Atlantic Slave Trade

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AtlanticSlave Trade


AtlanticSlave Trade

TheAtlantic slave trade had significant detrimental effects on theAfrican societies, especially in West Africa. The trade disrupted thesocial set-ups in the Africa because of the demographic disruptions.The trade led to the capture of millions of men and women fromAfrica, who were eventually exported to America and Europe (Robertet al.495) The main concern about these captures is that the societies weresnatched their strongest sons and daughters. Therefore, Africansocieties could no longer defend themselves from adversaries sincetheir strongest men were taken as slaves. Moreover, the capture ofthese strong individuals meant that economic activities such as tradeand farming could no longer take place because of limited labour(Robertet al.495).

Slavetraders did not capture slaves by themselves they used raiders fromother African communities to raid African villages for slaves.Therefore, this resulted in increased war and intercommunityconflicts. Many African women and men died during the capture ofslaves as many attempted to free themselves (Robertet al.496). The African population, therefore, declined rapidly from thesenseless wars, historians estimate that close to 50 million Africanslost their lives during these conflicts. The Africans who survivedthe wars either died during transit because of disease or were beatento death by the slave traders.

TheTrade led to gender imbalances in African societies. A significantproportion of the captured slaves were men. Slave traders wanted moremen because of their strength and the hard labour in theirdestinations (Robertet al.496). In this regard, the African societies had more females thanmen. Many young women did not get suitors because of the ratioimbalance. This ratio imbalance led to the rise in polygamy as theavailable men decided to marry more than one woman to mitigate thelimited number of males. The trade, therefore, played a key role inestablishing polygamy as a major characteristic of the Africanculture.

Theslave trade conflict led to disruption in the trading activities onthe African continent. Able-bodied men who took part in trade werecaptured as slaves. Moreover, there was widespread fear among thetraders regarding the risk of engaging in trade therefore, someopted to stay away completely (Robertet al.497). Again, the trade led to conflicts in the trading routes in WestAfrica. Slave traders took charge of the trading routes, therefore,kicking out commodity traders from accessing them.

Slave-producingsocieties bore the brunt of suffering in the African societies. Thesesocieties were too weak to defend themselves because of lack ofstrong leadership. Weaker Kingdoms and empires in West Africa losttheir men and women through slavery (Robertet al.497). African societies which had strong leaders and military powerengaged in capturing the slaves. These communities obtained guns fromEuropeans and other ammunition which they used in conquering weaksocieties. They supplied the interior and coastal markets andbenefited economically from the trade. Other societies that benefitedfrom the trade acted as middlemen and retailers. African leaders soldprisoners as slaves thus accumulating vast financial resources.

Participationin the trade led to the formation of states in Africa and other partsof the world. Communities that engaged in slave trade dominated othersocieties, acquired significant territories thus leading to theformation of states. Upon the abolition of slave trade, many Africanswere deported to Islands especially in the Caribbean, leading to theformation of states. Therefore, both in Africa and away from Africa,the Atlantic trade stimulated the formation of states because ofeconomic and social disruption


Tignor,Robert L., et al.&nbspWorldstogether, worlds apart.New York, NY: W.W. Norton &amp Company, Inc, 2014. Print.

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