Numerous extant documents make it quite obvious that the initial aim of the Spanish crown was to retain most of the African slaves imported into America for royal use. Relatively few of them were intended for the colonists in the towns or in rural areas, However, Pressures exerted by the citizens and public officials of the New world to obtain a greater supply of the slaves brought about a fundamental change of policy. The African slaves were to be imported into the colonies in America, but with a prior license. Such licenses formed the first step in the introduction of the slave trade on a grand scale. (Mellafe, 1975) Smuggling had serious consequences for the settlers in Brazil, who needed African slaves to overcome their labor problems.

Slavery in Brazil and in the United States

By the end of the fifteenth century, 9.5 million slaves had been brought to the America. The dense concentrations were especially found in Brazil and in the Caribbean area, which were dominated by plantation economies. Historians have hotly disputed the relative mildness or severity of Latin American black slavery. The recent studies generally support the view that the tempo of economic activity was decisive in determining the intensity of slave exploitation and the harshness of plantation discipline. Certainly manumission of slaves was more frequent in the Hispanic than in English, Dutch or French colonies, but it is likely that the unprofitability of slavery under certain conditions contributed more than cultural traditions to the result.

By the close of the colonial period, the slaves formed a minority of the total black and mullatto population. Whatever their treatment, slaves retained the aspiration for freedom. Fear of slave revolts haunted the Spanish ruling class, and slaves frequently fled from their masters. Some of them formed the independent communities in remote jungles or mountains that successfully resisted the Spanish punitive expeditions.

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This stubborn attachment of the black slaves to freedom, reflected the frequent revolts, fights and other forms of resistance, suggests that the debate over the relative mildness or severity of black slavery in America evades the main issue; the dehumanizing character of even the "mildest" slavery, Brought to America by force and violence, Cut off from their kindred peoples, the uprooted Africans were subjected in their way to new environment to severe deculturation.

For reasons of security, slave owners preferred to purchase slaves of diverse ethnic origins, language, and religious beliefs and deliberately promoted ethnic disunity among them. The economic interest of the planters dictated that the great majority of the imported slaves should b e young, between the ages of fifteen and twenty, This  contributed to the process of de-culturation, for very few aged black, the repositories of ethnic lore and traditions in African societies, came in the slaveryships. The scarcity of women distorted the lives of the slaves, creating a climate of intense sexual repression and family instability. The church might insist on the right of the slave to proper Christian marriage and the sanctity of the marriage, but not until the 19th century when the separate sale of husbands, wives and children forbidden. The right of the master to sell or remove members of a male slave's family and his free sexual access to slave women made it difficult if not impossible for a slave to have normal family life (Keen &Haynes, 2008).


The world of the slave plantation, which resembled a prison rather than a society, left to independent Latin America a bitter heritage of racism, discrimination, and backwardness. Because of harsh treatment, poor living conditions and the small number of women in slave population, its rate of reproduction was very low. Miscegenation between white masters and slave women, on the other hand, produced a steady growth of the mulatto population. Free blacks and mulattos made important contributions to the colonial economy, both in agriculture and as artisans of all kinds.

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