It would be difficult to overstate the deleterious ramifications for the continent of Africa of the slave trade. Slavery was an industry, and that meant a certain selectiveness in those seized and sold into that industry. Because so many of West Africa’s most vibrant people were precisely those who fetched the highest price, that vast region suffered the loss of the people who would otherwise have been instrumental in developing their own countries. While those West Africans deemed too weak or incapable of manual labor were not marched to their deaths, as occurred in Europe during the Holocaust, but rather left alone, the loss of the young, strong youth and adults left a void in West Africa that could not be filled. Consequently, West African economies did not develop through traditional processes. Those regions of Africa most directly affected by the slave trade were rendered gravely weakened and much of that area continues to struggle with the long-term effects of slavery today.
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