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African Diaspora Evolution: from Forced Immigrants as Slaves to Modern Immersion of African Culture

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African diaspora means communities that are descended from the historic movement of peoples from Africa to Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. African diaspora has been applied to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil being the largest population, and followed by the United States of America. However, the African union has a different definition of the term, which consists of people who are of African origin living outside their own continent, regardless of their citizenship and nationality. Furthermore, the term African diaspora was coined in the 1950s and the 1960s and has been commonly used during the 19th and 20th century. Moreover, studies of the African diaspora is divided into two broad categories, first is the patterns of dispersal of African people around the globe, such as identities these populations established in their new locations. Second, the analysis of various linkages that Africans who were moved have maintained with Africa, this is an emphasis on cultural, demographic, political, economic and ideological flows. Furthermore, during the fifteenth century to today’s century, the continent of Africa lost millions of its people to other parts of the world, such as the Americas, Europe and Asia; this was due to the slave trade or voluntary migration. Some Africans thought they would have a better life living in other countries when in fact that was untrue; they were tortured and treated inhumanly, they were seen as slaves. However, slavery within Africa was also forced, if people did not want to do work, Europeans would threaten them, by increasing pricing on everything making it unaffordable; also, they were forced to do either cheap or free labor. Furthermore, slavery is the ownership of individuals, such as the Atlantic slave trade, where Africans were treated as slaves in different countries. They were entirely controlled, such as where they would live and what kind of work they would be doing such as cotton picking. An example of this would be in the movie 12 Years a Slave, where Africans were treated as slaves and were forced to pick cotton, and if they misbehaved, they would be punished violently. To be a slave is to be owned by another person, a slave is a property, they are dehumanized. Practices of slavery were brutal than often assumed; they experienced conditions similar to their counterparts in the American plantations in exploitation and difficult working conditions. Moreover, Africans lived in several different locations as hosts, natives, strangers and even citizens. Migrations during the slave trade occurred across the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Sahara, a large number of them were displaced across the Sahel to North Africa and the Mediterranean world. After this, there was the transatlantic trade during the 15th century to the 19th century, where twelve million Africans were forcibly relocated to the Americas, and the Caribbean to work as slaves.

Furthermore, it is evident that African slaves had a benefit to all these countries, especially on the United States of America and the European countries, they provided these countries with economic success, and if it were not for the slaves, farming work would have been done slow paced. This meant that these countries grew economically due to the slave trade, and they would not be the same as today. Also, the New World was under-settled from the perspective of the newly industrializing economies, due to slavery, there was an increase in genetic diversity and now African is being helped economically and charitably by the descendants of those forcibly removed Africans in the past centuries, however, they did not receive full reparations. Therefore, without African diaspora and slavery, the modern world would not exist as it does today, due to the Africans forced help to the United States of America, and the European countries, reparation is a huge necessity for Africa and their people. This research essay will address on how the slave trade was, in fact, a benefit to countries, without it, these countries would not be the same as they are in today’s society, this will be proven through examples from Ghana. Also, the essay will address the ways both Europe and the United States of America to make reparation to African and their people through redistribution done through the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from their shares allotted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Europe did not become dominant of the trade system on their own; they had the help of Africans. During the 15th century, the trade between Africa and Europe became international, which led to a transfer of wealth between the two continents. However, Europe’s drive for international trade was powered by their increasing marine powers and their monopolistic knowledge of the international exchange system. People from Spain and Portugal had a control over the world trade, they were the ones who bought cotton from India and brought the slaves from Africa for their gold mines of Central and South America while Europe sold and bought goods from Africa; this was seen as an uneven business transaction. Europe was able to sell what they were producing at that time and used French brandy, Portuguese wine English pewter and Venetian glass beads. Also, they used goods that were in no use for Europeans, such as cast-off uniforms, outdated firearms, and old sheets; however, Africans found those items in use. Nevertheless, Europe did ignore international laws, this governed the conduct of nations on the high seas, they were also interested to import gold from Africa, unfortunately, due to the unavailability of gold in Africa, so, Europeans resorted to slavery. Europe was powered by their desire for gold coins and jewelry, and in order for Europe to achieve economic gain; they made a trip to the newly discovered American continent. Unfortunately, the population of the Native Indians was not able to cope with the stress of physical labour, and it was found useless so they diverted their attention to Africa, where labor was plentiful, which could be done through cheap labor, and be able to export to the gold mines of America and these products and people are able to handle the tough hardships. Due to this, slavery was possible due to Europe’s hunger for economic growth and their lust for gold, so they forced slavery from Africa. Nonetheless, the Oba of Benin only wanted to deal with female slavery, however, Europeans wanted it in a ratio, such as one female to two males, they pressurized the Oba to sell the male slaves, which they promised that it would help the development of Benin.

Moreover, there is a positive side to slavery to Europe, they helped provide cargo for merchants; helped build up the ship-industry; slavery built up European towns and cities through imported labor from Africa; slavery helped the utilization of European forests, soil and fisheries. Also, slavery encouraged Europeans with the belief that whites are superior to Blacks due to the fact that people can enslave other people for centuries without causing a notion of superiority. Also, those who were enslaved that have different skin color and physical characteristics then the prejudice would take a racist form. However, the negative side to slavery is that it had an influence on the development of the national attitude towards minorities. Whites think of themselves as the superior over other cultures; different cultures are minorities to them. For example, in the Academy Awards, they are always directed towards whites, most of the nominees are white people. Moreover, J.S Mill states that “the trade of the West Indies is hardly to be considered as external trade, but more resembles the traffic between town and country” (Thomas, 2), what Mill is trying to say here is that there is the trade between England, Africa and the West Indies and without African labor, the West Indies would have no value. Also, Queen Elizabeth I awarded John Hawkins, because he made several trips to Africa to bring Africans and sell them as slaves, and if he did not take Africans for slavery he would have never been awarded by the Queen. Also, Europe’s trade with Africa gave incentives to Europe’s growth. Both Central and South American gold, which was mined by Africans, this expanded the capitalist money economy of Western Europe. Moreover, during the slave trade, the Portuguese arrived first, they had reached the area that was to become known as the Gold Coast that was part of Ghana, Europeans were aware that the area as the main source of gold that reached Muslim North Africa by way of trade routes across the Sahara. The Portuguese position on the Gold Coast remained secure for almost a century. The African gold aided the Portuguese to finance navigations around Cape of Good Hope and into Asia. Also, the gold was the main source for the mintage of Dutch gold coin, which led Amsterdam to become the financial capital of Europe during the 17th century. Additionally, the Africans contributed to European shipping industry, their insurance, and the formation of companies, technology, agriculture and the manufacture of machinery. It is evident that without having Africans help or if Europeans did not force slavery, countries in Europe would not be the same today. Africans helped build Europe’s economy in so many different ways, from sugar plantations to gold mines, without them, Europe would not even have gold in their countries or very limited gold. Also, there would less diversity of people in Europe, less population of Blacks, and Blacks would not have been introduced to Christianity.

People from Ghana were not only forced into Europe but to other plantations to work as slaves, such as in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. However, Ghana wants their descendants who were enslaved to think of Africa as their homeland and to come back, or, at least, send their children to be educated and retire in Ghana. Unfortunately, Ghana still remains a struggling poor country, where a third of its population lives on less than a dollar per day, and where services such as electricity and water can be scarce. However, Ghana plans to offer a lifetime visa for Africans who were part of the diaspora and will relax citizenship requirements, which means that descendants of slaves can receive Ghanaian passports as well. Additionally, due to the slave trade, the country of Ghana was left undeveloped, they did not get the chance to develop economically, now they have to find ways to persuade people who used to live in Africa to visit or live in the country. Ghana could have been one of the richest countries in the world, as they had gold and cocoa, but it was taken from them by Americans and mainly Europeans. Moreover, if slavery never existed, the United States of America would not be the same as today. However, “what if’s” are challenging, due to the fact it involves the removal of one historical event. If African people were not forcibly moved to the United States of America from Africa, it would effect not only the United States of America but also all of the Americas, because there would have been a substantial about of blacks emigrating back to their homeland. Also, in Hugh Thomas’s book on the slave trade stated that there was immense depopulation along the coast of Africa from Guinea down to the Cape. Millions of people who were young, fit and intelligent were forcibly removed. When the Atlantic slave trade started, there were few technological differences between the late medieval European explorers and Africa. In order to ensure that the sources of slaves remained constant and permanent, the state of war was needed in the African regions supplying slaves, this ensured that there would be no development of the economy for African countries. Therefore, it is unimaginable how culturally or technologically advanced Africa would be in today’s century if the Atlantic slave trade never occurred. Additionally, the idea of race today evolved over the course of the slave trade, since that was a convenient way for slaves to justify their exploitation. This made them become even more insidious during that period of time, after emancipation as whites that were privileged sought to support their position in society. Consequently, it is possible that if slavery were not an essential event in the rise of the New World, that the racist ideas people struggle with now, would not have become entrenched. Before the 14th amendment of 1868, which meant that a black person would not be considered an American citizen. Also, it was not permitted for Africans to immigrate the United States of America, this was before the 1965-immigration act, and in order to them to immigrate there would have to an economic opportunity for them, that means they would have to adapt to the American culture. Furthermore, the slave trade aided to fuel the United States of America’s prosperity. Traders were not the only ones who profited from the slave trade, slave owners from the Upper South profited, due to the fact that they received cash for the slaves they sold. Slave owners from the Lower South also profited, because the slaves they bought were forcibly put into labor in the cotton and sugar fields. Additionally, those merchants who provided clothing and food for the slaves also were profited, even those people who carried slaves, such as in the steamboats, ships and trains. Similarly, capitalists who were from the North also profited, because they invested in banks that handled the exchange of money for people and insurance companies that provided insurance for owners investments for the slaves. Foreign investors also profited, some of which were issued on mortgaged slaves. New England was also the home of the cotton textile industry, which eventually grew because slaves were forced to pick cotton. Also, slavery aided the United States of America emancipate themselves from Britain and strengthened the country’s political growth.

The slave trade was not just a footnote in the history of American slave; it was central to its continuation and modernization. This is well illustrated in a drawing made by David Claypool Johnston, who named his art “The House that Jeff Built”. Johnston wrote a series of twelve verses, where Jeff is Jefferson Davis and his house are shown as a slave pen with a sign saying a slave auction to the left door. After three scenes, the image portrays the inside of a slave auction room, where two men are seated and two women and children are standing. These are chattels, where slaves are sold and are part of the house that Jeff built. Furthermore, slavery built the United States of America into an economic power nation. Enslaved Africans, including men, women and children used their labor to make millions of dollars for their own benefit. It was seen as a crime in the south to teach slaves to read and write, but the cruelty of slavery became a sadistic ritual that forced slaves to deal with demands. They were treated inhumanly, which was done by whipping them, and throwing them in the middle of nowhere, they had no human rights at all. Also, if a white man were to rape a slave, he would not be convicted, because the owners own these slaves entirely, they can do anything to them. Furthermore, the tobacco in America depleted the soil, which meant the use of slaves also declined. Unfortunately, President Jefferson signed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which doubled the size of the country; this meant more slaves would be needed. The slave states were located in the Deep South, which consisted of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas; and there was a new invention of the Cotton Gin. Both Louisiana Purchase and the Cotton Gin made the production of cotton profitable; the Cotton Gin increased the amount of cotton that a slave could produce in a day. Cotton was seen as the main crop in America, as it was profitable for the nation. In Mississippi, people made millions of dollars due to the Cotton Gin, and other parts of the country people were becoming wealthier. By 1841, kidnapping free black people had become more common, where free black men were stolen from their families and put into slavery. An example of this would be the move 12 Years a Slave where Solomon was a free black man and was living life as a normal man with his family was kidnapped into becoming a slave for twelve years until he was freed and reunited with his family. It is evident that if the slave trade never happened the Cotton Gin would have never existed, which means the United States of America would not have an economic growth and there would be more middle and poor class Americans. The United States of America greatly benefited from the slave trade, they grew economically, and even culturally. If Africans were not forced into America, there would be less knowledge about different ethnicities, and decreased the population of Africans in America, also there would not be interracial marriages among whites either. However, the negative side is that America decreased Africa’s chances into advancing economically; instead, America grew into a big and strong nation economically due to slavery.

Additionally, due to Europe’s and the United States of America economic growth from slavery, they should make reparation to African and their people through redistribution done through the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from their shares allotted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There is an increased demand for reparation to black people for the wealth that was taken from them during the four hundred years of slavery and one hundred years of racist segregation. There is one route that the United States of America and Europe to bring reparation to African people and that is through redistribution of world capital including the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from their shares allotted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is the main program that controls the wealth of the world, its value, use and distribution of capital. Those who are the underclass, sedimentation of race, and Afro-pessimism are seen as falling behind, they do not have rights, and face inequality, therefore, needs to have reparation. Even though not all of the wealth was gained from slavery, a large portion was, therefore, most of the wealth was created by African slaves than actual workers. A twofold exaction had occurred, African lost the value of their investment in raising young men and women, whereas, Europe gained these young men and women for free of development costs. Profits mainly grew to shippers and the slave labor users who were in control of the trade during that period. It is evident that reparation is needed because Europe and the United States of America prevented Africa from growing into a developed continent, and instead Europe and America developed using Africans as their slaves. However, the damage will not be entirely compensated, even if they moved the enslaved back to the African nation it would not be the same, because their culture, heritage, and family were taken away from them. There would be research and negotiation to determine the amount of reparation to be made to of relocation of IMF SDRs to compensate African nations. Therefore, due to Africans forced help to Europe and the United States of America, it is vital that Africa gets compensated for this. They were separated from their families, they were forced into slavery and treated inhumanly for Europe’s and America’s benefit.

Consequently, it is evident that the slave trade was, in fact, a benefit to countries, without it, these countries would not be the same as they are in today’s society. Europe did not become dominant of the trade system on their own; they had the help of Africans. People from Spain and Portugal had a control over the world trade, they are the ones who bought cotton from India and brought the slaves from Africa for their gold mines of Central and South American, while Europe sold and bought goods from Africa. Europe was powered by their desire for gold coins and jewelry, and in order for Europe to achieve economic gain; they made a trip to the newly discovered American continent. Unfortunately, the population of Indian was not able to cope with the stress of physical labour, and it was found useless so they diverted their attention to Africa, where labor was plentiful, which could be done through cheap labor, and be able to export to the gold mines of America and these products are able to handle the tough hardships. African slaves helped provide cargo for merchants; helped build up the ship-industry; slavery built up European towns and cities through imported labor from Africa; slavery helped the utilization of European forests, soil and fisheries. It is evident that without having Africans help or if Europeans did not force slavery, countries in Europe would not be the same today. Africans helped build Europe’s economy in so many different ways, from sugar plantations to gold mines, without them, Europe would not even have gold in their countries or very limited gold. Also, there would less diversity of people in Europe, less population of Blacks, and Blacks would not have been introduced to Christianity. Furthermore, slavery had an even bigger impact on the United States of America, the slave trade aided to fuel the United States of America’s prosperity. Traders were not the only ones who profited from the slave trade, slave owners from the Upper South profited, due to the fact that they received cash for the slaves they sold. Slave owners from the Lower South also profited, because the slaves they bought were forcibly put into labor in the cotton and sugar fields. Consequently, it is possible that if slavery were not an essential event in the rise of the New World, that the racist ideas people struggle with now, would not have become entrenched. Foreign investors also profited, some of which were issued on mortgaged slaves. New England was also the home of the cotton textile industry, which eventually grew because slaves were forced to pick cotton. Also, slavery aided the United States of American emancipate themselves from Britain and strengthened the country’s political growth. It is evident that if the slave trade never happened the Cotton Gin would have never existed, which means the United States of America would not have an economic growth and there would be more middle and poor class Americans. The United States of America greatly benefited from the slave trade, they grew economically, and even culturally. If Africans were not forced into America, there would be less knowledge about different ethnicities, and decreased the population of Africans in America, also there would not be interracial marriages among whites either. However, the negative side is that America decreased Africa’s chances into advancing economically; instead, America grew into a big nation due to slavery. An example of this would be Ghana, this is where most of the gold were, and was invaded by Europeans, and they prevented Ghana from growing economically and culturally. Today, Ghana is a struggling poor country, trying to persuade people to move back to their homeland. Furthermore, both Europe and the United States of America need to make reparation to African and their people through redistribution done through the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from their shares allotted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There is an increased demand for reparation to black people for the wealth that was taken from them during the four hundred years of slavery and one hundred years of racist segregation. There is one route that the United States of America and Europe to bring reparation to African people and that is through redistribution of world capital including the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from their shares allotted in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, the damage will not be entirely compensated, even if they moved the enslaved back to the African nation it would not be the same because their culture, heritage, family was taken away from them. There would be research and negotiation to determine the amount of reparation to be made to of relocation of IMF SDRs to compensate African nations. Therefore, due to Africans forced help to Europe and the United States of America, it is vital that Africa gets compensated for this. They were separated from their families, they were forced into slavery and treated inhumanly for Europe’s and America’s benefit. Furthermore, even though the slave trade was a negative event that occurred to Africa and its people, it brought positivity to other nations. Many countries would not be the same as they are today, for instance, the United States of America would lack diversity and less interracial marriage. Also, America would not allow any immigrants from other countries, except for whites, and there would be less human rights because human rights started to develop during the slave trade when black people were seen as humans after several years. Therefore, even though slavery was a tragic event, it brought positivity; countries would not be the same as they are culturally, economically and technologically.

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