In 315 Years, Europeans Enslaved More Than 12.5 Million Africans.

North America was a bit player in the global slave trade. Overall, in 315 years, Europeans enslaved and transported more than 12.5 million Africans, according to Slate’s “History of American Slavery Academy.”

“From the trade’s beginning in the 16th century to its conclusion in the 19th, slave merchants brought the vast majority of enslaved Africans to two places: the Caribbean and Brazil. Of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans to eventually reach the Western Hemisphere, just 388,747—less than 4 percent of the total—came to North America. This was dwarfed by the 1.3 million brought to Spanish Central America, the 4 million brought to British, French, Dutch, and Danish holdings in the Caribbean, and the 4.8 million brought to Brazil.” — and ,

An interactive map shows where slaves came from and where they went.


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Mexico City Beckons

I’ve never been to Mexico. This article makes me want to visit Mexico City.

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It’s Difficult for Americans NOT to Have America-Centric View of the World

Spending a few weeks in the states, I had to consciously fight against the mindset that America is the center of the universe. My experiences as a world traveler tell me that the US most definitely is not the center of the universe, but US-based media certainly give me the impression that it is. Ours is such a huge country that domestic news fills almost all of the available time and space in a given day for news. I decided to forgo some of the endless chatter and speculation about the domestic scene and instead listen to PRI’s The World, read The Economist and peruse National Geographic.

To avoid an America-centric outlook, it seems to me you have to CONSCIOUSLY and DELIBERATELY CHOOSE to tap into international media and seek out international perspectives to avoid becoming ethnocentric.
* And yet, paradoxically, Americans who do travel are some of the most open-minded and least bigoted people on the planet. Because of the civil rights revolution America went through less than 50 years ago, Americans generally consider it politically incorrect to engage in ethnic slurs. Other nationalities routinely engage in negative generalizations about people from neighboring countries. Bigotry is common and socially acceptable in these countries.

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How We Are All Related


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80 Years of Photographs By NC’s Hugh Morton

Hugh Morton, pioneering North Carolina photographer for 80 years, from the 1920s to early 2000s, left his huge archive to his wife, who in 2007 donated it to the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The blog, “A View to Hugh,” was created in 2007 to publish Morton’s iconic photos in context, and has won awards.

For me so far the most interesting posts are about the UNC athletic program and celebrities: famous journalists, musicians, and actors native to NC such as Andy Griffith; visiting politicians and presidents, including Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.

From the “About” page:

In late 2009, the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded the hiring of a group of scholars and writers to produce thirteen essays (1,000-1,500-words long, based on 3-5 images), highlighting some of the predominant themes represented in the Hugh Morton photographic collection.  These essay are a part of A View to Hugh. We highly encourage readers to comment on these essays to add your voice to the these in-depth analyses.

Now that the collection is processed and available for use, A View to Hugh now relates stories or provides background information about individual or groups of images within the collection, with the same goal of encouraging dialog among its visitors.  The blog also serves as a springboard into the digital collection of more than 8,000 images available for viewing online.

So please visit often, make comments, help us identify people and places depicted in the Morton photographs, and enjoy treasures from this wonderful and important collection!

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Argentina Could Serve As Model to US for What Not To Do Economically

At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina was one of the world’s 10 richest countries, propelled by fertile lowlands or pampas, good prices for crops and cattle farming. It greatly expanded beef exports to the world. Before WWI, Argentina experienced peace, prosperity and a “land of opportunity.” Europeans eagerly immigrated to a country with better climate, and once settled, built grand buildings like the Teatro Colón opera house, which opened in 1908, and the Retiro railway station, completed in 1915. They spent money, lots of it.

WWI and WWII significantly reduced trade. Over-reliance on the British Empire, which was in decline, took a toll. The Great Depression crushed open trade and caused Argentina to implement high tariffs. The country’s education system declined from lack of investment. The political system neglected land and political reform, allowing wealth to concentrate into the hands of a few families, currently about 300 families out of a population of 43 million, who control not only the land, but the entire economy and the government. As Matt O’Brian wrote in The Washington Post:

Everyone else was just a cog in their beef-and-grain-exporting machine. Or, as the Financial Times’s Alan Beattie has put it, Argentina is “what North America might have looked” like “if the South had won the Civil War and gone on to dominate the North.” Which is to say that it was a semi-feudal aristocracy dependent on a steady supply of cheap labor.

If this sounds like a good way to start a class war, that’s because it was. Up until recently, Argentina had spent most of the last 100 years alternating between left-wing populists who promised to share the country’s wealth, and right-wing military dictatorships that tried to stop that from happening. And, of course, with the stakes so high, neither side was willing to play by the rules…

Right-wing governments had no interest in educating the workers or investing in anything other than the landowners’ exports. And left-wing governments just nationalized industries, protected others with tariffs, and made promises they could only afford by printing money. The result was a century of inflation and stagnation.

Drill Deeper:


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WWII Museum in New Orleans Brings Soldiers’ Personal Experiences to Life, and Online

On my bucket list is the WWII Museum in New Orleans. But even if I have to wait a long time before visiting, I can peruse “a vast online collection of existing oral and written histories…firsthand accounts of Pearl Harbor, the D-Day invasion, Germany’s surrender, Hiroshima, the homefront and more.” Eventually all 9,000 personal histories will be online. In 2016, the number online is 250.

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