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African Immigration to Colonial America - an Essay

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Essay title: African Immigration to Colonial America - an Essay

« African Immigration to Colonial America » by Ira Berlin, a historian from the University of Maryland, published in March 2005 in the quarterly magazine "History Now"

The text in question is a detailed account of demographic statistics and an aspiring profound description of the slave trade phenomenon that manifested in Colonial America by European settlers.

The text does not intend to present a definite thesis or a clear question, yet it would seem that Berlin rather insists upon concentrating on the social and human impacts the migration waves had on the slaves, even though the text begins with a thorough demonstration of ethno-social data.

The first paragraph is more of a prologue that shows us roughly the different so-called waves of immigration to assorted parts of the United States and the nature of the displacement (internal, external, etc.) of the slaves as well as their destination that ensued.

The second paragraph tells us of the representative 'Middle Passage', a migration wave that has been embraced by ethnic groups and historians alike as the event that embodies all the grievances and hardship of slavery, specifically the uprooting and the enduring voyage.

The third paragraph is about the transatlantic slave trade, its origins and its development, starting from the fifteenth century by Portuguese prospectors and seamen, and wrapped up with finding a priceless labor force to be used in order to build their new continent.

The fourth paragraph shows a second wave of immigration, or better yet, forced immigration of people from other regions besides Africa and the way they handled themselves culturally upon arrival to the New World.

The fifth paragraph compares between the rising level of violence and brutality and the rising level of reproducing between the slaves, a fact that will later help base a new generation of slaves who have never seen Africa.

The sixth paragraph says that after a legalization of chattel bondage, a contraption designed to tie a prisoner, 'labor importing' boomed and the demographic number of slaves in their respective dwellings skyrocketed.

The seventh paragraph shows the beginning of a new generation of African Americans instead of Africans, as the years go by. By the time the American Revolution erupts, the vast majority of the slaves have never even seen Africa.

The eighth paragraph compares the Chesapeake region to South Carolina and how the latter was the most populated regions in those times, as various laws came to pass regarding slave trade financial issues.

The ninth paragraph speaks about the dwelling manners of the Africans and African Americans once they reached a level of existence which can be called none other than community, and the way it manifested itself according to social differences.


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