African slave trade
Overview
This article discusses systems, history, and effects of slavery within Africa. See Maafa
Maafa
The Maafa refers to the 500 years of suffering of Africans and the African diaspora, through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, invasion, oppression, dehumanization and exploitation...

, Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

, Arab slave trade
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...

, and Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in Africa continues today. Slavery existed in Africa before the arrival of the Atlantic slave trade, as did an internal African slave trade and an Arab slave trade...

 for other discussions.


Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, as they were in much of the ancient world
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
This article discusses systems, history, and effects of slavery within Africa. See Maafa
Maafa
The Maafa refers to the 500 years of suffering of Africans and the African diaspora, through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, invasion, oppression, dehumanization and exploitation...

, Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

, Arab slave trade
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...

, and Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in Africa continues today. Slavery existed in Africa before the arrival of the Atlantic slave trade, as did an internal African slave trade and an Arab slave trade...

 for other discussions.


Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, as they were in much of the ancient world
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse. When the Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

 began, many local slave systems changed and began supplying captives for slave markets outside of Africa.

Slavery within Africa

In certain African societies, there was very little difference between the free peasants and the feudal vassal peasants. Enslaved people of the Songhai Empire
Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was a state located in western Africa. From the early 15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. This empire bore the same name as its leading ethnic group, the Songhai. Its capital was the city...

 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
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

, as their bondage
Unfree labour
Unfree labour includes all forms of slavery as well as all other related institutions .-Payment for unfree labour:If payment occurs, it may be in one or more of the following forms:...

 was relative.

Several nations such as the Ashanti of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 and the Yoruba
Yoruba people
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language...

 of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 were involved in slave-trading. Groups such as the Imbangala
Imbangala
The Imbangala or Mbangala were 17th century groups of Angolan warriors and marauders who founded the kingdom of Kasanje.-Origins of the Imbangala:...

 of Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and the Nyamwezi
Nyamwezi
The Nyamwezi, or Wanyamwezi, are the second-largest of over 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania. They live in the northwest central area of the country, between Lake Victoria and Lake Rukwa...

 of Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 would serve as intermediaries or roving bands, waging war on African states to capture people for export as slaves. European and Arab slave-trading agents also supported rulers agreeable to their interests. They would actively favor one group against another to deliberately ignite chaos and continue their slaving activities.

Slavery in African cultures was generally more like indentured servitude. Slaves were not meant 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
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

. Some, such as Jaja of Opobo
Jaja of Opobo
Jaja of Opobo was a merchant prince and the founder of Opobo city-state in an area that is now part of Nigeria. Born in Umuduruoha, Amaigbo in Igboland and sold at about age twelve as a slave in Bonny...

 and Sunni Ali Ber even rose to the status of kings. These differences between slavery and traditional indentured servitude were used by Western slave owners during the time of abolition in an attempt to thwart their slaves efforts to free themselves, for example by John Wedderburn in Wedderburn v. Knight, the case that ended legal recognition of slavery in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 in 1776. Regardless of the legal options open to slave owners, rational cost-earning calculations and voluntary adoption of moral restraints often mitigated the more vicious uses of slaves throughout history. Unfortunately this rarely extended to the slave traders and transporters, who preferred to weed out the "worthless, weak "individuals.

Slavery in West Africa

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
Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, and Western Mali. Complex societies had existed in the region since about 1500 BCE, and around Ghana's core region since about 300 CE...

 (750–1076), Mali
Mali Empire
The Mali Empire or Mandingo Empire or Manden Kurufa was a West African empire of the Mandinka from c. 1230 to c. 1600. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I...

 (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai
Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was a state located in western Africa. From the early 15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. This empire bore the same name as its leading ethnic group, the Songhai. Its capital was the city...

 (1275–1591), about a third of the population were enslaved. In Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

 in the 19th century about half of the population consisted of enslaved people. In the 19th century at least half the population was enslaved among the Duala
Duala people
The Duala are an ethnic group of Cameroon. They primarily inhabit the littoral region to the coast and form a portion of the Sawa, or Cameroonian coastal peoples...

 of the Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 and other peoples of the lower Niger
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

, the Kongo
Kingdom of Kongo
The Kingdom of Kongo was an African kingdom located in west central Africa in what are now northern Angola, Cabinda, the Republic of the Congo, and the western portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe
Chokwe
The Chokwe also pronounced Tchokwe are an ethnic group of Central Africa whose ancestry can perhaps be traced to Mbundu and Mbuti Pygmies. Large groups of Chokwe currently reside in Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their language is usually referred to as Chokwe, a Bantu...

 of Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

. Among the Ashanti and Yoruba
Yoruba people
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language...

 a third of the population consisted of enslaved people. The population of the Kanem
Kanem Empire
The Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad, Nigeria and Libya. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya , eastern Niger and north-eastern Nigeria...

 (1600–1800) was about a third-enslaved. It was perhaps 40% in Bornu
Bornu Empire
The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...

 (1580–1890). Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of enslaved people. The population of the Sokoto
Sokoto
Sokoto is a city located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River. As of 2006 it has a population of 427,760...

 caliphate formed by Hausas
Hausa people
The Hausa are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are a Sahelian people chiefly located in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, but having significant numbers living in regions of Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Chad and Sudan...

 in the northern Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and Cameroon was half-enslaved in the 19th century.

When British rule was first imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate and the surrounding areas in northern Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Northern Nigeria is a geographical region of Nigeria. It is more arid and less densely populated than the south. The people are largely Muslim, and many are Hausa...

 at the turn of the 20th century, approximately 2 million to 2.5 million people there were enslaved. Slavery in northern Nigeria was finally outlawed in 1936.

Slavery in Ethiopia and Eritrea

Slavery as practiced in what is modern Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 was essentially domestic. Slaves thus served in the houses of their masters or mistresses, and were not employed to any significant extent for productive purpose. Slaves were thus regarded as second-class members of their owners' family, and were fed, clothed and protected. They generally roamed around freely and conducted business as free people. They had complete freedom of religion and culture. The first attempt to abolish slavery in Ethiopia was made by Emperor Tewodros II
Tewodros II of Ethiopia
Tewodros II was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1855 until his death....

 (r. 1855–1868), although the slave trade was not abolished completely until 1923 with Ethiopia's ascension to the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. Anti-Slavery Society estimated there were 2 million slaves in the early 1930s out of an estimated population of between 8 and 16 million. Slavery continued in Ethiopia until the Italian invasion in October 1935, when the institution was abolished by order of the Italian occupying forces. In response to pressure by Western Allies of World War II
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

, Ethiopia officially abolished slavery and involuntary servitude after having regained its independence in 1942. On August 26, 1942, Haile Selassie issued a proclamation outlawing slavery.

Slavery in Somalia

The Bantu (also called Wagosha) are an ethnic minority group in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. They are the descendants of people from various Bantu ethnic groups originating in what are modern-day Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

 and Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 who were sold into slavery as part of the recent Arab slave trade
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...

. The number of Bantu inhabitants in Somalia before the civil war
Somali Civil War
The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. The conflict, which began in 1991, has caused destabilisation throughout the country, with the current phase of the conflict seeing the Somali government losing substantial control of the state to rebel forces...

 is thought to have been about 80,000 (1970 estimate), with most concentrated between the Juba
Jubba River
The Jubba River is a river in southern Somalia. It begins at the border with Ethiopia, where the Dawa and Ganale Dorya rivers meet, and flows directly south to the Indian Ocean, where it empties at the Goobweyn juncture.-History:...

 and Shabelle
Shebelle River
The Shebelle River begins in the highlands of Ethiopia, and then flows southeast into Somalia towards Mogadishu. Near Mogadishu, it turns sharply southwest, where it follows the coast. Below Mogadishu, the river becomes seasonal...

 rivers in the south. However, recent estimates place the figure as high as 900,000 persons. Contrary to the Somali
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

s, who are for the most part nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic 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. During the recent civil war
Somali Civil War
The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. The conflict, which began in 1991, has caused destabilisation throughout the country, with the current phase of the conflict seeing the Somali government losing substantial control of the state to rebel forces...

 in Somalia, many Bantu were evicted from their farms by various armed factions of Somali clans.

Bantu adult and children slaves (referred to collectively as jareer by their Somali masters) were purchased in the slave market exclusively to do undesirable work on plantation grounds. They toiled under the control of and separately from their Somali patrons. In terms of legal considerations, Bantu slaves were also devalued. Additionally, Somali social mores strongly discouraged, censured and looked down upon any kind of sexual contact with Bantu slaves. Freedom for these plantation slaves was also often acquired through escape.

In addition to Bantu plantation slaves, Somalis sometimes enslaved peoples of Oromo
Oromo people
The Oromo are an ethnic group found in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, .and parts of Somalia. With 30 million members, they constitute the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and approximately 34.49% of the population according to the 2007 census...

 pastoral background that were captured during wars and raids on Oromo settlements. However, there were marked differences in terms of the perception, capture and treatment of the Oromo pastoral slaves versus the Bantu plantation slaves. On an individual basis, Oromo subjects were not viewed as racially jareer by their Somali captors. The Oromo captives also mostly consisted of young children and women, both of whom were taken into the families of their abductors; men were usually killed during the raids. Oromo boys and girls were adopted by their Somali patrons as their own children. Prized for their beauty and viewed as legitimate sexual partners, many Oromo women became either wives or concubines of their Somali captors, while others became domestic servants. In some cases, entire Oromo clans were also assimilated on a client basis into the Somali clan system. Neither captured Oromo children nor women were ever required to do plantation work, and they typically worked side-by-side with the Somali pastoralists. After an Oromo concubine gave birth to her Somali patron's child, she and the child were emancipated and the Oromo concubine acquired equal status to her abductor's other Somali wives. According to the Somali Studies
Somali Studies
Somali Studies is the scholarly term for research concerning Somalis and Somalia. It consists of several disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, historiography and archaeology...

 pioneer Enrico Cerulli
Enrico Cerulli
Enrico Cerulli was an Italian scholar of Somali and Ethiopian studies, a governor and a diplomat.-Biography:...

, in terms of diya
Diya
Diya may refer to:*Oladipo Diya, a Nigerian general*Diya , a ghee-based candle*Diyya, an Islamic term for monetary compensation for unintentional murder*Dia Mirza, a South Indian actress...

 (blood money) payments in the Somali customary law (Xeer
Xeer
Xeer, pronounced , is the polycentric legal system of Somalia. Under this system, elders serve as judges and help mediate cases using precedents. It is a good example of how customary law works within a stateless society and is a fair approximation of what is thought of as natural law...

), the life of an Oromo slave was also equal in value to that of an ordinary ethnic Somali. Freedom for Oromo slaves was obtained through manumission
Manumission
Manumission is the act of a slave owner freeing his or her slaves. In the United States before the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished most slavery, this often happened upon the death of the owner, under conditions in his will.-Motivations:The...

 and was typically accompanied by presents such as a spouse and livestock. During abolition, former Oromo slaves, who generally maintained intimate relations with the Somali pastoralists, were also spared the harsh treatment reserved for the Bantu plantation slaves.

Slavery in North Africa

Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique is a monthly newspaper offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first created mainly for a diplomatic audience as its name implies...

. Quote:"The Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

, 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
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, another four million through the Swahili
Swahili people
The Swahili people are a Bantu ethnic group and culture found in East Africa, mainly in the coastal regions and the islands of Kenya, Tanzania and north Mozambique. According to JoshuaProject, the Swahili number in at around 1,328,000. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil,...

 ports of the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan
Trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade requires travel across the Sahara to reach sub-Saharan Africa. While existing from prehistoric times, the peak of trade extended from the 8th century until the late 16th century.- Increasing desertification and economic incentive :...

 caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

"

Medieval
Middle age
Middle age is the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings....

 slave trade in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 was mainly to the East and South: Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the Muslim World
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 were the destinations, Central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 an important source. Slavery in medieval Europe
Slavery in medieval Europe
Slavery in early medieval Europe was relatively common. It was widespread at the end of antiquity. The etymology of the word slave comes from this period, the word sklabos meaning Slav. Slavery declined in the Middle Ages in most parts of Europe as serfdom slowly rose, but it never completely...

 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
Council of London (1102)
The Council of London in 1102 was a Roman Catholic church council of the church in England convened by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to debate and pass decrees to reform the clergy. The council made several decisions, including confirming homosexuality as a sin in the English and wider church,...

 in 1102, and the Council of Armagh in 1171. Because of religious constraints, the slave trade was monopolised in parts of Europe by Iberian Jews (known as Radhanites) who were able to transfer the slaves from pagan Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 through Christian Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 to Muslim countries in Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. So many Slavs were enslaved for so many centuries that word 'Slav' became synonymous with slavery. The derivation of the word slave encapsulates a bit of European history and explains why the two words (slaves and Slavs) are so similar; they are, in fact, historically identical.

Mamluks were slave soldiers
Ghilman
Ghilman Ghilman Ghilman (singular ghulam describes either young servants in paradise or slave-soldiers in the Ottoman, Mughal and Persian Empires.-Islamic Theology:...

 who converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and served the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

s and the Ayyubid sultans during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The first mamluks served the Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 caliphs in 9th century Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. Over time they became a powerful military caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

, and on more than one occasion they seized power for themselves, for example, ruling Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 from 1250–1517. From 1250 Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 had been ruled by the Bahri dynasty
Bahri dynasty
The Bahri dynasty or Bahriyya Mamluks was a Mamluk dynasty of mostly Kipchak Turkic origin that ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1382 when they were succeeded by the Burji dynasty, another group of Mamluks...

 of Kipchak Turk origin. White
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 enslaved people from the Caucasus served in the army and formed an elite corp of troops eventually revolting in Egypt to form the Burgi dynasty.

According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves to North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 between the 16th and 19th centuries. The coastal villages and towns of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 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
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Barbarossa ("Redbeard"), and his older brother Oruç
Aruj
Aruj or Arouj was the elder brother of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha and Ottoman Bey of Algiers and Beylerbey of the West Mediterranean...

, Turgut Reis
Turgut Reis
Turgut Reis was an Ottoman Admiral and privateer who also served as Bey of Algiers; Beylerbey of the Mediterranean; and first Bey, later Pasha, of Tripoli. Under his naval command the Ottoman Empire maritime was extended across North Africa...

 (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu
Kurtoglu Muslihiddin Reis
Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis was a privateer and admiral of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the Sanjak Bey of Rhodes. He played an important role in the Ottoman conquests of Egypt and Rhodes during which he commanded the Ottoman naval forces...

 (known as Curtogoli
Kurtoglu Muslihiddin Reis
Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis was a privateer and admiral of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the Sanjak Bey of Rhodes. He played an important role in the Ottoman conquests of Egypt and Rhodes during which he commanded the Ottoman naval forces...

 in the West), Kemal Reis
Kemal Reis
Kemal Reis was a Turkish privateer and admiral of the Ottoman Empire. He was also the paternal uncle of the famous Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis who accompanied him in most of his important naval expeditions....

, Salih Reis
Salih Reis
Salih Reis was a Turkish privateer and Ottoman admiral. He is alternatively referred to as Salah Rais, Sala Reis, Salih Rais, Salek Rais and Cale Arraez in several European resources, particularly in Spain, France and Italy.In 1529, together with Aydın Reis, he took part in the Turkish-Spanish...

 and Koca Murat Reis.

In 1544, Hayreddin Barbarossa captured the Ischia
Ischia
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has...

, taking 4,000 prisoners in the process, and deported to slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari
Lipari
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, and the name of the island's main town. It has a permanent population of 11,231; during the May–September tourist season, its population may reach up to 20,000....

, almost the entire population. In 1551, Dragut enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo
Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. When pirates sacked Vieste
Vieste
Vieste is a town and comune in the province of Foggia, in the Apulia region of southeast Italy.thumb|Cathedral of ViesteA marine resort in Gargano, Vieste has received Blue Flags for the purity of its waters from the Foundation for Environmental Education...

 in southern Italy in 1554 they took an estimated 7,000 slaves. In 1555, Turgut Reis sailed to Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and ransacked Bastia
Bastia
Bastia is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the northeast of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It is also the second-largest city in Corsica after Ajaccio and the capital of the department....

, taking 6000 prisoners. In 1558 Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella
Ciutadella
Ciutadella de Menorca or simply Ciutadella is a town and a municipality in the western end of Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands . The name means "citadel". It is one of the two main cities in the island, along with Maó.-History:...

, destroyed it, slaughtered
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 the inhabitants and carried off 3,000 survivors to Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 as slaves. In 1563 Turgut Reis landed at the shores of the province of Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, Spain, and captured the coastal settlements in the area like Almuñécar
Almuñécar
Almuñécar is a municipality in the Spanish Autonomous Region of Andalusia on the Costa Tropical between Nerja and Motril . It has a subtropical climate...

, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates frequently attacked the Balearic islands
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

, resulting in many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches being erected. The threat was so severe that Formentera
Formentera
Formentera is the smaller and more southerly island of the Pine Islands group , which belongs to the Balearic Islands autonomous community .-Geography:...

 became uninhabited.

Sahrawi-Moorish society in Northwest Africa was traditionally (and still is, to some extent) stratified into several tribal castes, with the Hassane
Hassane
The Hassane is a name for the traditionally dominant warrior tribes of the Saharan-Moorish areas of present-day Mauritania, southern Morocco and Western Sahara...

 warrior tribes ruling and extracting tribute – horma
Horma
The horma was a tribute paid by subservient tribes to their protectors in traditional Sahrawi-Moorish society in today's Mauritania and Western Sahara in North Africa. The powerful Hassane warrior tribes would extract it from low-caste Znaga tribes, where each member was forced to personally pay an...

 – from the subservient Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

-descended znaga
Znaga
The Znaga or Zenaga tribes were at the bottom of Sahrawi-Moorish society in today's Mauritania and Western Sahara in North Africa. They performed demeaning duties for their Hassane and Zawiya overlords, and were additionally exploited through payment of the horma tax in exchange for protection,...

 tribes. The so-called Haratin
Haratin
Haratin are oasis-dwellers in the Sahara, especially in southern Morocco and Mauritania, who make up a socially and ethnically distinct group of largely sedentary dark colored workers speaking either Berber or Arabic...

 lower class, largely sedentary oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

-dwelling people of Africa.

Trans-Saharan trade

Main article Arab slave trade
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...



The very earliest external slave
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 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 camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s were introduced from Arabia in the 10th century. By this point, a trans-Saharan trading
Trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade requires travel across the Sahara to reach sub-Saharan Africa. While existing from prehistoric times, the peak of trade extended from the 8th century until the late 16th century.- Increasing desertification and economic incentive :...

 network came into being to transport slaves north. Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

 was once East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

's main slave-trading port, and under Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

i Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year. Most historians estimate that between 11 and 18 million African slaves crossed the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, and Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 Desert from 650 AD to 1900 AD, Frequent intermarriages meant that the enslaved people were assimilated
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 in North Africa. Unlike in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, enslaved people in North Africa were mainly servants and soldiers rather than labour
Manual labour
Manual labour , manual or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals...

ers, and a greater number of females than males were taken, who were often employed as servants, forced into prostitution or to become the women of harem
Harem
Harem refers to the sphere of women in what is usually a polygynous household and their enclosed quarters which are forbidden to men...

s. It was also not uncommon to turn enslaved males, both African and European, into eunuchs via castration to serve as guardians to the harems.

Indian Ocean trade

The trade of slaves across the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 also has a long history beginning with the control of sea routes by Afro-Arab
Afro-Arab
Afro-Arab refers to people of mixed Black African and genealogical Arab ancestral heritage and/or linguistically and culturally Arabized Black Africans...

 traders in the ninth century. It is estimated that only a few thousand enslaved people were taken each year from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean coast. They were sold throughout the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s in the region. Eventually, tens of thousands per year were being taken. In east Africa the main slave trade involved arabized east Africans

David Livingstone
David Livingstone
David Livingstone was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation, "Dr...

 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
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

. 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.

Atlantic Ocean trade

Main article Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...


The first Europeans to arrive on the coast of Guinea
Guinea (region)
Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches north through the forested tropical regions and ends at the Sahel.-History:...

 were the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

; the first European to actually buy enslaved Africans in the region of Guinea was Antão Gonçalves
Antão Gonçalves
Antão Gonçalves was a 15th century Portuguese explorer and slave trader who was the first European to buy Africans as slaves from black slave traders....

, a Portuguese explorer in 1441 CE/AD. Originally interested in trading mainly for gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, they set up colonies on the uninhabited islands of São Tomé
São Tomé
-Transport:São Tomé is served by São Tomé International Airport with regular flights to Europe and other African Countries.-Climate:São Tomé features a tropical wet and dry climate with a relatively lengthy wet season and a short dry season. The wet season runs from October through May while the...

. In the 16th century the Portuguese settlers found that these volcanic islands were ideal for growing sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

. 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 enslaved Africans. Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle
Elmina Castle was erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana . It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara...

 on the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

, 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
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

.
The Spanish
Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies
Slavery in the Spanish colonies began with the enslavement of the local indigenous peoples in their homelands by Spanish settlers. Enslavement and production quotas were used to force the local labor to bring a return on the expedition and colonization investments...

 were the first Europeans to use enslaved Africans in the New World on islands such as Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, 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 enslaved Africans arrived in Hispaniola in 1501 soon after the Papal Bull of 1493
Inter caetera
Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

 gave all of the New World to Spain.

In 1452, Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

 issued the papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas
Dum Diversas is a papal bull issued on June 18, 1452 by Pope Nicholas V, that is credited by some with "ushering in the West African slave trade." It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to indefinite slavery...

, granting Afonso V of Portugal
Afonso V of Portugal
Afonso V KG , called the African , was the twelfth King of Portugal and the Algarves. His sobriquet refers to his conquests in Northern Africa.-Early life:...

 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
Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex is a papal bull written January 8, 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered or conquered during the Age of Discovery. Along with encouraging the seizure of the...

 bull of 1455. These papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of slave trade and European colonialism. However Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV , born Gabriele Condulmer, was pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.-Biography:He was born in Venice to a rich merchant family, a Correr on his mother's side. Condulmer entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the monastery of St. George in his native city...

 in his bull, Sicut Dudum
Sicut Dudum
Sicut Dudum is a papal bull promulgated by Pope Eugene IV in Florence on January 13, 1435, which forbade the enslavement of local natives in the Canary Islands who had converted to Christianity.- Background :...

 of 1435 had condemned the enslavement of the black inhabitants of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

. Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

 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
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

--primarily for farming and mining
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

. Slave-based economies quickly spread to the Caribbean and the southern portion of what is today the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where Dutch traders brought the first enslaved Africans in 1619. These areas all developed an insatiable demand for slaves. As European nations grew more powerful, especially Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, 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
Royal African Company
The Royal African Company was a slaving company set up by the Stuart family and London merchants once the former retook the English throne in the English Restoration of 1660...

 monopoly over the African slave routes until 1712.

The Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

 peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa. These expeditions were typically carried out by African kingdoms against weaker African ethnic groups and peoples. These mass slavers included the Oyo empire
Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

 (Yoruba
Yoruba people
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language...

), Kong Empire
Kong Empire
The Kong Empire , also known as the Wattara Empire or Ouattara Empire for its founder, was a pre-colonial African Muslim state centered in north eastern Cote d'Ivoire that also encompassed much of present-day Burkina Faso.-Early Period:...

, Kingdom of Benin, Kingdom of Fouta Djallon
Kingdom of Fouta Djallon
The Kingdom of Fouta Djallon was a pre-colonial West African state based in the Fouta Djallon highlands of modern Guinea.-Origin:...

, Kingdom of Fouta Tooro
Kingdom of Fouta Tooro
The Kingdom of Fouta Tooro or the Kingdom of Fuua Tooro was a pre-colonial West African state of the Fula-speaking people centered around the middle valley of the Senegal River...

, Kingdom of Koya
Kingdom of Koya
The Kingdom of Koya or Koya Temne or Temne Kingdom was a pre-colonial African state in the north of present-day Sierra Leone...

, Kingdom of Khasso, Kingdom of Kaabu
Kaabu
The Kaabu Empire was a Mandinka Kingdom of Senegambia that rose to prominence in the region thanks to its origins as a former province of the Mali Empire...

, Fante Confederacy
Fante Confederacy
The Fante Confederacy can refer either to the loose alliance of the Fante states in existence at least since the sixteenth century, or it can refer to the briefly lived Confederation formed in 1868 and dissolved in 1874...

, Ashanti Confederacy, and the kingdom of Dahomey
Dahomey
Dahomey was a country in west Africa in what is now the Republic of Benin. The Kingdom of Dahomey was a powerful west African state that was founded in the seventeenth century and survived until 1894. From 1894 until 1960 Dahomey was a part of French West Africa. The independent Republic of Dahomey...

. Europeans rarely entered the interior of Africa, due to fear of disease and moreover fierce African resistance.

Before the arrival of the Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

, slavery had already existed in Kingdom of Kongo
Kingdom of Kongo
The Kingdom of Kongo was an African kingdom located in west central Africa in what are now northern Angola, Cabinda, the Republic of the Congo, and the western portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

. Despite its establishment within his kingdom, Afonso I of Kongo
Afonso I of Kongo
Mvemba a Nzinga or Nzinga Mbemba , also known as King Afonso I, was a ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo in the first half of the 16th century. He reigned over the Kongo Empire from 1509 to late 1542 or 1543.-Pre-reign career:...

 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.

The kings of Dahomey
Dahomey
Dahomey was a country in west Africa in what is now the Republic of Benin. The Kingdom of Dahomey was a powerful west African state that was founded in the seventeenth century and survived until 1894. From 1894 until 1960 Dahomey was a part of French West Africa. The independent Republic of Dahomey...

 sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery, who otherwise would have been killed in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs
The annual customs of Dahomey
Every year in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a huge festival in honor of the ancestors was organized called the annual "customs".In the customs, the king would assemble the entire court, foreign dignitaries, and the populace...

. As one of West Africa's principal slave states, Dahomey became extremely unpopular with neighbouring peoples. Like the Bambara Empire
Bambara Empire
The Bamana Empire was a large pre-colonial West African state based at Ségou, now in Mali. It was ruled by the Kulubali or Coulibaly dynasty established circa 1640 by Kaladian Coulibaly also known as Fa Sine or Biton-si-u...

 to the east, the Khasso
Khasso
Khasso or Xaaso was a West African kingdom of the 17th to 19th centuries, occupying territory in what is today Senegal and the Kayes Region of Mali. Its capital was at Medina until its fall....

 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 Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an settlements of the west coast, particularly the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Benin
Benin Empire
The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.-Origin:...

 grew increasingly rich during the 16th and 17th centuries on the slave trade with Europe; enslaved people from enemy states of the interior were sold, and carried to the Americas in Dutch and Portuguese ships. The Bight of Benin
Bight of Benin
The Bight of Benin is a bight on the western African coast that extends eastward for about 400 miles from Cape St. Paul to the Nun outlet of the Niger River. To the east it is continued by the Bight of Bonny . The bight is part of the Gulf of Guinea...

's shore soon came to be known as the "Slave Coast".

Several historians, such as João C. Curto, have made important contributions to the global understanding of the African side of the Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

. By arguing that African merchants determined the assemblage of trade goods accepted in exchange for slaves, many historians argue for African agency and ultimately a shared responsibility for the slave trade.

King Gezo of Dahomey
Dahomey
Dahomey was a country in west Africa in what is now the Republic of Benin. The Kingdom of Dahomey was a powerful west African state that was founded in the seventeenth century and survived until 1894. From 1894 until 1960 Dahomey was a part of French West Africa. The independent Republic of Dahomey...

 said in 1840s:
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 ...


In 1807, the UK Parliament passed the Bill that abolished the trading of slaves. The King of Bonny (now in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

) 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.


The enslaved people came from many different sources. About half came from the societies that sold them. These might be criminal
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

s, heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

s, the mentally ill
Mental illness
A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture. Such a disorder may consist of a combination of affective, behavioural,...

, the indebted
Debt
A debt is an obligation owed by one party to a second party, the creditor; usually this refers to assets granted by the creditor to the debtor, but the term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.A debt is created when a...

 and any others that had fallen out of favour with the rulers. Little is known about the details of these 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
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in the region nearly disappeared since prisoners became far too valuable to dispose of in such a way.

Another source of enslaved people, comprising about half the total, came from military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 conquests of other states
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 or tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s. 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
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

 was certainly common even before slave hunting had added such an extra inducement.

For the Atlantic slave trade, captives purchased from slave dealers in West African regions known as the Slave Coast
Slave Coast
The Slave Coast is the name of the coastal areas of present Togo, Benin and western Nigeria, a fertile region of coastal Western Africa along the Bight of Benin. In pre-colonial time it was one of the most densely populated parts of the African continent...

, Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

, and Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

 were sold into slavery as a result of a defeat in warfare. In the Bight of Biafra near modern-day Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 and Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

, 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" where many died from multiple illnesses and malnutrition. Conditions were even worse in the Middle Passage
Middle Passage
The Middle Passage was the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World, as part of the Atlantic slave trade...

 across the Atlantic where it has been estimated that 12% of the slaves died en route.

Effect on the economy of Africa

Most scholars find that the trade in slaves had a detrimental effect on long-term economic growth and development. It ultimately undermined local economies and political stability as villages' vital labor forces were shipped overseas as slave raids and civil wars became commonplace. With the rise of a large commercial slave trade, driven by European needs, enslaving your enemy became less a consequence of war, and more and more a reason to go to war. The slave trade impeded the formation of larger ethnic groups, causing ethnic fractionalisation and weakening the formation for stable political structures. It also reduced the mental health and social development of African people.

In contrast, J.D. Fage asserts that slavery did not have a wholly disastrous effect on those left behind in Africa. Slaves were an expensive commodity, and traders received a great deal in exchange for each enslaved person. 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. Most of this money was spent on British-made firearms (of very poor quality) and industrial-grade alcohol. Trade with Europe at the peak of the slave trade—which also included significant exports of gold and ivory
Ivory trade
The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, Asian and African elephants....

—was some 3.5 million pounds Sterling per year. By contrast, the trade of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, 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
Patrick Manning (Professor)
Patrick Manning is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also president of the World History Network, Inc., a nonprofit corporation fostering research in world history...

 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.

Effects on Europe's economy

Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

in his influential economic history of capitalism, Das Kapital
Das Kapital
Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

claimed that '...the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins [that is, the slave trade], signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.' He argued that the slave trade was part of what he termed the 'primitive accumulation' of European capital, the 'non-capitalist' accumulation of wealth that preceded and created the financial conditions for Britain's industrialisation.

Eric Williams
Eric Williams
Eric Eustace Williams served as the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. He served from 1956 until his death in 1981. He was also a noted Caribbean historian, and is widely regarded as "The Father of The Nation."...

had an attempt 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. Joseph Inikori has 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
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

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
Capital accumulation
The accumulation of capital refers to the gathering or amassing of objects of value; the increase in wealth through concentration; or the creation of wealth. Capital is money or a financial asset invested for the purpose of making more money...

 before the Industrial Revolution and Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

Demographics

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
Walter Rodney
Walter Rodney was a prominent Guyanese historian and political activist, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980.-Career:...

 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. 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
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 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.

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. 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 even more drastic.

Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique is a monthly newspaper offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first created mainly for a diplomatic audience as its name implies...

. Quote:"The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. " He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili
Swahili people
The Swahili people are a Bantu ethnic group and culture found in East Africa, mainly in the coastal regions and the islands of Kenya, Tanzania and north Mozambique. According to JoshuaProject, the Swahili number in at around 1,328,000. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil,...

 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"

Legacy of racism

Maulana Karenga states that the effects of the African slave trade were "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.

Abolition

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. 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
1820 U.S. Law on Slave Trade
An Act to protect the commerce of the United States and punish the crime of piracy is an 1819 United States federal statute against piracy, amended in 1820 to declare the slave trade and robbing a ship to be piracy as well...

 made slave trading piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

, punishable
by death
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

. In 1827, Britain declared the slave trade to be piracy, punishable by death. The power of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 was subsequently used to suppress the slave trade, and while some illegal trade, mostly with Brazil, continued, the Atlantic slave trade was eradicated in the year 1850 by senator Eusebio de Queiroz, Minister of Justice of the Empire of Brazil, the law was called Law Eusebio de Queiroz. After struggles that lasted for decades in the Empire of Brazil, slavery was abolished completely in 1888 by Princess Isabel of Brazil and Minister Rodrigo Silva (son-in-law of senator Eusebio de Queiroz). The West Africa Squadron
West Africa Squadron
The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807. The squadron's task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa...

 was credited with capturing 1,600 slave ships between 1808 and 1860 and freeing 150,000 Africans who were aboard these ships. 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
Oba of Lagos
The Oba of Lagos is the traditional, yet ceremonial, sovereign of Lagos, a historical Yorubano-Bini kingdom that went on to become one of the largest cities in Africa after first giving its name to Lagos State, the acknowledged financial heart of contemporary Nigeria...

’, deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers.

The Islamic trans-Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

n and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 trades continued, however, and even increased as new sources of enslaved people 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 land-based intra-continental trade.

The continuing anti-slavery movement
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 in Europe became an excuse and a casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

 for the European conquest and colonisation of much of the African continent. In the late 19th century, the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

 saw the continent rapidly divided between Imperialistic European powers, and an early but secondary focus of all colonial
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 regime
Regime
The word regime refers to a set of conditions, most often of a political nature.-Politics:...

s was the suppression of slavery and the slave trade. In response to this 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
Wage
A wage is a compensation, usually financial, received by workers in exchange for their labor.Compensation in terms of wages is given to workers and compensation in terms of salary is given to employees...

 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
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, and Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, in places where law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and order
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

 have collapsed. See also Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in modern Africa
Slavery in Africa continues today. Slavery existed in Africa before the arrival of the Atlantic slave trade, as did an internal African slave trade and an Arab slave trade...

.


Although outlawed in nearly all countries today, slavery is practiced in secret in many parts of the world. There are an estimated 27 million victims of slavery worldwide. In Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 alone, up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population, are enslaved, many of them used as bonded labour. Slavery in Mauritania
Slavery in Mauritania
Slavery in Mauritania is an entrenched phenomenon the national government has repeatedly tried to abolish, banning the practice in 1905, 1981, and August 2007...

 was finally criminalized in August 2007. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 Sudanese children and women have been taken into slavery in Sudan
Slavery in Sudan
Slavery in Sudan began in ancient times, and has continued to the present day. During the Arab slave trade, many Black-Sudanese were purchased as slaves and brought for work in the Middle East....

 during the Second Sudanese Civil War
Second Sudanese Civil War
The Second Sudanese Civil War started in 1983, although it was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile by the end of the 1980s....

. In Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study found that almost 8% of the population are still slaves. In many Western countries, slavery is still prevalent in the form of sex slavery.

See also

  • Cudjoe Lewis
    Cudjoe Lewis
    Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis is considered the last person born on African soil to have been enslaved in the United States when slavery was still lawful.-Life:...

     purported as last African born slave of this era to be enslaved in the United States.
  • Atlantic slave trade
    Atlantic slave trade
    The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

  • Arab slave trade
    Arab slave trade
    The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa...

  • Blockade of Africa
    Blockade of Africa
    The Blockade of Africa began in 1807 when Britain outlawed the Atlantic slave trade, making it illegal for British ships to transport slaves. The Royal Navy immediately established a presence off Africa in order to enforce the ban, called the West Africa Squadron...

  • Anti-Slavery operations of the United States Navy
  • Barbary pirates
  • Christianity and slavery
    Christianity and slavery
    Christian views on slavery are varied both regionally and historically. Slavery in different forms has been imposed by Christians for over 18 centuries. In the early years of Christianity, slavery was a normal feature of the economy and society in the Roman Empire, and this remained well into the...

  • Islam and slavery
    Islam and Slavery
    Islamic views on slavery first developed out of the slavery practices of pre-Islamic Arabia. During the wars between different states/tribes in various parts of the world, prisoners/captives were either killed or enslaved...

  • Slavery in Mauritania
    Slavery in Mauritania
    Slavery in Mauritania is an entrenched phenomenon the national government has repeatedly tried to abolish, banning the practice in 1905, 1981, and August 2007...

  • Slavery in Sudan
    Slavery in Sudan
    Slavery in Sudan began in ancient times, and has continued to the present day. During the Arab slave trade, many Black-Sudanese were purchased as slaves and brought for work in the Middle East....

  • Unfree labor
  • Maafa
    Maafa
    The Maafa refers to the 500 years of suffering of Africans and the African diaspora, through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, invasion, oppression, dehumanization and exploitation...

  • Tippu Tip
    Tippu Tip
    Tippu Tip or Tib , real name Hamad bin Muḥammad bin Jumah bin Rajab bin Muḥammad bin Sa‘īd al-Murghabī, , was a Swahili-Zanzibari trader. He was famously known as Tippu Tib after an eye disease which made him blind...

  • Abolitionism
    Abolitionism
    Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

  • History of slavery
    History of slavery
    The history of slavery covers slave systems in historical perspective in which one human being is legally the property of another, can be bought or sold, is not allowed to escape and must work for the owner without any choice involved...

  • Slavery in ancient Rome
    Slavery in ancient Rome
    The institution of slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the Roman economy. Besides manual labor on farms and in mines, slaves performed many domestic services and a variety of other tasks, such as accounting...

  • History of slavery in the United States
    History of slavery in the United States
    Slavery in the United States was a form of slave labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in...

  • James Riley (Captain)
    James Riley (Captain)
    James Riley was the Captain of the United States merchant ship Commerce.-Sufferings in Africa:Riley led his crew through the Sahara Desert after they were shipwrecked off the coast of Western Sahara in August 1815, and wrote a book on their ordeal detailing his memoirs...

     white slaves in the Sahara
  • American Slavery
  • Slave ship
    Slave ship
    Slave ships were large cargo ships specially converted for the purpose of transporting slaves, especially newly purchased African slaves to Americas....

  • African Diaspora
    African diaspora
    The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

  • Slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...



Further reading

  • Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery, London 1972.
  • Fage, J.D. A History of Africa (Routledge, 4th edition, 2001 ISBN 0-415-25247-4)
  • Lovejoy, Paul E. Transformations in Slavery, Cambridge 1983.
  • "The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Interpretation".(Review): An article from: Population and Development Review [HTML] (Digital) by Tukufu Zuberi
  • Edward Reynolds. Stand the Storm: a history of the Atlantic slave trade. London: Allison and Busby, 1985.
  • Walter Rodney: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, London 1973.
  • Savage, Elizabeth (ed.), The Human Commodity: Perspectives on the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, London 1992.
  • Donald R. Wright, "History of Slavery and Africa", Online Encyclopedia, 2000.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK