Monday, September 30, 2019

Effects of the Fur Trade on Native Societies Essay

Between the fifteenth and the nineteenth century the fur trade and slave trade connected the global commerce, and played a significant role in world history. Each of them transformed the destiny of North American and African society. Politically, economically and culturally, North Americans were dying slowly in seemingly more peaceful fur trade, and Africans were immediately hit by the wreaked havoc of slave trade. North America’s ostensible peace with the outside world could not avoid civil wars, as African people’s self-protection could not avoid European gory violent human plunder. In Africa, people were still live in a village community system with introverted self-governments. When colonists came, big kingdoms fragmented because the increasing of trade and arms. In this way, there was not a large-scale revolt or uprising in native Africa. As a result, small societies suffered from frequent slave raiding. As long as their own village was safe, they passively watched as people in other villages were raided and sold. Benin was a developed state in West Africa. In the 16th century the oba banned slave trade and relatively avoided slave traders. They bought arms from Europeans to protect themselves, but never helped others. In consequence, the power of oba declined in the 18th century and they could not stop the slave trade any more (456-457). When armed aggressors burst in small villages, they could not even protect themselves like Benin, but just be pillaged in desperation. Native Americans maintained cooperative relationships with Europeans under the fur trade. It protected them from extinction and slavery like those in Africa. However native people noticed the benefit of the fur trade, and then the profit of trade intensified the competition among tribes. They began to demand guns to deal with other tribes – and Europeans had gun. Therefore a circulation of furs and guns was fo rmed, and the increasing of arms imports aggravated the political conflicts of native people. In other words, more trade, more warfare. Fur trade brought North America both modern civilization and prolonged damage, yet the African economy was directly attacked by slave trade. North Americans traded furs with Europeans and received foreign goods and benefits such as pots, guns and metals. Europeans finished products gave them modern technology and tools, and caused the self-sufficiency system to transform to agricultural villages. Hurons lived in North America â€Å"in the early seventeenth century†. They traded many beavers and â€Å"received copper pots, metal axes, knives, cloth, firearms, and alcohol† (447). It was a big step for North America, to become a modern and developed society. Nevertheless, it was also the start of a long-term decline. â€Å"By the 1760s, hunters in southern British colonies took about 500,000 deer every year† (446). Hunters largely killed industrious animals, the amount of them sharply decreased. The fur trade absorbed labor supply, and restricted other developments. In reality, North America had been lagged behind chronically under the simple and dependent economic system caused by fur trade. Unlike North America, Africa had been steadily developing for a while in sixteenth century. The slave trade, was unprecedented havoc for native people and society. Just demographically, Africa lost millions of population in the fifteenth through nineteenth century. The productivity was greatly broken. The economy stagnated, or even retrogressed without technology. Both native North American and African people lost part of their ethos and native culture. North America was changed more by profit motive; however Africa was forced by demographical transformation and authorities’ avarice. Before European’s arrival, North Americans led a primitive lifestyle as a part of nature. They had laggard tools and technology but mastered natural environment. Their moral quality could be confirmed by the origin of Thanksgiving holiday: Native Indian helped European settlers tide over the hard time. Although they were economically backward, their spiritual civilization was wealthy. But after they began to trade with Europeans, they killed animals in quantity, overly reclaimed land, and broke their belief of nature. The benefits of furs led people to trade for guns and fight other tribes. Many of them became alcoholics, spent a lot of money to buy rum and brandy. They used foreign products all the time, and forgot their traditional crafts. In Africa, Europeans raided and drove away people in different cultures, and exterminated many ancient civilizations. The Europeans trading living human without caring whether they lived or died, was a bloody humiliation in the history. The hard truth is that many native authorities joined slave trading for their own interest. Dahomey was a highly authoritarian state in eighteenth century. They fully participated in slave trade and helped Europeans capture a lot of native people (456-457). It was a miserable shame of African culture and entire human history, that the chiefs of states helped invaders do human trafficking. Both trades certainly destroyed a part of native civilization, and changed a part of people. The politics, culture and economy of the native North Americans were gradually negatively affected while trading with Europeans and Africans were rapidly devastated by large human raid. Once, struggling in the wheel of history, they grew and died.

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