Rice production, Savannah, GA


ON A large scale, the slave trade began in 1518, when Spain transported 4000 Africans to their colonies in the Caribbean to work in the sugar mills.  But the roots of the slave trade began much earlier with Christopher Columbus in 1493.


On Columbus' second voyage to what is now Haiti he began to enslave the native population of Tainos.  Columbus' goal was to find gold - lots of it.  Eventually the local population of Tainos began to die from horrible treatment, hard labor, and diseases like small-pox.  Of the 1.1 million natives in Haiti in 1495, only around 10,000 remained 50 years later, and in another ten years the Tainos were gone.


In order to replace their lost labor, Spain and other countries began to import Africans to their colonies.  The slaves were forced to toil in the tobacco fields of Cuba, the indigo and sugar mills in the West Indies, coffee plantations in Brazil, rice fields in Savannah, and cotton plantations in the American South.



(Image: "Rice Production on a Plantation near Savannah, Georgia," *image reference: NW0077)