Date: Wednesday, May 08, 2024
Time: 03:30 pm
Sponsored / Hosted by
Bernd Scheuchl

Department Seminar: Patricia Seed

Wednesday, May 08, 2024 | 03:30 pm
Patricia Seed
Event Details

Title: The Atlantic’s Oceanographic and Meteorological Challenges and their Roles in the Origins of the African Slave Trade

Abstract: This presentation will cover how two oceanographic discoveries were central determining the earliest sources of the African slave trade. For example, the seemingly inexplicable 750-mile journey to collect slaves for the gold mining at Elmina makes little sense given the large number of closer locations with many potentially enslaved people. However, the discovery of the Guinea Current in 1470 provided the fastest route for acquiring large numbers of enslaved people. Thus, slave raids increasingly then took place at the eastern terminus of the Guinea Current.   

A second point covers the discovery of the sub-tropical North Atlantic Gyre, which occurred in 1440. Using the Azores High and the Azores Current, (which extended weakly to Viga) and then southward along the Portuguese Current to Lisbon allowed slaves to be transported easily from areas such as Sierra Leone. This same Portuguese return route was the identical one followed by the former African slave trader, Christopher Columbus-who returned to the Azores (via the Azores Current) then Viga, and Lisbon.

The Department of Earth System Science acknowledges our presence on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Acjachemen and Tongva peoples, who still hold strong cultural, spiritual and physical ties to this region.