Slave Trade Depopulation of Africa
The African slave trade, more specifically the Trans Atlantic slave trade as opposed to the East Indian, (although both served western ideals) robbed the continent of its most natural, essential and irreplaceable asset: its human resources. Those who were captured, shipped, and sold in the Americas were raped of their family, their language, their history, their culture, their ethnicity, the very names they carried and their pride for their homeland. Families were separated before even leaving their homeland, and many perished on their way to the ‘New World’.
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Those who survived faced a struggle in a new country that would persists until this day and throughout, a struggle only comparable perhaps to those in Africa who stayed. The African slave trade was by no means a true manner of trade. It was trickery, banditry, kidnapping, and war waging that was used in the capture and selling Of slaves in Africa to the Americas. Many Of those capturing slaves were warriors under the direction of African rulers who traded captives for beads, cheap gin, cheap gunpowder, cheap cloth, and other low quality goods that did little to benefit people.
The trade was quite unbalanced; Europe and the United States still stand on legs that stretch deep into money acquired through the slave trade, while Africa has only regrets and problems rooted in the heart of the slave trade. Due to a lack of information concerning Africans population and population density up to the 1 9th century , the numerous illegal ships of undocumented slaves smuggled to the Americas, and the amount of slaves who died along the passage between glasshouse to ship, or died during the passage from port to port, there is no certainty in how many Africans were taken captive ND killed during the Trans Atlantic slave trade.
Numbers have been proposed that range between a few to one hundred million from 1445 to 1870. Current theories (during Walters’ times) suggest 10 million arrived in the New World, a number understated in hopes of whitewashing the atrocities of the slave trade, but even 10 million has drastic consequences. The vast majority of those taken represented what Africa could not afford to lose: its future. The slave trade robbed Africa of its healthiest able bodied young men and women. The preferred age for a slave was 15-35, the most desirable was early twenties.
Often even younger African children were taken. While the rest of the world grew exponentially in population during the trade, Africans population is believed to have remained stagnant from 1650 to 1850. This is due to the loss of young adults responsible for reproduction. Population growth played a large part of the development of European markets, as well as the development of pre-capitalist societies in Asia. Africans low population density capped its potential for the natural growth many other regions experienced.
While many African rulers no doubt engaged in the trading of slaves for what they perceived as their own self-interest, all rationality shows how disastrous it was for African societies. Economic activity and growth was negatively affected by the loss in population. As the continents’ density was depleted, the remains of many ethnic groups were forced to leave their homes due to an inability to fight certain diseases and perform certain tasks with such low numbers.
The presence of slave traders also increased violence in many regions. Raids were common and many lived in fear and insecurity. Many of Africans youth were raised keeping an overly watchful eye on their own livelihood instead of experiencing educational growth and making new discoveries. This, added to the fact that many of what composed Africans youth, its future, were lost to the hands of the slave trade, seriously hindered the ability of African peoples to contribute significantly to better their conditions.
The smartest, strongest, healthiest men were taken, the most fertile appearing women were captured, and sold with them was the future of many African societies. Economic development takes an entire village, and usually takes place during peaceful conditions. There have, however, been periods in history when social groups grew Stronger through imposing adversity upon others by slave-raiding across the borders for women, cattle, crops and other goods which were then used within the community.
This was not the case during the Trans Atlantic slave trade. Those captured were not utilized within Africa, instead shipped outside the community destroying any chance for the perpetuation of wealth. It caused chaos in the place construction. The areas affected most were West Africa, from Senegal to Angola extending 200 miles inland, and east-central Africa including Tanzania, Macaque, Malawi, northern Zambia and eastern D. R. C.
Although some still argue adversely, there were no benefits to Africa in the slave trade. The imports from Europe only competed and drew money away from African goods, those that did not were usually useless trinkets to be stored away or quickly consumed. While some maintain that it provided Africa with needed food staples to prevent starvation, the slave trade is expansible for much of the hunger present in Africa due to a loss of ability to till the land.
Also, the food Africa received from America cannot be attributed to the trade of slaves. The Italian’s staple food spaghetti was introduced when Marco Polo visited China and witnessed first for the west Chinese noodles. In conclusion, Africa was depleted of its greatest resources through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade which served only European goals. No amount of reparations could counteract the blow, historians can now only surmise as to what Africa could have been without European intervention.