The Treatment of African and Native Slaves:
Through the Accounts of Bartolome de las and Olaudah Equiano
Slavery will forever remain a tragically horrific stain in American history not only because of the actual act of enslavement, but the treatment of the salves. Slaves were largely of Native American and African descent. The accounts of Bartolome de las Casas and Olaudah Equiano provide two uniquely different viewpoints on their experience of slavery. Defeated, displaced, and tortured, the natives and African people were involuntarily separated from their families and homes to be put in such conditions.
Bartolome de las Casas is a Spanish priest who traveled to the Americas in the early ...view middle of the document...
As war broke, the native’s efforts were futile as they were technologically outclassed by the Christian’s horses and swords, and armor. The fallacies did not end there. As the massacre continued, the actions of the Christians seemed to fit for a modern day horror film. They placed bets on who could cut someone in half or behead them with one swing of the blade. They took infants from the arms of their mothers and would toss them into the waters or slam into the rocks headfirst (p.40). Driven by greed, “Their reason for killing and destroying such an infinite number of souls is that the Christians have an ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits” and would “ (p.40). However, the newfound faith of Casas’ would not be without fault. Casas is lauded for his compassion for the natives he can also be tied to the expansion of the African slave trade as he lobbied for the importation of Africans as an alternative to the enslavement of the natives.
Africans were also victims to such heinous acts. Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who eventually bought his freedom at the price of forty pounds. His writing in the Narrative of the Life explains what it was like to victim of these saddening encounters. He had been noted to have been born of America, yet he writes of the journey to the African coast with such detail. Whether he was writing from his own accounts or for his people who could not be their own voice, the words conveyed a deep narrative. He described being captured to be similar to how a mugger would make a quick grab at someone’s purse when they are not looking. He speaks on how people would enter the tribe living areas and “attack and carry off as many as they could seize”(p.390). He spoke on how his travels aboard the slave ships were “The closeness of the place, ant the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded in the ship which was so had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us… Often did I think many of the inhabitants of the deep much more happy than myself” (p.697).
In this quote, Equiano describe the putrid conditions while in...