Why were the countries with the most developed institutions of
individual freedom also the leaders in establishing the most
exploitative system of slavery that the world has ever seen? In
seeking to provide new answers to this question, The Rise of
African Slavery in the Americas examines the development of the
English Atlantic slave system between 1650 and 1800. The book
outlines a major African role in the evolution of the Atlantic
societies before the nineteenth century and argues that the
transatlantic slave trade was a result of African strength rather
than African weakness. It also addresses changing patterns of group
identity to account for the racial basis of slavery in the early
modern Atlantic World. Exploring the paradox of the concurrent
development of slavery and freedom in the European domains, David
Eltis provides a fresh interpretation of this difficult historical
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