This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Existence Of Choice In The African Slave Trade

873 words - 4 pages

The immense scale and power of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in Africa was enabled by a close partnership between Africans and Europeans in which Africans provided a continuous supply of slaves in exchange for European goods and money. However, to what extent said partnership was voluntary for the Africans is debatable. John D. Fage and Walter Rodney are two historians who fall on opposite ends of this inquiry. Fage posits that African leaders had a choice, which they made based on economic reasons, while Rodney insists that the Europeans forced the Slave Trade upon them. Likely neither extreme is correct, with the truth lying somewhere in the middle. While some degree of choice may have ...view middle of the document...

In addition to military prowess, the Slave Trade also provided a political advantage to African leaders. The wealth accumulated through trade was concentrated in the upper class, leading to increased centralization and power. Historians have noted “a close correlation in West Africa between…political development…and the growth of the institution of slavery” (145). Trade profits not only increased political power, but also generated economic influence. Fage argues that these economic benefits were so great that, for African rulers, it was not a choice of whether or not to partake in the Slave Trade, but rather a decision regarding “the number of slaves they could afford to export, in order to obtain the guns and other imports their states required, without weakening their societies” (149).
While Fage is correct in his economic analysis, he fails to acknowledge the other factors that caused African leaders to deal in the Slave Trade, for it was not an exclusively economic choice. Rodney is correct that Europeans accelerated the Slave Trade in Africa because they provided the sought-after materials. Therefore Europeans, indirectly through their goods, forced the Slave Trade upon African States. However, the pressure exerted was not as direct as Rodney claimed.
However, debating the extent to which African leaders had a choice ultimately matters little. What directed their actions was not the reality of their situation, but their perception of it. Not all African leaders were willing participants, yet they continued to trade due to a belief in their own powerlessness. From the beginning Europeans occupied a dominating role in the trade relationship, imposing their will with...

Find Another Essay On The Existence of Choice in the African Slave Trade

MEMORIES OF THE SLAVE TRADE Essay

1094 words - 5 pages MEMORIES OF THE SLAVE TRADE (Rosalind Shaw) “Memories of Slave Trade” challenges recurring claims that Africans felt and still feel no sense of moral obligation concerning the sale of slaves, Shaw traces memories of the slave trade in Temne-speaking communities in Sierra Leone. While the slave-trading past is infrequently recollected in explicit verbal accounts, it is frequently made vividly present in such structures as rogue spirits, ritual

Dehumanization of the Slave Trade Essay

2448 words - 10 pages trade until the establishment of the Royal African Company in 1672. (historychannel.com) The Royal African Company was long before the establishment of Jamestown, and English captains had made occasional profits in the Atlantic slave trade. The English had viewed the idea of trading lives with a certain measure of contempt, until the profits of the sugar plantations greatly increased and they needed labor workers, and they soon would

The positive and negative experiences of African slave in America

1010 words - 4 pages up to 1,000 miles in slave caravans to the European coastal forts. Those who were to sick or weary to continue the journey were killed or left shit to die, only about half of the people survived due to being shackled and under fed. Once at the coast those who survived were put in under ground dungeons of coastal forts were they were held for up to a year until they boarded on ships. Making such a tragic event even worse was the fact that behind

The Beginning of the Slave Trade

527 words - 2 pages Under what circumstances did the slave trade begin? After the Bantu people migrated to numerous sections in Africa, this particular movement set the spread of agriculture in motion. From the 15th to the 19th century, the Europeans looked to Africa as a work force (slaves) to nurture their farms in the western hemisphere. As mentioned in our text, Traditions and encounters, “In exchange for slaves, African peoples received European manufactured

The History of the Slave Trade

1051 words - 4 pages enslaved were done so because they were either prisoners of war or criminals. It was not enslavement based on race or religion. The Atlantic Slave Trade however was very different. African villages were raided for the sole factor of acquiring slaves and African political leaders would even start wars so they could capture young men. This led to the outbreak of unnecessary warfare in Africa, killing millions of innocent people. The political

The Slave Trade of the Igbo People

755 words - 3 pages During the Atlantic Slave Trade there were 1.7 million Africans fro m 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

The Atlantic Slave Trade

952 words - 4 pages 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

The Atlantic Slave Trade

1185 words - 5 pages The Atlantic Slave Trade Did you know that the African were tricked into slavery? They would cry out to each other in a quiet voice to say “We raise the wheat they give us the corn; we bake the bread, they give us the crust; we peel the meat, they give us the skin, and that’s the way they takes us in.” The Atlantic Slave Trade known as the Middle passage which was the heart of slavery. The slave trade took place between the 1500s through the

The New Slave Trade

4360 words - 17 pages The New Slave Trade When I arrived at the brothel, a girl asked me, “What are you doing here?” I responded, “I come here to work.” “Don’t you know this is where people sell their body?” I couldn’t sleep at night; I kept thinking about what she had said. Selling my body? I didn’t know what selling my body means. I thought… it means cutting off parts of my body and sell them; if it was only that… (Sacrifice) Here is another

The Affects of Atlantic Slave Trade

642 words - 3 pages effects that lead to larger-scale issues, the slave trade led to things still in action to this day. For example, there will always be discrimination towards African Americans. Though it is not as powerful as it once was, the discrimination against colored people came to be because of the slave trade. It brought up the notion of white’s dominion over blacks. An innumerable amount of people sacrificed themselves to win the complete freedom and equality

Effects of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

1016 words - 5 pages Although the European colonization and subsequent development of the Transatlantic Slave Trade system from 1490-1750 left many social and political continuities such as the constant mistreatment of slaves, it led to many political and social changes like the rise of the French in the West Indies. During this time period, the Spanish held most of the land in the Americas, therefore holding the most power, but newcomers such as the French and

Similar Essays

The Economics Of The African Slave Trade

3345 words - 13 pages that lay ahead for them. They were exposed to even harsher conditions than they previously had in the factory dungeons of the coast, or even of the march to the sea. The third and final stage was of course the return to Europe with the produce of the slave labor plantations: cotton, rum, tobacco, sugar, molasses.During the tenth and eleventh centuries African empires endured a prosperous era filled rich trade and agriculture. Ghana was the first

Term African Slave Trade Essay

1686 words - 7 pages When you think of the African slave trade, do you realize that over 10 million people were removed from that continent in less than 500 years? Some scholars believe it may be as large a number as 20 million.1 I would like to pose a few questions and attempt to answer them in this collection of writings and opinions. The evidence and historical documents will show some of the economic and social impacts the Slave Trade had on the African

African Slave Trade In American History

1973 words - 8 pages India L. Warren World History 1112 Professor Holloway April 17, 2014 “African Slave Trade in American History” Slavery has taken place throughout the world since before ancient times, and the act of trading slaves was a common act throughout the world for centuries. Slavery previously existed in certain parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, and also in America before the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. What initially started out as an

Cultural Diffusion Of African Music Into American Music From The Time Of The Slave Trade (Time Period: Early 17th Century To Modern Day)

2709 words - 11 pages shows through in the bass beat of Hip-Hop.Without the contributions of these musical elements, American music would be a one dimensional art consisting of only the European lyrical attributions. Beginning with the slave trade in the 1600's, African musical origins have been present in all types of American music, throughout the history of this country.Works Cited"African American Music: Bebop." U*X*L Multicultural. Online ed. U*X*L, 2003. Student