Slave Trade Simulation Paper
26 February 2013
Modern World ONL
Trading slaves, a practice that has been described as inhumane, evil, or even blasphemous, left little room for sensitivity for those making the decisions of the trade. Often people wonder how such evil could continue in the world for as long as it did. “The rewards of the slave trade overwhelmed any religious inhibitions that some of the traders and other beneficiaries might have had.”1 [Islam’s Black Slaves, p. 159] I will explain the delicacies of the trade agreements of the Yao, Kilwa-based Swahili Trade Lineage, and of the Zanzibari Indian Trading Lineage. After taking control of Kilwa in the mid-1780s, Oman transferred the bulk of the slave and ivory trade there.2 [Islam’s Black Slaves, p. 146] The Swahili Trading Lineage of Kilwa were pleased, as it leveled the playing field and enabled trade to be profitable for everyone of the area. If you are wondering how these slaves could have put up with such harsh conditions, keep in mind that, though the traders poorly treated slaves, the slave-owners often treated them more humanely. The ones who were not killed in the travel of the trade were lucky to be alive and thus weakened at the thought of revolt. As for the traders, many of their negotiations were so binding that they could not go back on an agreement at any cost. Trading elite were normally more concerned with upholding status as businessmen and thus, carried out any horror in the name of honor. The politics of the slave trade were very much like those of the 21st century, in the sense that some were at the tip of the pyramid, with those who were the middle and finally its base. Yao elite kept their honor and held their position on the ground level by providing for their people through trade. Their mercantile success also determined their power locally, as they were a matrilineal society. The Swahili Trading Lineage (A.K.A. the next level of the pyramid), who acquired their slaves from...
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