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Word Count: 1,237
As a social and economic institution slavery originated in the times when humans began farming instead of hunting and gathering Slave labor became commonplace in ancient Greece and Rome Slaves were created through the capture of enemies the birth of children to slave parents and means of punishment Enslaved Africans represented many different peoples each with distinct cultures religions and languages Most originated from the coast or the interior of West Africa between present-day Senegal and Angola Other enslaved peoples originally came from Madagascar and Tanzania in East Africa Slavery became of major economic importance after the sixteenth century with the European conquest of South and Central America These slaves had a great impact on the sugar and tobacco industries A triangular trade route was established with Europe for alcohol and firearms in exchange for slaves The slaves were then traded with Americans for molasses and later cotton In 1619 the first black slave arrived in Virginia The demands of European consumers for New World crops and goods helped fuel the slave trade A strong family and community life helped sustain African Americans in slavery People often chose their own partners lived under the same roof raised children together and protected each other Brutal treatment at the hands of slaveholders however threatened black family life Enslaved women experienced sexual exploitation at the hands of slaveholders and overseers Bondspeople lived with the constant fear of being sold away from their loved ones with no chance of reunion Historians estimate that most bondspeople were sold at least once in their lives No event was more traumatic in the lives of enslaved individuals than that of forcible separation from their families People sometimes fled when they heard of an impending sale During the 17th and 18th century enslaved African Americans in the Upper South mostly raised tobacco In coastal South Carolina and Georgia they harvested indigo for dye and grew rice using agricultural expertise brought with them from
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