Atlantic slave trade began in 1444 and it led to the massive movement of the African slaves to the western nations with the sole aim of providing cheap labor. The movement of slaves from Africa is termed as one of the major migrations to have happened in human history.
The Africans were forcefully moved to the western hemisphere and in addition, these slaves were looked down upon as inferior. The Atlantic slave trade had a significant impact on Africa as well as the United States of America.
The Africa Continent was deprived manpower whereas the United States of America was able to boost its economic growth due to the presence of cheap labor.
Due to revolution in the Dutch Republic, many citizens entered into the slave trade, which is mainly considered to have been as a result of accident rather than by design.
This paper will therefore seek to review Postma’s book: The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815, giving the implications and the participation of the Dutch in the transatlantic slave trade.
The author’s criticism of the historiography
The author criticizes the historiography of the Dutch participation in the transatlantic slave trade by pointing out that the participation of the Dutch in this trade was not given the attention that it deserved.
The participation of the Dutch covers approximately two centuries all filled with diverse complexity ranging from the geographical dimensions to the demographic and complicated economies.
The main aim of the Author writing this book was to bring to light the participation of the Dutch in the transatlantic trade and giving it the attention it deserved.
Rawley and Behrendt in their book: The transatlantic slave trade: A history, points out that the Dutch participated in the slave trade as early as 1528 when the slaves were being transported to the Spanish colonies (2005). The author refutes this by elaborating that the transporters of these slaves were the Germans and or the Flemings who originated from Belgium.
In the light of the above, the author adds that the earliest participation of the Dutch in the transatlantic slave trade occurred in 1596 (Postma, 2009).
The evidence that the author uses to support their argument
Postma (2009) points out that in the early stages of the slave trade in Africa, the main participants of the slave trade, mainly the Portuguese could send the expedition to the west coast of Africa to capture the slaves and the author points out that the number of slaves that were captured was approximately two hundred and thirty five slaves all of whom were sent to Portugal.
The author tries to justify the participation of the Dutch in the transatlantic slave trade by pointing out that in 1596, Rotterdam Skipper and Pieter Van Hagen captured approximately one hundred and thirty slaves from Africa and moved them to Middelburg, the capital of Zeeland.
This information is credible since it provides prove of the Dutch’s participation in the slave trade.
Ways in which the chapters of the book relate to the thesis
Postma has organized the book in various chapters each of which relate to the transatlantic trade. In chapter one and two the author tries to explain the start of the slave trade and the causes of such trade.
In the three subsequent chapters, the author shifts his focus to Africa and explores the Presence of the Dutch in Africa.
In chapters six and seven the author tries to examine the conditions that made slave trade favorable for example the need for labor in the western nations as well as the presence of people from Africa who could provide the cheap labor.
In the last four chapters the author sheds light into how the slaves were housed and fed. These slaves were mistreated in the workplaces and they lived in very poor conditions. Perhaps the author points out the presence of slave have raised many morality questions in the modern times.
Some information that was provide by the author are not necessary or example his explanation on the roe of the Catholic Church in the slave trade has little significance in the thesis.
Criticism of the author’s work
The events that took place during the transatlantic slave trade are clearly explained as well as the factors that led to the start of the slave trade. The participation of the Dutch in the Slave trade was due to the establishment of the large farms in the Dutch Republic that it required extensive source of labor.
The implications that the slave trade had on the western economies are explained but one of the major shortcomings of this book is its failure to elaborate on the implications that the slave trade had on the African continent.
The African continent was deprived of man power since strong men were taken away thus the labor force declined drastically. Families were also separated which resulted in psychological suffering among the family members.
In conclusion, it is true to say that the author has contributed to the literature of the event because he gives insights into what happened during the transatlantic slave trade as well as the implications of this trade on the western economies.
The book can form the basis for other studies since the future scholars may endeavor to learn more about the implications that this trade had, politically, economically and socially to both the African continent as well as to the western hemisphere.
The transatlantic slave trade had a major implication since it formed the basis for the continued migration of the Africans to the western hemisphere.
It is an event that is worth studying because it gives a clear picture of what really transpired during this period of slave trade.
Postma, J. M. (2009). The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815. Cambridge.Cambridge University Press.
Rawley, J. A., & Behrendt, S. D. (2005). The transatlantic slave trade: A history. Nebraska. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.