“Those Valuable People, the Africans”: The Economic Impact of the Slave(ry) Trade on Textile Industrialization in New England
The significance of the slave trade and slavery must be situated in an international arena and, specifically, within a British empire guided by the principles of mercantilism and using colonialism as a primary vehicle for capital accumulation and as an engine for its own development. Europeans brought 8 million black men and women out of Africa to the New World between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, and slavery transformed the Atlantic into a complex trading area uniting North and South America, Europe, and Africa through the movement of men and women, goods, and capital. North Americans of European descent—the people usually thought of as "Americans"—have for so long thought of themselves as a "majority" that it is sometimes forgotten that this status is limited in both time and space. Given the magnitude of the African input into the American population, Bernard Bailyn's The Peopling of British North America is really about the European peopling of North America.