African slave trade

African slave trade

:"This article discusses systems of slavery within Africa, the history and effects of the slavery trade upon Africa. And also Maafa. See Atlantic slave trade for the trans-Atlantic trade, and Arab slave trade for the Trans-Saharan trade. See Slavery in modern Africa for the current status of slavery on the African continent."

The slave trade in Africa existed for thousands of years. The first main route passed through the Sahara, tying in to the Arab slave trade. After the European Age of Exploration, African slaves became part of the Atlantic slave trade, from which comes the modern, Western conception of slavery as an institution of African-descended slaves and non-African slave owners. Despite its illegality, slavery continues in some parts of the world, including Africa.

Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique. Quote:"The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean" [ [ The impact of the slave trade on Africa] ]

lavery within Africa

In most African societies, there was very little difference between the free peasants and the feudal vassal peasants. Vassals of the Songhay Empire were used primarily in agriculture; they paid tribute to their masters in crop and service but they were slightly restricted in custom and convenience. These non-free people were more an occupational caste, as their bondage was relative.cite web|url=|publisher="Owen 'Alik Shahadah"|title="African Holocaust: Dark Voyage audio CD"|accessdate=2005-04-01] .

There is adequate evidence citing case after case of African control of segments of the trade. Several African nations such as the Ashanti of Ghana and the Yoruba of Nigeria had economies largely depending on the trade. African peoples such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania would serve as intermediaries or roving bands warring with other African nations to capture Africans for Europeans. Extenuating circumstances demanding exploration are the tremendous efforts European officials in Africa used to install rulers agreeable to their interests. They would actively favor one African group against another to deliberately ignite chaos and continue their slaving activities.cite web|url=|publisher="Kwaku Person-Lynn"|title="African involvement in Atlantic Slave Trade"|accessdate=2004-10-01] .

"Slavery", as it is often referred to by people, in African cultures was generally more like indentured servitude: "slaves" were not made to be chattel of other men, nor enslaved for life. African "slaves" were paid wages and were able to accumulate property. They often bought their own freedom and could then achieve social promotion -just as freedman in ancient Rome- some even rose to the status of kings (e.g. Jaja of Opobo and Sunni Ali Ber). Similar arguments were used by Western slave owners during the time of abolition, for example by John Wedderburn in "Wedderburn v. Knight", the case that ended legal recognition of slavery in Scotland in 1776. Regardless of the legal options open to slave owners, rational cost-earning calculation and/or voluntary adoption of moral restraints often tended to mitigate (except with traders, who preferred to weed out the worthless weak individuals) the actual fate of slaves throughout history.

In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. In early Islamic states of the western Sudan, including Ghana (750-1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275-1591), about a third of the population were slaves. In Sierra Leone in the 19th century about half of the population consisted of slaves. In the 19th century at least half the population was enslaved among the Duala of the Cameroon, the Igbo and other peoples of the lower Niger, the Kongo, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe of Angola. Among the Ashanti and Yoruba a third of the population consisted of slaves. The population of the Kanem (1600–1800) was about a third-slave. It was perhaps 40% in Bornu (1580–1890). Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves. The population of the Sokoto caliphate formed by Hausas in the northern Nigeria and Cameroon was half-slave in the 19th century. Between 65% to 90%population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved. Roughly half the population of Madagascar was enslaved. [ [ Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History] ] [ [ Slow Death for Slavery - Cambridge University Press] ] [ [ Digital History Slavery Fact Sheets] ] [ [ Tanzania - Stone Town of Zanzibar] ] [ [ Fulani slave-raids] ] [ [ Central African Republic: History] ]

lavery in Ethiopia

Ethiopian slavery was essentially domestic. Slaves thus served in the houses of their masters or mistresses, and were not employed to any significant extent for productive purposes, slaves were thus regarded as second-class members of their owners' family [ [ Ethiopia - The Interregnum] ] , and were fed, clothed and protected. Women were taken as sex slaves. They generally roamed around freely and conducted business as free people. They had complete freedom of religion and culture.cite web|url=|publisher=|title="Ethiopian Slave Trade"|] First attempt to abolish slavery was made by Emperor Tewodros II (r. 1855-1868) [ [ Tewodros II] ] , although slave trade was not abolished completely until 1923 with Ethiopia's ascension to the League of Nations. [ [ Kituo cha katiba >> Haile Selassie Profile] ] Anti-Slavery Society estimated there were 2,000,000 slaves in the early 1930s, out of an estimated population of between 8 and 16 million. [ [ Twentieth Century Solutions of the Abolition of Slavery] ] Slavery continued in Ethiopia until the Italian invasion in October 1935, when was abolished by order of the Italian occupying forces. [ [ CJO - Abstract - Trading in slaves in Ethiopia, 1897–1938] ] In response to pressure by Western Allies of World War II Ethiopia officially abolished slavery and involuntary servitude after regained its independence in 1942. [ [ The slave trade: myths and preconceptions] ] [ [ Ethiopia] ] On August 26 1942 Haile Selassie issued a proclamation outlawing slavery. [ [ Chronology of slavery] ]

lavery in Somalia

The Bantus are the descendants of people from various ethnic groups in what is modern-day Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique who were brought to Somalia as slaves in the 19th century. It is estimated that the Bantu in Somalia number around 600,000 out of a total population of over 11 million. Contrary to the Somali, who are for the most part nomadic herders, the Bantu are mainly sedentary farmers. Bantus are also ethnically, physically, and culturally distinct from Somalis, and have remained marginalized ever since their arrival in Somalia. [L. Randol Barker et al., "Principles of Ambulatory Medicine", 7 edition, (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: 2006), p.633] During the civil war in Somalia, many Bantu were evicted from their farms by various armed factions of Somali clans. [ [ Africa's Lost Tribe Discovers American Way] ]

lavery in North Africa

The medieval slave trade in Europe was mainly to the East and South: Byzantine Empire and the Muslim World were the destinations, Central and Eastern Europe an important source. [ [ Historical survey > The international slave trade] ] [ [ Arabs and Slave Trade] ] Slavery in medieval Europe was so common that the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly prohibited it—or at least the export of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands was prohibited at, for example, the Council of Koblenz in 922, the Council of London in 1102, and the Council of Armagh in 1171. [ [ Slavery, serfdom, and indenture through the Middle Ages] ] Because of religious constraints, the slave trade was monopolised by Iberian Jews (known as Radhanites) who were able to transfer the slaves from pagan Central Europe through Christian Western Europe to Muslim countries in Al-Andalus and Africa. [ [ Routes of the Jewish Merchants Called Radanites] ] So many Slavs were enslaved for so many centuries that the very name 'slave' derived from their name; not only in English, but in other European languages and in Arabic. [ [ How To Reboot Reality — Chapter 2, Labor] ]

Mamluks were slave soldiers who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans during the Middle Ages. The first mamluks served the Abbasid caliphs in 9th century Baghdad. Over time they became a powerful military caste, and on more than one occasion they seized power for themselves, for example, ruling Egypt in the from 1250–1517. From 1250 Egypt had been ruled by the Bahri dynasty of Kipchak Turk origin. White slaves from the Caucasus served in the army and formed an elite corp of troops eventually revolting in Egypt to form the Burgi dynasty. [ [ The Mamluk (Slave) Dynasty (Timeline)] ]

According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves to North Africa and the Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries. The coastal villages and towns of Italy, Portugal, Spain and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by its inhabitants; after 1600 Barbary pirates occasionally entered the Atlantic and struck as far north as Iceland. The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Barbarossa ("Redbeard"), and his older brother Oruç, Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu (known as Curtogoli in the West), Kemal Reis, Salih Reis and Koca Murat Reis. [ [ "When Europeans were slaves: Research suggests white slavery was much more common than previously believed"] ] [ [ BBC - History - British Slaves on the Barbary Coast] ]

In 1544, Khair ad Din captured the Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners in the process, and deported to slavery some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population. [ [ The mysteries and majesties of the Aeolian Islands] ] In 1551, Dragut enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya. When pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy in 1554 they took an 7,000 slaves. In 1555, Turgut Reis sailed to Corsica and ransacked Bastia, taking 6000 prisoners. In 1558 Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella, destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and carried off 3,000 survivors to Istanbul as slaves. [ [ History of Menorca] ] In 1563 Turgut Reis landed at the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured the coastal settlements in the area like Almuñécar, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates frequently attacked the Balearic islands, resulting in many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches being erected. The threat was so severe that Formentera became uninhabited. [ [ Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates by Christopher Hitchens, City Journal Spring 2007] ] [Davis, Robert. "Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800". [] ]

Sahrawi-Moorish society in Northwest Africa was traditionally (and still is, to some extent) stratified into several tribal castes, with the Hassane warrior tribes ruling and extracting tribute - horma - from the subservient Berber-descended znaga tribes. The so-called Haratin lower class, largely sedentary oasis-dwelling black people, have been considered natural slaves in Sahrawi-Moorish society. [ [ Slavery in The Sahara] ] [ [ Fair elections haunted by racial imbalance] ] [ [ Caste: One in every 25 people suffers from caste discrimination] ]

laves taken from Africa

Trans Saharan trade

:"Main article Arab slave trade"The very earliest external slave trade was the trans-Saharan slave trade. Although there had long been some trading up the Nile River and very limited trading across the western desert, the transportation of large numbers of slaves did not become viable until camels were introduced from Arabia in the 10th century. By this point, a trans-Saharan trading network came into being to transport slaves north. It has been estimated that from the 10th to the 19th century some 6,000 to 7,000 slaves were transported north each year. [Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa". Routledge, 4th edition, 2001. pg. 256] Frequent intermarriages meant that the slaves were assimilated in North Africa. Unlike in the Americas, slaves in North Africa were mainly servants and soldiers rather than labourers, and a greater number of females than males were taken, who were often employed as servants for the women of harems. [ ['s_Trip_Twelve.html Battuta's Trip: Journey to West Africa (1351 - 1353)] ] It was also not uncommon to turn male slaves, both African and European, into eunuchs to serve as guardians to the harems.cite web|url=|publisher="Owen 'Alik Shahadah"|title="Myths regarding the Arab Slave Trade"|] The Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail "the Bloodthirsty" (1672-1727) raised a corps of 150,000 black slaves, called his Black Guard, who coerced the country into submission. [ [ Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East. Oxford Univ Press 1994.] ]

Indian Ocean trade

The trade of slaves across the Indian Ocean also has a long history beginning with the control of sea routes by Afro-Arab traders in the ninth century. It is estimated that only a few thousand slaves were taken each year from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean coast. They were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantations in the region. Eventually, tens of thousands per year were being taken. [Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa". Routledge, 4th edition, 2001. pg. 258] . In east Africa the main slave trade involved arabized east Africans [ [,6121,679352,00.html Review: Islam's Black Slaves by Ronald Segal | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books ] ]

David Livingstone wrote of the slave trade: "To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility.... We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer. We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead.... We came upon a man dead from starvation.... The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves." Livingstone estimated that 80,000 Africans died each year before ever reaching the slave markets of Zanzibar. [ [ David Livingstone; Christian History Institute] ] [ [ The blood of a nation of Slaves in Stone Town] ] [ [ BBC Remembering East African slave raids] ] [ [ Zanzibar] ] Zanzibar was once East Africa's main slave-trading port, and under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year. [ [ Swahili Coast] ]

Some sources estimate that between 11 and 17 million slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 to 1900. [ [ The Unknown Slavery: In the Muslim world, that is -- and it's not over] ] [ [ The Forgotten Holocaust: The Eastern Slave Trade] ]

Atlantic Ocean trade

:"Main article Atlantic slave trade"The first Europeans to arrive on the coast of Guinea were the Portuguese; the first European to actually buy African slaves in the region of Guinea was Antão Gonçalves, a Portuguese explorer. Originally interested in trading mainly for gold and spices, they set up colonies on the uninhabited islands of São Tomé. In the 16th century the Portuguese settlers found that these volcanic islands were ideal for growing sugar. Sugar growing is a labour-intensive undertaking and Portuguese settlers were difficult to attract due to the heat, lack of infrastructure, and hard life. To cultivate the sugar the Portuguese turned to large numbers of African slaves. Elmina Castle on the Gold Coast, originally built by African labor for the Portuguese in 1482 to control the gold trade, became an important depot for slaves that were to be transported to the New World. [John Henrik Clarke. "Critical Lessons in Slavery & the Slavetrade". A & B Book Pub]

The first Europeans to use African slaves in the New World were the Spaniards who sought auxiliaries for their conquest expeditions and laborers on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola, where the alarming death rate in the native population had spurred the first royal laws protecting the native population (Laws of Burgos, 1512-1513). The first African slaves arrived in Hispaniola in 1501. [ [ HEALTH IN SLAVERY] ]

In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas, granting Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any "Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers" to hereditary slavery. This approval of slavery was reaffirmed and extended in his Romanus Pontifex bull of 1455. These papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of slave trade and European colonialism.Fact|date=March 2008 However Pope Eugene IV in his bull, Sicut Dudum of 1435 had condemned the enslavement of the black inhabitants of the Canary Islands. Pope Paul III in 1537 issued an additional Bull, Sublimis Deus, declaring that all peoples, even those outside the faith should not be deprived of their liberty. The followers of the church of England and Protestants did not use the papal bulls as a justification for their involvement in slavery.

Increasing penetration into the Americas by the Portuguese created more demand for labour in Brazil--primarily for farming and mining. Slave-based economies quickly spread to the Caribbean and the southern portion of what is today the United States, where Dutch traders brought the first African slaves in 1620. These areas all developed an insatiable demand for slaves. As European nations grew more powerful, especially Portugal, Spain, France, England and the Netherlands, they began vying for control of the African slave trade, with little effect on the local African and Arab trading. Great Britain's existing colonies in the Lesser Antilles and their effective naval control of the Mid Atlantic forced other countries to abandon their enterprises due to inefficiency in cost. The English crown provided a charter giving the Royal African Company monopoly over the African slave routes until 1712. [ [ The National Archives | Exhibitions & Learning online | Black presence | Africa and the Caribbean ] ]

The Atlantic slave trade peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa.{ [fact|date=September 2008 These expeditions were typically carried out by African kingdoms against weaker African tribes and peoples. These mass slavers included the Oyo empire (Yoruba), Kong Empire, Kingdom of Benin, Kingdom of Fouta Djallon, Kingdom of Fouta Tooro, Kingdom of Koya, Kingdom of Khasso, Kingdom of Kaabu, Fante Confederacy, Ashanti Confederacy, and the kingdom of Dahomey. Europeans rarely entered the interior of Africa, due to fear of disease and moreover fierce African resistance. [ [ The Great Slave Empires Of Africa] ] [ [ The Transatlantic Slave Trade] ]

Before the arrival of the Portuguese, slavery had already existed in Kingdom of Kongo. Despite its establishment within his kingdom, Afonso I of Kongo believed that the slave trade should be subject to Kongo law. When he suspected the Portuguese of receiving illegally enslaved persons to sell, he wrote letters to the King João III of Portugal in 1526 imploring him to put a stop to the practice. [ [ African Political Ethics and the Slave Trade] ]

The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery, who otherwise would have been killed in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs. As one of West Africa's principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighbouring peoples. [ [ Museum Theme: The Kingdom of Dahomey] ] [ [ Dahomey (historical kingdom, Africa)] ] [ [ Benin seeks forgiveness for role in slave trade] ] Like the Bambara Empire to the east, the Khasso kingdoms depended heavily on the slave trade for their economy. A family's status was indicated by the number of slaves it owned, leading to wars for the sole purpose of taking more captives. This trade led the Khasso into increasing contact with the European settlements of Africa's west coast, particularly the French. [ [ Le Mali précolonial] ] Benin grew increasingly rich during the 16th and 17th centuries on the slave trade with Europe; slaves from enemy states of the interior were sold, and carried to the Americas in Dutch and Portuguese ships. The Bight of Benin's shore soon came to be known as the "Slave Coast". [ [ The Story of Africa] ]

King Gezo of Dahomey said in 1840's::"The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth…the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery…" [ [,20867,20855855-28737,00.html West is master of slave trade guilt] ]

In 1807, the UK Parliament passed the Bill that abolished the trading of slaves. The King of Bonny (now in Nigeria) was horrified at the conclusion of the practice::"We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself." [ [ African Slave Owners] ]

The slaves came from many different sources. About half came from the societies that sold them. These might be criminals, heretics, the mentally ill, the indebted and any others that had fallen out of favour with the rulers. Little is known about the details of theses practices before the arrival of Europeans, and so it is difficult to tell if the number of people considered as undesirables was artificially increased to provide more slaves for export. It is believed that capital punishment in the region nearly disappeared since prisoners became far too valuable to dispose of in such a way. [Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa". Routledge, 4th edition, 2001. pg. 267]

Another source of slaves, comprising about half the total, came from military conquests of other states or tribes. It has long been contended that the slave trade greatly increased violence and warfare in the region due to the pursuit of slaves, endemic warfare was certainly common even before slave hunting had added such an extra inducement. [Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa". Routledge, 4th edition, 2001. pg. 267]

For the Atlantic slave trade, captives purchased from slave dealers in West African regions known as the Slave Coast, Gold Coast, and Côte d'Ivoire were sold into slavery as a result of a defeat in warfare. In the Bight of Biafra near modern-day Senegal and Benin, some African kings sold their captives locally and later to European slave traders for goods such as metal cookware, rum, livestock, and seed grain. Previous to the voyage, the victims were held in "slave castles" and deep pits where many died from multiple illnesses and malnutrition. Conditions were even worse in the Middle Passage across the Atlantic where up to a third of the slaves died en route.


Effect on the economy of Africa

slave-traders. Most of this money was spent on British-made firearms (of very poor quality) and industrial-grade alcohol.

Today, however, some scholars assert that slavery did not have a wholly disastrous effect on those left behind in Africa. [Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa". Routledge, 4th edition, 2001. pg. 261] Slaves were an expensive commodity, and traders received a great deal in exchange for each slave. At the peak of the slave trade, it is said that hundreds of thousands of muskets, vast quantities of cloth, gunpowder and metals were being shipped to Guinea. Guinea's trade with Europe at the peak of the slave trade—which also included significant exports of gold and ivory—was some 3.5 million pounds Sterling per year. By contrast, the trade of the United Kingdom, the economic superpower of the time, was about 14 million pounds per year over this same period of the late 18th century. As Patrick Manning has pointed out, the vast majority of items traded for slaves were common rather than luxury goods. Textiles, iron ore, currency, and salt were some of the most important commodities imported as a result of the slave trade, and these goods were spread within the entire society raising the general standard of living. [Contours of Slavery and Social Change in Africa, by Patrick Manning] In contrast, other scholars find that the trade in slave had a detrimental effect on long-term economic growth and development. Although the evidence suggests a causal effect, the channel trough which slave trade affects subsequent economic growth and development is not clear. One likely explanation is that the slave trade impeded the formation of larger ethnic groups, causing ethnic fractionalization and weaking the formation of stable political structures. [cite journal
last = Nunn
first = Nathan
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades
journal = Quarterly Journal of Economics
volume = 123
issue = 1
pages = 139–176
publisher = MIT Press
location = Cambridge, MA
month = February | year = 2008
url =
doi = 10.1162/qjec.2008.123.1.139
id =
accessdate = 2008-04-10|format=PDF

Effects on Europe’s economy

Eric Williams had attempted to show the contribution of Africans on the basis of profits from the slave trade and slavery, and the employment of those profits to finance Britain’s industrialization process. He argues that the enslavement of Africans was an essential element to the Industrial Revolution, and that European wealth is a result of slavery. However, he argued that by the time of its abolition it had lost its profitability and it was in Britain's economic interest to ban it. Seymour Dreshcer and Robert Antsey have both presented evidence that the slave trade remained profitable until the end, and that reasons other than economics led to its cessation. Joseph InikoPornri have shown elsewhere that the British slave trade was more profitable than the critics of Williams would want us to believe. Nevertheless, the profits of the slave trade and of West Indian plantations amounted to less than 5% of the British economy at the time of the Industrial Revolution. [ [ Digital History] ]

A similar debate has taken place about other European nations. French slave trade was more profitable than alternative domestic investments and probably encouraged capital accumulation before the Industrial Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. [ Guillaume Daudin « Profitability of slave and long distance trading in context : the case of eighteenth century France », Journal of Economic History, vol. 64, n°1, 2004 ]


The demographic effects of the slave trade are some of the most controversial and debated issues. Tens of millions of people were removed from Africa via the slave trade, and what effect this had on Africa is an important question. Walter Rodney argued that the export of so many people had been a demographic disaster and had left Africa permanently disadvantaged when compared to other parts of the world, and largely explains that continent's continued poverty. [Rodney, Walter. "How Europe underdeveloped Africa." London: Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, 1972] He presents numbers that show that Africa's population stagnated during this period, while that of Europe and Asia grew dramatically. According to Rodney all other areas of the economy were disrupted by the slave trade as the top merchants abandoned traditional industries to pursue slaving and the lower levels of the population were disrupted by the slaving itself.

Others have challenged this view. J. D. Fage compared the number effect on the continent as a whole. David Eltis has compared the numbers to the rate of emigration from Europe during this period. In the nineteenth century alone over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas, a far higher rate than were ever taken from Africa. [David Eltis "Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic slave trade"]

Others have challenged this view. Joseph E. Inikori argues the history of the region shows that the effects were still quite deleterious. He argues that the African economic model of the period was very different from the European, and could not sustain such population losses. Population reductions in certain areas also led to widespread problems. Inikori also notes that after the suppression of the slave trade Africa's population almost immediately began to rapidly increase, even prior to the introduction of modern medicines. ["Ideology versus the Tyranny of Paradigm: Historians and the Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on African Societies," by Joseph E. Inikori "African Economic History." 1994.] Shahadah also states that the trade was not only of demographic significance, in aggregate population losses but also in the profound changes to settlement patterns, epidemiological exposure and reproductive and social development potential.

In addition, the majority of the slaves being taken to the Americas were male. So while the slave trade created an immediate drop in the population, its long term effects were less drastic.cite web|url=|publisher="Owen 'Alik Shahadah"|title="African Holocaust: Dark Voyage audio CD"}] .

Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique. Quote:"The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean" [ [ The impact of the slave trade on Africa] ]

Legacy of racism

Maulana Karenga states that the effects of slavery where "the morally monstrous destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only know us through this stereotyping and thus damaging the truly human relations among people of today." . He cites that it constituted the destruction of culture, language, religion and human possibility.cite web|url=|publisher="Ron Karenga"|title="Effects on Africa"|]


Beginning in the late 18th century, France was Europe's first country to abolish slavery, in 1794, but it was revived by Napoleon in 1802, and banned for good in 1848. In 1807 the British Parliament passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, under which captains of slave ships could be stiffly fined for each slave transported. [ [ The legal and diplomatic background to the seizure of foreign vessels] ] This was later superseded by the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act, which freed all slaves in the British Empire. Abolition was then extended to the rest of Europe. The 1820 U.S. Law on Slave Trade made slave trading piracy, punishableby death. [ [ 1820 U.S. Law on Slave Trade] ] In 1827, Britain declares the slave trade piracy, punishable by death. The power of the Royal Navy was subsequently used to suppress the slave trade, and while some illegal trade, mostly with Brazil, continued, the Atlantic slave trade would be eradicated by the middle of the 19th century. The West Africa Squadron was credited with capturing 1,600 slave ships between 1808 and 1860 and freeing 150,000 Africans who were aboard these ships. [ [ Sailing against slavery] ] Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade, for example against ‘the usurping King of Lagos’, deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers. [ [ The West African Squadron and slave trade] ]

The Islamic trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean trades continued, however, and even increased as new sources of slaves became available. In Caucasus, slavery was abolished after Russian conquest. The slave trade within Africa also increased. The British Navy could suppress much of the trade in the Indian Ocean, but the European powers could do little to affect the intra-continental trade. [ [ The Story of Africa|BBC World Service] ]

The continuing anti-slavery movement in Europe became an excuse and a casus belli for the European conquest and colonisation of much of the African continent. In the late 19th century, the Scramble for Africa saw the continent rapidly divided between Imperialistic Europeans, and an early but secondary focus of all colonial regimes was the suppression of slavery and the slave trade. In response to this public pressure, Ethiopia officially abolished slavery in 1932. By the end of the colonial period they were mostly successful in this aim, though slavery is still very active in Africa even though it has gradually moved to a wage economy. Independent nations attempting to westernise or impress Europe sometimes cultivated an image of slavery suppression, even as they, in the case of Egypt, hired European soldiers like Samuel White Baker's expedition up the Nile. Slavery has never been eradicated in Africa, and it commonly appears in African states, such as Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, and Sudan, in places where law and order have collapsed. [ [ Human Rights Watch Slavery and Slave Redemption in the Sudan] ] . "See also Slavery in modern Africa."

Although outlawed in nearly all countries today slavery is practiced "in secret" in many parts of the world. [ [ BBC Millions 'forced into slavery'] ] There are an estimated 27 million victims of slavery worldwide. [ [ UN Chronicle |Slavery in the Twenty-First Century] ] In Mauritania alone up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are enslaved, many of them used as bonded labour. [ [ The Abolition season on BBC World Service] ] [ [ Poverty, tradition shackle Mauritania's slaves] ] Slavery in Mauritania was finally criminalized in August 2007. [ [ Mauritanian MPs pass slavery law] ] It is estimated that as many as 200,000 black Sudanese children and women have been taken into slavery in Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War. [ [ War and Genocide in Sudan] ] [ [ The Lost Children of Sudan] ] In Niger, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study found that almost 8% of the population are still slaves. [ [ Born to be a slave in Niger] By Hilary Andersson, BBC Africa Correspondent, Niger] [ [ The Shackles of Slavery in Niger] ]

ee also

*Atlantic slave trade
*Arab slave trade
*Barbary pirates
*Islam and slavery
*Slavery in Mauritania
*Slavery in Sudan
*Unfree labor
*Tippu Tip
*Slavery in modern Africa
*History of slavery
*Slavery in ancient Rome
*History of slavery in the United States
*James Riley (Captain) white slaves in the Sahara
*Slave ship
*African Diaspora


Further reading

* Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery
*Fage, J.D. "A History of Africa" (Routledge, 4th edition, 2001 ISBN 0-415-25247-4)
*cite book
last = Faragher
first = John Mack
coauthors = Mari Jo Buhle, Daniel Czitrom, Susan H. Armitage
title = Out of Many
publisher = Pearson Prentice Hall
year = 2004
pages = p. 54
id = ISBN 0-13-182431-7

*Lovejoy, Paul E. "Transformations in Slavery" 1983
* The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Interpretation.(Review): An article from: Population and Development Review [HTML] (Digital) by Tukufu Zuberi
* Walter Rodney: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

External links

* [ Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History]
* [ Twentieth Century Solutions of the Abolition of Slavery]
* [ African Holocaust] African Slave trade and legacy
* [ Rice N Peas] - Interview with an Ex-Slave
* [ Scale of African slavery revealed]
* [ Nigeria's 'respectable' slave trade]
* [ Africa's trade in children]
* [ The story of Africa: Slavery]
* [ Scotland and the Abolition of the Slave Trade - schools resource]
* [ "The impact of the slave trade on Africa," Le Monde diplomatique]

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