Presentation on theme: "The Atlantic Slave Trade. A Brief History of Slavery Hunter-Gatherers had no need for slavery. With the Agricultural Revolution farmers found they could."— Presentation transcript:
The Atlantic Slave Trade
A Brief History of Slavery Hunter-Gatherers had no need for slavery. With the Agricultural Revolution farmers found they could use extra cheap labor, and slaves, who required only room and board, provided that. Most slaves were attained through warfare. Slavery was common in Ancient Greece and Rome, where slaves worked as domestic servants, secretaries, concubines and gladiators.
Slavery and Religion Islam: does not prohibit slavery but the Quran mandates the kind treatment of slaves, especially women. Christianity: the gospels say nothing about slavery but throughout the Middle Ages the Catholic church spoke out against it.
Pre-European Africa In Africa, where tribal leaders often owned all the land, slavery was one of the few ways Africans could accumulate wealth. In ancient Kongo and Ghana whole villages were enslaved. Africans did not enslave their own people. In Sudan, enslavement of other Muslims frowned upon but infidels were fair game. Because slavery already existed Europeans were able to take advantage of existing routes and supplies.
Enter the Portuguese The Portuguese established factories around the coast of Africa. –Factories: forts and trading posts with resident merchants. Initially African leaders consented to trade with the Portuguese. Why did local leaders consent to trade with the Portuguese?
Portugal and Kongo
Where Did Europeans Get Slaves? Sometimes Europeans conducted slave raids themselves. But often they relied on local African communities to provide slaves. Does African complicity make the slave trade more acceptable?
Profitability While some slave traders enjoyed profits as high as 300%, the slave trade could be hazardous, and on average, profit was 5-10% for the English and less for the French and Dutch. Africans came to rely on Europeans for wealth, stultifying the growth and diversification of their economies.
Gun-Slave Cycle As some African states acquired European firepower, they expanded their power over their neighbors. They then captured Africans from other tribes and sold them into slavery, receiving more guns.
Powerful African States (that arose during the slave trade)
Asante (Ashanti) Cooperation with Europeans gave Asante access to firearms which led to a period of centralization and expansion. Golden Stool was symbol of asantehene Dutch recognized a new power and dealt directly with them. Slaves constituted 2/3 of their export product.
Benin Benin was a regional power when Europeans arrived. For a long time Benin restricted slave trade and exchanged other goods. But pressure from Europe and Benin’s ambitions eventually led them to give in, though slavery was never Benin’s main source of revenue.
Dahomey Fon people. Originally ruled by counsels but access to firearms led to autocratic, sometimes brutal regime based on slave trade. Trade controlled by royal court, armies raided for more slaves. Eliminated rulers of other kingdoms and abolished their traditions.
East Coast of Africa Swahili trading cities continued commerce in Indian Ocean. Military presence of Portuguese and Ottoman Turks Slaves went to harems and households of Arabia except in Zanzibar where clove- producing plantations used African slave labor.
Islamization of Africa In the 1770s a Muslim reform movement swept Sudan. Religious brotherhoods advocated purifying Sufi variant of Islam. Had an intense impact on pastoral Fulanis. Usuman Dan Fodio began revolution in 1804 when, seeing himself as God’s instrument he preached jihad against Hausa kings. Great upheaval followed in which Fulani took control of most Hausa states in northern Nigeria and western Sudan. Results: Creation of powerful Sokoto state under a caliph. New political units, attempts to eliminate pagan practices, literacy more widespread. Later jihads led to other new states with captives from these wars being sold to Europeans.
Southern Africa Bantu spread across the region. But in 1652 the Dutch East India Company established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Large farms developed, at first with Indonesian slaves, later with black slaves. Fighting between Boers and Bantu persisted until British arrived and ended conflict once and for all.