems, as well as the role and influence Christianity had on slavery and its victims.

Slavery has been around for thousands of years. It has played a major role in defining multiple societies. It served as a product of trade to better economic growth and served as a shield in battle. Even though ancient colonies all viewed slavery as being an important part of their society, they did not always go about it the same way.

In Western Europe, Before the trans-Atlantic Trade, during the period of the Roman Empire, slavery was really not as present as we would expect. Which was completely opposite from the other regions of the Atlantic world. Fellow Europeans would enslave their own people. European slaves were present, even though in a fairly small amount, in almost every state.

The amount of slavery in Western Europe gravely declined, after the fall of the Roman Empire.

By 1200, chattel slavery had all but disappeared from northwestern Europe(“Slavery Before the Trans-Atlantic Trade” 2) The political, geographical, and cultural changes that occurred in the subcontinent are what caused the great decline. Also, after the fall, the elites began looking for actual jobs and trying to acquire land and their own goods instead of focusing on owning and controlling people through slavery. The system that began to replace Alavert was the system of serfs. Serfs were old slaves that had to work for the lord of the manors. Unlike regular slaves, they could not be sold or bought. They were awarded for their good work safety and were allowed to farm on the lands for their subsistence. Even though they were not actually free were not as neglected as the original slaves. A few centuries after that, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the population changes and economic shifts from the Black Death serfdom declined in Western Europe. (“slavery Before”2)

During that same period of time, around 1500, the rise of Christianity started having an impact on whom and what could define a slave. Before that period, Europeans enslaved one another and there wasn’t any particular concept or definition to categorize who could be a slave. But after the spread of Christianity, the creation of boundaries and rules began defining who fit in that category. European Christians believed that slavery for the perfect punishment for criminals. They did not believe in the enslavement of the innocent, however, they were not necessarily against the enslavement of non-Christian Europeans.

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From around the fifth to the eleventh century, there was a large amount of Viking attacks in the northwestern side of Europe. These attacks were primarily made to raid and search for slaves on the coasts. The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 helped protect some areas from these salves raids, but tensions and conflicts continued between Christian and non-Christian Europeans. Church laws were created and were meant to protect Christians but allowed non-Christians and Muslims to be enslaved eventually, even with those laws protecting Christians; they were still regularly threatened by enslavement.

In that same period, Europeans started to point out the differences between themselves, Indians, Americans, and Africans. The criteria defining enslavement started facing a large shift from the non-Christian Europeans to just the non-European population. Then the dividing line separating Europeans from others became the frontier separating the Europeans from the non-“white” population. That separation is what enabled and started the enslavement of “black” Africans and the African-American population.

As time passed by, during the European renaissance, multiple philosophical and theological texts were written explaining and justifying the reasoning behind the Christian’s view on slavery. To add, around the 16th and 17th centuries, philosophers, such as Aristotle, provided theories and biblical justification supposedly stating the link between black skin and slavery, justifying and explaining why black people are “natural slaves” and should be confined to a lifetime of slavery.

As the economy started growing, European businessmen needed laborers to cultivate their properties and mines. Westerners then attacked multiple places in Africa and enslaved their population. They also enslave African-Americans and had less massive trade networks in both places. They began to exploit black people and enslaved them. They justified their behavior by stating their impureness and their lack of faith in God. The black people who were Christians also severely suffered also and that’s how the concept of white superiority began. Europeans began to tell myths and stories about the superiority of the white race over the black race to avoid their own enslaving and justify their behavior. As time passed, the ideas of the inferiority of the black race grew to influence European society on a large scale.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans turned the Atlantic Ocean into a massive slave economy, essentially of Africans. The trans –Atlantic slave trade was the largest long-distance forced movement of people in recorded history (‘Slavery before “12”.) More than twelve million black African people (men, women, and children) were enslaved by euro-American slaveholders. Millions of passengers died due to the inhumane conditions on the slave ships. The ships were designed to maximize the number of passengers and completely ignored comfort and safety. Slaves could be chained and packed closely against one another and had to remain chained up for up to multiple months regardless of the horrendous living conditions, lack of food, or even the harsh weather. The enslaved women were raped and beaten and so were the female children Mortality rates were off the charts, the slaves were treated like animals, and the hatred they suffered was unimaginable. The trans-Atlantic trade was the most inhuman encounter to the human race.

Nowadays, even with the era of slavery being long over, we still suffer from the consequences of slavery. The history of these inhuman actions still lingers in our presence. In today’s society, we are still faced with racism which was kind of the unconscious reason for slavery. The “White superiority” ideology that was created to give power to one race over another is still being demonstrated in today’s society. The fight for black freedom through powerful means is still largely present and the lines drawn between these two races are still being felt today. Even though slavery is not necessarily still a thing, we witness racism and discrimination in other shapes or forms. Today, black people are still victims of hate crimes, segregation, and discrimination. This is why, till today, modern-day society is still affected by the history of slavery.

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Essay on Trade Networks between Africa and Eurasia. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Essay on Trade Networks between Africa and Eurasia.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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Essay on Trade Networks between Africa and Eurasia [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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