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Chapter 20: Africa and the Africans in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade

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Keda Song

on 4 March 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 20: Africa and the Africans in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Chapter 20: Africa and the Africans in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade
Introduction: The Story of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua and Africa and the Creation of an Atlantic System
Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua- born in 1830 as a Muslim child in a trading community
Captured by another state, gained freedom, but got recaptured and taken to northeastern Brazil
Moved to Canada, however it is unsure whether he returned to Africa or not
Shows African involvement in the world economy and how they dispersed around the world, specifically the Americas
Chapter shows the not-necessarily-friendly exchanges between Africa and Europe in the mid-15th century
Slave trade in 1600s outdid all other activities- it was a necessary supply to workforce in the Americas
The Atlantic Slave Trade
Portuguese establishment of factories- El Mina (1482) being the most famous
Basis of African interaction with Portuguese involved trading ivory or gold among valued products in exchange for goods or slaves from other African states
Missionary activity in an attempt to convert African rulers, succeeded with Nzinga Mvemba, the ruler of Kongo
Led to enslavement of subjects- pattern continued in other African states
Portuguese influence/control slowly became replaced by those of other European countries in the 17th century
Slave trade quickly grew from 50 to 500 slaves a year (1450-1460)
African Societies, Slavery, and the Slave Trade
Europeans justified slavery by saying it existed in Africa already
In African states, all land was owned by a ruler, so owning slaves was one of the few ways one could increase wealth
Slaves in Africa were often servants, concubines, soldiers, administrators, and field workers
In the Sudanic states of savanna, debate was held over whether to enslave Muslims or not
African rulers didn't enslave their own people- they enslaved people of other African states
White Settlers and Africans in Southern Africa
South Africa
Not affected by slave trade as much
Occupied by non-Bantu speaking people like San and Khoikhoi
Bantu people
Eastern South Africa, both agriculture and herding
Chiefdoms, which were split in lineages to facilitate expansion
Dutch East India Company
Establishes colony at Cape of Good Hope in 1652
Great Britain seizes colony in 1795
Competition for land between settlers and Bantu
Boers migrated (voortrekkers) northward (Great Trek)
Trend Towards Expansion
1450-1850 saw the exchange of 12 million Africans across the Atlantic
Mortality rate was high- 10 to 20 percent of Africans died
More men were imported than women, leading to a higher rate of death than birth
Distribution of slaves varied over time
Shifts to Jamaica and Haiti as a result of sugar plantations being built
Brazil received the highest amount of slaves- about 42 percent
Non-Atlantic trade was active and added another 3 million
Senegambia- most slaves exported
Demographic Patterns
Gender roles also took place in trans-Saharan trade
Women- taken as concubines; Men- manual labor
Children had higher mortality rates and were not sold as often
African societies that exchanged slaves often only sold men and kept women and children for domestic purposes
Large population declines in west/central Africa, but since mostly men were enslaved, population rates swelled from retention of women
In return for slaves, Africans received crops like manioc and maize to help sustain the population
Organization of the Trade
Control of slave trade in Africa reflected political situations in Europe
Until 1630s Portugal essentially dominated Atlantic trade
1660s- England attempts to partake in the trade and issue the Royal African Company
Complicated exchange system with various forms of currency established by Spanish
Very profitable exchange for Europeans
Triangular trade
By the 18th century the slave trade was an import part of economies in Africa, Europe, and the Americas
Slavery and African Politics
Chaos resulted after the fall of Songhay in 1591 was a contributing factor to the rise of slave trade
Led to a warring time when military expertise was needed, and promoted sales of captives into slavery
Debate over whether wars were a feature of African politics or a result of European demands for slaves
Shift of African power
African states that were near the coast monopolized trade with Europeans
States flush with the coast were suppressed by European fear of an dominant African power, states that were near the coast fared better and received a multitude of goods in exchange for slaves
P.445 in texrbook- image of African slave trade, Auguste Francois Biard
Asante and Dahoney
Asante Empire rose to meet the growing slave trade
Osei Tutu as asantehene (ruler)- title created to designate greatest head of political and religious life
Asante became the dominant state of the Gold Coast
Kingdom of Dahomey
Made up of Fon/Aja people
Access to firearms allowed for a brutal rule- little
tolerance for other traditions
Slave trade huge part: about 1.8 million slaves were exported between 1640 and 1890
Guilds of artisans
Artists employed by Europeans
P.454 in textbook- power of the Asante/Ashanti Empire
East Africa and the Sudan
West Africa was the most directly influenced by slave trade
New cultural influences, mostly from Europeans
Less is known about interior of East Africa, but they accepted many influences through integration of immigrants
Islamization of Northern savanna became more violent
Fulani- pastoral people of Sudan who adopted "pure" Sufi variant of Islam
Muslim reform movements- Usuman San Fodio, who preached jihads
Majority of West Africa affected by Islamization by 1840s
The Mfecane and the Zulu Rise to Power
Changes among the Nguni people- new leadership under Shaka
Iron handed ruler- crushed opposition
Brought power to Zulu and reforms stayed even after assassination
Most powerful military force until end of 19th century, successors built on his achievements
Mfecane- "wars of crushing and conquering"
Wars result of Zulu expansion
New states such as Swazi and Lesotho emerge
Zulu Wars of the 1870s
Zulu power crushed by Great Britain
Formed basic premises of European contact with Southern Africans- competition for land, governmental control, and the desire for African laborers
The African Diaspora
African slave trade major way Africans were integrated into the world economy
Valuable goods in exchange for slaves, ivory, and gold
Close-to-port cities took advantage of this trade
Africans spread across the world in this way, specifically the Americas
Slave Lives
Destruction of cities led to marching to trade towns
Middle Passage
Traumatic- caused mutiny and suicide
Africans retained cultural aspects when they arrived
Africans in the Americas
Plantations and mines
Sugar- most common plantations, but tobacco and cotton existed as well
Slaves- preferable workers
Plantation system reliant on enslaved workers
American Slave Societies
Similarities, even though many Africans were hundreds or thousands of miles apart
Saltwater slaves (black) differed from Creole slaves (American-born)
Slave hierarchy based off of origin and color
Nobles and religious leaders had better opportunities
Slaves outnumbering the free
Demographic differences
The People and Gods in Exile
Difficult lives
Bad working conditions
Shortage of women led to lack of proper family formation
Slaves lived in family units
Continuities of African culture
Slave owners tried to remove it by mixing around the populations
Didn't succeed, Africans adapted and integrated each other into culture
Spaniards and Portuguese converted slaves to Catholicism
British converted slaves to Protestant
African ideals remained
Common, many slave rebellions
The End of the Slave Trade and the Abolition of Slavery
Resulted from European power shifts
Jean-Jaques Rosseu and Adam Smith
Mostly religious opposition
England leads the end
John Wesley and William Wilberforce
Parliamentry debate led to abolishment of slavery by 1807
Britain coerced Spain and Portugal to wean off of slave trade
Writing of ex-slaves increased need for "morality"
Full end around 1888 in Brazil
Document Analysis: An African's Description of the Middle Passage (P.461)
Olaudah Equiano one of the few Africans who recounted his crossing of the Middle Passage

Guiding Questions:
In what ways does Equiano's description contradict a previous understanding of the slave trade?
What opportunities existed for captives to resist?
What effect might the experience of Africans on the slave ships have had on their perceptions of each other and of the Europeans
P. 462, sugar became available to the public thanks to slave laborers
Guiding Question: How did Europeans in Africa, in an era before outright conquest of the continent, impact the African economy?
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