Slavery In West Africa

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INTRODUCTION This paper attempts to evaluate the extent to which renowned scholar, Peter P. Ekeh’s claim applies true to the contemporary politics of the Democratic Republic of Congo by tracing its historical struggle with slave trade and colonisation; and its resultant internecine warfare and exploitation of resources. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE SLAVE TRADE (West and West-Central Africa) Slavery is one of the most emotive issues in history. According to Black (2015), slavery is similar to war: in one light, enforced servitude, like large-scale, violent conflict, is easy to define. But, what the slave trade means for the history of East Africa or the Mediterranean lands is different from what it means for the Atlantic world.…show more content…
It is merely the motivation that has changed over time, as compared to the commencement of the same. As analysed by Marcus Rediker in his magnum opus, ‘The Slave Ship’; Africans would enslave people for different reasons contrary to the modern stereotype, profit. He highlights how war was a major source of slaves in West Africa, and had gone on much before the arrival of the Europeans. The memoirs of an Italian born French slave trader, Captain Theodore Canot, can testify to this claim. According to his writings, there were five principles for the enslavement of Africans by other Africans. Domestic issues, debt-riddled individuals and gamblers added generously to the slave market; in addition to the prisoners of war. The fourth principle of African slavery, according to Captain Canot, contained those "inculpated with witchcraft, the Crim Con [criminal conviction] cases (not few in Africa), orphans of culprits, vagabonds who dare not to return to their tribes, and unruly sons." This shows a more focused rationalization to the…show more content…
But when we proceed to analyse the ascent of the slave trade in Africa, it goes without notice that this slave trade was facilitated by the native ruling groups of Africa itself to such an extent, that it was commonly known as the “black trade”. Rediker (2007) goes on to exemplify this with a study of the Asante group in the Gold Coast region in around 1680. The Asante were skilled at war, and would not be sold into slavery, which led to them becoming reliable players and valuable partners to the Europeans in the slave trade. Therefore, this tumultuous saga of enslavement and
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