Decentralized Societies And The Slave Trade Essay

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Throughout history, a common theme is the stronger, acquisitive society preying on the weaker society for their own gain of land, people, materials, and more. The Atlantic Slave Trade had a profound effect on the way states were constructed and transformed in West Africa. Some societies became very powerful, militarized centralized societies, like Dahomey and Kongo, and others were decentralized societies, like Balanta and Igbo. Many scholars argue that the centralized societies targeted these decentralized societies and kidnapped people for the slave trade or for their own lineages, but this issue of strong and controlled preying on weak and dispersed is not as “black or white” as it may seem. This paper will discuss how the centralized and decentralized societies interacted during the slave trade and how the trade had an effect on them. It will also discuss how and why some of the decentralized societies were predatory towards people exactly like themselves by looking at multiple decentralized societies, including the Balanta and the Igbo. Though each side of the debate gives convincing evidence and arguments, the Atlantic Slave Trade was not just centralized societies preying on decentralized societies and the decentralized societies were not completely victims. They used different mechanisms to defend themselves. In some decentralized societies, after they gained some power, they would prey on other weaker decentralized societies. Martin Klein proposed a theory about the
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