Slave Shackles

Slave Shackles

ID# 1997.0097.0370

Columbus arrived in the Caribbean leading the 15th century charge of the Spanish and Portuguese around the western coast of Africa and out to the Atlantic. Prior to their discovery of the Caribbean, Spanish merchants, captains, and adventurers had already conquered and enslaved the people of the Canary Islands, and the Portuguese had cultivated a slavery-based economic policy in Africa. Some of the first American encounters between Europeans, Indians, and Africans happened in Puerto Rico, and its early history of genocidal violence and physical exploitation was repeated throughout the Americas.