What effects did the slave trade have on African society?
The trans-Atlantic slave trade was the largest long-distance coerced movement of people in history. It developed after Europeans began exploring and establishing trading posts on the Atlantic (west) coast of Africa in the mid-15th century. The first major group of European traders in West Africa was the Portuguese, followed by the British and the French. In the 16th and 17th centuries, these European colonial powers began to pursue plantation agriculture in their expanding possessions in the New World (North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean islands), across the Atlantic Ocean. As European demand grew for products such as sugar, tobacco, rice, indigo, and cotton, and as more New World lands became available for European use, the need for plantation labor increased, thus, creating the Triangular trade and during this trade, over 12 million Africans were forcefully transported to the
Americas. This was responsible for the loss of population in West Africa therefore the society was disrupted; there was a destruction of cities, and a disruption of the gender structure.
Firstly, the loss in population or African diaspora increased when the European demand for goods was enlarged. As a result, the Europeans organized raiding parties in order to violently capture and seize African individuals, once captured they “were no longer treated as fellow human beings but rather as property, like domestic live stock, to be herded together, examined and bartered over” (Shillington 183). Captives were also “chained together and marched to the coast where they were locked up in wooden cages to await the arrival of the next European trading ship. They were then stripped naked, men and women together, and examined minutely to see if they were fit, strong and healthy” (Shillington 183). Although, 12 million slaves were captured and transported to the Americas about 50 million slaves were lost during the process...
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