A Short History of the African Slave Trade
Aug 27, · Muslims subjected Africans to chattel slavery through the trans-Saharan slave trade and later on, the same Africans were enslaved by Europeans through trans-Atlantic slave trade in . As a matter of fact, Europeans were the first people in the world practicing a form of slavery known as serfdom (a medieval type of slavery) as far back as AD, even before they made contact with Africa, even before they made contact with the Americas. During the era of serfdom, the Roman empire kept prisoners of war cum slaves!.
When we think of slavery, most of us think of the racially based slavery that existed in the United States and ultimately sparked a civil war. Very few Americans know that slavery was common throughout the world as well as in Africa, says Sandra E. Greene, History. While 11 to 12 million people are estimated to have been exported as slaves statted West Africa during the years of the slave trade, millions more were retained in Africa. Greene has written a series of books, examining the nature of slavery in West Africa—how it operated and wha forms it took.
Her latest book, Slave Owners of West Africa: Etarted in the Age of Abolition Indiana Wat Press,looks at three slave owners and their responses to the abolition of slavery in the late eighteen hundreds. I wanted to look at their reasons for what they did and the long-term consequences of their decisions. One of the three slave owners Green studied vigorously resisted abolition. On the other hand, another slave owner saw a better way to what started slavery in africa the prestige and power he enjoyed as a slave owner with many people under his rule.
He chose to incorporate his slaves into his family. His family became extremely prosperous. He how to build a good compost bin them opportunities so that they decided to stay startee him of their own free will. To this day, that family is very prominent, highly educated, and cohesive. The third slave owner, also starred prominent man in the community, had suffered setbacks and lost faith in the traditional African religious how to get a silver surfboard on club penguin. The slavry of these three slave owners and their slaves show the importance of origin in West Africa.
In some families slave origins still matter, even startes. Greene mentions a recent court case in Ghana that highlights the legacy of slavery in that country. Slwvery prominent chieftaincy was disputed within a very large family. Two branches of the family offered up possible candidates for the position. Then the branch descended from freeborn ancestors asserted that the other branch—descended from slaves—did not have the right to such an important position.
The issue went all the way to the Ghana Supreme Court. In essence, the court denied the right of the slave descendants to hold a position of power. In her previous book, West African Narratives of Slavery: Texts from Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Ghana Indiana University,Greene wanted to come as close what is non recoverable depreciation possible to understanding the personal experiences of enslaved individuals.
To do that, she explored the personal histories of men and women who were enslaved, as well as stories told by communities who saw their friends and relatives taken as slaves. In starged of these narratives, a former slave who was captured in a conflict spoke about his masters what is the square root of nine a positive manner, emphasizing their love for him. He filtered everything through that earlier abandonment and betrayal.
In another narrative, a woman was kidnapped and enslaved just five miles from her hometown, but she was cut off from everyone she had known. She became the slave wife of a man who already had two free wives. Eventually her master-husband converted to Christianity and proposed to keep only one wife and divorce the other two. Slaver wife he kept would have to convert to Christianity. She had nowhere to go. These are people with feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams, who startwd joys as much as they also experience tragedy and disappointment.
They are not just statistics. Skip to main content. Show All Stories. Jesse Winter. The Curious History of Slavery in Africa Sandra Greene writes about the history of slavery in West Africa, where warring political communities in previous centuries enslaved their enemies. Sandra Greene.
Aug 19, · Sometime in , a Portuguese slave ship, the Sao Joao Bautista, traveled across the Atlantic Ocean with a hull filled with human cargo: captive . Sep 23, · Slave Cabin. Pixabay by JamesDeMers. Slavery looked different in Africa before the arrival of White Europeans, and we have historical records to prove it. As author Adaboi Tricia Nwaubani recalled in an article about her great-grandfather, an African slave trader: “Long before Europeans arrived, Igbos enslaved other Igbos as punishment for crimes, for the payment of debts, and as . May 05, · Slavery still widespread in Africa. Clark U It may be more than two centuries since the TransAtlantic Slave Trade ended, but slavery is still very much .
Although enslavement has been practiced for almost the whole of recorded history, the vast numbers involved in the trade of enslaved Africans or the African slave trade have left a legacy that cannot be ignored. Whether enslavement existed within sub-Saharan African Iron Age kingdoms before the arrival of Europeans is hotly contested among African studies scholars.
What is certain is that Africans were subjected to several forms of enslavement over the centuries, including a "traditional" form that considered enslaved people to be the property of their enslavers. Both imperial Muslims within the trans-Saharan trade of enslaved people and imperial Christian Europeans through the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved people were enslavers. Between and , close to 20 million individuals were captured from Africa during four sizable and mostly simultaneous operations orchestrated to trade enslaved people: Trans-Saharan, Red Sea Arab , Indian Ocean, and Trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved people.
Many of the countries that actively enslaved Africans came from states with strong religious underpinnings such as Islam and Christianity. The Qur'an prescribes the following approach to enslavement : free men could not be enslaved, and those faithful to foreign religions could live as protected persons. However, the spread of the Islamic Empire through Africa resulted in a much harsher interpretation of the law, and people from outside the borders of the Islamic Empire were ultimately susceptible to enslavement.
Before the Civil War, Christianity was used to justify the institution of slavery in the American south, with most clergy in the south believing and preaching that enslavement was a progressive system designed by God to affect the Christianization of Africans.
The use of religious justifications for enslavement is not confined to Africa by any means. Africa wasn't the only continent from which people were captured and enslaved, but its countries suffered the most devastation. In many cases, enslavement appears to have been a direct outgrowth of expansionism. The great maritime explorations driven by companies such as the Dutch East India Company VOC were financed for the specific purpose of adding land to European empires.
That land required a labor force far beyond the men sent on exploratory ships. People were enslaved by empires to act as servants; to carry out agricultural, mining, and infrastructure labor; to be regularly exploited for sex and submitted to sexual violence; and to assume the role of soldiers, largely regarded as expendable, for various armies. When the Portuguese first sailed down the Atlantic African coast in the s, they were interested in one thing: gold.
However, by they had already traded 81, enslaved Africans to Europe, nearby Atlantic islands, and to Muslim merchants in Africa. This is, however, only part of the story. For two hundred years, —, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of enslaved Africans. During the eighteenth century, however, when trade accounted for the transport of a staggering 6 million enslaved Africans, Britain was the worst transgressor—responsible for almost 2.
This is a fact that is often forgotten by those who regularly cite Britain's prime role in the abolition of the trade of enslaved people. Information on how many enslaved people were shipped from Africa across the Atlantic to the Americas during the sixteenth century can only be estimated as very few records exist for this period. But from the seventeenth century onwards, increasingly accurate records, such as ship manifests, are available.
Enslaved Africans for the Trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved people were initially captured from Senegambia and the Windward Coast. Around , the trade moved to west-central Africa the Kingdom of the Kongo and neighboring Angola. It is a popular misconception that enslavement in South Africa was mild compared to that in America and the European colonies in the Far East.
This is not so, and punishments meted out could be very harsh. From to an average of one enslaved person was executed in Cape Town each month and the decaying corpses would be re-hung around town to act as a deterrent to other enslaved people.
As recently as the s, about half of the two million enslaved Africans who supported the various powers in World War I was forcibly coerced to do so. Historian Nathan Nunn has conducted extensive research on the economic impacts of the massive loss of population during the trade of enslaved people. Prior to , there were several Iron Age kingdoms in Africa that were established and growing.
As the trade of enslaved people ramped up, people in those communities needed to protect themselves and began procuring weapons iron knives, swords, and firearms from Europeans by trading enslaved people. People were kidnapped first from other villages and then from their own communities. In many regions, the internal conflict caused by that led to the disintegration of kingdoms and their replacement by warlords who could not or would not establish stable states. The impacts continue to this day, and despite great indigenous strides in resistance and economic innovation, Nunn believes the scars still hinder the economic growth of countries who lost large numbers of populations to enslavement and trade compared to those that did not.
Share Flipboard Email. Alistair Boddy-Evans. History Expert. Alistair Boddy-Evans is a teacher and African history scholar with more than 25 years of experience. Cite this Article Format.
Boddy-Evans, Alistair. Timeline of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Types of Enslavement in Africa and the World Today. The Role of Islam in Slavery in Africa.
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