Effects Of Slave Trade In Africa

The transnational slave trade had immense negative impact on Africa. The trade affected Africans on all levels, from personal, to communal, and even continental levels(Lovejoy, 1989. Not only were millions of strong productive individuals captured, death toll and destruction experienced as a result of wars and slave raids were also remarkably high (M’baye, 2006). Furthermore military actions were followed by severe famines that led to deaths of the very young and the old members of the community.

Captives were forced to walk over long distances with limited water and food supplies, which led to deaths of many. Although a small number of the enslaved remained in Africa, a significant number was transported to other continents, thus heightening slave trade’s impact on the continent.The ever-rising death rates coupled with expatriation of the enslaved affected the African population growth significantly. It is estimated that the African population did not start to grow until towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Slave trade brought about significant changes in the social and political scenes. Social relationships were restructured and traditional idealsweakened. Slave trade saw the rise of predatory systems, which heightened the already existing social and economic stagnation resulting into regression(M’baye, 2006). There were frequent migrations as communities fled slavers’ route. During such migrations, all available resources and energy was entirely dedicated to preventing and defending themselves against attacks, which hindered the development of those communities and that of the continent at large(Lovejoy, 1989).

The disruption caused by slave trade was colossal. This affected relationships on all levels, between kingdoms; ethnic communities;religious groups;rulers and their subjects;and the enslaved and those who were free among others. Most communities adopted new styles of leaderships and implemented rules that governed external interactions in the efforts to improve security(Lovejoy, 1989. Additionally, European powers intruded political process in order to counteract the rise of centralized states,as that would obstruct slave trade.

Slave trade that commenced on a small-scale level grew exponentially over a short period due to rising demand for slaves. As African societies commercialized the trade,the continent’s economic, social, and political progress was hindered(M’baye, 2006). The trade reduced Africa’s economy from relying on agriculture and mineral trade to only relying on slave trade. Consequently, the previously developed states became instable and fragmented due to conflicts. The adverse impact of slave tradeon Africa is still felt up to date.


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