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Macie Kolb and Rylee King
Mr. Martin and Mrs. Bennett
Humanities and AP World
26 January 2016

Slavery and the Destroyed environment: The Real Effects of Trade, Innovation, and
Foreign Control in the Americas During the Modern Era.

During the early modern era, between the years 1450 and 1750, innovations
stemmed from an increase in expedition, revolutions (scientific and theological), and
worldwide trade, especially within the Atlantic. These innovations reaped many benefits
in the areas of trade, wealth, and connections, but due to the demands of these new
agricultural and trading successes (such as the need for many laborers, in this case slaves
imported from Africa), these innovations caused an increase in slavery and inequalities,
the destruction of the environment on various levels, and an uneven distribution of wealth
around the world as empires rose and fell, gaining and losing hegemonic control of
people and land. Despite the fact that these innovations caused an increase in economic
stability and prosperity, it is quite capricious, even fairly ignorant, to discount the
complete disrepair and stress that these economic changes forced on humanity, which
have impacted later centuries in the areas of social interactions and hierarchies as well as
the economy itself. Thus, there is little doubt that the Europeans advancement on the
Americas caused a negative result, for it was a continuum in several thousand years of
societal inequalities as men were forced to work laboriously under those that saw

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themselves the superior, creating long lasting divides in the underlying social hierarchies
that shaped America. The physical damage to the environs has since healed, but the social
inequalities still remain some 260 years later.
Slavery in the Americas derived from the Europeans need to enrich their markets
with thousands of cash crops, which required laborious and exhausting effort to grow.
This slavery caused indigenous people to work in terrible, often horrendous, conditions
that are only now considered inhumane by society, due to the innovative ideals of the
1600s. The Encomienda and Settlement: Towards a Historical Geography of Early
Colonial Guatemala explains how encomiendas, grants administered by the Spanish
Crown to colonists in America conferring the right to demand tribute and forced labor
from the Indian inhabitants of the area, played a large role in formalizing power
relationships and consolidating conquest culture, unfortunately causing Native Americans
to be controlled against their will (Kramer, Lovell, and Lutz 2). Thus, it is reckless to
ignore the ungodly and unjust act forced upon the indigenous people of the Americas, due
to a grant formalized by Spaniards, giving them the right to control people as if they were
objects or possessions, stripping these natives of their basic human rights. Not only did
Native Americans endure situations where they were malnourished and treated
inhumanely, they were furthermore exposed to the riches, diseases, and desires of the
Europeans that caused them to slowly decrease in population size. This form of labor that
withheld Spanish society caused the Spanish Crown to become incredibly dependent on
slavery, forcing them to travel to African ports to capture and trade new slaves. However,
after they arrived in Africa, they soon realized that many African tribes would willingly
hand over their own prisoners or those that were disgraced, for payment in goods and

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merchandise. Thus, it is quite inhumane to not acknowledge the tragedy that the
Europeans arrival in the Americas caused due to their horrendous usage of the indigenous
population, as well as the formulation of ethnic and religious controversies and wars in
Africa due to the Europeans purchase of slaves. Furthermore, the dependency on slaves
that was formulated in the Americas caused the proclamation to end slavery to occur
several centuries after its decimation in other imperial powers, due to its full
incorporation into the economy and its effect on the mindset of Americans, who began to
form racist thoughts. As you can see, there is little doubt that the economic prosperity that
occurred with the use of slaves does not begin to compromise for the effects slavery had
on succeeding empires and for the African population. Therefore, the Europeans journey
to the Americas harmed the indigenous population; thereby creating a social hierarchy
that included vigorous inequalities, leaving the natives to work in horrendous conditions.
Even despite the advantages of this new advancement of slave labor (those being
increased production, and cheap work), the treatment of these natives, and the process of
stripping these people of their humanity as unjust, far outweighs any quest to gain wealth,
honor and control. If the Europeans had to step on others to get to the status they desired,
how were they conducting themselves with the honor they were so desperately trying to
achieve?