While there is no doubt that the idea of natural slavery ultimately came to dominate this interpretative matrix the very earlier European expeditions to the West African coast—that is those of the Portuguese in the 1430’s and 1440s unfolded with considerably wider set of cultural presuppositions.
From the point of view of the captaWhile there is no doubt that the idea of natural slavery ultimately came to dominate this interpretative matrix the very earlier European expeditions to the West African coast—that is those of the Portuguese in the 1430’s and 1440s unfolded with considerably wider set of cultural presuppositions.ins of these expeditions, the captives that they brought back to Portugal were slaves not by nature but by circumstance. They were prisoners of war. Even when the concept of natural slavery as a function of warfare. It is the author’s intention here to illustrate this point by considering the Portuguese account of slaving expeditions to West Africa.
As Saunders had observed, “Seizure of prisoners for these purposes was an established practice of the Portuguese, who had been raiding the coasts of Morocco for the previous two centuries. Evidently, both the Infante D. Henrique and his captains thought for their activist as a southward extension of operations in Morocco”; The Depiction of Trade as War., 219.
One of the principal motives behind Portuguese interest in West Africa and the Canaries was the desire to tap into the trans-Saharan gold traffic. Fernandez-Armesto, Before Columbus, 140-48, 189-92.
A.C. de C.M. Saunders has argued that it was in the interests of the Portuguese to depict their actions in West Africa as a conquest of Muslim territory so as to legitimate, in the eyes of the papacy, their claim to exclusive trade in the region. The Depiction of Trade as a War as a Reflection of Portuguese Ideology and Diplomatic Strategy in West Africa, 1441- 1556,” Canadian Journal of History 17 (1982): 219-34. Zurar, Cronica, chap. 9, p. 56 Camels were introduced into western Africa in the fourth century, making it possible to establish the overland trade routes that brought gold from western Sudan to the Mediterranean littoral J. Spenser Trimingham, A History of Islam in West Africa (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952), 15.
The English word “Negro” is a derivative of the Spanish and Portuguese word negro, which means black. The Portuguese and Spanish, who were pioneers in the African Slave Trade, used this adjective to designate the African men and women whom they captured and transported to the slave mart of the New World. Within a short time, the Portuguese word negro (no capital) became the English noun-adjective “negro.” This word, which was not capitalized at first, fused not only humanity, nationality and place of origin but also certain white judgements about the inherent and irredeemable inferiority of the persons so designated The word also referred to certain Jim Crow places, i.e., the “negro pew” in Christian churches. See What’s In a Name? Negro vs. Afro-American vs. Black Lerone Bennett, Jr. Senior Editor, Ebony Magazine