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Atlantic Slave Trade

            Not all Africans went without a fight. Some wanted to die rather then face an unknown fate. It was not uncommon for a desperate man or woman to try to jump overboard. Others took a more slow approach by refusing to eat. This method often caught on and other Africans followed. Crewmen reacted quickly to prevent them from starving to death. In these cases, they forced them to eat by beating and torturing them, force feeding, or using thumbscrews. Because slaves were thought of as valuable property, it was important to keep them alive. Therefore, crewmen tried not to cause death or permanent harm. .
             In 1807, the British Parliament banned the Atlantic slave trade. Not long after, the United States banned it in 1808. In 1815, after pressure from the British, France and the Netherlands agreed to ban the slave trade and Portugal agreed to end it after a few years. In 1817, Spain signed a treaty agreeing to immediately end the slave trade north of the equator and south of the equator in 1820. Despite agreements and legislation, some slave trading still continued. .
             The Slave Trade and Islam.
             The Quran describes a humanitarian approach to slavery - free men could not be enslaved, and those faithful to foreign religions could live as protected persons. However, the spread of the Islamic Empire resulted in a much harsher interpretation of the laws and beliefs. Although the law required owners to treat slaves well and provide medical treatment, a slave had no right to be heard in court, had no right to property, could marry only with permission of their owner, and was considered to be a the moveable property, of the slave owner. Conversion to Islam did not automatically give a slave freedom nor did it confer freedom to their children. While highly educated slaves and those in the military did win their freedom, those used for basic duties rarely achieved freedom. In addition, the recorded mortality rate was high -- this was still significant even as late as the nineteenth century and was remarked upon by western travelers in North Africa and Egypt.

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