before the genius of Columbus
had opened the path
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
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 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.
, who had brought them to Por-
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.
ships were despatched without delay.2 Spain
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
The merchants of