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I agree with all of the major points made in post 2. While the Atlantic slave trade did penetrate deep into the continent, especially by the eighteenth century, Somalia remained at most on the periphery of its influence. I also agree that the public remains largely unaware of what historians have known for decades, i.e. that the Atlantic slave trade was extremely complex, and that at least from 1500-1700, was conducted largely on terms dictated by the leaders of various African polities who profited heavily from it. It should be noted, by the way, that this was not a case of Africans "selling their own people" into slavery. West Africa was a diverse place, composed of different peoples who, like Europeans, felt little sense of unity with each other. Moreover, the slave trade had a dramatic destabilizing effect on the east coast of Africa, contributing to endemic warfare both to control the trade and to gather more slaves. The slave trade was at the heart of the Atlantic economy, providing the labor for the production of cash crops, particularly sugar, and engaging capital and enriching merchants from Liverpool to New England to Amsterdam. Another overlooked (by the public at large) aspect of the slave trade was the Southeastern Indian slave trade, which saw thousands of slaves sold from Carolina to West Indian plantations before 1700.
I have a hard time seeing how the unrest in Somalia can be blamed on the slave trade when Somalia is on the east side of the continent and the slaves were taken from the west.
I also don't see how there can be much diversity of views on this subject. Surely there is no one who will argue that the slave trade was a good thing. One thing that I think is interesting is that there is little discussion of how it was Africans who took other Africans and sold them to the Europeans.
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