What is it about?

The link between overseas colonization and enslaving foreign peoples began with Spain's first explorations beyond Europe and the Mediterranean. This article traces them from the Canary Islands, to North and West Africa, to the Caribbean.

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Why is it important?

This article explores the earliest discourses used to justify slavery in the Spanish Empire, which largely focused on religion and geography at this early stage -- not protean conceptions of race.


This article is related to the first chapter of my forthcoming book, The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire (under contract with Yale).

Emily Berquist Soule
California State University, Long Beach

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: From Africa to the Ocean Sea: Atlantic slavery in the origins of the Spanish Empire, Atlantic Studies, April 2017, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/14788810.2017.1315514.
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