INTRODUCTION, SPREAD AND CONSOLIDATION OF BLACK SETTLEMENTS.
In the new world functions of the European conquest and colonization of Amerindian lands in that region starting from about 1500 the details of what conquest and colonization accompanied by the tremendous amount of violence intense competition and war between the European nation and also involving many nations.
Competition for new world lands was between the Spaniards, Portuguese Dutch, French and the English, the Spaniards followings the voyages of Christopher Columbus established themselves in the Caribbean region at Hispaniola by 1502 because of their military strength and population they conquered the great Antilles, and established important centres military expedition made them spread and found themselves in new Spain and which they expanded to America by 1540’s they had crossed the Islfmus and were established in other nations and Paraguay was added.
In the 18th century, Spanish dominated the new world and was challenged by the other new world and the Portuguese took control of Brazil in the 1530’s. In the 17th century the Dutch gained control of the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, Aruaba by the end of the 18th century the original 13 colonies had been established by the beginning of the 19th-century European colonization of the new world was fairly completed. Although the settler colonies in North America developed peculiar characteristics, colonies existed as extensions of mother countries; serving as sources of important raw materials as well as the market for finished product plantation for agriculture hand was plentiful. Africa labour was the best in the circumstance in the new world blacks were part of the conquering expedition. In the beginning, black accompanied the Spanish conquistador in expeditions throughout Spanish Latin America. A group of black servant formed part of the entourage of Pedraria de Auila, when he assumed office as governor of Panam in 1514, indeed one of the ironies of black history that African participated actively in establishing colonies that would later enslave them of their labour. The mining enterprises attracted the blacks labour black labour was essential for the success of the gold mines in Venezuela, Peru and Chile black very early became blacksmith, black one were bodyguards, pearl driver, buccaneer, coach drivers, barbers and housekeepers some also acted like cattle herds, convents while the females were slaves that serve as objects of sexual gratification. Plantation agriculture such as cocoa, grapes, wheat the dominate crop then was sugar introduce in the early 1500’s the cultivation of rice, indigo, tobacco in Virginia the emergence of king cotton in the Gulf state of United States of America.
Sugar was the market need and coffee making the demand for more slave as well as to yield more products majority of the slaves came from West Africa and Congo region of Africa, 50 percent of slaves in the sugar mills came from upper Guineas it was generally agreed that the slave imported from Africa between 1500 and 1800 were estimated as followed in the new world. The Caribbean island 4, 700, Brazil 3, 500, Mainland Spanish America 600, 000 and USA 427, 000
FACTORS AFFECTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLAVE COMMUNITIES IN THE NEW WORLD
The socialization of Africans into the new world environment occurred within the context of slavery which gave the white power to interfere with interdict and even stultify effort at institution recreation by blacks to meet challenges of survival, Frank Tannenbaum was the first to draw scholarly attention to difference in slave system and their implication for the life of the slaves.
The conditions of slaves in Brazil and the Spanish colonies were considerably better than in British America. The Latin American slaves enjoyed more because they were also treated with sympathy and less rule. The Liberian colonies were pervasively Roman Catholic the Church endorsed only the enslavement of non-Christians who were victims of war, only Liberian slaves were baptized, they could look upon the church for protection which is extended to all Christians, regardless of race, lastly the Spaniards and the Portuguese the colonizing power in Latin America had long contacts with dark-skinned people cause of their expeditions in North Africa. Though the differences in slave system in Latin America, the Caribbean and south united state went on attracting the attention of scholars, generally slaves enjoyed greater cultural autonomy in settlement established in the tropical zone.
THE CARIBBEAN SLAVE SYSTEM
The Caribbean region was a major crossroads in the carryover of African cultures into the world slaves were distributed through transfer port. The slave Experience in the Caribbean region was not uniform using the plantation system as the dominant mode of production which affect the slavery in the region. The large influx of Africans into the Caribbean region created a frightful experience for the outnumbered while settler whose population had changed from 20, 000 blacks and 26, 000 white in 1653 to 20, 000 while and 60, 000 blacks 1690, the Barbados examples was duplicated in French Caribbean as the population balance in these island filtered in favour of black these, early pieces of legislation were re-enforced in the eightieth century, religious ceremonies of O’ beach in Jamaica and Barbados slave were buried alive for assault on white rape and rebellion.
The condition under which slaves worked were equally damning, they worked under the whip until after sundown dinner at midday lasted for an hour. In this circumstance, the mortality rate was very high diseases originally imported from Africa such as elephantiasis, coco bays – laws, scrofula remained widespread. In controlling their dehumanizing world, the Caribbean slaves had a number of advantages. This was a major factor in the establishment of the maroon communities by escaped slaves throughout the region. Second as was evident in our demographic profit for the region, a black slave and free outnumber the white in most of the society of the region. Equally important was the fact that although Caribbean slaves were drawn from all Africa. The Akan or Caromatine slave tend to predominate the culture, the dominance of Akan culture thus became a major factor in the preservation on aspects of Africa culture in the Caribbean region. This was itself facilitated by the mode of organizing labour in the sugar plantation of the region from all account.
SOCIAL AND FAMILY ORGANIZATION OF SLAVES
The social attitudes and family structure of slaves in the Caribbean attracted elaborate comments from contemporary white and continues to be a focus of many studies of slavery in the Caribbean. If contemporary white were almost united in their condemnation of slave social practices scholars have also been equally divided in their explanations of the origins of the family structure and practice of Caribbean slaves. Opposed to the Herskovit’s position was E. FRANK FRAZIER who traced the problematic nature of Afro-American families to oppression within the new world society.
A proper understanding of the culture of slaves in the Caribbean must take into consideration several factors. First, we must distinguish between “folk culture” and the “popular” or “little” culture of the slave. Secondly, most of the slaves in the Caribbean were drawn from areas of West Africa where the prevalent idiom of association was lineage. Third, slaves for the Caribbean were drawn from a variety of ethnic background in West African and Central Africa. Fourth, the plantation experience of slaves varied depending on the size of the plantations and their locations. Fifth, we must stress that the nuclear family, though not emphasized was not absent in Africa. Sixth, the ability of a woman to chart an independent economic course without depending on the males. Lastly, we must not that although slave system was structured in such a way as to give the slave owner power to separate families through sales and sexually exploit slave women, however, define, family life was regarded as extremely important by slaves, African and Creole to these must add to the fourth factor. The Jamaican experiences clearly show that elite slaves with status and money tended to be polygamous. Whenever the structure of the family the vast majority of slave continued to view kinship as the normal idiom of social relations.
Matrilocality also tended to be strengthened by the economic independence or slave market woman until the 19th century when non-Akans slaves outnumbered the Akan in Jamaican slave plantations, were the slave child born were given names according to the day they were born. Slave funeral and burial customs were, however elaborately described apparently, most slaves saw death as a transition to a new existence they were always buried in their garden and many strange ceremonies were performed and light and food with music, dancing and festival were prominent features of slave life.
SLAVE RELIGION AND WORLD VIEW
Although they differ considerably in their interpretations, scholars are generally agreed that “until the last decades of slavery variously described as sanitaria (Cuba) Voodo, myalism, shango. The believed in “Sorcery and magic” based on the philosophical attitude described above was noticed very early in the Caribbean slave societies denounced as superstition and pagan worship by slave masters and other Europeans by the time of the visit of the plantation history Edward Long to Jamaica in 1760’s Myalism was firmly established. Monica Schuler has rightly compared myalism to the millennial religious movements which were prevalent in central Africa in the colonial period. In keeping earlier practice, the myalist believe that misfortune was caused by sorcery and that the control guarantee to communal happiness. A black Baptist Moses Baker assisted by the Quakers had established a Baptist church in St. James Parish in 1791 and began preaching the Baptist faith to the slaved and the church helped out by saving the slave from soccer and the membership of the church grew due to myalism still continued and was a challenge to the church. Though slave societies lacked consideration autonomy.
THE LATIN AMERICAN SLAVE SYSTEM
As we pointed out earlier, the black presence in Latin America occurred simultaneously with the Spanish explorations and conquest of the region in the opening decade of sixteen century, like in other part of the new world slaves were found in a variety of occupations in the Latin America, the vast majority of slave in the region were however, found in plantation agriculture and mining, for much of central and south America, by 1900, the negro was fast disappearing of Chile, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and El Salvador, this “de-blacking” of Latin America was also facilitated by attitudes towards miscegenation.
The Spanish and Portuguese crowing was not, however, unduly concerned about European and black relations. This process if racial amalgamation was further facilitated by the official attitude towards manumission and the acceptance of the various genotypes as social equals. The process of slave assimilation can be illustrated with the example Salvador recently analysed by Thomas Fiehier as all Caribbean region the experience of a slave in Latin America varied from society to society depending on the disposition of the owner.
SLAVE CULTURE IN BRAZIL
Brazil slavery was an important institution in Brazil from the sixteenth to the decades of the nineteenth centuries. By 1714 slave in Balise outnumbered white by 20-1 and were found in several occupations in the city. The domestic slave mainly from Angola lived almost in the same house as their masters. Most of the urban slave except the Muslims became members of Catholic Church and organized brotherhood of their own with time the urban slave developed a sentiment of belonging to the white world. While domestic service and urban environment created opportunities for the greater interpenetrated of culture for a slave.
Despite the attempts by the crown to stop the importation of a slave into mines, slave population grew from 80, 000 to 150, 000 despite this condition the slave miners, because they outnumbered the white on the mines, slave on the sugar and coffee plantations experienced the similar hardship of working everyday even on Sundays. The population of slave tend to be homogeneous mainly Ewe and Yoruba, the Bahia.
Plantation slave changed America religious practices and beliefs, place of worship were organized for each Orisa, the Candomble experience was a major force in the re-enforcement of the African orientation of the slaves, apart from organizing religious societies herbalist, babalaos, feiticeuri, occupied important place in Bahia plantation slave society their belief were still of Africa another important centre of African culture was Rio province, Janeiro, the Bahie slave tend to recreate in Rio Province aspect of Africa social, political and religious institutions the Rio slave communities had it own recognized king and chief their rule was to preside over religious festivals their population was as the same of the Bahia slaves managed to create African based social and religious institutions.
THE U.S SLAVE SYSTEM
Few episodes in the history of North America have provoked as much heated controversy as slavery, North American slavery like its counterpart in Latin America and the Caribbean was not monolith, they were regional variation from slave society and New England, further south the Virginia colony founded in 1607 had begun to attack black labour an identical though slower growth pattern was noticeable in the neighbouring state of Maryland which enjoyed from the North but was from the south throughout the antebellum period, by the 1730’s there were 39, 000 black and 25, 000 white.
The above population profile had implication for black slave life and culture in North America the mid-Atlantic state presented a similar picture, in North America, the slave communities grew gradually between the seventeenth and 18th centuries reflected 3 cultures of the North America slave by the 18th-century tobacco areas of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Apart from demography other factors affected the life and culture of the US slaves, climate and topography also played a part in the development of the slave communities. This had some consequences for that subcultures, the American settlers were fiercely conscious of their independence in matters of legislation and resented interference from Britain. In a society that regarded the carrying of guns as part of national heritage. A slave could also be sold out neither regardless of their family nor personal preference when they day work was done, the slave returned to his cabin which he shared with about five to six other bondsmen. The cabins were cramped, crudely built, poor ventilated and lacking, kitchen and beds. The slave system for the bondsmen was therefore said by the slaves to be “HELL”.
SLAVE FAMILY AND SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The black family past and present is perhaps the greatest victim of the unprecedented distortions to which the black experience in United State has been subjected. There were several abnormalities within the slave family with consequents hardship for slave parent and children. Because of these difficulties the slave family was a non-functioning unit is not backup by historical evidence, they lived apart from each other, even when members of the family lived apart family ties were never broken. Members of slave family were physically separated, there was rarely complete loss of intimate contact between them it has also often been assumed that because the law forbade it the slave family members could not protect themselves from assault. In every slave community, there were one or two people who exercised leadership either by physical strength or wisdom.
While there has been considerable debate about the viability of slave social institutions most scholars have accepted the view that slaved were intensely religious people. When anxiety over their conditions made life almost unbearable the slaves could appeal to God;
Lord, Make me more patient
Until we meet again
Patient, Patient, Patient
Until we met again
Seen in this light, religion could function as an effective instrument of control. “Sweet Chariot” and “home” and “heaven” might refer to an agent of the underground promised land.
Swing low sweet chariot
Coming for the carry me home
If you get to heaven before I do.
Coming to carry me home.
Tell mu friends I am coming too.
A 19th-century writer, Jeanette Robinson Murphy after observing black ex-slaves for several years, concluded that “the veneer of civilization and Bible truth”.
SLAVE SONGS AND FOLKTALES
More often than not, whenever the slaves came together, they sang work songs, usually slow in temp. Enlivened the tedium and monotony of constant labour musicologists have long appreciated the beauty of the slave songs, especially in spirituals; folklorists since the turn of the century have admired the songs as the omnibus which carried forward traditional beliefs. Although some scholars have long insisted that the songs contain the slave’s view of what slavery was the following spiritual, might represent an attempt by the slave to recall his everyday life on the plantation.
“No more peck ‘O corn for me
No more peck ‘O corn for me
No more peck ‘O corn for me
Many thousand (people) go
No more pint O’ salt for me
No more hundred lash for me
No more mistress (missus) call for me
Such spirituals were undercoated with symptoms of potential violence
Before I’d be a slave
Be for I’d be a slave
I’ll be six feet in my grave
And go home to my God and be free miles fisher has labelled this period the “Deep River” era. Most scholars have agreed that about 65 percent of slaves’ folklore came directly from Africa. Other slave tales also reflected the social conditions of slave such tales as “playing Godfather”.
In these folktales and anecdotes. Slave took a subtitle revenge on their masters. North American slaves went through his servitude no in apathetic despondency whenever the slaves were ultimately placed. They established an enclave of African culture that flourished in spite of environmental disadvantages.