Facts unlock: Africans enslaved before colonisation?

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The Africa continent is recorded as one of the ancients and Africans as one of the oldest race ever lived in this world. Africa history is endowed with rich culture; both social and political. With the issue of slavery in Africa, Europeans have been burden with the critics for intensify slavery concept of Africa.

The dilemma is, was Africa already practicing slavery before colonisation of the Europeans? Well the mystery is now about to be unlocked.

Slavery has existed long before Africa coloniation by Europeans. Africa Kingdoms instituted slavery within kingdoms before the arrival of the Whites on the soil of the African continent. Traditional Africa slavery practice is believed to have began in the 7th century.

Slavery and slave trade within Africa was established in two forms. That were internal and external slave dimensions. These forms of slavery and slave trade were carried across the Sahara, Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Arabic and the Indian Ocean worlds.

Before the discovery of Africa by Europeans, Africa had far advanced in their indigenous culture and slaves were mostly used to perform their daily domestic duties and building national constructions like road, palaces, crop planting, and for entertainment.

With the internal slavery and slave trade, it existed withing the Africa continent itself. It involved between North Africa and West Africa on the one hand, and East, Southern, and Central Africa on the other hand. One notable Country in West Africa called Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast took active part in the slave trade.

The West Africa states on the Atlantic Coast line were linked by a southern trade route that covered modern Senegal and Nigeria.

The internal slavery and slave trade existed as long as from the 1st to 16th century A.D.

Means by which slaves were acquired internally:


There were quiet about five major means by which slaves were acquired internally in Africa before colonisation. Slaves were obtained through warfare, pawing, raiding and kidnapping, market supply, and tribute.

Prisoners of War: People were conquered and captured in warfare for both internal and external slavery purposes. The largest percentage of slaves were obtained through warfare. In the pre-colonial era, kingdoms of Africa were mostly raging war against each other. One of the renowned event of slaves from warfare was the Jihad of 19th century, waged from Senegambia in the west to the red sea. This war resulted thousands of people captured into slavery.

Pawning: This is simply offering a person as security for money borrowed. The pawn then was used as a pledge, mortgage, or security for what a person owed. Families were using their own family members as pawns for their debt.

Tribute: paying was a very common practice in pre-colonial Africa. The Yoruba of Nigeria obtained some of their slaves through this means. The Sokoto Caliphate demanded tribute from subjected communities. In Ghana the Akwamuhene for example demanded tribute from the Akwamus who remained in the old Akwamu Empire after their defeat. The chief of Asamankese for example had to pay an annual tribute of 500 slaves to the Akwamuhene. Almost all the states Asante conquered from 1700 to 1896 were asked to pay annual tributes in slaves and other goods. The state of Gonja paid 1000 slaves; Salaga paid 600 slaves; Akwapim paid 1000 slaves, and the small Ewe chiefships sent 12 slaves annually to Kumasi the Asante capital.

Africans have already entered into slavery and slave trad already and the reason was as plain and these explains.

  1. For agricultural purposes
  2. Trade and industry
  3. Military
  4. Domestic chores
  5. Personal guide

The cat is now let out of the bag. Therefore before you begin to think of putting blame on Europeans or the White, you should know Africans themselves were already into it. The Whites saw the benefits and took advantage over the system that was into play before he stepped on the soil of Africa.

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