During the 17th century, slavery was a widely used commodity with the Europeans, little do people know however that African kings also had and accepted slavery in their own nations. King Nzinga Mbemba of Congo and the King of Ouidah had similarities on the issue of slavery; they tolerated the use of slaves. Congo’s king had no contingency with slavery; in fact, he had slaves in his country. When the Portuguese were purchasing goods in Congo, the king had men “investigate if the mentioned goods are captives or free men” (NZ, 622). The fact that the king differentiates the men between ‘free’ and ‘captives’ illustrates that not all people in Congo are free. Whether these captives are from the country of Congo or not, they are still caught and held all across the nation against their will. King Mbemba kept slaves because the population of Congo was vastly declining due to the slave trade. In his letter, he pleads with the king of Portug...
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...nd contrasting points of African kings. While they both approved the use of slaves, Mbemba despised the slave trade and coaxed Portugal’s royalty into ending the entire business for the benefit of his nation. The king of Ouidah however seemed adamant about getting rid of his slaves in the trade without regard to how the slaves were being treated or how it affected his country. The mixed opinions on the slave trade and the identical thoughts of slavery during the 17th century allows one to see the varying notions the two issues had on the kings in Africa.
Reilly, "Nzinga Mbemba: Appeal to the King of Portugal." Worlds of History, Volume Two: Since
1400: A Comparative Reader, July, 2010, [620-623].
Reilly, "Captain Thomas Phillips: Buying Slaves in 1693." Worlds of History, Volume Two: Since 1400: A Comparative Reader, July, 2010, [623-629].
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