What were the social impacts that slave trade had on Africa?

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pnhancock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Atlantic slave trade had a variety of negative social effects on Africa. The European exploitation of African resources and human labor, as well as the constant demand for slaves to export to North America, was devastating to African society. Millions of Africans were taken as slaves, and local leaders waged war on neighboring groups to take prisoners of war to sell as slaves to Europeans. The slave raids within Africa resulted in famine, and many taken as slaves died on the route to the coast or on slave ships. Inter-ethnic conflict increased as a result of the slave raids, and African society was increasingly dominated by warlords who sold slaves for personal profit at the expense of Africa's economy. The fear of neighboring warlords caused some ethnic groups to migrate, resulting in economic and technological regression for the migrants. African society also restructured itself by creating a more rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian society in the hopes of protecting themselves against the slave trade. The Atlantic slave trade damaged Africa's economy, changed its governmental structures to predatory or authoritarian systems, caused mass displacement, and greatly reduced the population as people were taken as slaves or died in the process. Overall, the slave trade severely damaged African society.

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