The main themes this week were centered on the emergence of the British colonies as a stable society in the 17th and 18th centuries. One main theme was population demographic in the colonies. Before 1650, most of the colonies’ population was made up of indentured servants looking for a better life in the new world. However, a small portion consisted of English gentry and businessmen. After 1650, numbers coming over to the new world dwindled. The Great Plague and the Great Fire in London lowered the population in London and therefore massive hiring’s ensued in order to rebuild the city. This made it less attractive to make the long journey across the Atlantic because so many jobs were available in England. After 1650, immigration to the new world dwindled and the colonies gradually started relying on themselves for population growth. Another main theme this week was the incredible forced migration of African slaves to the British colonies and the West Indies. After all the indentured servants did their time or died off, the labor-intensive colonies in the south needed cheap labor to cultivate their crops. By paying off African tribe leaders, slave traders could round up enslaved Africans and ship them over to the colonies. They turned to Africa for several reasons; one being that there would be no geo-political backlash for enslaving them. Also, most Africans knew how to cultivate the land and were good with land tools. Africans were also used to a low meat diet (cheaper for the owners), and were more accustomed with the labor required. Lastly, the English looked at Africans as different and inferior so English laws did not apply to them. This racial superiority led to the bondage of 10 to 12 million Africans and the largest migration of people in world history. The reading by Olaudah Equiano, an African slave who retold his horrific experience with the middle passage and life as a slave, really touches on just how bad these...
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