The Differences and Similarities Between the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Saharan Slave Trade on the West Coast of Africa

2856 Words Feb 29th, 2012 12 Pages
The African Slave Trade has affected a very large part of the world. This phenomenon has been described in many different ways, such as slave trade, forced migration and genocide. When people today think of slavery, many envision the form in which it existed in the United States before the American Civil War (1861-1865): one racially identifiable group owning and exploiting another. However, in other parts of the world, slavery has taken many different forms. In Africa, many societies recognized slaves merely as property, but others saw them as dependents whom, eventually might be integrated into the families of slave owners. Still other societies allowed slaves to attain positions of military or administrative power. Most often, both …show more content…
To increase production, a family had to invest in more labourers and thus increase their share of land. The simplest and quickest way to do this was to invest in slaves. To help service this demand, many early African societies conducted slave raids on distant villages, this was with the idea of having Africans work for Africans but ones of a different ethnic background, and after slavery was abolished by Europe domestic slavery grew, many slaves were made to work on clove plantations in Zanzibar for example.
Women constituted the majority of early African slaves. In addition to agricultural work, female slaves carried out other economic functions, such as trading and cotton spinning and dyeing. They also performed domestic chores, such as preparing food, washing clothes, and cleaning. Powerful African men kept female slaves as wives or concubines, and in many societies these women stood as symbols of male wealth. Male slaves typically farmed and herded animals. Those who belonged to wealthy families and especially of ruling lineages of states also worked as porters and rowers, and learned crafts such as weaving, construction, and metalwork. Domestic slaves worked for the royal families, some male, and fewer female, slaves held positions of high status and trust within their societies. In pre-colonial states in the interior of West and Central Africa, slaves often served as soldiers and confidants of high officials. With their necessarily limited ambitions and

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