I went to an Internations http://www.internations.org event last night, which is a great cocktail party where expats from various countries and Peruvians who have lived abroad (there are actually events around the world). It takes place once a month on a Friday. I happened to arrive before Matthew, so I got the occasional guy that would come up to me to see if I was single or not. I saw this one guy staring at me from across the room and about 5 minutes later the following conversation began:
European guy: But what county is your family from?
Me: I’m African-American – so some country in Africa
European guy: But which country?
Me: (really) So, they brought African’s over in ships and they didn’t keep records of where people were from. (Stank face)
European guy: I’m not trying to be I just, I lived in Africa for a while and you look like you are from Angola.
Me: Where are you from?
European guy: Portugal
Me: #WhyAmIHavingThisConversation – oh really I actually have Portuguese ancestors as well.
European guy: Oh so we’re brothers (the direct Spanish translation of siblings is brothers)
This conversation continued for another 5 minutes are so and my thoughts were “why is he acting like he didn’t know about slavery. He’s from Portugal-your Portuguese ancestors were the ones who started the slave trade to the Americas- #BRAZIL hello”
The Trans-Atlantic Slave TradeThe Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began around the mid-fifteenth century when Portuguese interests in Africa moved away from the fabled deposits of gold to a much more readily available commodity — slaves. By the seventeenth century the trade was in full swing, reaching a peak towards the end of the eighteenth century. It was a trade which was especially fruitful, since every stage of the journey could be profitable for merchants — the infamous triangular trade.
Who Started the Triangular Trade?
For two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa. It is notable that they were also the last European country to abolish the institution – although, like France, it still continued to work former slaves as contract laborers, which they called libertos or engagés à temps. It is estimated that during the 4 1/2 centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans (roughly 40% of the total).
I was wondering what your thoughts are about this. Please leave a comment about the conversation and how you would have responded.
Also please send out a quick PSA to your European friends about the African slave trade to the Americas. Thank you. FYI this is the second time I’ve had a conversation like this at an Internations event.
*** I have met really great people at the Internations Events and will continue to go =)