DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020
How did Africa become a hub for the trade in human beings? Part 2 of this four-part documentary series begins as the Middle Ages comes to an end and Portuguese conquerors head for Africa in search of riches. At the end of the Middle Ages, European powers realized that the African continent harbored a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of resources. The Portuguese were among the first to set out to conquer the continent. They went in search of gold, but they came back with hundreds of thousands of captives to sell as slaves in Europe. From the coasts of Africa, the Conquistadores sailed on to Brazil, where they established a trading center. There, the Portuguese set up the first colonies that were populated exclusively by slaves. On the island of São Tomé, off of Gabon, they found their most lucrative commodity: sugar cane, and the sugar plantation became the blueprint for the profitable exploitation of the New World.