The trans-Saharan slave trade had long supplied enslaved African labor to work on sugar plantations in the Mediterranean alongside white slaves from Russia and the Balkans.
In addition, precisely because the South specialized in cotton production, the North developed a variety of businesses that provided services for the slave South, including textile factories, a meat processing industry, insurance companies, shippers, and cotton brokers.
Slave auction circa Once I began to look, I discovered that the traces of the other half were everywhere. The first major assumption is that, as an economic system—a way of producing and trading commodities—American slavery was fundamentally different from the rest of the modern economy and separate from it.
Twelve years later, the crews of two storm-damaged English privateers also passed, seeking shelter and a place to sell the twenty-odd enslaved Africans captured from a Portuguese slaver lying shackled in their holds.
Entrepreneurial enslavers moved more than 1 million enslaved people, by force, from the communities that survivors of the slave trade from Africa had built in the South and in the West to vast territories that were seized—also by force—from their Native American inhabitants.
A few days later, Charles Mallory showed up at the gates of the Union fort. Thus the balance of power between slaveholding and non-slaveholding states turned, in part, on the three-fifths presence of enslaved Africans in the census.
Later, despite the ravages of the Civil War, the capital and infrastructure extracted from the souls, sweat, and blood of enslaved African Americans positioned a former backwater colony to navigate the Industrial Revolution.
The vast majority came during the 18th century to work in the expanding sugar plantation economy. But after the colonies won independence, Britain no longer favored American products and considered tobacco a competitor to crops produced elsewhere in the empire.