Re: Reparations (Slavery Summary)

From: Steve Davies (
Date: Tue Jul 31 2001 - 14:47:38 MDT

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Corbin <>
To: <>
Date: 31 July 2001 03:27
Subject: RE: Reparations (Slavery Summary)

>Jerry Mitchell writes
>> Al Villalobos wrote
>>> Slave Imports into the Americas, 1500-1870
>>> British North America 523,000
>>> Spanish America 1,687,000
>>> British Caribbean 2,443,000
>>> French Caribbean 1,655,000
>>> Dutch Caribbean 500,000
>>> Danish Caribbean 50,000
>>> Brazil 4,190,000
>>> Old World 297,000
>>> Total 11,345,000
>(evidently taken from
>> I'm thinking Brit and Spanish America? So that puts the US at
>> responsible for a little over 2 million total [slaves transported]?
>> I can buy that number a LOT better then 10-25 million dead!?
>Yeah, so far that claim certainly seems exaggerated. But, Jerry,
>you can check out the URLs provided by Al Villalobos yourself.
>I just found an interesting table (thanks to Al):
>According to that table (it's really very interesting, check it out),
>of the volume of the transatlantic slave trade from Africa by *carrier*,
>U.S. ships were less than 2.5% of the total. But from the above table
>(see the very top of this post, not the URL) evidently about 5% of
>the slaves carried across the Atlantic ended up in the U.S. I would
>have thought it to be much greater. I agree, the table is not as clear
>as it could be (again, see the table quoted at the very top of this
>post). I suppose we can consult exactly where Al got the info, namely

Folks, these statistics are pretty much agreed among the historians right
now. The very similar figures given by Hugh Thomas in "The Slave Trade" show
a total of 13 million leaving the African ports which supplied the Atlantic
slave trade between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries and a total of
about 11 million arriving in the New World in the same period (Thomas gives
a good short account of the historiography of these figure on pp 862-3 of
his book). These figures show that (a) The death rate on the passage was
about 23% overall. There is an argument that the figure was much higher for
the Dutch and British than the Portuguese but this is less certain. It does
seem likely however given the much shorter transit from Africa to Brazil
compared with the West Indies. (b) The huge majority of slaves went to
Brazil, the West Indies (French and British) and the Spanish Empire. The
U.S. (actually the British colonies primarily as the trade was drastically
reduced after 1806/8) only accounted for 500,000 ie about 4.5% of the total.
This is low relatively because the overwhelming demand for slave labour came
from sugar and coffee plantations, or mines (totals of 5 million, 2 million
and one million respectively). In the U.S. the pricipal demand was for
cotton labour and domestic service but the latter was not too significant
because of the constant flow of white indentured labour from Britain to
meet that need. Worth also pointing out that sugar plantations in particular
had a very high death rate among the slaves, hence the much higher levels
for Brazil and the West Indies. (c) If you are talking about reparations for
the slave trade then white Americans are way down the list after Brits,
French, Dutch and Portuguese. Of course there's the separate matter of
slavery within the U.S..... .Steve Davies

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