Trading of Human Lives
The use of slaves seems to have been endemic in most human societies in the past not long ago. Normally taken as prisoners of war, slaves were also acquired as a form of tribute. The establishment of the European colonies and overseas empires between 16th and 19th centuries saw the creation of a slave trade on an industrial scale, a commerce which laid the foundations for the inter global trading networks. Trading concerns such as the English and Dutch East India companies developed trade on a large scale than ever before; but it was the need to supply labor for the plantations of the Americas which led to the greatest movement of peoples across the face of the world..
The great plantation systems and mining concerns that arose in the New World from the 16th century onward s demanded large reservoirs of labor. Though the Spanish and Portuguese initially used enslaved indigenous people, they soon required a more reliable source of labor. The Portuguese began bringing African slaves to the Carribean and Brazil in the early 16th century, were a key factor in sustaining the Atlantic trade.
The Atlantic slave Trade
From the late 15th to the early 19th century, European merchants especially the British and Portuguese – carried on a massive trade in African slaves across the Atlantic as well as utilizing the established sources of slaves from the central and West African kingdom. They also raided coastal areas of West Africa for additional supplies of slaves. European manufactured goods, especially guns, were exchanged for slaves destined to work as agricultural laborers on plantations in the Caribbean and tropical American slaves transported to the western hemisphere may have numbered 12 million or more.
Other slave traders
By the 9th and 10th centuries a number of complex slave-trading routes were in existence in Europe and the Near East .Viking and Russian merchants traded the slaves from Balkans who were often sold to harems in the southern Spain and North Africa. The Baghdad Caliphate drew slaves from Western Europe via port of Venice, Prague, and Marseille, and Slavic and Turkic slaves from Eastern Europe and Central Asia In the 13th century , the Mongols sold the slaves at Karakorum and in the Volga region. There was long standing commerce in African slaves –primarily from East Africa before European mariners entered the slave trade. Between the 9th and 19th century Muslim merchants may have transported as many as 14 million across the Sahara by camel caravan and through the Eastern African ports, principally to destinations in the Indian Ocean basin.
Reformists of U.S. like Martin Luther King and several other reformists strongly advocated a ban on Slave Trade during late 19th and early 20th centuries and by and large they were successful. Today with pleasure one can say that absolutely there is no slave trade legally in any part of the world.
Piracy and smuggling
High volumes of trade in lucrative commodities created abundant opportunities for piracy, privateering ,and smuggling . Predators were most active in relatively unpoliced Caribbean and American waters. The numerous tiny islands, hidden harbours and dense tropical vegetation- and the access It provided to valuable cargoes of sugar, rum. Silver. And slaves-made the Caribbean a notorious hotspot for piracy and smuggling. Some predators were privateers who worked with the blessing of their home government . such as Sir Francis Drake, but most maritime predators were freelance pirates, who selected their victims without discrimination.