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Middle Passages Institute 2011 University of York Saturday | Aug 6 | 2011 Legacies of theTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

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Presentation on theme: "Middle Passages Institute 2011 University of York Saturday | Aug 6 | 2011 Legacies of theTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade."— Presentation transcript:

1 Middle Passages Institute 2011 University of York Saturday | Aug 6 | 2011 Legacies of theTrans-Atlantic Slave Trade

2 “Transformation Thesis” Paul Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa “ Slavery in Africa became more common, and the increase in numbers of slaves encouraged an increasingly systematic process of enslavement — not only for export, but also for greater exploitation of slave labor within African societies. The vast system of slave labor in Africa that had grown in tandem with the rise of the Atlantic trade would continue long after the ocean- borne trade had ended ”

3 From Slave Trade to “Legitimate” Trade Woman making palm oil (Nigeria)

4 How Does Abolitionism become a pretext for European Colonization in Africa? Mungo Park, Travels into the Interior of Africa, 1799 “rendering the geography of Africa more familiar to my countrymen, and…opening to their ambition and industry new sources of wealth, and new channels of commerce” Henry John Temple (Lord Palmerston), British statesman, 1842 “Let no man imagine that those treaties for the suppression of the slave trade are valuable only as being calculated to promote the great interests of humanity, and as tending to rid mankind of a foul and detestable crime. Such was indeed their great object and their chief merit. But in this case as in many others, virtue carries its own reward; and if the nations of the world could extirpate this abominable traffic, and if the vast population of Africa could by that means be left free to betake themselves to peaceful and innocent trade, the greatest commercial benefit would accrue, not to England only, but to every civilized nation which engages in maritime commerce. These slave trade treaties therefore are indirectly treaties for the encouragement of commerce.” Heinrich Barth, Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa, 1857 “I came to the conclusion that it would be absolutely necessary, in order to obtain the desired end, to colonise the most favourable tracts of the country [northern Nigeria], and thus to spread commerce and civilization in all directions into the very heart of the continent”

5 David Livingstone’s “Three Cs”: “Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization” “…without doubt this noble river [the Zambezi] is capable of being made a great highway for commerce, civilization and Christianity.” “A prospect is now before us of opening Africa for commerce and the Gospel…. In going back to that country my object is to open up traffic along the banks of the Zambesi, and also to preach the Gospel. The natives of Central Africa are very desirous of trading, but their only traffic is at present in slaves, of which the poorer people have an unmitigated horror: it is therefore most desirable to encourage the former principle, and thus open a way for the consumption of free productions, and the introduction of Christianity and commerce. By encouraging the native propensity for trade, the advantages that might be derived in a commercial point of view are incalculable; nor should we lose sight of the inestimable blessings it is in our power to bestow upon the unenlightened African, by giving him the light of Christianity. Those two pioneers of civilization— Christianity and commerce—should ever be inseparable; and Englishmen should be warned by the fruits of neglecting that principle as exemplified in the result of the management of Indian affairs. By trading with Africa, also, we should at length be independent of slave labour, and thus discountenance practices so obnoxious to every Englishman.” (Cambridge Lectures, 1858)

6 European Colonization in Africa: King Leopold II of Belgium, 1876: “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake” Lord Derby (Britain), 1884: “Something absurd in the sudden Scramble for colonies” in Africa


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