During the 19th century the East Africa was marked by the sadness event of slave trading in response to larger demanding markets. For a long time the exportation of slaves was made through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to supply the Muslin world. However there was a greatly expansion of slave trades to the Atlantic ocean during 19th century. The slave trading increase during the 19th century due to the fact that the exportation of slaves was a profitable business, more than five times the export of ivory and other goods(1). During the 18th century ivory dominated the trade of the colonies in northern Mozambique, but the demand for slaves in the begging of the 19th century changed this scenario of hunting for elephants in East Africa.
European Imperialism heavily impacted the African continent through culturally, economic, and political ideas. This era of history is heavily drenched in the aspect of ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one’s own culture is superior that of another. The Europeans colonized Africa believing that they could bring civilization, but they were often ignorant of Africa’s very complex societies. The European powers divided up the continent of Africa among themselves, without any consent from the people who actually lived there. The tribal stratification was changed to a caste system where racial, ethnic, and religious differences were of utmost importance, as delegated by European rule.
In the early 19th century, the British East India Company established more trade warehouses and thoroughfares in the Indian subcontinent. This occupation of Indian lands that was welcomed by some groups and fiercely opposed by others. While met by more opposition, the British Empire expanded into the other Indian Ocean territories up to the end of the century. Because the trans-Atlantic slave trade was profitable for African elites and brought western many valuable goods to West Africa, when it was effectively shut down after 1808 by British patrols, people along this coast were eager to keep the European trade lines alive. The imposition of this “legitimate trade” (any non-slave trade) saw a huge rise of African export of gold and palm oil.
Many resource rich African countries (Kingdoms) traded items such as ivory, gold, animal skins and spices, and in return mainly received salt. Although salt was coveted for its preserving properties, the Africans definitely got the short end of the stick. Thus, draining Africa of its many rich resources, and leaving outsiders to hold a lot of wealth. The slave trade developed in the mid-15th century after Europeans began exploring and forming trading post on the West coast of Africa. The Portuguese, British, and French were among the ... ... middle of paper ... ... affected by it.
Firstly, when the Europeans arrived in Africa mainly the Portuguese, they had a good motive of trade. At that time Africans were the main producers of gold and when the Portuguese arrived they had to establish trading relationships. That trade was of a great significance to the African community because they were able to profit from it by exchanging their gold, ivory and other minerals with the European goods, such as copper, brass, cowrie shells and cloths (Shillington, 1995, p. 169). But still Africa lost its vast minerals and raw materials at that time. However, this encounter with the Europeans turned into a huge consequence when the slave trade was introduced.
The potential problems faced by traders were ‘exacerbated by the fact that it coincided with other problems for West Africa’s external trade.’ This refers to the Anglo-French wars which made the demand for West African exports very unreliable. The rise of the palm oil industry however, softened the blow for West Africa. Prior to the nineteenth century, palm oil was primarily used either in soap or as a cooking oil but due to the British Industrial Revolution, the demand for palm oil rose dramatically as it was needed as a lubricant for machinery. The transition period in nineteenth century West Africa, between Britain’s abolition of the slave trade and the move towards more legitimate trade has been controversially coined by A. G. Hopkins as a ‘crisis of adaptation’. He argue that West African states struggled to make the shift and that evidence for this can be seen in economic factors as well as in the outbreak of the Yoruba wars.
Her family’s cannon is a unique symbol in the book which represents Efuru’s family connection to the slave trade. Western Africa had a long history associated with the slave trade even before full colonialization. The people of this region traded slaves and other raw goods for luxury items, weapons, and other goods from other parts of the world. This dynamic only worsened after rapid European expansion. With the birth of the colonies in the New World, Europe was hungry for a cheap workforce in order to extract the resources of the new colonies.
‘Britain began large-scale slaving through private trading companies in the 1640s.’ Britain and their sea ports were dominant in the Triangular Trade, and the slave trade, until the British Parliament abolished slavery it in 1807. Though the Portuguese, Dutch, and English first started trading slaves with the Triangular Trade there were ... ... middle of paper ... ...e, most men were not allowed on deck due to fear of overcoming the crew, and many would develop sores on their bodies from having to lie down the entire voyage that would begin to fester and eventually end in death. However, some slavers treated their slaves with kindness as they wished to reach the Americas with as many slaves as possible. ‘In the Guinea cargoes, slaves were well fed, treated with kindness, and kept under some measure of good sanitary conditions.’ However many slaves would develop what was called a ‘fixed melancholy.’ This is when the slave simply lost the will to live and would die and it was extremely contagious among human cargoes. Some slavers would treat their slaves just the opposite with lack of food, filthy living quarters, lack of room, and were ‘terrified out of the wish to live’ but either way a slave was treated — death still struck.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean in the 16th century and lasted till the 19th centuries. The way that the Atlantic Slave Trade came about was cruel but not unthinkable. The capture and enslavement of African Americans was inevitable, the only question was when. A lot more slaves were taken to the South America than to the North America because the South “needed” them more. The South Atlantic economic system was based on producing crops, making goods and other things to sell.
American’s profited by having free labor for a one time fixed payment to acquire the slaves. This fueled the plantation economy in which Americans deepened their pockets leading up to the civil war. Overall, this relationship heavily favored the westerners and caused Africa to lose a great deal of human resources. The next time period in which the unbalanced relationship between Africa’s resources and European and American financial interest can be shown though is from 1884 – to the late 1950s/early 1960s. This period was started by the Berlin Conference and ended with the civil rights movement and African countries’ independence movements.