Essay on The Atlantic Slave Trade

Decent Essays

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, adulterers, and other criminals and outcasts. However, the number of persons held in slavery in Africa, was very small, since no economic or social system had developed for exploiting them (Manning 97). The new system-Atlantic slave trade-became quite different from the early African slavery. The …show more content…

Africans also worked in silver, gold, copper, and bronze. Lastly, internal slave trade played a role in the economy. Slaves represented a small part of the total value of African exports (Klein 56).

The tendency of communities to specialize in some phase of economic activity made it necessary that they maintain commercial contact with other communities and countries in order to secure the things that they did not produce (Hope 16). Some villages, for example, specialized in fishing, others concentrated on metallurgy, while others made weapons, utensils, and so on. Traders traveled from place to place to barter and to purchase. Upon returning they were laden with goods that they sold within their own community (Hope 17).

As the Atlantic route expanded, accounting for nearly two thirds of all Africans leaving the continent, it created systems for the gruesome work of collecting and exporting slaves and brought the expansion of a system of slavery in Africa itself. The rising prices for slaves, steadily driven by increasing American demand, powerfully influenced local African developments where slave trade was well established. For example, in some cases such as Kingdom of the Kongo to the south of the Zaire or Congo River, slave trade was quickly organized from a region that had only limited slavery and became a steady exporter of slaves

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