African Slavery: When, Where, Why And How It All Started
Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa, and still continues today in some countries. In many African communities, where land could not be owned, enslavement of individuals was used as a means to increase the influence a.how
Although slavery has been practiced for almost the whole of recorded history, the vast numbers involved in the African slave trade has left a legacy which cannot be ignored. Whether slavery 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 slavery over the centuries, including chattel slavery under both the imperial Muslims with the trans-Saharan slave trade and imperial Christian Europeans through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Between and , close to 20 million individuals were taken from the African continent during four sizable and mostly simultaneous slave trading operations: Trans-Saharan, Red Sea Arab , Indian Ocean, and Trans-Atlantic. Many of the countries who actively enslaved Africans came from states with strong religious underpinnings such as Islam and Christianity. The Qur'an prescribes the following approach to slavery : free men could not be enslaved, and those faithful to foreign religions could live as protected persons.
Although there is a lot of discussion on whether slavery existed within sub-Saharan Africa, what is certain is that Africans were subjected to slavery for centuries. 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 Central, East, and West Africa. Slavery, which existed in Africa before colonial, is not the same as the slavery that was later introduced by British and Arabs. British and Muslims introduced chattel slavery; a slavery where a slave is seen as a piece of property that does not have any right. In Africa, slaves were enslaved to pay for a crime or settle some debt.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries people were kidnapped from the continent of Africa, forced into slavery in the American colonies and exploited to work as indentured servants and labor in the production of crops such as tobacco and cotton. Throughout the 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants, who were mostly poor Europeans. Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million black slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone, depriving the African continent of some of its healthiest and ablest men and women. In the 17th and 18th centuries, black slaves worked mainly on the tobacco, rice and indigo plantations of the southern coast, from the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Maryland and Virginia south to Georgia. But after the Revolutionary War , the new U.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Slavery has long existed in human societies, but the transatlantic slave trade is unique in terms of the destructive impact it had on Africa. How did it shape the fortunes of an entire continent? From the middle of the 15th century, Africa entered into a unique relationship with Europe that led to the devastation and depopulation of Africa, but contributed to the wealth and development of Europe. From then until the end of the 19th century, Europeans began to establish a trade for African captives. At first this trafficking only supplemented a trade in human beings that already existed within Europe, in which Europeans had enslaved each other.
The story of these captive Africans has set the stage for countless scholars and teachers interested in telling the story of slavery in English North America. Unfortunately, is not the best place to begin a meaningful inquiry into the history of African peoples in America. Certainly, there is a story to be told that begins in , but it is neither well-suited to help us understand slavery as an institution nor to help us better grasp the complicated place of African peoples in the early modern Atlantic world. For too long, the focus on has led the general public and scholars alike to ignore more important issues and, worse, to silently accept unquestioned assumptions that continue to impact us in remarkably consequential ways. As a historical signifier, may be more insidious than instructive. The overstated significance of óstill a common fixture in American history curriculumóbegins with the questions most of us reflexively ask when we consider the first documented arrival of a handful of people from Africa in a place that would one day become the United States of America.
Slavery in Africa
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., The history of slavery spans many cultures , nationalities , and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic , and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.