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Finding The Roots of European Racism in The Transatlantic Slave Trade and The Plantation Slavery

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Racism origins in general can be argued by many factual factors, one would have their own theory of where it actually began and evidence to back it up, The concept of racism entails that a group of people is inferior/superior to the others and that democracy is just not for everyone, in general people get to be discriminated against, which can be caused by religion and or race. Trans-Atlantic slave trade and plantations slavery of the new world gave birth to racism in both Africa and America, In this essay we will evaluate the roots of European racism in the trans-Atlantic trade and the plantation slavery of the new world. Racism is referred to as a worldview that a group of people have that humans are not equal in anyway, some races believe to be superior to the others and the feel that they have the right to oppress other ethnic/religious groups by subjugating them to slavery or unpaid labor. The Trans-Atlantic trade is the type of trade which involves being people being sold for manufactured goods and weapons that Africans did not have, this type of trade took place in the western Africa. According to source consulted in this essay it will unpack to you what racism means and how it was put in practice by the Greeks.

Most historians are aware that Greeks played a key role in dividing the world into unequal parts, they referred people who do not speak their language as barbarians and they considered themselves as better than the others. Greeks had a worldview of themselves being superior and possessing the right to rule over other nations in the world. This type of thinking or ideology gave birth to what is currently known as racism. Greek existence has a long records of insurance policies that have contributed to racism and lack of range in many Greek groups. Like any other European country or Kingdom colonialization gave them the sense of being a powerful nation, but according to other authors such as B, Isaac (2004) Greeks sheltered only ethnic and cultural prejudice not racial prejudice. In most cases racism is an ideology that spread throughout the world because of colonialization, when most of these colonizers occupied a foreign land they did so by invading the land that did not belong to them by means of trade or by forceful removals, at the end of it all they ruled the colonized countries in order to exploit both the resources and occupants living in that specific area they colonized.

Greeks alone did not influence the roots of racism but there are many factors from the entire European continent that encouraged the ideology of racism, now let us observe what role was played by the slave trade/ Trans-Atlantic trade in originating or giving roots to racism. First of all trading people is an inhuman act, Europeans believed that other groups were inferior due to their physic/ physical appearance, the prohibition of mixed marriages did not begin during interaction of black and white nations but it has a long history in Europe, they believed that some people were physically, morally and mentally inferior due to their way of life, according to me if they see a life-style different from theirs they thought that was lack of knowledge and it gave them the opportunity to divide and conquer a nation. The stereotype of inferiority justified slavery for Europeans and victimized whoever who was not white. According to what I have observed trans-Atlantic trade influenced racism mainly because countries in the Europe like Portugal and Greece were capturing people for their own gain about 11/12 million slaves were traded during this period of Trans-Atlantic trade, the main aim of trading these people was to expand the labor force in American plantations. Slaves had no human basic rights that would protect them from being ill-treaded by Europeans traders, slaves were sold without their consent, and Africans who were greedy according me were the ones who accepted and adopted the ideology of European racism.

If we look at it from other perspectives during the Roman Empire Europeans lived in society defined by classes, people did not have the same privileges, and Kings had the best treatment compared to the ones who we can classify as peasants. The political structure of the Roman Empire was designed to benefit the monarch not the entire roman nation, this highlights that racism did not begin in Africa or America but it originated within Europe itself, even if we can look at the modern history we can find that Germany’s genocides by Adolf Hitler were triggered by the ideas of race involving the idea of the holocaust, but its origins are ancient it did not only begin with blacks or Jews in Germany. Now let us look at both the slave trade and plantation slave to have more insight on the origins racism in this context. A principal purpose of the exchange used to be the colonies that European international locations had been beginning to develop. In America, for instance, which used to be a colony of England, there was once a demand for many laborers for the sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations. Paid labourers were too expensive, and the indigenous people had largely been wiped out by means of disease and conflict, so the colonizers grew to become to Africa to supply low cost labour in the form of slaves. Arab and African merchants had been now promoting humans as well as gold, ivory and spices. But accountability for the slave trade is now not simple. On the one hand, it was certainly the Europeans who purchased massive numbers of Africans, and dispatched them some distance away to work in their colony.

European ideas of conquest mixed non secular prejudices and stereotypes of bodily and intellectual inferiority to justify subjugation as a civilizing force. These conquest ideologies took on a essential monetary reason with New World growth, when Europeans used physical and spiritual differences to justify the large-scale enslavement of Africans and displacement of American Indians for labor and land management in plantations and mines. Africans have been now not strangers to the slave trade, or to the maintaining of slaves. There had been enormous buying and selling of Africans as slaves through Islamic Arab retailers in North Africa considering that the year 900. When Leo Africanus travelled to West Africa in the 1500s, he recorded in his The Description of Africa and of the Notable Things.

The change proceeded in three steps. The ships left Western Europe for Africa loaded with goods which had been to be exchanged for slaves. Upon their arrival in Africa the captains traded their merchandise for captive slaves. Weapons and gun powder have been the most essential commodities but textiles, pearls and different manufactured goods, as nicely as rum, were additionally in high demand. The trade ought to final from one week to countless months. The 2nd step was once the crossing of the Atlantic. Africans were transported to America to be sold in the course of the continent. The 0.33 step connected America to Europe. The slave traders brought returned typically agricultural products, produced with the aid of the slaves. The fundamental product was sugar, observed via cotton, coffee, tobacco and rice. The first permanent English settlement in the Americas occurred in the Chesapeake at Jamestown in 1607. No one used to be positive how the colony would thrive at the outset, but tobacco took hold as a staple crop rapidly thereafter. John Rolfe harvested the first tobacco in Virginia in 1612, bringing it returned to the mainland with him from Trinidad, and tobacco production started out on a a whole lot large scale by way of the give up of the decade. Small tobacco plantations unfold rapidly however now not evenly for the duration of the Chesapeake. Some areas, such as the eastern shore, experimented with the new crop and discovered little achieve so they transitioned rapidly to mixed farming or to producing provision vegetation or naval shops such as turpentine, pitch, tar, and ship lumber. The pleasant plantation grounds had been built alongside the many riverways to make shipping easier, and in Virginia the biggest planters commenced to listen alongside the York River. Tobacco plantations assorted notably from those producing sugar or rice.

Tobacco manufacturing never had as sizeable economies of scale as sugar manufacturing or rice manufacturing in the Lowcountry. Tobacco may want to be grown by a small landholder with a handful of people on a small property, and the labor needs of tobacco did now not necessarily require slaves. Compared to sugar plantations, which were the most tremendous plantation businesses in the English Americas, start-up fees for tobacco planting had been minimal. Plantations in the Chesapeake finally had self-reproducing populations, mainly by using the cease of the 18th century when planters no longer relied on the slave exchange from Africa and discovered that they nonetheless had a surplus of labor.19 Whereas sugar used to be by no means efficaciously grown barring slaves, tobacco was grown on many small Chesapeake plantations barring slaves, and landholders occasionally labored in the field alongside their laborers.

In conclusion it is clear that racism originated in the ancient Greek history mainly because it is visible that all there is to it is that the Europeans began treating each other differently in their own countries and the entire idea spread out when they began occupying forcefully other continents for their own benefits such as unpaid hard labour. What they did was to destroy lives rather than improving other lives. It evident now that what they did was to rip Africa off economically and affect them socially. The slave trade and plantation slavery are major factors that shows that racism was mostly carried out by Europeans.


  1. Wood, Peter. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.
  2. Walsh, Lorena. Motives of Honor, Pleasure & Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607–1763. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  3. Morgan, Edmund. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1975.
  4. Jordan, Winthrop D. White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550–1812. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968
  5. Edelson, S. Max. Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.

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Finding The Roots Of European Racism In The Transatlantic Slave Trade And The Plantation Slavery. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from
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