The Slave Trade: 15th-19th Century

1653 Words7 Pages
The selling of African people to Europeans as slaves in exchange for goods from the 15th-19th century, known as the Slave Trade, was clearly an immoral practice and a stain on humanity’s history. Beyond the moral and human costs it also impacted the African continent negatively in a myriad of economic and political ways. The pervasive growth of this trade inhibited the robust economic development of the continent. Additionally, it fostered political divisions that kept the continent politically fragmented and ultimately also stunted economic growth. Finally, it paved the way for colonialism, which further reinforced these dynamics and solidified Africa’s isolation. Essentially, the Slave Trade is at the root of Africa’s historical political…show more content…
While extremely profitable, ironically, the Slave Trade ultimately was impoverishing for Africa. Since the Slave Trade with Europe was so lucrative, it led to an export-based economy that was focused on Europe and the New World. As repugnant as it sounds, slaves essentially became a commodity that they exported.With the steady stream of money and goods from the West, the African rulers there were not forced to develop a more diversified economic base. They did not develop manufacturing or other industries. They saw the easy profit they could get by selling slaves to the European traders and it became their focus. Indeed, they provided protection for the slave traders so they could maintain their access to luxury items like textiles, hardware, tobacco, and liquor that were better than the locally produced goods. “The evolution and immersion of the transatlantic slave trade not only strengthened capitalism for individuals and their countries, but in turn it weakened Africa and Jamaica by making it dependent economically on outside nations.” The Slave Trade in Africa set them [Africa] on an export based society, which weakened them because they never had the chance to cultivate their own economic growth. The African nations became reliant on Europeans for finished goods. It is very analogous to the situation in the Middle East today, where the economies are linked to oil and undiversified. As Saudi Arabia just concluded, relying on “commodity” exports is not…show more content…
Africa’s historical political and economic challenges stem from the Slave Trade. The Trade encouraged the development of a narrowly focused, “commodity”-based, economy with trade flowing to Europe rather than within Africa. The need to capture slaves fueled fighting between the kingdoms and left them at a disadvantage by fragmenting the continent politically. When the Slave Trade ended, many kingdoms did not have a sufficient economic base. Moreover, as the Slave Trade led to Colonialism, the pattern of a European-focused, commodity based economy was reinforced. The Slave Trade was an awful stain on Western Civilization. The immorality of it is easy to understand and visceral. Sadly, it effects were even more consequential to the African people. Beyond the obvious evil of slavery, the Trade had an equally pernicious effect of sabotaging the African economy, and thus and leading to generations of
Open Document