What are you asking: why did the Spanish bring African slaves to the Americas?

The Spanish brought African slaves to the Americas to work on plantations and in mines, as the indigenous population declined due to disease and mistreatment.

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The Spanish brought African slaves to the Americas for economic reasons: they needed a cheap and abundant labor force to work on plantations and in mines. The indigenous population was unable to meet their demands due to disease and mistreatment, so African slaves were seen as a solution to this problem.

According to the website History, “Slavery was practiced by the natives, but it was not based on the same principles as it was in Europe and Africa. The natives did not consider themselves inferior to their captives, whom they enslaved as a result of debt, crime, or war. They released their prisoners after a certain period of time or used them as servants.”

On the other hand, the Spanish viewed African slaves as property and used them for forced labor on sugar, coffee, and tobacco plantations. They were also used in gold and silver mines, where they endured dangerous and difficult working conditions.

One reason why the Spanish chose African slaves was because they were already experienced in large-scale agricultural production. Additionally, their physical characteristics were seen as advantageous for the harsh conditions of plantation work.

A quote from historian Rebecca Scott highlights the economic motivations behind the use of African slaves: “For planters, slaves represented a valuable investment; unlike white indentured servants, they never ended their term of service and thus outlived their initial purchase price. And, most important, planters could reasonably expect that the offspring of slave women would also be slaves, thus increasing their labor force for generations to come.”

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Here are some interesting facts related to the use of African slaves in the Americas:

  • The majority of slaves brought to the Americas were from West and Central Africa.
  • The transatlantic slave trade lasted from the 16th to the 19th century and transported approximately 12 million slaves to the Americas.
  • In Brazil, over 4 million slaves were brought over from Africa, making it the largest importer of slaves in the Americas.
  • Slave owners used methods such as whipping, branding, and mutilation to control and punish their slaves.
  • Many African slaves used their knowledge of agriculture to adapt to their new environment and create their own forms of cultural expression, such as music and dance.


Reasons for bringing African slaves to the Americas
Economic need for cheap and abundant labor force
Indigenous population decline due to disease and mistreatment
African slaves experienced in large-scale agricultural production and seen as physically advantageous for harsh conditions of plantation work
Valuable investment for planters due to never-ending term of service and ability to increase labor force for generations to come

See the answer to “Why did the Spanish bring African slaves to the Americas?” in this video

In this video on the African Diaspora through the Americas, the speaker discusses the diverse roles of Africans in Spanish America, ranging from serving in the military, being musicians and domestic slaves, to being interpreters and translators for Spanish expeditions. Despite fewer numbers of Africans in some regions, mixed-race families are prevalent throughout, and church records provide insight into tracking their slave route and ethnic groups. Slaves in Spanish America were able to earn money and sometimes purchase their own freedom, with some seeking sanctuary in St. Augustine and other places to escape their owners. There is also a paper trail of legal records, complaints, and property records that provide evidence of slavery and its injustices. Overall, the system of slavery in the Spanish world was not based on race and was not perpetual, unlike the system of slavery in the Anglo world, and slaves were a mixed group, including gypsies, Jews, Muslims, and people from Algeria and other places.

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Some further responses to your query

Plantation owners in both North and South America wanted a cheap workforce. Some colonists, including Spanish priest Bartolomé de Las Casas, suggested using enslaved Africans as workers. Africans had already developed immunity to European diseases.

They did. Not in great numbers, for reasons others have expressed, mainly that in the indigenous population they had an adequate work force, but there were slaves of all nationalities, African, South Asian, and Southeast Asian in the Spanish Philippines into the 18th century. Most were personal servants of their masters rather than agricultural laborers, however.

In theory native Filipinos (“indios”) were not enslaved by the Spaniards, but they were certainly exploited in various other ways. Muslim Filipinos (“moros”) were fair game for enslavement.

The definitive source on this question is William Henry Scott, Slavery in the Spanish Philippines Slavery in the Spanish Philippines: William Henry Scott: 9789711181024: Amazon.com: Books [ https://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Spanish-Philippines-William-Henry/dp/9711181029/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541364464&sr=1-1&keywords=william+henry+scott+slavery ]

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Likewise, Why was African slavery introduced to the Americas by the Spanish?
To meet the mounting demand for labor in mining and agriculture, the Spanish began to exploit a new labor force: slaves from western Africa. Slavery was a familiar institution to many sixteenth-century Europeans.

Considering this, How did the Spanish import slaves from Africa?
In the early years, captives who had first been brought to Spain from Africa were then packed onto slave ships in Spanish ports for transport to New World destinations. By the 1530s, however, the trade had shifted direction, as Iberian ships sailed first to the African coast for captives, then on to the Americas.

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Additionally, When did the Spanish bring Africans to America?
Between 1519 and 1600, 151.6 thousand Africans disembarked on the Spanish American mainland and another 187.7 thousand over the next 50 years. In all, 54% of all enslaved Africans brought to the New World between 1519 and 1700 disembarked in Spanish America (Eltis el at 2001).

Then, How were African slaves treated by the Spanish? As a response to this: The Spanish tradition saw free Black people as a legitimate, integral part of society: by offering enslaved people an opportunity to attain freedom through submission and hard work, the Spanish hoped to avoid violent insurrections.

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