Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma river in today's Tanzania and Mozambique19th-century engraving. David Livingstone wrote of the slave trades:
Share via Email Elmina castle was the first European-built fort in Ghana, constructed by the Portugese in David Levene for the Guardian There is a view that discussions about modern Africa should be forward-looking.
This future-facing philosophy is an admirable attempt to free the spirit and imagination of the continent from the weight of its own history and the legacies of colonialism. The history of British slave ownership has been buried: To historians, who inevitably take the long view, the modern relationship between Europe and Africa is merely the current chapter in an enormous book.
For much of the period from the 15th century till now, during which Europeans and Africans have been connected through trade, empire and migration, both forced and voluntary, Europe has viewed the people of Africa through the distorting veil of racism and racial theory.
In the British case much of the jumble of stereotypes, pseudo-science and wild conjecture that coalesced to form racism arose from the political battles fought over the slave trade and slavery, during the last decades of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th.
The men who set out to defend slavery assembled a vast arsenal of new claims and old theories about black people, which they then codified, refined and disseminated through books, pamphlets, cartoons and speeches. Racial ideas were aimed at Africans in their home continent, as well as at those in bondage in the New World That propaganda campaign, along with the institution of British slavery itself, was ultimately defeated by the moral energy of the abolitionist campaign, and by the determination of the slaves of the Caribbean to resist their enslavement, yet the ideas about the nature of African peoples and the cultures of Africa that had been marshalled by the pro-slavery lobby lived on.
Some, in more subtle forms, are still with us today. Recent debates about slavery in Britain and the United States have understandably focused on the toxic legacies those systems bequeathed to the black peoples of the Caribbean and the US, the descendants of the slaves.
What is sometimes overlooked is that the racial ideas of the pro-slavery lobby were also aimed at Africans in their home continent. The book that, arguably, did the most to disseminate racial ideas about Africans was written by a man who never set foot on African soil.
Edward Long was a slave owner and the son of a slave owner, his family having been in Jamaica since the middle of the 17th century. His ideas about black people and Africa were widely accepted as being rigorous and scientific, although Long had no scientific training.
The book that made him famous, his History of Jamaicawas not a history book but rather a strange hybrid; part travel guide, part discussion of British colonial rule and economics in the Caribbean, and part political score-settling.
But it is also the classic text of 18th-century European pseudo-scientific racism. Of the many ideas and theories that seeped out of the debates around slavery, the one that still casts a shadow over the image of Africa is the notion that tyranny, war and chaos are the natural condition of the continent.
Long asserted that Africa was so barbaric and chaotic that Africans were better off as slaves, since slavery saved them from the worse fates that, he claimed, would otherwise have consumed them in their homelands.
That idea was generated by men who were attempting to justify their trade in human beings, yet today there are still well-meaning, progressive-minded people, in Europe and in Africa, who speculate as to whether democracy, the rule of law and human rights can ever properly take root in Africa.
Such views are testimony to the power of history and the potency of the race idea.Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African slaves helped build the new nation into an economic powerhouse through the production of lucrative crops such as tobacco and cotton.
Slavery in the colonial area which later became the United States (–) developed from complex factors, and researchers have proposed several theories to explain the development of the institution of slavery and of the slave trade.
Dec 22, · Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade -- which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas -- stands out for both its global.
Few works of history have exerted as powerful an influence as a book published in called Capitalism and Slavery. Its author, Eric Williams, later the prime minister of Trinidad and Tabago, charged that black slavery was the engine that propelled Europe's rise to global economic dominance.
He. Ideas of Africans as inferior, backwards and barbaric can be traced back to those justifying slavery in the 18th century. And the stereotypes still cast a .
Slavery in Africa, the institution of slavery as it existed in Africa, and the effects of world slave-trade systems on African people and societies. As in most of the world, slavery, or involuntary human servitude, was practiced across Africa from prehistoric times to the modern era.