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What was the economic rationale behind slavery in the New World?

The economic rationale behind slavery in the New World was primarily to provide cheap labour for plantation agriculture.

The discovery of the New World by European explorers in the late 15th century opened up vast new territories rich in natural resources. These resources, particularly sugar, tobacco, and later cotton, had the potential to generate enormous wealth. However, exploiting these resources required a large workforce, which was not readily available in the sparsely populated New World. Slavery, therefore, emerged as a solution to this labour shortage.

The transatlantic slave trade, which began in the 16th century, saw millions of Africans forcibly transported to the Americas to work on plantations. The economic rationale behind this was simple: slaves were seen as a cost-effective source of labour. They were purchased for a one-time cost and could be worked hard with minimal upkeep. This allowed plantation owners to maximise their profits.

Furthermore, the use of slaves also had economic benefits for the European powers that controlled the New World. The slave trade itself was a lucrative business, generating significant profits for those involved. Additionally, the goods produced by slave labour - sugar, tobacco, cotton - were highly valuable commodities in Europe, driving economic growth and wealth accumulation.

The economic rationale behind slavery was not just about cheap labour, but also about control and exploitation. Slavery allowed the European powers to exert control over the indigenous populations and the African slaves, ensuring a steady supply of labour and preventing any potential uprisings. It also allowed them to exploit the natural resources of the New World to their full potential, generating enormous wealth in the process.

In summary, the economic rationale behind slavery in the New World was driven by the desire for cheap labour, control, and the exploitation of natural resources. This system allowed the European powers to generate enormous wealth, driving economic growth and the accumulation of power.

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