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Effects Of The Atlantic Slave Trade On Africa

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Effects of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa

The Atlantic slave trade existed from the 16th to the early 19th century and stimulated trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Over 12 million Africans were captured and sold into chattel slavery off the coast of West Africa, and more than 2 million of them died crossing the Atlantic. These outcomes of the slave trade are rarely disputed among historians; the effect of the Atlantic slave trade in Africa, however, is often a topic of debate. Some academics, such as Walter Rodney, insist that Africans were forced to take part in the slave trade, resulting in demographic disruption and underdevelopment in all sectors of Africa. Historian John Thornton acknowledges the negative consequences of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, yet contends that it was merely an expansion of the existing internal slave trade which African rulers engaged in willingly. A final case made by Hugh Thomas completely contradicts Rodney’s thesis, asserting that the slave trade was not solely responsible for decreasing Africa’s population, and furthermore, that it was primarily beneficial to Africa’s economy and politics. The true outcome of the slave trade in Africa lies not entirely in any one of these arguments, but rests rather in a combination of all three. Although the Atlantic slave trade was detrimental to the economic and social development of Africa, the trade benefited a small portion of Africans, who willingly aligned themselves with
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