There are many misconceptions about Africa slavery and Africans involvement in sustaining slavery on the continent of Africa. Lots of blames are placed on Africans for engaging and supporting the slave trade activity in higher percentage. But if we are to discuss the Facts unlock: Africans enslaved before colonisation? where we can get detailed information on that, let’s see if Africans sold each other into slavery before colonialism.
There is not doubt slavery existed long before the Whites were welcomed on African soil. The indigenous Africans were practicing slavery already before the first European country; Portugal visited the sores of Gold Coast. Even during the time of The true history of Mansa Musa: source of power and worth the greatest emperor of ancient Mali Empire and the richest man of all time, slavery existed in Africa. Dated back in the early days B.C. Africa existed and was into slavery.
With this fact fished out, we are then left to find out if the internal slavery system was that of a commercial slavery.
Africa slavery turned into a huge investment, that attracted Africa empires and kingdoms interest to engaged into selling and buying slaves by the introduction of the Portuguese slave raid on the coasts of Africa. The first slave raid was successful around 1444 which was led by Lancarote de Freitas.
The misfortune about this slave raid of which captured slaves were sold to the needed merchants and empires in Africa, or banished to Europe was that, lots of lifes were lost. As history recorded, Nuno Tristao, one of the popular slave raiders was killed during an ambush. Slave raiding was extremely dangerous but it was easy on the Europeans, because they had the warfare tools. This gave them the upper hand to raid more slaves of which they sold them and earn wealth, both in monetary terms and human resource.
Another factor that proves Africans sold each other into slavery was not intense before the introduction of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is that, the Europeans slave traders clearly distinguished themselves from African slave traders. Often times the Europeans slave traders partnership with the Africans were shaky. Issue of trust, honesty, and cheat were common. A famous case of this was the African slave trader Daaga who was tricked and captured by European slave traders after producing slaves to them, was taken to Trinidad where he was to lead a mutiny.
Anne Bailey gave an example to this established fact in her book “African Voices in the Atlantic Slave Trade . She made mentioned of the story of Chief Ndorkutsu who had been providing slaves to the European traders, and later Ndorkutsu’s own relatives were tricked into boarding a slave ship and then taken as slaves to Cuba.
Again, the introduction of Europeans warfare weapons intensified the interest in selling and buying slaves. There were occasional wars between kingdoms already, although, the advantages of raiding captives was lesser until the Europeans arrived with war weapons. Kingdoms who aligned with the Europeans were fed with these White man war tools and it gave the kingdoms the upper hand to engaged in more raiding. In West Africa like Gold Coast, there were small number of casualties in wars until the introductions of guns and bullets by the Europeans.
As I have said already, there were an existing systems of slavery in Africa before colonization, but the fact still remains, the Europeans introduced the fancy in selling and buying slaves for commercial gains.
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