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Two Views of The History of Islamic Slavery in Africa

By Susan Stephan

Slavery in the Arab World

Murray Gordon New Amsterdam Books, New York, NY 1989 In his fact-filled work on the history of the Muslim Arab slave trade in Africa, Murray Gordon notes that this trade pre-dated the European Christian African slave trade by a thousand years and continued for more than a century after the Europeans had abolished the practice. Gordon estimates the number of slaves harvested from Black Africa over the period of the Muslim Arab slave trade at 11 million roughly equal to the number taken by European Christians for their colonies in the New World. Despite the long history of slavery in the Arab World and in other Muslim lands, little has been written about this tragedy, writes Gordon in his introduction. Except for the few abolitionists, mainly in England, who railed against Arab slavery and put pressure upon Western governments to end the traffic in slaves, the issue has all but been ignored in the West.

Conspiracy of Silence on Arab Slave Trade

Gordon decries a conspiracy of silence. . .[that] has blocked out all light on this sensitive subject. Among scholars in the Arab world, the author points out, No moral opprobrium has clung to slavery since it was sanctioned by the Koran and enjoyed an undisputed place in Arab society.

The book starts out with a brief outline of the growth of the Islamic attitude toward slavery. There is no evidence that Muhammad sought to abolish slavery, notes Gordon, although he urged slave-owners to treat their slaves well and grant them freedom as a meritorious deed. Some Muslim scholars have taken this to mean that his true motive was to bring about a gradual elimination of slavery. Far more persuasive is the argument that by lending the moral authority of Islam to slavery, Muhammad assured its legitimacy. Thus, in lightening the fetter, he riveted it ever more firmly in place.

High Rate of Black African Casualties

While Gordon acknowledges that at times the Islamic version of slavery could be more humane than the European colonial version, he provides many facts which point out that the Muslim variety of slavery could be extremely cruel as well. One particularly brutal practice was the mutilation of young African boys, sometimes no more than 9 or ten years old, to create eunuchs, who brought a higher price in the slave markets of the Middle East. Slave traders often created eunuch stations along the major African slave routes where the necessary surgery was performed in unsanitary conditions. Gordon estimates that only one out of every 10 boys subjected to the mutilation actually survived the surgery. The taking of slaves in razzias, or raids, on peaceful African villages also had a high casualty rate. Gordon notes that the typical practice was to conduct a pre-dawn raid on an unsuspecting village and kill off as many of the men and older women as possible. Young women and children were then

abducted as the preferred booty for the raiders. Young women were targeted because of their value as concubines or sex slaves in markets. The most common and enduring purpose for acquiring slaves in the Arab world was to exploit them for sexual purposes, writes Gordon. These women were nothing less than sexual objects who, with some limitations, were expected to make themselves available to their owners. . .Islamic law, as already noted, catered to the sexual interests of a man by allowing him to take as many as four wives at one time and to have as many concubines as his purse allowed. Young women and girls were often inspected before purchase in private areas of the slave market by the prospective buyer.

Racism Toward Black Africans

Some of Gordons research disputes the oft-repeated charge that racism did not play a part in Islamic slave society. While it is true that the Muslims of the Middle East took slaves of all colors and ethnicities, they considered white slaves more valuable than black ones and developed racist attitudes toward the darker skinned people. Even the famous Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun, expressed racist attitudes toward black Africans: The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and their proximity to the animal stage, Khaldun wrote. Another Arab writer, of the 14th Century, asked: Is there anything more vile than black slaves, of less good and more evil than they? Gordon covers the Arab/African slave trades up until the mid20th Century, noting that Saudi Arabia only abolished the

practice in the early 1960s. Unlike the European nations and the USA, the Arab nations did not abolish African slavery voluntarily out of moral conscience, but due to considerable economic and military pressure applied by the great colonial powers of time, France and Britain. Slavery is still practiced in two Islamic nations: The Sudan and Mauritania. Further reading about the Arab/Muslim slave trades can be found in the following book:

Race and Slavery in the Middle East Bernard Lewis

Oxford University Press (Trade); Reprint edition (April 1992) An excerpt from this book can be found here To learn more about the 21st Century slave conditions in The Sudan and Mauritania, please visit


White Slaves, African Masters An Anthology of American Barbary Captivity Narratives

Edited and with an introduction by Paul Baepler The University of Chicago Press 1999

This book illuminates a subject once well-known in the history of the West but which is now somewhat neglected: the enslavement, over several centuries, of tens of thousands of white Christian Europeans and (later) Americans in Muslim North Africa -- or the so-called Barbary states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli. Over the course of 10 centuries, tens of thousands of these unfortunates became the possessions of Muslims in North Africa courtesy of the feared Barbary pirates. These pirates cruised the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in search of European and, later, American ships to pillage and plunder. Edited by a lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Paul Baepler, this book focuses on first-person accounts of American Christians who served as slaves to high-ranking Muslim officials in North Africa. Baepler also provides fascinating background commentary that puts the narratives into historical perspective. He includes two fictional narratives of female captives. (According to Baepler, Christian women captives of the Barbary states unlike male captives usually did not publish their testimonies under their real names, due to the fact that many of them had been dishonored by service in the harems of Barbary potentates.) As Baepler notes in his introduction, Christian slaves of European ancestry were hardly an uncommon phenomenon in the Barbary States. The Barbary pirates were excellent seafarers and, from the Coasts of North Africa, sailed as far north as Iceland (where they went ashore and captured 800 slaves during one incident) and as far West as Newfoundland, Canada, where they pillaged more than 40 vessels at one time. By 1620, reports Baepler, there were more than 20,000 white Christian slaves in Algiers alone, and by the 1630s that number tolled more than 30,000 men and 2,000 women. The most famous of all white Christian Europeans to serve as a slave in the Barbary States was probably Miguel de Cervantes, the great Spanish author of

the Don Quixote epic, who was taken as a slave in the late 1500s.

An Important Source of Revenue

European and (later on) American slaves appeared to have been important source of foreign revenue for the local economies for several centuries. First, European and (later) American governments paid huge sums in tribute to the Muslim governments in exchange for peace treaties that were supposed to halt the pirate attacks on their trading and naval ships. Those nations who did not pay suffered the consequences. Second, enslaved Europeans and Americans were often redeemed for a handsome ransom. And third, even if the Muslim governments received no tribute or ransom, they still benefited from the unpaid labor of their captives. Baepler quotes a Barbary Coast maxim that illustrates the viewpoints of the pirates and their sponsoring states: The Christians who would be on good terms with [the Barbary States] must [either] fight well or pay well. The first-person narratives reproduced in this book do not support the often-repeated contention that slavery was somehow a more human institution in the Islamic world than it was in the European colonies of the New World. By and large, the Christian slaves were poorly fed and housed, existing, by one account, on a meager ration of two slices of bread and a small quantity of beans per day. Clothing and medical care -- was provided by sympathetic free Europeans living in North Africa; slave-owners provided nothing. Spanish Catholic priests even built a large hospital in Algeria to look after ill and dying Christian slaves. The most popular punishment was the bastinado hundreds

of blows on the soles of the feet with a thick wooden truncheon. For more severe offenses, such as attempting to escape or ridiculing the Muslim religion or prophet, slaves were executed in particularly cruel ways: by crucifixion, burning at the stake or impalement on huge iron hooks until death. The narrators of these slave accounts witnessed many acts of brutality toward the Christian slaves, as well as toward the general North African populace ruled over by the elite: the beys, deys and bashaws of the Barbary States. Baepler quotes from, but does not include, the narrative of one James Riley, an American Barbary captive of the early 1800s who published a book about his experiences upon returning to the United States. The book became an influential best-seller in the young nation of the USA and influenced those Americans who worked for abolition of the shameful practice of Black African slavery in the Southern States of the USA. Rileys book was said to have greatly influenced one young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, who, as 16th president of the United States, signed the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery in the U.S. in 1863. As for the Barbary pirate slave trade, it continued sporadically up until the dawn of the 20th Century, and was not abolished until military and economic pressure was applied by the colonial powers of Europe (with, in come cases, assistance from the military might of the USA).

The Arab Slave Trade

by SH EI KY ERM AM I on AUG U ST 1 3, 2 009

The Middle Eastern Passage

by Baron Bodissey/Gates of Vienna When most people think of the African slave trade, they picture evil white men for example, prominent members of the Adams

family in Boston who purchased slaves on the west coast of Africa and shipped them to South America, the Caribbean, and the United States. But those guys werent your typical slave traders. These were:

Group of slaves with Arab men Its important to remember that the bulk of the slave trade went in the opposite direction from Africa to the Arabian peninsula. The Arabs have been enslaving Africans since prehistoric times, and the slave trade in Saudi Arabia wasnt abolished until the 1960s. An underground traffic in slaves continues to this day, particularly in Mauritania and other countries in western and northern Africa.

Islams black slaves

The author of a book on the 1,400-year history of the other slave trade talks about the power of eunuchs, the Nation of Islams falsehoods and the persistence of slavery today. More>>

White Slavery, Atlantic Jihad, Europeans

captured and sold

The Arabs were the primary suppliers of slaves the wholesalers, if you will for European-owned ships that made the Middle Passage. The Arabs had long-established raiding-and-trading routes in Africa that no European could hope to match, so they continued to dominate the market. The photo above was taken in 1868, and the flow of slaves from Africa to Arabia continued for almost a century after that. Heres the account that was posted along with the photo: Group of slaves with Arab men Zanzibar, 1850-1890 The Indian Ocean Slave trade evolved around the Indian Ocean basin. Slaves were taken from mainland East Africa and sold in markets in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. In contrast to the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Indian Ocean Slave Trade was much older dating back from at least the second century C.E. until the early twentieth century. For example, the oldest written document from the East Africa Coast, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, describes a small trade in slaves around the second century C.E. The idea that Muslims, particularly Arabs, are somehow friends and comrades in suffering with American blacks is the Big Lie of the 21st century. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that Muslims have been slaughtering and enslaving black Africans for more than a millennium. The truth is that black African Muslims have the lowest status of

any group in Islam, and are held in special contempt by Arabs. The truth is that Muslim immigrants to the United States have appropriated the rhetoric of civil rights for their own ends, and are cynically exploiting African Americans in an attempt to Islamize America. You wont hear much about these truths in the mainstream media. Its not a story that people want to hear, because it doesnt fit the dominant narrative of white patriarchy and oppression.

For more information the African slave trade, visit this page on the same website Dymphna correcty points out: What has always amazed me is the fact that though slavery did indeed exist here, there was no castration of Africans imported to this country. Families were often cruelly torn apart at the whim and economics of slave-holders, but there were exceptions to that.
Where do you see a thousand years of African blood in Arab countries? You dont. The men were often killed and boys were castrated. Many of them died as a result. The women were used and discarded. They disappeared and another generation, fresh from Africa, replaced them as though they had never been.

Yet here in the US it is hard to find a black person who has *no* white blood. Perhaps the lately-arrived Haitians are a current exception? The tensions between whites and blacks are very old, but they can be transcended and frequently are. There is money to be made by

the race mongers e.g., Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, etc. But what is ironic and truly pathetic is the ahistorical and misbegotten idea of burdening children in the US with MuslimAfrican names. What a sick joke on the victims of their own ignorance.

Coptic Preacher letter to Obama on Islamic history: Says many of the African slaves would have already been Christian
Islamization Watch

Colonial official with arab dignitaries , on the right is Tippu Tip (the most renowned Arab slave and ivory trader, died in 1905), in Zanzibar, Tanzania

The beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave traded started first with the Portuguese expedition to get gold ~ but what they also found was a thriving slave trade of non-Muslim African being used as Muslim slaves. So to get gold from these Muslim Kingdoms they traded slaves. Which was one of the reasons they were able to set up ports along the coast, relatively unopposed, because the slaves didnt come from the Muslim dominated areas they were being taken to those areas. Besides this other good were being traded there as well. The end of the fifteenth century was marked (for Europe) by Vasco da Gamas successful voyage to India and the establishment of sugar plantations on Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde Islands. Rather than trading slaves back to Muslim merchants, there was an emerging market for agricultural workers on the plantations. By 1500 the Portuguese had transported approximately 81,000 slaves to these various markets. [About] The majority of these slaves came from Europe and Africa there were always enterprising locals ready to kidnap or capture their fellow countrymen. When the Europeans reached Africa there was this whole slavetrade machine already in operation ~ and these slave primarily came from non-Muslim areas.. Black Africans were transported to the Islamic empire across the Sahara to Morocco and Tunisia from West Africa, from Chad to Libya, along the Nile from East Africa, and up the coast of East Africa to the Persian Gulf. This trade had been well entrenched for over 600 years before Europeans arrived, and had driven the rapid

expansion of Islam across North Africa. By the time of the Ottoman Empire, the majority of slaves were obtained by raiding in Africa. Russian expansion had put an end to the source of exceptionally beautiful female and brave male slaves from the Caucasians the women were highly prised in the harem, the men in the military. [About] Recently there was a problem with forced Islamization in a few Bulgarian villages ~ they had been Muslim through the communist years ~ but there was this effort to ~ like what is happening across Europe to get the women out of their regional clothes ~ into the Arabized black or black and white Arab dress. They brought a strict version of Islam to the schools and everyone was required to go to the mosque. And those who didnt go along with this were ostracised, threatened and called ~ Giaour or an infidel slave ~ it is considered to be an extremely derogatory term ~ and it goes back to the Ottomans taking the non-Muslims as slaves. Giaour (Turkish gavur) is a noun in the Turkish language, most notable as a pejorative term and offensive ethnic slur for bulgarians and other christian people of the Balkans. It was widely used during the days of the Ottoman empire. The word was adaptated into turkish from Persian gdwr or gbr, an infidel. [+] Although the law required owners to treat slaves well and provide medical treatment, a slave had no right to be heard in court (testimony was forbidden by slaves), had no right to property, could marry only with permission of their owner, and was considered to be a chattel, that is the (moveable) property, of the slave owner.

Conversion to Islam did not automatically give a slave freedom nor did it confer freedom to their children. Whilst highly educated slaves and those in the military did win their freedom, those used for basic duties rarely achieved freedom. In addition, the recorded mortality rate was high this was still significant even as late as the nineteenth century [About] And the references to slavery continue today ~ within the Islamic world. Where the distinction lies in those who were taken as slaves and then converted to Islam, would still be referred to as slaves by the Arabs from the Arab region proper. I have it on good authority that those for example in Northern Sudan, who are called Arabs are still referred to as Arab slaves in derogatory terms. Other North Africans have similar stories ~ of being called this by those in Arabia ~ so there is a tiered system in Islam. Those who were made slaves and then become Muslim and those who were Muslim and took slaves. You do wonder what the Muslims were doing all those years. But slavery proved to be an inefficient system of growing an economy, because only the few would have been made wealthy, and if you were not party to this, unless you were highly skilled, you could not simply get paid employment, because there were slaves for that. free men could not be enslaved, and those faithful to foreign religions could live as protected persons, dhimmis, under Muslim rule (as long as they maintained payment of taxes called Kharaj and Jizya). However, the spread of the Islamic Empire resulted in a much harsher interpretation of the law. For example, if a dhimmis was unable to pay the taxes they could be enslaved, and people from outside the borders of the Islamic Empire were considered an

acceptable source of slaves. [About] Coptic Preachers open letter to Obama on Muslim history in US In his speech that he gave in Cairo, our president [Barack Obama] said, I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of American history. Have they, Mr. Obama, or was this just another peace-making pansy thrown out? Where are the facts? As a scholar in world history, I can tell you. Other people have defiled another persons response. They say he got his basic facts wrong and is racist. Unfortunately, those spectators were wrong on both counts. First, I am going to prove the fact that Muslim slavery in America could not have been possible. When the flurry for North Americas colonization began, the Spanish conquistadors were one of the earliest explorers. Of course, the European monarchs and aristocrats wanted a share in the wealth too. So, they made a deal with King Mansa Musa of the south eastern Africa territory. Guns had just been successfully invented at the time, so they agreed to periodically trade guns for slaves. This is where the first African slaves were taken, because there were not enough Native Americans. Mansa Musa agreed, and you can easily find, even in a common middle school history book, that it is a plain fact that Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim. Funny how you call it White propaganda when it was an African who agreed to start this long slave toil.

Because he was such a devout Muslim, Mansa Musa would not even send the lowest class of Muslims into slavery, so instead, he conveniently sent the Christians to their toil. Some other people said that Muslim blacks were in slavery. W-R-O-N-G. They kept their heritage through songs of praise to the Christian God, once again proving that Mansa Musa disposed of as many African Christians as possible. So far, the only Muslim who played a part in our history was the one that started slavery. Now Im sure you are going to say that in early times, slaves were forced to convert to Christianity. Again, this is incorrect. It was the Spanish conquistador missionaries who were the ones who imposed this religion, and they didnt even impose it on African slaves! They forced this on Native American tribes such as the Mayas, Aztecs, and even the early Olmecs. Why? Because the African slaves were already Christian!

African slavery must not be forgotten

On 23 August we celebrate a vital moment in the abolition of the slave trade so why has the day received no state support?

Felicity Heywood, Tuesday 23 August 2011

Toussaint L'Ouverture was one of the leaders of the rebellion that saw Haiti become the first black nation in the Caribbean. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesBritain woke up on 23 August largely ignorant of the fact that it is a national day of remembrance. Four years ago the government declared it the day to remember those millions of African people who were captured, denigrated, enslaved, tortured and murdered, who rebelled and ultimately survived a period rightly seen as the most heinous crime of humankind against

humankind in history. But when was the government going to tell us? And what is it contributing to the day?

It was 220 years ago on 23 August that Africans on the island that is now Haiti rose up against their captors and began a rebellion led first by Boukman Dutty and then by the strategist Toussaint L'Ouverture who defeated the best armies of the British, French and Spanish and in 1804 declared Haiti the first black nation in the Caribbean. Shockwaves ran through the slaving nations and set in motion the beginning of the end of the trade in African people worldwide. On 23 August last year, communities minister Andrew Stunell who holds as part of his responsibilities race equality and community cohesion said: "Acceptance and understanding of our past is important in moving towards a future which is free of intolerance and racism." He rightly made the link between the world as it is today and past events this is not about gazing into history as an academic exercise, it is an essential route to understanding how the inequality of African peoples has been embedded into societies worldwide and how it continues today. For instance, it could go a long way to inform us why Haiti is now described as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The government promised workshops to "help black and minority ethnic-led organisations to access funding for educational and heritage events (including those on the remembrance of slavery and the slave trade)". But these failed to take place. A year on, no African grassroots organisations have received funding for events this year.

When one such organisation applied on three occasions for lottery funding to organise events and activities, it was turned down on each occasion. And the Big Lottery Fund, with a 600m purse, has given zero to transatlantic slave trade applications this year or last. By contrast, Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the Jewish and other genocides on 27 January and has received direct Department for Communities funding annually since 2001. This year, as last, it was awarded 750,000. Is the government implying that one is more important than the other? Is the 400-year genocide, during which Britain became the leading slave-trading nation, no longer relevant? It appears that "acceptance and understanding of our past" is something the government is unwilling to practice itself. This month a group of British charities have reported the government to the United Nations saying it is not doing enough for racial equality. They and the government are giving evidence in Geneva today. The UN will report back in September. One way for the government to put some might behind the equality issue is to directly fund an education programme on the enslavement of African peoples. National community learning programmes would address the need to inform the public about this important historical event and its lasting legacy that has impacted so many nations for richer or poorer. And what better time to do it than in 2011, the UN's International Year for People of African Descent.

Posted by Black Educator at 1:57 PM 0 comments


BOOK REVIEW- Inhuman Bondage: On Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights

Eric Foner
Eric Foner, a member of The Nations editorial board, is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and the author, most recently, of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (Norton), which was awarded the 2011 Bancroft Prize and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in History. This article appeared in the August 29-September 5, 2011 edition of The Nation.

The American Crucible-- Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights By Robin Blackburn. Verso.
This past spring, television viewers in Britain were treated to a six-part series called Civilization about the rise (and possible fall, if China has its way) of the West, hosted by the historian Niall Ferguson. The series offered a highly reductive version of history, identifying "the West" with qualities such as competition, scientific inquiry and the rule of law, and denigrating societies

from Asia to the Middle East and Latin America for lacking these virtues. In effect, it provided a usable past for those who see the world as riven by a clash of civilizations. One episode explored why after independence, the United States forged ahead economically while the nations of Latin America stagnated. In an unusual twist, Ferguson chose South Carolina, a state governed by a tight-knit planter oligarchy, as a model of Jeffersonian democracy resting on small property ownership, in contrast to the autocratic societies south of the border organized around large latifundia. Only after forty-five minutes of the one-hour show did Ferguson mention the existence of slavesthe majority of South Carolina's population. When slavery was finally discussed, it was presented not as a crucial structural feature of early American society but as a moral dilemma, an "original sin" expiated by the election of Barack Obama. Among the many virtues of Robin Blackburn's The American Crucible is its demonstration that slavery must be at the center of any account of Western ascendancy. Without the colonization of the New World, Blackburn notes at the outset, the West as we know it would not exist, and without slavery there could have been no colonization. Between 1500 and 1820, African slaves constituted about 80 percent of those who crossed the Atlantic from east to west. More than any other institution, the slave plantation underpinned the extraordinary expansion of Western power and the region's prosperity in relation to the rest of the world. In two earlier books, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery (1988) and The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to Modern (1997), Blackburn traced the creation of New World slavery and its abolition in the British, French and Spanish empires, covering the years to 1848. These works established him as one of the foremost scholars of slavery as an international institution. Blackburn then took a detour to write two prescient volumes on the looming crisis in pension funding, which had somehow escaped the notice of bankers and credit rating agencies. In part, The American Crucible summarizes his earlier volumes; but it goes well beyond them, drawing on recent scholarship to amplify his previous arguments about slavery's rise and fall and taking the story to around 1900. He explores emancipation in the nineteenth century's three greatest slave systemsthose of the United States, Cuba and Brazil. The book is an outstanding example of a major trend in recent historical

writing: looking beyond national boundaries in favor of Atlantic or transnational history. Yet Blackburn cautions that while both the growth and abolition of slavery were international processes, they took place "in national histories" and followed no single pattern or path. With its theoretical sophistication and combination of a broad international approach and careful attention to local circumstances, The American Crucible takes its place alongside David Brion Davis's Inhuman Bondage as one of the finest onevolume histories of the rise and fall of modern slavery.

Blackburn emphasizes that far from being static, New World slavery was a constantly evolving institution, and he identifies three broad eras in its history. In the first, which he dates from about 1500 to 1650, slavery was centered in the Spanish colonies, small-scale and urban-based. By 1630 half the population of the great colonial cities Lima, Havana and Mexico City consisted of African slaves and their descendants. But in the countryside, in the silver and gold mines that enriched the Spanish crown and on the haciendas ruled by powerful colonial settlers, the indigenous population performed most of the labor. At the time, the Spanish Empire lacked an extensive plantation system. That system developed first in Brazil and then quickly spread to the British and French colonies of the Caribbean and mainland North America, launching the second era of modern slavery's history (16501800). Sugar and tobacco produced by slave labor, along with African slaves themselves, 6 million of whom were transported across the Atlantic in the eighteenth century, became key commodities of international commerce. Sugar was the first massmarketed product in human history. By 1770 colonial exports and re-exports, mostly of slave-produced goods, represented between a third and a half of Atlantic trade. The profits swelled merchants' coffers and the treasuries of European nation-states. By this time, too, the slave plantation had become a highly versatile economic unit, well adapted to the demands of the capitalist marketplace and quite modern in its methods of production, marketing and

credit arrangements. Far from a retrograde drag on economic development, slavery was "a sinew of national strength" and of economic prosperity. During this second era, slavery came to play a central role in key features of Western economic developmentthe spread of market relations, industrialization and the rise of a consumer economy. Carefully examining the old debate about the relationship between slavery and the Industrial Revolution, Blackburn concludes that the vast accumulation of capital derived from slave labor was a necessary, but not sufficient, cause of industrialization. Such profits did not boost manufacturing development in Spain and Portugal. Industrialization required not only money but a large home market and a supportive state, both of which only late eighteenth-century Britain possessed. Once it got under way, industrialization spurred the further growth of slavery, creating a giant market for cotton from the American South and fueling the spread of a "commodity-based notion of freedom," in which ordinary consumers demanded more and more of the sugar, tobacco, rum and coffee produced on slave plantations. ***

In the nineteenth century, slavery entered its third era, one rife with contradictions. During the century's first four decades, Haiti, born of a slave revolution, emerged as the hemisphere's second independent republic, and the northern United States, the independent nations of Latin America and the British Empire began taking steps toward abolition. Yet Blackburn cautions against the idea of a preordained, "irresistible advance" toward emancipation. Even as slavery died elsewhere, it thrived in Brazil, Cuba and the American South. Indeed, in 1860, on the eve of the American Civil War, far more slaves (around 6 million) resided in the Western Hemisphere than ever before. And slave-grown products (Cuban sugar, Brazilian coffee, American cotton) played a greater role than ever in the new economy of mass consumption. By this

time, to be sure, industry had outstripped plantation slavery in supplying goods for the consumer marketplace. But, Blackburn insists, no purely economic reason existed to prevent slave plantations from continuing to coexist with industrializing economies, supplying their demand for raw materials and consumer goods from the tropics. Blackburn also rejects the idea that emancipation arose from what he calls "latent virtue," a comforting notion sometimes invoked by American historians to excuse the founding fathers for lack of action against slavery on the grounds that their ideals set in motion the abolition process. High ideals alone did not abolish slavery. And while not neglecting slave agency, Blackburn argues that the concessions and customary rights wrested by slaves from their owners over a long period of day-to-day struggle did not pose a fundamental challenge to the system. Rather, he insists, emancipation emerged from specific historical circumstancesa nexus of slave resistance, ideological conflict and political crisis. Blackburn examines in detail the myriad strains of antislavery thought religious, nationalist, humanitarian, economicand the abolitionists' pioneering use of mass-produced pamphlets, lithographs, petitions and the like to spread their message. By the early decades of the nineteenth century, a genteel antislavery sentiment had become a hallmark of enlightened opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. But Blackburn is quick to note the limited accomplishments of respectable antislavery. Often, early emancipations consisted of "free womb" laws that ended slavery over a prolonged period by freeing future offspring, not living slaves. Moreover, in most times and places, abolitionists represented only a small minority of the free population. Only in times of crisis did abolitionists acquire the power to influence national policy. It was not the slow accumulation of rights by slaves or the persuasiveness of antislavery arguments that produced emancipation but "revolutionary ruptures" and political crises. In revolutionary France, as well as in a Spanish Empire wracked by wars of colonial independence, a Britain beset by the crisis over parliamentary reform in the early 1830s and Civil War America, slave resistance suddenly gained new salience, and abolitionist arguments found a receptive audience among the general populace and political elites. As in his previous studies of slavery, Blackburn also insists that emancipation was closely connected to the state-building process. The act of abolition

presupposed the existence of a new kind of state, one intolerant of the special local sovereignty of slave owners and capable of carrying out radical measures. It gave the state moral legitimacy, allowing it plausibly to claim to be the embodiment of liberty. Blackburn offers an excellent account of the path toward emancipation in the United States and of Abraham Lincoln's evolving attitudes and policies. The Civil War clearly exemplified the linkage of nineteenth-century nationalism with abolition, and the destruction of the hemisphere's largest and most powerful slave system compelled Cuba and Brazil to reckon with their reliance on slavery. Spain enacted a free womb law for Cuba in 1870, but abolition there, as elsewhere, also involved violence. About half the rebel army in the war of independence of the 1870s consisted of present or former slaves, and patriots demanded equal citizenship for all, regardless of race, in an independent Cuba. Slavery in Brazil finally ended in 1888, seemingly peacefully, although numerous slave revolts and the enlistment of thousands of slave soldiers in the war against Paraguay between 1865 and 1870 preceded emancipation.

When it comes to the consequences of abolition, Blackburn presents a rather somber assessment. Antislavery ideas were always linked to notions of liberty and progress, but less often to racial equality. As they extended their empires across the globe in the late nineteenth century, European powers "claimed to be inspired by abolitionist principles" even when acting in blatantly racist ways. Everywhere in the Western Hemisphere, new systems of racial and labor subordination succeeded plantation slavery. Emancipation's economic impact turned out to be less drastic than many had hoped or feared. The export value of the main cropsAmerican cotton, Brazilian coffee and Cuban sugar quickly recovered. Blackburn is particularly pessimistic about the postslavery United States,

warning against a scholarly tendency to "exaggerate the gains made by former slaves and their descendants." While acknowledging the remarkable effort during Reconstruction to create an interracial democracy in the South, he sees that era as a minor detour on the road to a new system of racial domination based on segregation, disenfranchisement and economic subordination. He goes so far as to say that in the entire hemisphere, "the blacks of the US South gained least from the ending of slavery." It is unclear what standard of comparison Blackburn is applying here, because, as he notes, postemancipation societies in general remained highly unequal. Despite its failure, Reconstruction closed off even more oppressive possibilities in the United States. Moreover, the rewriting of the laws and Constitution during Reconstruction to enshrine the idea of equal citizenship rights for blacks established the legal framework for subsequent challenges to the postemancipation racial regime. And the creation of autonomous black churches and schools put in place institutions that would serve as the strongholds for future struggles. Without attributing social change to "latent virtue," one can note that unlike racial systems in other countries, the South's Jim Crow laws remained regional, not national, and that options existed for American blacks not matched elsewhere, especially the possibility of migration to the North and West, where a different (though hardly egalitarian) racial system prevailed.

Slavery and emancipation form two of the three parts of Blackburn's subtitle. The third, human rights, receives less attention but represents a new concern compared with his previous work. In part, Blackburn's discussion is a response to recent scholarship by Lynn Hunt, who locates the origins of human rights consciousness in the Enlightenment and the French Revolution [see "On the Genealogy of Morals," April 16, 2007], and Samuel Moyn, who situates the idea's emergence much more recently, in the 1970s [see "Human Rights in History," August 30/September 6, 2010]. Earlier definitions of human rights,

Moyn points out, were tied to the nation-state, as the title of one key such document, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, makes clear. People enjoyed human rights by virtue of membership in a particular polity, not their common humanity. Only lately, Moyn claims, did the idea arise of human rights that transcend and challenge national sovereignty and are thus truly universal. Blackburn acknowledges the force of Moyn's argument and has no desire to create a selective and ahistorical genealogy of human rights. He insists, however, rightly in my view, that the abolitionist movement played a major role in developing the concept of human rights unbounded by race and nationality. "In the heat of these momentous clashes over slavery," he writes, "a new notion of human freedom and human unity was proclaimed." Indeed, the attack on slavery also involved a critique of the pretensions and power of the nation-states that protected and profited from the institution. Unlike previous scholars, Blackburn places the slave uprising in St. Domingue the richest of all the sugar colonies, which became the nation of Haitiat the center of the early history of human rights. The Haitian revolution, he notes, is rarely given its due by historians. Half a century ago, R.R. Palmer wrote an acclaimed two-volume work, The Age of the Democratic Revolution, that barely mentioned Haiti. Lately, thanks in part to the bicentennial of Haitian independence in 2004, a spate of works have appeared. Drawing on this literature, Blackburn insists that the rebellious slaves profoundly affected Atlantic political culture and human rights consciousness. Not only did events in St. Domingue directly inspire the 1794 French decree abolishing slavery (later reversed by Napoleon); the revolutionary convention's decision to seat black and brown delegates from the island marked a stunning affirmation that the entitlements of the Declaration of the Rights of Man were available to all French citizens, regardless of color. Ironically, if "the West" is to celebrate the idea of universal human rights as one of its distinctive contributions to modern civilization, part of the credit must go to the mostly African-born slave rebels of Haiti.

Arab slave trade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the relation between the Islamic religion and the institution of slavery, see Islam and slavery.
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The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of

Europe (such as Iberia and southern Italy) during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa. People traded were not limited to a certain color, ethnicity, or religion and included Arabs and Berbers, especially in its early days. Later, during the 8th and 9th centuries of the Islamic Caliphate, most of the slaves were Slavic Eastern Europeans (called Saqaliba). However, slaves were drawn from a wide variety of regions and included Mediterranean peoples, Persians, Turks, peoples from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia, English, Dutch and Irish, Berbers from North Africa, and various other peoples of varied origins as well as those of African origins. Later, toward the 18th and 19th centuries, slaves increasingly came from East Africa, until slavery was officially abolished in 1970.[1][2][3]
Contents [hide] 1 Scope of the trade 2 Sources and historiography of the slave trade 2.1 A recent and controversial topic 0 2.1.1 20th century 2.2 Medieval Arabic sources 2.3 European texts (16th-19th centuries) 2.4 Other sources 3 Historical and geographical context of the Arab slave trade 3.1 The Islamic world 3.2 Arabic views on African people 3.3 Africa: 8th through 19th centuries 4 Geography of the slave trade 4.1 "Supply" zones 4.2 Routes 4.3 Barter 4.4 Slave markets and fairs 4.5 Towns and ports involved in the slave trade 5 See also

6 References 7 Bibliography 7.1 Books in English 8 Audio material 8.1 Books and articles in French 9 External links


Scope of the trade

Historians estimate that between 10 and 18 million Africans were enslaved by Arab slave traders and taken across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert between 650 and 1900,.[4][5][6][7] It should be noted that the term Arab when used in historical documents often represented a cultural term rather than a "racial" term, and many of the "Arab" slave traders such as Tippu Tip and others were indistinguishable from the "Africans" whom they enslaved and sold. Due to the nature of the Arab slave trade it is also impossible to be precise about actual numbers.[8][9][10][11] Periodic Arab raiding expeditions were sent from Islamic Iberia to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In a raid against Lisbon in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Crdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.[12] Arabs also enslaved substantial numbers of Europeans. According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary corsairs, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries.[13][14] These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages from Italy, Spain, Portugal and also from more distant places like France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Iceland. The impact of these attacks was devastating France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.[15][16]

The Ottoman wars in Europe and Tatar raids brought large numbers of European Christian slaves into the Muslim world too.[17][18][19] The 'Oriental' or 'Arab' slave trade is sometimes called the 'Islamic' slave trade, but a religious imperative was not the driver of the slavery, Patrick Manning, a professor of World History, states. However, if a non-Muslim population refuses to adopt Islam or pay the jizya protection/subjugation tax, that population is considered to be at war with the Muslim "ummah" and therefore it becomes legal under Islamic law to take slaves from that non-Muslim population. Usage of the terms "Islamic trade" or "Islamic world" has been disputed by some Muslims as it treats Africa as outside of Islam, or a negligible portion of the Islamic world.[20] Propagators of Islam in Africa often revealed a cautious attitude towards proselytizing because of its effect in reducing the potential reservoir of slaves.[21] From a Western point of view, the subject merges with the Oriental slave trade, which followed two main routes in the Middle Ages:

Overland routes across the Maghreb and Mashriq deserts (TransSaharan route)[22] Sea routes to the east of Africa through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean (Oriental route)[23][24] The Arab slave trade originated before Islam and lasted more than a millennium. It continues today in some places.[25][26][27] Arab traders brought Africans across the Indian Ocean from present-day Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Sudan,[28] Eritrea, Ethiopia and elsewhere in East Africa to present-day Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East [29] and South Asia (mainly Pakistan and India). Unlike the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the New World, Arabs supplied African slaves to the Muslim world, which at its peak stretched over three continents from the Atlantic (Morocco, Spain) to India and eastern China.

The Slave Market (c. 1884), painting by Jean-Lon Grme.


Sources and historiography of the slave trade


A recent and controversial topic

The history of the slave trade has given rise to numerous debates amongst historians. For one thing, specialists are undecided on the number of Africans taken from their homes; this is difficult to resolve because of a lack of reliable statistics: there was no census system in medieval Africa. Archival material for the transatlantic trade in the 16th to 18th centuries may seem useful as a source, yet these record books were often falsified. Historians have to use imprecise narrative documents to make estimates which must be treated with caution: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro states that there were 8 million slaves taken from Africa between the 8th and 19th centuries along the Oriental and the Trans-Saharan routes.[30] Olivier Ptr-Grenouilleau has put forward a figure of 17 million African people enslaved (in the same period and from the same area) on the basis of Ralph Austen's work.[31] Paul Bairoch suggests a figure of 25 million African people subjected to the Arab slave trade, as against 11 million that arrived in the Americas from the transatlantic slave trade.[32] Owen Alik Shahadah, author of the dedicated and historian on African slavery claims that the Arab slave trade was a "trickle trade" until the 19th century and that the new focus on Arab slave trade has political implications linked to the rise of Islamphobia as well as serving to redistribute blame for the European-run Atlantic slave trade. He also claims that it is impossible to give any definitive number on the toll from this trade and the alarmist numbers are not academically grounded but politically motivated guesswork.[33][34][35] Another obstacle to a history of the Arab slave trade is the limitations of extant sources. There exist documents from non-African cultures, written by educated men in Arabic, but these only offer an incomplete and often condescending look at the phenomenon. For some years there has been a huge amount of effort going into historical research on Africa. Thanks to new methods and new perspectives, historians can

interconnect contributions from archaeology, numismatics, anthropology, linguistics and demography to compensate for the inadequacy of the written record.

Dhows were used to transport African slaves to India.

The Arab slave trade from East Africa is one of the oldest slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years.[36] Male slaves who were often employed as servants, soldiers, or laborers by their owners, while female slaves, including those from Africa, were long traded to the Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab and Oriental traders, as concubines and servants. Arab, African and Oriental traders were involved in the capture and transport of slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into the Middle East, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent]. [edit]

20th century

This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help impro Main article: Slavery in modern Africa From approximately 650 until around the 1960s, the Arab slave trade continued in one form or another. Historical accounts and references to slave-owning nobility in Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere are frequent into the early 1920s.[36] In 1953, sheikhs from Qatar attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II included slaves in their retinues, and they did so again on another visit five years later.[37] As recently as the 1950s, Saudi Arabia's slave population was estimated at 450,000 approximately 20% of the population.[38] It is estimated that as many as 200,000 Sudanese children and women had been taken into slavery in Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War.[39][40] Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed

in 1905, 1961, and 1981.[41] It was finally criminalized in August 2007. [42] It is estimated that up to 600,000 Mauritanians, or 20% of Mauritania's population, are currently in conditions which some consider to be "slavery", namely many of them used as bonded labour due to poverty.[43] The Arab slave trade in the Indian Ocean, Red, and Mediterranean Seas long pre-dated the arrival of any significant number of Europeans on the African continent.[36][44] Descendants of the African slaves brought to the Middle East during the slave-trade still exist there today, and are aware of their African origins.


Medieval Arabic sources

These are given in chronological order. Scholars and geographers from the Arab world had been travelling to Africa since the time of Muhammad in the 7th century.

Al-Masudi (died 957), Muruj adh-dhahab or The Meadows of Gold, the reference manual for geographers and historians of the Muslim world. The author had travelled widely across the Arab world as well as the Far East. Ya'qubi (9th century), Kitab al-Buldan or Book of Countries Al-Bakri, author of Kitb al-Maslik wa'l-Mamlik or Book of Roads and Kingdoms, published in Crdoba around 1068, gives us information about the Berbers and their activities; he collected eye-witness accounts on Saharan caravan routes. Muhammad al-Idrisi (died circa 1165), Description of Africa and Spain Ibn Battuta (died circa 1377), Moroccan geographer who travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, to Gao and to Timbuktu. His principal work is called A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling. Ibn Khaldun (died in 1406), historian and philosopher from North Africa. Sometimes considered as the historian of Arab, Berber and Persian societies. He is the author of Muqaddimah orHistorical Prolegomena and History of the Berbers.

Al-Maqrizi (died in 1442), Egyptian historian. His main contribution is his description of Cairo markets. Leo Africanus (died circa 1548), author of Descrittione dell Africa or Description of Africa, a rare description of Africa. Rifa'a el-Tahtawi (18011873), who translated medieval works on geography and history. His work is mostly about Muslim Egypt. Joseph Cuoq, Collection of Arabic sources concerning Western Africa between the 8th and 16th centuries (Paris 1975) [edit]

European texts (16th-19th centuries)

Joo de Castro, Roteiro de Lisboa a Goa (1538) James Bruce, (17301794), Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (1790) Ren Cailli, (17991838), Journal d'un voyage Tombouctou Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, (17841817), Travels in Nubia (1819) Henry Morton Stanley, (18411904), Through the Dark Continent (1878) [edit]

Other sources

African Arabic and Ajam Manuscripts African oral tradition Kilwa Chronicle (16th century fragments) Numismatics: analysis of coins and of their diffusion Archaeology: architecture of trading posts and of towns associated with the slave trade Iconography: Arab and Persian miniatures in major libraries European engravings, contemporary with the slave trade, and some more modern Photographs from the 19th century onward Ethiopian (Ge'ez and Amharic) historical texts [edit]

Historical and geographical context of the Arab slave trade

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issue Its neutrality is disputed. Tagged since March 2008. Its factual accuracy is disputed. Tagged since March 2008. A brief review of the region and era in which the Oriental and transSaharan slave trade took place should be useful here. It is not a detailed study of the Arab world, nor of Africa, but an outline of key points which will help with understanding the slave trade in this part of the world. [edit]

The Islamic world

See also: Muslim world, Muslim conquests, and Islamic economics in the world The religion of Islam appeared in the 7th century CE, and in the next hundred years it was quickly diffused throughout the Mediterranean area, spread by Arabs after they conquered the Sassanid Persian Empire and many territories from the Byzantine Empire, including the Levant, Armenia and North Africa; they invaded the Iberian peninsula where they displaced the Visigothic Kingdom. These regions therefore had a diverse range of different peoples. To some extent, these regions were unified by an Islamic culture built on both religious and civic foundations. For example, they used the Arabic language and the dinar (currency) in commercial transactions. Mecca in Arabia, then as now, was the holy city of Islam and center of pilgrimages for all Muslims, whatever their origins. According to Bernard Lewis, the Arab Empire was the first "truly universal civilization," which brought together for the first time "peoples as diverse as the Chinese, the Indians, the people of the Middle East and North Africa, black Africans, and white Europeans."[47] The conquests of the Arab armies and the expansion of the Islamic state that followed have always resulted in the capture of war prisoners who were subsequently set free or turned into slaves or Raqeeq () and servants rather than taken as prisoners as was the Islamic tradition in wars. Once taken as slaves, they had to be dealt with in accordance with the Islamic law which was the law of the Islamic state, especially

during the Umayyad and Abbasid eras. According to that law, slaves are allowed to earn their living if they opted for that, otherwise it is the owners (master) duty to provide for that. They also cant be forced to earn money for their masters unless with an agreement between the slave and the master. This concept is called in the Islamic jurisprudence. If the slave agrees to that and he would like the money s/he earns to be counted toward his/her emancipation then this has to be written in the form of a contract between the slave and the master. This is called ( mukataba) in the Islamic jurisprudence. Muslims believe that slave owners in Islam are strongly encouraged to perform mukataba with their slaves as directed by the Qur'an: ... And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. ... Qur'an, Sura An-Nur[48] The framework of Islamic civilisation was a well-developed network of towns and oasis trading centres with the market (souq, bazaar) at its heart. These towns were inter-connected by a system of roads crossing semi-arid regions or deserts. The routes were travelled by convoys, and slaves formed part of this caravan traffic. In contrast to the Atlantic slave trade where the male-female ratio was 2:1 or 3:1, the Arab slave trade usually had a higher female:male ratio instead, suggesting a general preference for female slaves. Concubinage and reproduction served as incentives for importing female slaves (often Caucasian), though many were also imported mainly for performing household tasks.[49] [edit]

Arabic views on African people

This article contains too many or too lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic prose. Consider transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote. (June 2010) In the Qur'an, the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the overwhelming majority of Islamic jurists and theologians, all stated that humankind has a single origin and rejected the idea of certain ethnic groups being

superior to others.[47] According to the hadiths, Muhammad declared: There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for black over the white except in piety. Amyn B. Sajoo, The Islamic Ethos and the Spirit of Humanism[50] Despite this, some ethnic prejudices later developed among Arabs due to several reasons: their extensive conquests and slave trade;[47] the influence of Aristotle's idea of certain ethnic groups being slaves by nature, echoed by Muslim philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna, particularly in regards to Turkic and black peoples;[47] and the influence of the early mediaeval Geonic Academies ideas regarding divisions among mankind between the three sons of Noah, with the Babylonian Talmud stating that "the descendants of Ham are cursed by being black, and [it] depicts Ham as a sinful man and his progeny as degenerates."[51] However, ethnic prejudice among some elite Arabs was not limited to darker-skinned black people, but was also directed towards fairer-skinned "ruddy people" (including Persians, Turks and Europeans), while Arabs referred to themselves as "swarthy people".[52] It should also be noted that the concept of an Arab identity itself did not exist until modern times.[53] According to Arnold J. Toynbee: "The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue."[54] The famous 9th century Muslim author Al-Jahiz, an Afro-Arab and the grandson of a Zanj[55][56][57] slave, wrote a book entitled Risalat mufakharat al-Sudan 'ala al-bidan (Treatise on the Superiority of Blacks over Whites), in which he stated that Blacks: ...have conquered the country of the Arabs as far as Mecca and have governed them. We defeated Dhu Nowas (Jewish King of Yemen) and killed all the Himyarite princes, but you, White people, have never conquered our country. Our people, the Zenghs (Negroes) revolted forty times in the Euphrates, driving the inhabitants from their homes and making Oballah a bath of blood. Joel Augustus Rogers and John Henrik Clarke, World's Great Men of

And that: Blacks are physically stronger than no matter what other people. A single one of them can lift stones of greater weight and carry burdens such as several Whites could not lift nor carry between them. [...] They are brave, strong, and generous as witness their nobility and general lack of wickedness. Yosef Ben-Jochannan, African Origins of Major Western Religions[59] Al-Jahiz also stated in his Kitab al-Bukhala ("Avarice and the Avaricious") that: "We know that the Zanj (blacks) are the least intelligent and the least discerning of mankind, and the least capable of understanding the consequences of their actions."[60] Jahiz' criticism however, was limited to the Zanj and not blacks in totality, likely as a result of the Zanji revolts in his native Iraq.[60] This sentiment was echoed in the following passage from Kitab al-Bad' wah-tarikh (vol.4) by the medieval Arab writer Al-Muqaddasi: As for the Zanj, they are people of black color, flat noses, kinky hair, and little understanding or intelligence.[60] Al-Dimashqi (Ibn al-Nafis), the Arab polymath, also described the inhabitants of Sudan (Not Nubia) and the Zanj coast, among others, as being of "dim" intelligence and that: ...the moral characteristics found in their mentality are close to the instinctive characteristics found naturally in animals. Andrew Reid and Paul J. Lane, African Historical Archaeologies[61] By the 14th century, an overwhelming number of slaves came from subSaharan Africa, leading to prejudice against black people in the works of several Arabic historians and geographers. For example, the Egyptian historian Al-Abshibi (13881446) wrote: "It is said that when the [black] slave is sated, he fornicates, when he is hungry, he steals."[62] Mistranslations of Arab scholars and geographers from this time period have lead many to attribute certain racist attitudes that weren't prevalent until the 18th and 19th century to writings made centuries ago.[63] Although bias against those of very black complexion existed in the Arab world in the 15th century it didn't have as much stigma as it later

would. Older translations of Ibn Khaldun, for example in The Negroland of the Arabs Examined and Explained[64] which was written in 1841 gives excerpts of older translations that were not part of later colonial propaganda and show black Africans in a generally positive light. In 14th century North Africa, the Arab sociologist, Ibn Khaldun, wrote in his Muqaddimah: When the conquest of the West (by the Arabs) was completed, and merchants began to penetrate into the interior, they saw no nation of the Blacks so mighty as Ghanah, the dominions of which extended westward as far as the Ocean. The King's court was kept in the city of Ghanah, which, according to the author of the Book of Roger (El Idrisi), and the author of the Book of Roads and Realms (El Bekri), is divided into two parts, standing on both banks of the Nile, and ranks among the largest and most populous cities of the world. The people of Ghanah had for neighbours, on the east, a nation, which, according to historians, was called Susu; after which came another named Mali; and after that another known by the name of Kaukau ; although some people prefer a different orthography, and write this name Kagho. The last-named nation was followed by a people called Tekrur. The people of Ghanah declined in course of time, being overwhelmed or absorbed by the Molaththemun (or muffled people;that is, the Morabites), who, adjoining them on the north towards the Berber country, attacked them, and, taking possession of their territory, compelled them to embrace the Mohammedan religion. The people of Ghanah, being invaded at a later period by the Susu, a nation of Blacks in their neighbourhood, were exterminated, or mixed with other Black nations. William Desborough Cooley, The Negroland of the Arabs Examined and

Ibn Khaldun suggests a link between the decline of Ghana and rise of the Almoravids. However, there is little evidence of there actually being an Almoravid conquest of Ghana [65][66] aside from the parallel conflict with Tekrur, which was allied with the Almoravid and eventually absorbed by them. Ibn Khaldun attributed the "strange practices and customs" of certain black African tribes to the hot climate of sub-Saharan Africa and made it clear that it was not due to any curse in their lineage, dismissing the

Hamitic theory as a myth.[67] His critical attitude towards Arabs has led the scholar Mohammad A. Enan to suggest that Ibn Khaldun may have been a Berber pretending to be an Arab in order to gain social status, but Muhammad Hozien has responded to this claim stating that Ibn Khaldun or anyone else in his family never claimed to be Berber even when the Berbers were in power.[68] The 14th-century North African Berber geographer and traveller, Ibn Battuta, on his trip to western Sudan, was impressed with occasional aspects of life. Battuta later visited the Zanj-inhabited portions of East Africa and held more positive views of its black people.[60] We ... traveled by sea to the city of Kulwa (Kilwa in Tanzania)...Most of its people are Zunuj, extremely black...The city of Kulwa is amongst the most beautiful of cities and most elegantly built... Their uppermost virtue is religion and righteousness and they are Shafi'i in rite. [The people of Mombasa in Kenya] are a religious people, trustworthy and righteous. Their mosques are made of wood, expertly built. Ibn Battuta was also impressed with aspects of the Mali Empire of West Africa, which he visited in 1352, writing that the people there: ...possess some admirable qualities. They are seldom unjust, and have a greater abhorrence of injustice than any other people. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveler nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers or men of violence. Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354[69] In addition, he wrote many other positive comments on the people of the Mali Empire, including the following:[60] I met the qadi of Malli... he is a black, has been on a pilgrimage, and is a noble person with good qualities of character... I met the interpreter Dugha, a noble black and a leader of theirs... They performed their duty towards me [as a guest] most perfectly; may God bless and reward them for their good deeds! Another of [the Malli blacks'] good qualities is their concern for learning the sublime Qur'an by heart...One day I passed a handsome youth from

them dressed in fine clothes and on his feet was a heavy chain. I said to the man who was with me, 'What has this youth done -- has he killed someone?' The youth heard my remark and laughed. It was told me, 'He has been chained so that he will learn the Qu'ran by heart.' [the people of Iwalatan in West Africa] were generous to me and entertained me...and as for their women -- they are extremely beautiful and are more important than the men... Ibn Battuta's remarks contrasted greatly to that of many other comments from Arab authors concerning blacks. However, many of the exaggerated accounts are noted to have been based on hearsay and even perpetuated by Africans themselves in an attempt to keep their states and economies isolated, in addition to Ibn Battuta having been the only medieval Muslim scholar referenced here to have actually traveled to both east and west Africa.[60] [edit]

Africa: 8th through 19th centuries

In April 1998, Elikia Mbokolo, wrote in Le Monde diplomatique. "The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean"[70] In the 8th century, Africa was dominated by Arab-Berbers in the north: Islam moved southwards along the Nile and along the desert trails.

The Sahara was thinly populated. Nevertheless, since antiquity there had been cities living on a trade in salt, gold, slaves, cloth, and on agriculture enabled by irrigation: Tiaret, Oualata, Sijilmasa, Zaouila, and others. They were ruled by Arab, Berber, Fulani, Hausa and Tuaregs. Their independence was relative and depended on the power of the Maghrebi and Egyptian states. In the Middle Ages, sub-Saharan Africa was called bilad -ul-Sdn in Arabic, meaning land of the Blacks. It provided a pool of manual labour

for North Africa and Saharan Africa. This region was dominated by certain states: the Ghana Empire, the Empire of Mali, the Kanem-Bornu Empire.

In eastern Africa, the coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were controlled by native Muslims, and Arabs were important as traders along the coasts. Nubia had been a "supply zone" for slaves since antiquity. The Ethiopian coast, particularly the port of Massawa and Dahlak Archipelago, had long been a hub for the exportation of slaves from the interior, even in Aksumite times. The port and most coastal areas were largely Muslim, and the port itself was home to a number of Arab and Indian merchants.[71]

Slaves in eastern Africa - illustration from late 19th century

The Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia often exported Nilotic slaves from their western borderland provinces, or from newly conquered or reconquered Muslim provinces.[72] The Somali and Afar Muslim sultanates, such as the Adal Sultanate, exported slaves as well.[73] Arabs also set up slave-trading posts along the southeastern coast of the Indian Ocean, most notably in the archipelago of Zanzibar, along the coast of present-day Tanzania. East Africa and the Indian Ocean continued as an important region for the Oriental slave trade up until the 19th century. Livingstone and Stanley were then the first Europeans to penetrate to the interior of the Congo Basin and to discover the scale of slavery there. The Arab Tippu Tip extended his influence and made many people slaves. After Europeans had settled in the Gulf of Guinea, the trans-Saharan slave trade became less important. In Zanzibar, slavery was abolished late, in 1897, under Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed. [edit]

Geography of the slave trade


"Supply" zones

Cowry shells were used as money in the slave trade

Merchants of slaves for the Orient stocked up in Europe. Danish merchants had bases in the Volga region and dealt in Slavs with Arab merchants. Circassian slaves were conspicuously present in the harems and there were many odalisques (from the Turkish odalk, meaning "chambermaid") from that region in the paintings of Orientalists. Non-Muslim slaves were valued in the harems, for all roles (gate-keeper, servant, odalisque, musician, dancer, court dwarf, concubine). In the Ottoman Empire, the last black slave sold in Ethiopia named Hayrettin Effendi, was freed in 1918. The slaves of Slavic origin in Al-Andalus came from the Varangians who had captured them. They were put in the Caliph's guard and gradually took up important posts in the army (they became saqaliba), and even went to take back taifas after the civil war had led to an implosion of the Western Caliphate. Columns of slaves feeding the great harems of Crdoba, Seville and Grenada were organised by Jewish merchants (mercaderes) from Germanic countries and parts of Northern Europe not controlled by the Carolingian Empire. These columns crossed the Rhone valley to reach the lands to the south of the Pyrenees. There are also historical evidence of North African Muslim slave raids all along the Mediterranean coasts across Christian Europe and beyond to even as far north as the British Isles and Iceland (see the book titled White Gold by Giles Milton).[74] The majority of slaves traded across the Mediterranean region were predominantly of European origin from the 7th to 15th centuries.[75] The Barbary pirates continued to capture slaves from Europe and, to an extent, North America, from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Slaves were also brought into the Arab world via Central Asia, mainly of Turkic or Tartar origin. Many of these slaves later went on to serve in the armies forming an elite rank. At sea, Barbary pirates joined in this traffic when they could capture people by boarding ships or by incursions into coastal areas, mainly in Southern Europe as well as Western European coasts. Nubia and Ethiopia were also "exporting" regions: in the 15th century, Ethiopians sold slaves from western borderland areas (usually just outside of the realm of the Emperor of Ethiopia) or Ennarea,[76] which often ended up in India, where they worked on ships or as soldiers. They eventually rebelled and took power (dynasty of the Habshi Kings in Bengal 1487-1493). The Sudan region and Saharan Africa formed another "export" area, but it is impossible to estimate the scale, since there is a lack of sources with figures. Finally, the slave traffic affected eastern Africa, but the distance and local hostility slowed down this section of the Oriental trade. [edit]

Caravan trails, set up in the 9th century, went past the oasis of the Sahara; travel was difficult and uncomfortable for reasons of climate and distance. Since Roman times, long convoys had transported slaves as well as all sorts of products to be used for barter. To protect against attacks from desert nomads, slaves were used as an escort. Any who slowed down the progress of the caravan were killed. Historians know less about the sea routes. From the evidence of illustrated documents, and travellers' tales, it seems that people travelled on dhows or jalbas, Arab ships which were used as transport in the Red Sea. Crossing the Indian Ocean required better organisation and more resources than overland transport. Ships coming from Zanzibar made stops on Socotra or at Aden before heading to the Persian Gulf or to India. Slaves were sold as far away as India, or even China: there was a colony of Arab merchants in Canton. Serge Bil cites a 12th century text which tells us that most well-to-do families in Canton had black slaves whom they regarded as savages and demons

because of their physical appearance. Although Chinese slave traders bought slaves (Seng Chi i.e. the Zanj[77]) from Arab intermediaries and "stocked up" directly in coastal areas of present-day Somalia, the local Somalisreferred to as Baribah and Barbaroi (Berbers) by medieval Arab and ancient Greek geographers, respectively (see Periplus of the Erythraean Sea),[55][56][78] and no strangers to capturing, owning and trading slaves themselves[79] -- were not among them[80]: One important commodity being transported by the Arab dhows to Somalia was slaves from other parts of East Africa. During the nineteenth century, the East African slave trade grew enormously due to demands by Arabs, Portuguese, and French. Slave traders and raiders moved throughout eastern and central Africa to meet the rising demand for enslaved men, women, and children. Somalia did not supply slaves -- as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved -- but Arab dhows loaded with human cargo continually visited Somali ports. Catherine Lowe Besteman, Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the
Legacy of Slavery[81]

13th century slave market in the Yemen

Slave labor in East Africa was partly drawn from the Zanj, peoples that lived along the East African coast.[55][57] The Zanj were for centuries shipped as slaves by Arab traders to all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs recruited many Zanj

slaves as soldiers and, as early as AD 696, we learn of slave revolts of the Zanj against their Arab enslavers in Iraq (see Zanj Rebellion). Ancient Chinese texts also mention ambassadors from Java presenting the Chinese emperor with two Seng Chi (Zanj) slaves as gifts, and Seng Chi slaves reaching China from the Hindu kingdom of Srivijaya in Java.


Slaves were often bartered for objects of various different kinds: in the Sudan, they were exchanged for cloth, trinkets and so on. In the Maghreb, they were swapped for horses. In the desert cities, lengths of cloth, pottery, Venetian glass slave beads, dyestuffs and jewels were used as payment. The trade in black slaves was part of a diverse commercial network. Alongside gold coins, cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean or the Atlantic (Canaries, Luanda) were used as money throughout black Africa (merchandise was paid for with sacks of cowries).[citation needed] [edit]

Slave markets and fairs

Enslaved Africans were sold in the towns of the Muslim world. In 1416, al-Maqrizi told how pilgrims coming from Takrur (near the Sngal River) had brought 1,700 slaves with them to Mecca. In North Africa, the main slave markets were in Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli and Cairo. Sales were held in public places or in souks. Potential buyers made a careful examination of the "merchandise": they checked the state of health of a person who was often standing naked with wrists bound together. In Cairo, transactions involving eunuchs and concubines happened in private houses. Prices varied according to the slave's quality.[citation needed] [edit]

Towns and ports involved in the slave trade

North Africa: Tangier (Morocco) Marrakech (Morocco) East Africa: Bagamoyo (Tanzania) Zanzibar (Tanzania) Arabian Peninsula Zabd (Yemen) Muscat (Oman)

Algiers (Algeria) Tripoli (Libya) Cairo (Egypt) Aswan (Egypt) West Africa Salaga (Ghana) Aoudaghost (Mauritania) Timbuktu (Mali) Gao (Mali) Bilma (Niger) Kano (Nigeria)

Kilwa (Tanzania) Sofala (Beira, Mozambique) Horn of Africa Assab (Eritrea) Massawa (Eritrea) Nefasit (Eritrea) Zeila (Somalia) Mogadishu (Somalia)

Aden (Yemen) Indian Ocean Debal (Sindh) Janjira (India) Surat (India)

Socotra (Indian Ocean

The African HolocaustThe Slave Trade

There is a need to look holistically at African history, good and bad. If African people are to be educated to face a new reality on the eve of the twenty first century, we must know about the good times as well as the bad times. We must also know that history has not made Africa and Africans an exceptional case. In the great unfolding of history, Africans have played every role from saint to buffoon and we need to learn how to live with the good as well as the bad. We need to understand the triumphs as well as the tragedies in our history. At the end of what I have been alluding to as the last of the three golden ages in Africa, we entered a period of internal and external tragedy, partly of our making, but mainly imposed on us by foreigners in search of new land, new energy and new resources. We made the terrible mistake of thinking some foreigners could settle our internal "family" disputes. Instead of settling our family disputes, the foreigner turned us, one against the other, and conquered both. This is the great mistake we made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at the end of Africa's third golden age. It is the greatest mistake we are making right now. This mistake

grows out of our misinterpretation of our greatest strength which is our universal humanity. As a people we have always been hospitable to strangers. The weakness in this noble gesture is that we have not been alert enough and suspicious enough to examine the intentions of the stranger that we have invited into our homes. All too often in our history strangers come in as guests and stay as conquerors. This is, at least in part, how and why the slave trade started. You cannot explain the slave trade and vindicate or rationalize the European participation in the slave trade by saying some Africans were in the slave trade and sold slaves to the Europeans. In some instances and in some regions, this was basically true. You cannot excuse the European slave trade by saying that slavery was practiced among the Africans before the Europeans came. In some instances and in some regions, this is also basically true. But the system of internal servitude in Africa that existed in some parts of Africa before the coming of he Europeans and the chattel slavery imposed upon Africa by the Europeans had no direct relationship, one to the other. In the African system of servitude which deserves critical analysis, families were broken up but not a single African was shipped out of Africa. In no way am I trying to say or imply that this system was good. My main point is that it was not the same as the European system. The European slave trade was a three continent industry that brought about a revolution in maritime science, international trade and a system of mercantilism that had not previously existed in world history. No Africans had this kind of international contact or were in a position to establish it at this juncture in history. For more enlightenment on this subject, I invite you to read the following books, Black Mother, The Years of Our African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 14501850, by Basil Davidson, Forced Migration, by Joseph E. Inikore,

Christopher Columbus and The African Holocaust, by John Henrik Clarke and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, by Walter Rodney. Like most world tragedies the Atlantic slave trade, or the European slave trade, started slowly, almost accidentally. At first the Europeans did not visit the coast of West Africa looking for slaves; they were searching for a route to Asia for the spices and the sweets they had heard about because they needed something to supplement the dull European food of that day. In general they needed new energy, new land and new resources. Plagues, famines and internal wars had left Europe partly exhausted and partly under-populated. In the years between the first European entry into West Africa from about 1438 to the year of Christopher Columbus' alleged discovery of America in 1492, there were no slaves of consequence taken out of Africa because there was no special work outside of Africa for slaves to do. The creation of the plantation system in the Americas and the Caribbean Islands set in motion a way of life for Europeans that they had not previously enjoyed. This way of life and the exploitation of the resources of the Americas and the Caribbean Islands, after the destruction of the nations and civilizations of the people referred to as "Indians," renewed the economic energy of Europe and gave Europeans the ability to move to the center stage of what they refer to as world progress. This was done mainly at the expense of African people who are still not thoroughly aware of their impact on every aspect of world history. Education for a new reality in the African world, must train African people to understand the nature of their contribution to the different aspects of world history, past and present, and the possibilities of their future contribution. If slavery was the African people's holocaust, we should not be ashamed of saying so. We should have no

hesitation in using the word "holocaust" because no one people has a monopoly on the word and I know of no law that gives a people the right to copyright a word as though it is their exclusive ownership. In relationship to this subject I have previously said that slavery was already an old institution before the European slave trade. However, the European slave trade in Africa is the best known and best recorded in the history of the world and also, in my opinion, the most tragic. The neglected tragedy of this system is that it did not have to occur at all. Had the European entered into a genuine partnership with the Africans instead of reducing them to slaves there would have been more goods and services to be had, both for the Europeans and the Africans, through contract labor. The European slave trade in Africa was started and reached its crescendo between 1400 to 1600. This was also a turning point in the history of the world. Europe was emerging from the lethargy of the Middle Ages. Europeans were regaining their confidence, manifesting a new form of nationalism and extending that nationalism into racism. The African had goods and services that the European needed, and the European had the basic technology that the African needed. Had the African needs and the European needs been considered on an equal basis, there could have been an honest exchange between African and European and the European could still have had labor in large numbers without the slave trade and the massive murder that occurred in the slave trade. This idea, only a dream in the minds of a few men, could have changed the world for the better had it been seriously considered. Slavery is taught as though it is something that victimized only African people. Slavery is an old institution. It is as old as human need and greed. It grew out of a weakness in the human character and the need to cover-up that weakness by dominating other people. In teaching about

slavery, the one thing African people seem not to know is that for most of their existence on this earth they have been a sovereign people, free of slavery. The period of their enslavement is the best known and the best documented in history in comparison to other slave periods in history. When other people were the victims it was comparatively short. Feudalism in Europe, a form of European enslavement of Europeans, no matter what you call it, lasted much longer. This is why a holistic view of history is needed in order to understand this particular part of history that relates to a single people. This is where socalled Black Studies Programs missed both the objective and the subject in the study of slavery. In evaluating the African slave trade, there was another "Middle Passage" often neglected by most scholarsthe Arab slave trade. It is often forgotten that the Arab slave trade in East Africa and the slave trade from North Africa into Inner West Africa was protracted and ruthless. Sometimes the Arabs from the north who were Moslem enslaved Africans in the south who were also Moslems, thereby violating one of the most basic customs of their faiththat no Moslem should enslave another Moslem. There is a small library of books on this subject that most scholars have chosen not to read, thereby making the Arab slave trade the best kept secret in historyalthough it is not a secret at all. Of the many books and documents that I have read on the subject, Slavery in the Arab World by Murray Gordon, 1987, and The African Slave Trade From the 15th to the 19th Century, in The General History of Africa: Studies and Documents 2, UNESCO,1979. I find the most informative the UNESCO book, especially the chapter, "The Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean." Like most strangers to Africa the Arabs entered Africa, allegedly, as friends. The Africans who are curious and uncritical about new people, new religions and cultures treated the Arabs as well as they treated other strangers.

The Arabs were not always kind in their spread of Islam in Africa. In fact, they were usually ruthless and often disrespectful of societies and cultures that existed in Africa before they arrived. In North Africa the two wars of Arab conquest that came in the seventh and tenth centuries, the first being religious and military, broke the back of Roman influence in the area and replaced the corrupt Roman regimes. At first the Arabs were welcomed in North Africa as a replacement for the ruthless Romans. When the North Africans and Berbers discovered that the Arabs were also ruthless, although in a different way, it was too late because the Arabs now had the military upper hand. Another aspect of Arab conquest, generally neglected, is the spread of Arab influence in East Africa through accommodation and sexual conquest. Many times the Arabs moved down the coast of East Africa rendering the service of the much needed East African coastal trade. Soon after this, Arabs began to marry or cohabit with African women. This in turn resulted in a generation of African-looking Arabs. These Arab half-breeds facilitated the spread of the trade inland at a time when the Arab face was held in suspicion in this part of Africa. In the fierce competition in the West African slave trade, the Portuguese were driven from West Africa around to East Africa. The Arab slave trade, moving from north to east met the Portuguese slave trade moving up from the south. These two slave trades complemented each other and culminated with the establishment of one of the largest slave trading forts, in the history of the world, on the Island of Zanzibar. This event is well documented in any good history of East Africa, including the Cambridge History of East Africa, and The Cambridge History of Africa. Basil Davidson's A History of East and Central Africa to the late 19th Century, and certain chapters on East Africa in his Lost Cities of Africa is a popularization of the subject.

There are two old but valuable books on the subject, East Africa and Its Invaders by Reginald Coupland, and the chapters on East Africa in the book, The Colonization of Africa by Alien Races, by Sir Harry Johnston. While the East African drama of slavery was unfolding with the Arabs and later with the Portuguese as the protagonists, the larger drama in West Africa was changing the course of history. The Africans, all along the coast of West Africa were being subjected to a form of humiliation never before known, in quite the same way, in their history or human history. The collecting of Africans, sometimes prisoners of war from other Africans, the movement of Africans from the hinterlands to the coast, where very often seven out of ten lost their lives, were forms of unrecorded genocide. This is one of the numerous missing statistics in the attempt to estimate the number of Africans who died in the slave trade within Africa, the number of those who died in the slave dungeons waiting for shipment to the Americas, and the number of those who died on the journey to the Americas. The precise figures will never be known. Good estimations in this case are the best that we have. There are a number of books describing the tragic living conditions in the slave forts and dungeons along the coast of West Africa. Books written by Europeans tend to tone down the tragedy. Books written by African scholars tend to be academic and objective to the point of being noncommittal to the tragedy of slavery. The following is a brief description of some of the conditions in these slave dungeons. In the early slave trade the forts sometimes contained between three hundred to five hundred captives. During the eighteenth century most forts had been adapted to the larger scale slave trade and they held many hundreds more. There were sections for the female captives and sections for the male captives. There were smaller and more tortuous dungeons for the rebellious and

unruly captives. The conditions within and around these slave holding castles were great tragic horror stories. Within the castles there were no beds, no drinking water, no installed toilet facilities, and no means of day by day sanitary maintenance. The apartments of the slave traders and captains were directly above the main holding dungeons. And they lived there in luxury and were unmindful of the misery and degradation one or two floors below. These conditions were forced upon a people who had never done European people any harm or had ever allied themselves with the enemies of the Europeans in any way. The Europeans who forced this condition upon African people professed to believe in a loving God who was no respecter of kith, kin and geographical boundaries in the dispensing of his mercy and understanding to all human beings. In their action toward the Africans that would last for more than three hundred years, the Europeans were saying that Africans had no soul or humanity, no culture or civilization worthy of respect, and that they were outside of the grace of God. The long journey across the sea was another tragic story of misery. Figuratively, the slave ship was a floating city of prisoners presided over by a crew of ruffians gathered from the human scum of Europe. The period of the European slave trade in Africa is best known to us because it is the best-documented. However, the documentation is often confusing because it was created by people who were trying to justify the slave trade. Most people, especially Europeans who created most of the documents on the slave trade, write about the subject with the intent to make the victim of slavery feel guilty and to vindicate the perpetrators of this inhuman trade. There is probably more dishonesty related to the interpretation of this subject than any other subject known

to mankind. The African slave trade, like African history, is often written about, but rarely if ever understood. This misunderstanding probably grows out of the fact that we nearly always start the study of the African slave trade in the wrong place. The germ, the motive, the rationale for the European aspect of the African slave trade started in the minds of the Europeans in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries. And this slave trade could not have started at all had there been no market for it. The slave trade started when the Europeans began to expand into the broader world. And the market for slaves was created by Europeans for European reasons. The story of the European slave trade in Africa is essentially the story of the consequences of the second rise of Europe. The peopling of the so-called new world by African people in the Americas and the Caribbean Islands was an enterprise of monumental proportions. This act would change the status of Europe and the world forever, and the Africans brought to the new world would be transformed into a new kind of people, neither wholly African nor wholly American. They would not easily adapt to their new condition though they gave their slave master, in some cases, the impression that they were doing so. They did not easily give up their African way of life, in spite of the attempt to destroy and outlaw it. This was the basis of massive slave revolts throughout the Caribbean Islands, South America, especially Brazil, and the more than two hundred and fifty slave revolts recorded in the United States. Every attempt was made through the church and through oppression to deny that Africans hid a revolutionary heritage. There is documentary proof that Africans fought on the shores of Africa to keep from getting on the slave ships. After being forced on the slave ships they continued the fight. Some fought to keep from being taken off the slave ships. Many, many more continued the fight once

they got here. In parts of South America, and on some islands in the Caribbean where the slaves outnumbered the Europeans, some Africans bypassed the auction block, fled into the hills and the forests and never became slaves at all. Some of these Africans who escaped slavery were called Maroons. The best books on the subject are, The Maroons, by Mavis Campbell, Maroon Societies, by Richard Price, and The Haitian Maroons, and Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James. The drama of African survival in what is called the new world went beyond drama itself. In conditions that defied human imagination, for a protracted period lasting over three hundred years, Africans, using various techniques, pretenses, and acts of both submission and rebellion, went beyond survival and prevailed in order to live and still be a people in spite of the massive effort to destroy every aspect of their humanity. Part of what kept them alive, away from home, is that they would not give up their African culture in spite of being consistently pressured to do so. Many Africans, away from home, depending on the prevailing conditions that could change any day or any moment, had to become two persons in a single body. Some went beyond schizophrenia and changed their personality to suit the prevailing situation in order to survive so that the next generation could prevail.