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Effects of the Slave Trade on West Africa

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Effects of the Slave Trade on West Africa

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DSC Date:12th/3/13 History Assignment
Topic: Examine the social, economic and political effects of the slave trade on West Africa

The trans- Atlantic slave trade was a system developed in the late 15th century which exploited and brought the African people into enslavement by transporting them to the colonies of the new world where they served their purpose as a ‘’cheap’’ labour force . As a result of this, the slave trade brought about many social, economic and political effects on West Africa. Firstly, the population in West Africa decreased significantly in order to meet the great demand for Africans as a source of labour. During 1700 and 1850, it was calculated that over 21 million Africans from various tribes were obtained so that 9 million slaves could be sent to the new world. Millions of Africa’s strong and most capable youthful men and women were forcibly captured and exported from Africa throughout this trade. The slave trade further affected West Africa as this rapid depopulation led to the creation of a ‘matritocal society’. There was now a shortage of men in the African society as male slaves were highly favoured in the Americas due to their ability to do much more hard work. It is believed that approximately two-thirds of the slaves taken to the New World were male and only one-third female. In addition, members of the ruling classes such as kings, chiefs and rich merchants who became slave dealers exploited the common people. They disregarded the importance of their own people and sold skilled Africans into slavery to unknown regions leaving Africa undeveloped. The family structure was also negatively affected. Many families were separated due the need for more and more slaves, leaving orphans, and families with single parents, and without the usual support system. Furthermore, as African people were...