The African slave trade held economic benefits for both the countries of Europe and the colonies of the Americas. However, the effects of the trade on Africa were far from beneficial. What effects...

The African slave trade held economic benefits for both the countries of Europe and the colonies of the Americas. However, the effects of the trade on Africa were far from beneficial. What effects did the trade have on Africa, and how did these effects weaken the economic, social, and political structure of that continent?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The slave trade weakened most states of Africa, though it did help some of them.  Let us see why this is the case.

When Europeans came to Africa to take slaves and bring them to the Americas, they did not simply come ashore and start raiding to capture as many slaves as they could.  This would have been difficult for them to do with the small numbers of Europeans who could come on any given ship.  Instead, the Europeans worked with Africans to get slaves.  The African states on the coasts typically raided inland, took slaves, and sold them to the Europeans.

Of course, this helped the coastal kingdoms.  They became rich from the proceeds of their sales.  However, it was not at all helpful to the inland states.  This is because it depopulated them and, in particular, because it took many of their most important people.   When slavers came raiding, they of course took the people in the prime of life who could fetch the best prices.  This meant that the best workers and warriors were being taken.  This clearly hurt the economies of the inland states.  As huge numbers of people were taken away, the social and political fabric naturally suffered.  It is hard to maintain a society or a political structure when large numbers of people are being forcibly removed from that society and political structure.

Thus, the inland states of Africa were badly harmed because they lost so much of their population, particularly those who were at a stage in life when they were most important to the economy, the society, and the political system.

vanvelzorj's profile pic

vanvelzorj | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Okay, just saying, it wasn't only Europeans stealing slaves, there was African Americans who captured the slaves to get them to the ship, for money...

aljennenicole's profile picture

aljennenicole | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

omg i did not mean to post that ^

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