The Slave Trade of the Igbo People

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During the Atlantic Slave Trade there were 1.7 million Africans from the Bight of Biafra enslaved and brought to the New World. Of those 1.7 million, nearly 1.3 million were Igbo. From the 16th to the 19th centuries European and American slave traders were kidnapping and enslaving a large number of Africans to the New World and as a result of the influx of Africans there were many great cultural influences that came from the African populations. Jamaica was home to two major trading ports where the Igbo slaves would arrive, Bonny and Calabar. The majority of Biafran slaves were brought to the coasts of Jamaica and made up a large portion of slaves in Jamaica.

Even while captive on the plantations enslaved Africans would discriminate and judge other African people. “English explorer William Baikie discovered, this mark of high status literally meant ‘cut-face’” (p.20). Another class differentiating tradition that the Igbo brought with them to the New World were social class structuring. The term I’tshi or ‘cut-face’ was used to signify high class, similar to nobles or royalty. “An Igbo boy named Aneaso was enslaved in 1799 and in Jamaica became known as Archibald Monteath. He left a detailed description of Igbo mgburichi, vividly remembering the cutting ceremonies he witnessed as a young boy, even after a lifetime as a Morvaian Christian” (p. 18) This passage continues to give Aneaso’s description of the ceremony. This shows how this tradition meant a great deal to the younger generation and through people like Aneaso many traditions were brought to the New World. The Igbo traditions impacted the New World cultures because even if they were not practicing every tradition. Though some traditions were not continued in the New ...

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... notorious and that notoriety of their protesting had another large impact on the New World. Their protests especially the more peaceful protests such as walking into the ocean chained together and drowning helped spark abolitionist thoughts by demonstrating to the slave traders that this is not how to treat humans. That death is better than slavery. Since the Igbo people’s blatant rejection of their enslavement, people have been following the slaves example and standing up for their rights as human beings.

To the Igbo identity was referred to as the formation of an individual or a collective group of people through an association by certain customs, traditions, history, geographic location, and the environment. Race was referred to as an idea that was established by the wealthy and powerful and how they identified people as a result of biological distinctions.
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