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[166] before the genius of Columbus had opened the path
Chap. V.}
to a new world, the negro slave-trade had been reduced to a system by the Moors, and had spread from the native regions of the Aethiopian race to the heart of Egypt on the one hand, and to the coasts of Barbary on the other.1

But the danger for America did not end here. The traffic of Europeans in negro slaves was fully established before the colonization of the United States, and had existed a half century before the discovery of America.

It was not long after the first conquests of the

1415.
Portuguese in Barbary, that the passion for gain, the love of conquest, and the hatred of the infidels, conducted their navy to the ports of Western Africa; and the first ships which sailed so far south as Cape
1441.
Blanco, returned, not with negroes, but with Moors. The subjects of this importation were treated, not as laborers, but rather as strangers, from whom information respecting their native country was to be derived. Antony Gonzalez, who had brought them to Por-
1443.
tugal, was commanded to restore them to their ancient homes. He did so, and the Moors gave him as their ransom, not gold only, but ‘black Moors’ with curled hair. Thus negro slaves came into Europe; and mercantile cupidity immediately observed, that negroes might become an object of lucrative commerce. New 444. ships were despatched without delay.2 Spain also
1444.
engaged in the traffic: the historian of her maritime discoveries even claims for her the unenviable distinction of having anticipated the Portuguese in introducing negroes into Europe.3 The merchants of

1 Edrisius and Leo Africanus, in Hune, i. 150—163. Hune's volumes deserve to be more known.

2 Galvano, in Hakluyt, IV. 413 De Pauw, Rech. Phil. i. 21.

3 Navarette, Introduccion, s. XIX.

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