The Atlantic Slave Trade

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The Atlantic Slave Trade

The changes in African life during the slave trade era form an important element in the economic and technological development of Africa. Although the Atlantic slave trade had a negative effect on both the economy and technology, it is important to understand that slavery was not a new concept to Africa. In fact, internal slavery existed in Africa for many years. Slaves included war captives, the kidnapped, adulterers, and other criminals and outcasts. However, the number of persons held in slavery in Africa, was very small, since no economic or social system had developed for exploiting them (Manning 97). The new system-Atlantic slave trade-became quite different from the early African slavery. The influence of the Atlantic slave trade brought radical changes to the economy of Africa.

At the time of the Atlantic slave trade, Africa was an area that had far-flung interests based on agriculture, industry, and commerce (Curtin 54). Complex stratified societies based on settled village agriculture were developed throughout the continent. “Essentially agricultural, the peoples of Africa displayed a remarkable degree of specialization within this ancient economic pursuit,” writes John Hope Franklin, the author of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans (p. 18). In addition to agriculture, artistry was a significant area of economic community. Even less complex communities included some with various skills.

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