Globalization: Slavery and King Affonso Essay

Submitted By rsapriza9595
Words: 630
Pages: 3

Unit 3 – Written Assignment # 3 In his letter of 1526 to King Jao of Portugal, King Affonso I makes two major requests: a) to stop allowing Portuguese merchants to continue their corrupt and licentious capture of men from the Kingdom of Kongo; and b) to provide this Kingdom with two physicians, two apothecaries, and one surgeon along with the drugs and medicine necessary to fight against the diseases that were so severely diminishing the population of this land. Affonso I argued that these corrupt merchants were luring the natives into stealing goods from their shops so they could “grab them and get them to be sold”. This illegitimate practice needed to be stopped by King Jao as it was a significant contributing factor to the decrease of the Kingdom´s population, and also because King Affonso wanted to regain control of the slave trade of his people. It is interesting to notice that King Affonso asked King Jao to continue allowing priests and teachers to come to his land. The request for health professionals had also to do with trying to put an end to diseases such as yellow fever and malaria that were diminishing the population of these territories and domains. This letter is revealing of the relationship –both benefits and challenges- that the “Slave system” had during the first decades of the sixteenth century, that is, during the beginning of the so called “Atlantic system”. It shows the interwoven trade relationship between a Western European Kingdom, Portugal, and a Western African Kingdom, Kongo. It also reflects the concept of “movement”: the movement of Portuguese products towards Kongo, the movement of illegitimately captured African people to the Americas, but also the movement of people who have a positive impact in Africa: priests, teachers and, in particular, the requested movement of professionals and medicines to Africa to help with the fight against terrible diseases. King Affonso I shows also a clear awareness of the importance of religion and mentions several times in this letter that his requests are, in fact, a just “service” that his Portuguese counterpart should do as a Christian. The document written by the English merchant Thomas Phillips in 1694 is another important text that reveals the way the “Atlantic system” worked, but at a later date where the “upper hand” was held by the kings and chiefs of the African domains, that is the people who had slaves to sell to European companies like “the royal African company of England” in