Press "Enter" to skip to content

Atlantic Slave Trade

Atlantic Slave Trade Effects of the Atlantic Slave Trade The changes in African life during the slave trade era form an important element in the economic and technological development of Africa. Although the Atlantic slave trade had a negative effect on both the economy and technology, it is important to understand that slavery was not a new concept to Africa. In fact, internal slavery existed in Africa for many years. Slaves included war captives, the kidnapped, adulterers, and other criminals and outcasts. However, the number of persons held in slavery in Africa, was very small, since no economic or social system had developed for exploiting them (Manning 97). The new system-Atlantic slave trade-became quite different from the early African slavery.

The influence of the Atlantic slave trade brought radical changes to the economy of Africa. At the time of the Atlantic slave trade, Africa was an area that had far-flung interests based on agriculture, industry, and commerce (Curtin 54). Complex stratified societies based on settled village agriculture were developed throughout the continent. “Essentially agricultural, the peoples of Africa displayed a remarkable degree of specialization within this ancient economic pursuit,” writes John Hope Franklin, the author of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans (p. 18).

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

In addition to agriculture, artistry was a significant area of economic community. Even less complex communities included some with various skills. Furthermore, the use of metals played an important role. Iron was developed very early in the economy of Africa; Africa exported iron for many years, and blacksmiths and other ironworkers were found in many parts of the continent. Africans also worked in silver, gold, copper, and bronze.

Lastly, internal slave trade played a role in the economy. Slaves represented a small part of the total value of African exports (Klein 56). The tendency of communities to specialize in some phase of economic activity made it necessary that they maintain commercial contact with other communities and countries in order to secure the things that they did not produce (Hope 16). Some villages, for example, specialized in fishing, others concentrated on metallurgy, while others made weapons, utensils, and so on. Traders traveled from place to place to barter and to purchase. Upon returning they were laden with goods that they sold within their own community (Hope 17). As the Atlantic route expanded, accounting for nearly two thirds of all Africans leaving the continent, it created systems for the gruesome work of collecting and exporting slaves and brought the expansion of a system of slavery in Africa itself. The rising prices for slaves, steadily driven by increasing American demand, powerfully influenced local African developments where slave trade was well established.

For example, in some cases such as Kingdom of the Kongo to the south of the Zaire or Congo River, slave trade was quickly organized from a region that had only limited slavery and became a steady exporter of slaves (Klein 58). Large-scale warfare, in which obtaining slaves for the Atlantic trade was a major theme, became more common. The effects of slave trade soon led to civil wars, kidnappings, and disruptions, which brought about the decline of the existing kingdoms on the one had and the rise of new but smaller ones on the other. Entire trading networks became intimately tied to the supply of slaves to the Atlantic economy. Certain regions found slave trade so attractive that they have up their interests in gold mining and trading goods, and turned to the profitable business of capturing and exporting of slaves. Agriculture also suffered as a result of the expansion of the slave trade. Various viable agricultural lands in the interior of many of the exporting regions in Africa were abandoned for the sake of a more profitable business As the result of slavery, the concept of a family, an important aspect of African life, changed.

Most damaging effect of this transformation involved children. Because most of the captive slaves taken were male, women had to take on new tasks to sustain the economy, thus devoting less time to their families (Module 99). The men who remained began to take on second and third wives, mostly to produce more children, a ready source for the slave market. As greed and insatiability for money grew, many women often had their children kidnapped and enslaved. Raising children became a business. As the result of the damaging changes brought to Africa by the Atlantic slave trade, the overall development of the economy and technology suffered.

Without slave exports, Africa would have had fewer imported goods because many slaves were exchanged for various forms of money. In fact, the export of slaves was very profitable and it did bring wealth to the African sellers. However, very little of this wealth was invested in expanding African production and improving the economical and technological developments (Klein 67). As mentioned above, as the prices for slave grew, entire trading networks became tied to the supply of slaves. As a result, Africa did little to increase its economical and technological development beyond slave trade.

By the end of the nineteenth century nearly five or six million persons were held in slavery on the African continent (Manning 63). Although internal slavery existed on the continent prior to the Atlantic slave trade, African slavery had little if any effect on the economy. As explained throughout the paper, the expansion of the Atlantic slave trade brought radical changes to the economy of Africa. These changes played a major role in the development of the economy and technology of the continent. American History.

Atlantic Slave Trade

Atlantic Slave Trade Atlantic Slave Trade When most people talk about or think about slavery, they look at how it effected the US. The Atlantic Slave Trade had a huge effect on the US but there are no words or expressions that can describe the effects it had on Africa and its familys. It is estimated that between 1450 and 1900, there were 11,698,000 slaves exported from Africa. (Atlantic Slave trade, pg.170) To understand the effects this had on Africa you must consider the families that lost relatives, the stores that lost business, and even the friends that lost friendships. None of the misfortunes can be brought back or replaced.

The many lives that were taken can never be brought back to life. This not only effected the African culture when it happened but also it effects todays societies in Africa. The overall net effect of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa could never be estimated unless you are inside one of the relatives of a slave. These slaves died for no other apparent reason than the color of their skin. The effects that the slave trade had on Africa were not all negative. Depending on what point of view your looking from, there were also some positives of the Atlantic Slave Trade. In William Bossmans account, he states that as soon as the king arrives he will be satisfied with an amount of one-hundred pounds in Guinea value.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

(Atlantic Slave Trade, pg.181) So the kings and most of all the slave traders benefited from the slave trade. One benefit from the Slave Trade would definitely be spiritually. The great misfortunes had to strengthen the inner souls of the people and relatives that were left behind. A lot of these people had nothing left but themselves so they had no choice but to deal with it and get stronger mentally and spiritually. One other benefit from the Slave trade would be that the African Culture was spread to totally different continents. All of these slaves were taken to different places and they went on with their business while all these other people that either owned these slaves or watched over them got to see life from the Africans side of the fence. They got to see different rituals and habits that they have never gotten to see before.

In my opinion the drawbacks of the Slave Trade greatly outweighed the benefits for the African people. The families of these slaves still feel the drawbacks even today. When these people look back at a family tree, all this does is bring back memories of the torture that their relative or relatives endured. The continent itself took a huge hit on its population. Many of these slaves could have played a big role in Africas future. Many could have gone on to be nation leaders or even business owners. In 1502, the first African slaves were reported in the New World. ( This was the start of a great mistrocity to many families in Africa.

The overall effect could never be estimated because we are not in the bodies of those people who lost loved ones. We can not feel the pain that they feel, therefore we cant say what the net effect is or was. (timeline) Bosman, William, Slave trading at Whydah on the Bight of Benin, ca 1700 Lovejoy, Paul E, The volume of the Atlantic Slave Trade: A consensus, Journal of African History 22 1982 Bibliography (Atlantic Slave trade, pg.170) (Atlantic Slave Trade, pg.181) (timeline) Bosman, William, Slave trading at Whydah on the Bight of Benin, ca 1700 Lovejoy, Paul E, The volume of the Atlantic Slave Trade: A consensus, Journal of African History 22 1982.


I'm Charlotte

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out