African Slave Trade Essay


Resistance and ComplicityIt is impossible to understand or write about Africa's history without considering its relationship with continents like Europe and America. It is imperative that a discussion of the subject concentrate on Africans' pivotal shaping of world history (Lindsay, 2007). Europeans (i.e., Englishmen, Dutchmen, the Portuguese, and the French) contributed only superficially to shaping Africa's history during the Atlantic era's first two centuries, engaging in merchandizing and goods transportation between sea coasts. Only after 1640 did the Europeans, in what is known as the 2nd Atlantic Era (1640-1800s), begin demanding slaves and raw materials, commencing their cruel influence on the economic freedom of the continent. They effectively influenced or overpowered particular communities on the continent through several layers of partnerships strategically created with natives, rather than through military strength. African currency's gradual devaluation attained by introducing European currency in the form of copper coins, Gatling guns and repeating rifles paved the path for Europeans' subsequent domination over Africa (Ehret, 2002).

Europeans' transatlantic slave business was the very first time in human history that people were actually utilized as ships' 'cargo'; it bore the comparison of various worldwide commercial networks. Unlike other goods that guide cross-cultural communication and trade, slaves were actual humans, implying they were vulnerable to distress and agony, and could put up resistance (Lindsay, 2007).

Nature of African Involvement

Researchers have addressed three key themes in their works on the topic, namely (Lindsay, 2007):

1. The slave trade's African context,

2. Its history, and

3. The resultant change in the meaning of racism and race.

African nations didn't exactly separate politics from religion, and kings' conversion had mixed motives: sincerity and efficiency were compatible, in both age-old African religions and the Iberian Catholic Church. In the area of sex and business, African kings contributed significantly to forming and strengthening relationships with European colonialists, and were usually led to believe they were enjoying the better part of the bargain. Northrup has concentrated on particular areas like textiles, metals, guns, politics, inland trade, spirits and tobacco in Sierra Leone; slavery only served to form new African identities. (Northrup, 2002). Meanwhile, Ehret, who looks at African civilizations...


What is usually overlooked in European colonialism discussions is the fact that Portugal's rulers significantly endeavored to honor as well as sustain their positive relationship with Africa (Northrup, 2002).
Western African nation, Benin, was one of the foremost nations to provide support to the barbaric slave trade, cruelly and enthusiastically bartering its very own low-class citizens for new materials and goods. The Portuguese could easily purchase Benin's poor as slaves every now and again. However, state policy continually resisted allowing human trade to dictate its relationship with other parties (Ehret, 2002).

The Kingdom of Kongo and surrounding regions showed interest in engaging in trade with Portuguese merchants in the second half of the fifteenth century. Religion was their key cause for interest. The decentralized kingdom's rulers had no sound ideological foundation and Catholicism's focus on saints seemed to provide them with a novel class of spirit, having the capacity to be appropriated as the ruling class's religious sphere. The religious link became even more tempting for Kongo's kings as Iberian Christianity legitimized the sort of monarchy they aimed for -- centralized monarchy over subordinated hierarchical aristocracy (Ehret, 2002).

Political Effects

Between the 1570s and 1620s, Luanda-based Portuguese slowly and randomly extended power over the kingdoms of Matamba and Ndongo. Initially their relation with these kingdoms was largely combative; however, slowly, they were able to gain purchase in the coastal area and develop political influence, especially at Ndongon king, Ngola's court. Beginning around 1611, the Portuguese started increasingly adopting a fresh tactic, of allying with Kasanje, an Imbangala kingdom situated upcountry along upper Kwango, to Ndongon and Matamban kingdoms' east. Kasanje, owing to its organization around battle chases to a level no earlier African kingdom reached, was a steady source of required slaves. The kingdom of Ndongo fell…

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