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Gulf Of Guinea Countries In The 15th And Early 16th Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the situation of the inhabitants of the Gulf of Guinea coast at the time when the Portuguese appeared there, and the changes that occurred in the area in the early period of European expansion. On the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, chiefly on São Tomé island, the Portuguese organized the first sugar plantations based on the black slave labour imported from the mainland. The chapter deals with a rich Portuguese nobleman, a landowner, a high state official, and holder of a hereditary overseas fief, who was also committed to large-scale trade. The development of the Portuguese island of São Tomé had from the beginning depended on the source of manpower from the African continent, primarily from the Niger Delta, Congo, and later Angola. The other Equator islands, viz. Annobón, Principe and Fernando Po, played a far smaller economic role than São Tomé in the 16th century.

Keywords: black slave labour; Congo; European expansion; Gulf of Guinea; Portuguese; São Tomé island



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