Long Essay: Atlantic System


Atlantic System refers to the systematic network of trade established in 17000, which linked the three continent of Europe African and America. The trade relationship between the three parts of the continents was also referred to as the triangular trade. The European were the key player in the Atlantic system where they sell slaves from Africa and brought back commodities that were produced in the new colonial plantation in the Caribbean and north and south America. The Atlantic system influenced an economic, political, and social change in the lives of all the participants. The paper will focus on the Atlantic System impacted on the life of the three participants, that is, the Western European.

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The Western European nation had already started trading as early as 1500 but drew the world into their economic orbit in the 1700s. The Western Nations had conquered some parts of Africa nation and the Caribbean regions too. The colonies gave a prominence power, which facilitated their ease to trade among themselves. The traders from the Western Europe could ship towards the Western coast of Africa with the ship loaded with commodities in exchange for slaves. The acquired slaves were transported and sold to owners of the huge plantations in the Caribbean, North, and South America as a source of labour.

Economic Significance

The system was balanced with all the participants having a demand on their wants. The Western Europe traders used the revenue to the revenue generated to purchase commodities such as coffee, tobacco, sugar, and cotton. In Europe, the commodities are further refined, processed, and later sold in Europe and other parts of the world in bulky. The exporting and importing of goods marked the introduction of the new consumer society with a balanced equilibrium of demand and supply for the commodities. However, the economic system had a high demand for slaves and the demand become higher in the North and South America because they mainly planted sugar, and it demanded more labor force.  

The population was constantly growing in Europe and the world at large; it surged up by 20 % between 1700 and 1750. People’s demands on the new supply of commodities even become higher. For instance, many people in Europe and parts of Asia fancied the coffee and these increased its sales. Consequently, the major cities in Europe such Paris and London grew their population doubling and tripling rapidly respectively. Factors such as good weather, improved agriculture methods, and technological facilities from the Agrarian revelation boosted the production of these commodities. In the early of the 18th century, a consumer revelation emerged because the world population had grown tremendously, and the trading become international characterized with exporting and importing of commodities the commodities. For instance, the British were importing tobacco, calico, export sugar, and cotton brought from the Caribbean plantation.

The livelihood of the native people in North and South America and the Caribbean also improved as the new economic dynamic begin to take shape. The native shifted from their peasant farming that was providing the only foodstuff and started to practice large plantation too. Engaging in large-scale plantation helped them to gain disposable income, which they could also use to purchase other commodities such salt, furniture and cutleries that came from the Asia. Additionally, the constantly rising demand for trading created more job opportunities where the individual could get jobs in processing factories and transportation services, thereby improving individual’s income, which kept on reinforcing the consumers cycle. The word economy improved because the global market had flourished with china and japan doing the trading with West Europe countries. China could locally produce furniture, cutleries, and clothes and export them against coffee, tobacco, and sugar.

Social Effects

The population surging prompted people to move to move from remote areas to the cities. The urban life was different as people started visiting night concerts and engaged in social activities like dancing and acting. Some of the native North and South American gained a form of education from the Europeans. Literacy level increased which boosted development of the literature discipline, and even people started reading novels, writing magazines and other artistic works. Additionally, there was an exchange of cultures as the natives Americans and the slaves started dressing like the Europeans and learned the language too. The British colonized most of the Caribbean regions and influenced the locals to speak English.

The majority of the landowners in the Caribbean preferred to live in the cities, and this created a social class difference among the wealthy, the middle class, and the artisan, who mostly resided in the rural parts. The wealthy had a good lifestyle because they had an income to afford extravagant products such as clothing’s, couches, and vehicles. The wealthy employed the artisan employed the artisan as shopkeepers and journeymen.

Political effect

The West Europe countries benefited the most with Spain and Portugal being the great beneficiaries in the 17th century. For instance, Portugal had captured large plantation in Brazil where they could plant sugar with the aid of slavery labour and ship it back to Europe. The land acquisition resulted in the displacement of the native Brazilians. The native plantation owners opted to lease their land to the colonies and instead collect revenue and leave wealthy. The wealthy lifestyle gave them a political influence in both local and national level. The wealthy group could be appointed as administrative in the Europeans colonies.

There were instances of resurgence when slaves and the local natives who were forced to work planned attacks on the plantation. Slaves were displeased with mistreatment and many planned resurgence to escape to the woods and stay away from the whites. Most of the resurgences were unsuccessful because the Europeans had a powerful army and could use guns against the slaves. Many slaves lost their lives because of these.

Short Essays

In what way did Henri IV’s Edict of Nantes strive to restore peace in France?

Henri IV at Nantes issued the edict off Nantes in 1598 after the constant religious dispute that had befallen the country. The edict is regarded significance in the history of religion in France After Henri IV signed the Edict it was after the religious intolerance between the Catholics and Protestant became worse.

The Edict of Nantes had a series of good outlines policies, which is said to be the best Edict ever in French policies regarding politics. The French monarch systems could neither tolerate both Protestantism and Catholicism nor allow them to flourish in the country. Henri IV was the only monarchs members who had a different belief and thus motivated him to impellent such a policy. The policy brought religious tolerance between the Catholics and Protestant. The Protestant suppressed by the Catholic because they did not have much power while the Catholic had the total control of being the majority in the country. After the edict, the Protestant gain more power compared what they had during the time of anti-protestant monarchs.

The edict was a turning point because it strived to end the constant discrimination on Protestants, Henri could not give the Protestant rights that could boost their legal, and political positions in the country because he feared to lose the Catholics’ support. Despite being denied equal rights in legislation and politics. The religion concern was vital as it gave the Protestant a freedom to worship and end the wars.

In conclusion, the Edict of Nantes can be regarded as the comprehensive reform on religion that paved the way for religious tolerance in other parts of the world. The edict could not give the protestant many of their rights because there were elements of flaws in the Catholic laws. The edict of Nantes significance still reigns because it resulted in the creation of Protestant strongholds in the south of France, which effectively ended the French Wars of Religion.

Why were so many African slaves transported to the Caribbean Islands?

The slave trade became rapid when the Europeans accessed the Caribbean regions. The slaves came from Africa in countries such as Benin, Gabon and Senegal and southern parts of Africa such as Angola and Namibia. Mostly the Caribbean regions were sparsely populated allowing more land for cultivation, and there were no many locals to be used as workers on the plantation.

Some of the European had acquired large pieces of the plantations farm in the Caribbean parts. The plantation was used to grow sugarcane; coffee and cotton that needed plenty labour force. The demand for labour prompted West Europeans traders to capture more slaves from Africa and take them to plantation owners in the exchange of those commodities. The shipping of slaves was also facilitated by the ease of navigation process from the west coast of Africa to the Caribbean because of the trade winds.

Capturing the African slaves was easy because they could not offer stiff resistance due to lack of having a sophisticated army with weapons. The ease of acquiring slaves enabled the Europeans traders to match the demand needed in the Caribbean plantation because slaves became valuable commodities.

A lesser number of slaves were taken to pish America and British America because the plantation owners in these regions had displaced the original landowners and converted them into slaves. The natives in pish colonies like Brazil began working for the European farmers thereby reducing the demand for African slaves.

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