Jackson discovers that ivory was also taken from Africa, with elephant tusks loaded alongside the human cargo to boost profits even further: a reminder that, at its heart, slavery – although underpinned by white supremacist beliefs – was driven by extreme, unchecked capitalism, rather than racism alone.
Slavery rather predated capitalism. It was a feature of feudal societies and also of the classical ones before that. Slavery also was not a feature of capitalist societies after any level of development of the capitalism. Because it was that very machine use – so promoted, invented and caused by capitalism – that brought slavery to an end in an economic sense.
But we’ve got that Marxist underpinning to the explanation of everything these days, don’t we? Capitalism is bad, slavery was bad, therefore slavery and capitalism must be the same thing.
Jackson and Hirsch travel to Elmina Castle in Ghana, the first trading post on the west African coastline,
Nope, Arguim was earlier. Elmina the first on the Gulf of Guinea, sure, but that’s not all of West Africa, is it? Pendantry to be sure but they’re making a damn history programme…..
Last word to Hirsch, though. She is told of the science that went into the positioning of the triangular sails of tall ships – a 15th-century innovation that harnessed the wind’s power, enabled the ships to sail the oceans at speed, and helped turn the looting of Africa into a business. Hirsch observes: “You think of pioneering technology as a positive thing, but it’s just heartbreaking that Europeans saw this as an opportunity to really embark on their most evil project.”
Slavery is more evil than the Holodomor? The Holocaust? An interesting claim…..