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Monday, 6 June 2011

The Economic Consequences of theTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade

The Economic Consequences of theTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade

By Priyantha Hettige

Eric Williams, who became Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, wrote his book “Capitalism and Slavery,” in which he has proposed that the “super-profits” from the slave trade fired up the Industrial Revolution in Protestant Northern European countries.

The victors write the history books, so the saying goes. It can be assumed that much of the discussion and analysis given below is not “approved official history”: it is not in the sanitized “History” books; real history has gone astray, one must assume, for Biblical-prejudicial reasons. Here then, is a reasoned discussion using common knowledge, relevant events and associated dates to show the reader that the Industrial Revolution in Northern Europe was indeed, fuelled by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Protestantism and the Safe Havens for Capital

Starting after 1502CE., the date of the first trans-shipment of slaves to the Americas, the building of specialized ships for the Atlantic slave trade would have slowly increased both in carrying capacity and in numbers of ships built; mostly small Spanish or Portuguese ships. This would be no more than the continuation of an existing Catholic slave trade in Pagans, Heathens, Heretics and Apostates.

Certain favourable conditions were needed for the start of the MASSIVE Trans-Atlantic Slave trade to occur. The first and foremost condition was that those few individuals capable of financing, directing and controlling this trade, most of whom were Jews, required to be at liberty to function effectively; safety from persecution was essential, and confidence that their wealth was safe from confiscation, too.

When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, they dispersed to Portugal, Italy and Morocco: they migrated, smuggling their gold with them, to wherever they could feel safe and prosper, too. Because Catholicism was hostile to the Jewish heresy (‘error has no rights’) almost no-where in Europe was safe for Jews.

But Protestantism was also on the move: the Protestant movement was gaining strength and after some decades, whole countries were able to break away from Rome. The Protestant movement against this vile Catholicism was soon to provide such a safe haven for Jews in Northern Europe in Protestant Holland, Switzerland, England and Germany. They fulfilled those safety and confidence requirements and even today they remain noted centres of banking.

The historical build-up to the massive Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

By the time the great Spanish Armada was repulsed in 1588 around the seas of Britain, the native populations of the Americas, tens of millions, would have been decimated. None remained! The news of this catastrophe would have reverberated around the world. All this notwithstanding, the call for more labour, and more robust labour at that, by the Portuguese and Spanish Conquistadors would have been made, loud and clear.

It was then, after 1588, that rich Jews would have had the confidence to settle in Britain and other Protestant countries and start financing the slave trade. Poorer Jews would see opportunities working in the Slave Trade as Ship’s crew, or onshore as agents, suppliers, auctioneers, etc., in the various Slave trading posts around the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts, i.e. they were mobile, reliable, spoke the languages, and willing to work hard due to their unhappy personal history.

(Already, in the twelfth century, Jewish holy prophet Moses Maimonides in his book: “A Guide to the Perplexed,” had confirmed the unholy story of the curse on Ham extending to all the Negros of Africa. Jews could despise them and enslave them with a free conscience!)

But around 1623 things really changed with the Chartering of the Dutch West India Company. Already other companies were active and competing for business; but now, ship building and Slaving activity accelerated. Huge, immense amounts of money were needed to be raised for the building and equipping of slave ships; and these ships needed certain specialized equipment not easily found or manufactured. Only very rich people, their organizations, or Central Banks could raise these vast amounts of wealth.

Supplying Ships, Buildings and Ironwork for the Trade

The slave trade in total needed much specialized equipment, ships and buildings. Must of the materials needed, had to be found from these same favourable Protestant countries. General ship’s fittings in metalwork such as brass, bronze, iron nails, etc., and hardwoods was well known and available. But each of the three stages of the trans-shipment: Africa; the slave ships; and the final destination needed tons and tons of specialist ironware in the shape of chains and restraints. It was a tight market and supplies of chain and restrains were in great demand, prices soared. People invested in mining iron ore and coal.

Looking at a diagram of how slaves were anchored down on the decks, the numbers can be counted as around 800 to 1000 people on board each ship. At its peak activity the number of ships may have been around 3,000 ships of varying sizes. For example, the Dutch East India Company, alone, had 3,400 ships plying the Spice routes. It is suggested that Slave ships could only survive six Atlantic crossings on average.

Estimates of how many slaves were captured or bought by the traders vary widely, but a considered guess might put the numbers as about 75 million people uprooted and procured for slavery, about 53,000,000 actually boarded ship, about 17 million perished at sea, and 20,000,000 survived into the longer term. These are considered rough approximations only.

The Industrial Revolution in Manufacturing:

The actual firing up and impetus to industrial manufacturing came mostly from the need for restraining slaves. This was done in the early stages by the use of iron – both cast iron and wrought iron in its various shapes and guises. The organizers and managers needed great quantities of specialist equipment: neck collars, arm restraints, leg restraints, iron balls and chains, whole body restraints, even tongue clamps, and leg clamps and locks, deck anchors and posts, and miles and miles of wrought iron chain. These were needed for both on board ship use and on land use.

The manufacture of this vast amount of ironware required considerable specialist expertise, too.

These Northern European countries had a millennium of years of experience in the field of manufacturing personal restraints from iron. For example, there was experience in the manufacture of ceiling hooks, iron Gibbet cages and support brackets, neck collars with spikes pointing inwards or outwards, arm and wrist restraints and even the infamous “Our Lady, the Iron Mary” figure with its grotesque face and hinged doors with spikes of sharp iron to spike her victim.

These had been manufactured to the requirements of the Catholic Inquisition, but after the Protestant movement this institution was not functioning resulting in loss of employment for iron-smithers in those countries. The demand for restraints for the slave trade filled that much-felt need for work by a thousand-fold.

In fact, the demand for this ironware was so huge that the legacy can be seen in the British telephone directory where hundreds of pages, the list of the name ‘smith’ is by far, the largest, longest of all the lists of names.

Iron-smithing or black-smithing became a major industry located around wherever iron ore and coal were to be found in close proximity. A part of the English West Midlands is known as the “Black country” because of this iron implements and chain making. And then canals had to be built for transporting these heavy goods. (But money for digging out and building canals was there, in slavery - not in pottery!)

The demand from the South American countries for better quality, reliable restraints, etc., implements for working the land and so on, required better metals. Simple iron had to be made more reliable, stronger. This was done by removing more of the carbon content by pumping air through the melt. In this way the first steps were taken on the road to modern metallurgy. This also made it imperative to have better cutting tools and machinery to cut and shape this stronger material.

Demand for other manufactured goods, such as cloth, would grow with time, inspiring cloth weaving machinery, so starting a self feeding spiral of demand for ironware, heavy engineering goods and manufactured goods – inspiring inventors and the building of factories (with slave-like working conditions!). Some people got very rich! (Turning sail cloth to jeans became a fashion industry.)

All these orders for restraints, chains, tools and materials, etc., were placed in Protestant countries; those that tolerated and gave security to Jews, and who participated in this business themselves and facilitated the necessary financial transactions. Protestant Northern Europe prospered; the Catholic South never recovered as a direct result of its own creeds and prejudices, but it did build its own slave ships and was active in its own trading of slaves to its new colonies – the Catholic Church!

Time line of the Age

1480 – 1495CE. Torquemada (Catholic Inquisitor – Judge)

Active Inquisitor : 1480 – 1495CE. *He had 10,220 people, Witches burned alive. (mostly old and toothless, poverty stricken and demented, women, hags) *He had 97,371 heretics hanged. *He disposed of a total of 114,000 real people.

1492CE : The expelling of Jews from Spain.

1492CE : Columbus

Columbus sets sail and discovers America for Europe 1492CE. The first African slaves shipped in 1502 to the Caribbean area due to the extermination of the harmless local tribes people, e.g. Taino, living around the islands of the Caribbean.

1509 to 1547CE : King Henry VIII

He becomes head of the English (Protestant) Church in 1531 He was Excommunicated around 1533 by Pope Clement. He executed those Catholics in opposition to his rule. (about 10,000 it is said.)

He died 1547CE

1517CE : Martin Luther

Martin Luther nails his 95 “Questions” to the door of Wittenberg Church in 1517. (Luther justified serfdom and slavery – logically)

1536- 1539CE : “Reform of the Monasteries”

In the Reforms, Inquisitional torture was to be reduced but it was never eliminated altogether. (The death-sentence by imprisoning, alive, people in Gibbet-Cages was kept going until people demanded criminals be hanged before caging in the 18th. century.)


The Jesuit Organization was founded in 1539 by Ignacio Loyola to counter-balance the Protestant Heresy. (- by cunning subterfuges)

1553 to 1558CE : Catholic ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary

Mary was the eldest daughter of Henry VIII. She reigned from 1553 to 1558. Her first act was to execute the Protestant sixteen year old and well educated, Lady Jane Grey, who had also contested for the throne, and executed her husband, too. Her father was executed two days later in 1554CE. But Mary earned her ‘bloody’ nickname by burning alive 300 prominent supporters of her father and ordering a further c.10,000 other Tudor Protestants to be be-headed. The details of the burnings are well documented by John Foxe. The point has to be made that Henry executed many Catholics as they were against his policies and threatened rebellion. It is clear that, in contrast, Mary burned prominent Tudor Protestant heretics to the approval of the Pope, and she executed thousands of simple Protestants as a measure to even the record. Mary! The Red Queen of Hearts!

She married Protestant Britain’s greatest enemy, Prince Phillip II of Spain. Now, these days, Catholics say she is misunderstood – the first step in an effort to whitewash her – the first step on the road to Sainthood!

1558 to 1603CE : Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth followed her elder sister, Mary, on the Throne and was queen from 1558 to her death in 1603. She followed very modest, Protestant policies.

She was excommunicated and dethroned by the Papal Bull of 1570.

The Great Armada sent to capture Elizabeth was repulsed in 1588.

She ushered in a most welcome period of stability and prosperity and happiness.

1602CE : Dutch East India Company

The Dutch East India Company was founded in 1602 primarily for trade and spices from the East.

1618CE : 30 YEARS WAR Starts

The 30 years War starts in Northern Europe – 18m dead in the battle to free themselves from Catholicism.

1621CE : Dutch West India Company

Dutch West India Company was Chartered in 1621. This Charter gave it the powers of a sovereign state almost. It is said that up to 50% of the capital was owned by Jews. It started operating in 1623 in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

At first privateering (buccaneering) was the most profitable activity. This became the biggest and most powerful shipping company and dominated the Slave trade. The Company’s greatest success was the seizure of the Spanish Silver fleet. The Company finally reverted to the Dutch Republic in 1st. Jan. 1792.

1808 : French General La Salle

After Napoleon’s invasion of Catholic Spain, La Salle torched (burned) the Spanish village of Torquemada.