Slave shackles

Slave shackles

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In the 15th century, decades before they sailed into the Caribbean, Spanish merchants, captains, and adventurers had already conquered and enslaved the people of the Canary Islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. On the western coast of continental Africa, the Portuguese had been cultivating a slavery-based economic policy. This legacy of conquest and slavery shaped the colonization of Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean. Some of the first American encounters between Europeans, Indians, and Africans took place in Puerto Rico, and its early history of genocidal violence and physical exploitation was repeated throughout the Americas.
Description (Spanish)
En el siglo XV, décadas antes de las navegaciones al Caribe, los mercaderes, capitanes y aventureros españoles ya habían conquistado y esclavizado a los pueblos de las Islas Canarias en el Océano Atlántico oriental. Asimismo, en la costa oeste del África continental, los portugueses habían desarrollado una política económica basada en la esclavitud. Este legado de conquista y esclavitud se trasladó a las colonias de Puerto Rico e islas del Caribe. Algunos de los primeros encuentros que tuvieron lugar en América entre europeos, indios y africanos sucedieron en Puerto Rico, repitiéndose allí como a lo largo de toda América, una temprana historia de violencia genocida y explotación física.
Object Name
Date made
19th century
Place Made
Puerto Rico
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Puerto Rico
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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