Read these two Primary Source readings:
• Olaudah Equiano Excerpt
• _Thomas Phillips Excerpt
After reading the primary sources, pick a topic related to Europeans and Africans in the Transatlantic Slave Trade that you would like to analyze in your essay. Potential topic:
• African perceptions of European slave traders or the slave trade.





Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Essay: African Perceptions of European Slave Traders in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Transatlantic Slave Trade stands as one of the most abhorrent chapters in human history. It involved the forced transportation of millions of Africans to the Americas to be sold as slaves, with European traders playing a significant role in perpetuating this heinous practice. Through examining primary sources such as the accounts of Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Phillips, we gain insights into African perceptions of European slave traders and the slave trade itself.

Olaudah Equiano, a formerly enslaved African who later became involved in the abolitionist movement, provides a firsthand account of the brutality and dehumanization experienced by Africans at the hands of European slave traders. In his narrative, Equiano vividly describes the horrors of the Middle Passage, highlighting the callousness and cruelty of those involved in the trade. His narrative serves as a powerful indictment of European slave traders, portraying them as merciless oppressors who viewed Africans as mere commodities to be bought and sold.

On the other hand, Thomas Phillips, a European slave trader, offers a contrasting perspective in his own account. While Phillips provides insight into the motivations and practices of European slave traders, his narrative also reveals the dehumanizing attitudes that underpinned the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Phillips’s account underscores the pervasive racism and sense of entitlement that characterized European involvement in the trade, further illuminating the exploitative nature of their interactions with Africans.

African perceptions of European slave traders were undoubtedly shaped by the traumatic experiences endured during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The testimonies of individuals like Equiano shed light on the deep-seated resentment and mistrust that many Africans harbored towards European traders. These perceptions were rooted in a profound sense of betrayal and injustice, as Africans were forcibly uprooted from their homes and families, subjected to inhumane treatment, and treated as less than human by their captors.

Moreover, African perceptions of European slave traders were influenced by cultural and religious beliefs that emphasized notions of community, kinship, and moral responsibility. For many Africans, the actions of European slave traders represented a fundamental violation of these core values, leading to a deep-seated animosity towards those who participated in the trade. The legacy of this historical trauma continues to reverberate in contemporary discussions of race, power, and justice, underscoring the enduring impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on African societies and identities.

In conclusion, African perceptions of European slave traders in the Transatlantic Slave Trade were shaped by a complex interplay of historical, cultural, and moral factors. Through examining primary sources such as the narratives of Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Phillips, we gain insight into the multifaceted nature of these perceptions and the lasting impact of this dark chapter in human history. By acknowledging and grappling with this painful legacy, we can begin to confront the legacies of slavery and work towards a more just and equitable future for all.


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