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Published:April 13th, 2010 11:51 EST
Origins of Slavery and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Voyages

Origins of Slavery and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Voyages

By Prince Nelson Balina Omukisa Yiga

There were so many forms of slavery as we read in the history books and what historians are telling and what archeologists` un-earth. However the biggest slave trade in Zanzibar the most beautiful island on the east coast of Africa is the widely well known since it broke boundaries and barriers of the seas and oceans and saw the biggest sale of human beings on planet earth to the Americas through the Atlantic Ocean thus calling the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. 


Estimated at 10 million or so of people over the course of 200 years, many countries in Africa were affected when lives were separated and fear entangled in once what was called communal and tribal fights to international intruders of men they had never seen before because of the color of their skin thus dubbing them a name `Muzungu` which literary means someone well off because of how they were dressed and all gadgets they carried when they arrived in Africa. 

So many that had costs were so much affected since it was closer to the exit waters of the continent. Countries like Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia in West Africa, Mauritania in the North, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania in the East and some inland landlocked countries like Uganda, Congo and others. 

The cultural effects of the slave Trans-Atlantic slave trade, might in some way be considered negative however to balance the coin, there were positive outcomes to the process among which introducing of Christianity, economic prosperity to those that stayed behind or were untouched by the process and the rise or beginning of literacy that we enjoy today. 

Looking at the fact that Arabs from Oman and the Ottoman Empire, Turks and Egyptians engaged and practiced Slave trade way longer than their European counterparts, the slavery of Africans by whites was and is still seen as a way Europeans wanted to engage into alienating cultural ties, and developing stronger bonds to hold on and conquer those nations.

Trans-Saharan Slave trade before the Trans-Atlantic

It can be said that Slavery is seen as negative with the practicing of it by Europeans or white folks than the Arabs on the basis that Arabs never took over Kingdoms with which they traded, the greatest slave trader Tipu Tip was so much liked by the Kingdoms for that matter because he engaged in the business of trade not conquering territory. Contrary to the white`s analogy of coming to Africa. They basically took the people, the material and they stepped on everyone, colonizing and deposing traditional Kings to Islands and prisons acts that were way politically degrading thus creating that negative feeling than the latter traders.

Trans-Atlantic slave trade as it was widely known was a triangle trade which encompassed Britain, some Caribbean countries and Islands and the Americas.

Black slaves at the Slave Market at Zanzibar  

Dewolf of Bristol, Rhode Island, was the Tipu Tip of America. One of the wealthiest fellows in slave trading any nation has ever seen. Though Dewolf born 1764-1837 quit the business after congress denounced slavery in 1808, to its great base in Charleston, South Carolina (the sister of Pemba Island in Africa), DeWolf`s brother "in-law Charles Collins and his own brother George continued to trade ignoring the law bringing close to half a million people descending from the slaves traded as chattel by the Dewolfs.

Though slave trade helped create the Capitalistic economies we see that thrive today, the price for that creation was paid generously unwilling by the slaves whose energy, rights, humanity, race was violated by the practitioners of Trans Atlantic Slave trade.

the middle passage and trans-Atlantic routes (Google Photos) 

I will assert that slavery existed on the African continent before Trans-Atlantic slavery came into existence. In fact the Trans-Saharan trade sent more slaves to the Muslim nations who in later would be transported to the Americas and one biggest difference that was publicly known in the Muslim region was that the Arabs married some of the women well as in the Western region they used them in secret to avoid detection hence creating a gap that put the black race down contrary to how the Arabs traded. They did it with dignity and respect, so they say. 

These years of unparallel economic and social progress for these New Americans of the white society saw some whites behaving humanly after the official amendment of the Constitution, which is known as the ending of the passage in 1865, which also became the 13th Amendment. With proposals to compensate the blacks and the prominent give away of the 40 acres of land to Black people by General William Sherman a slogan later that came to be known as 40 acres and a mule that was rescinded after President Lincoln`s assassination, many chose to try to go back home to Africa hence creating the return voyage that saw the creation of Liberia and the great Monrovia. 

After the fall of slave trade in the United States, the ship fights on the Atlantic by the government and the arrest of the biggest American slave traders during the Trans-Atlantic end days, we see the breaking of captivity and the desire for many Africans desire to go back home. Though many were derived from different parts and all spoke different dialects of many languages from the Bantu, Nilotics, Nilo Hamites, they would feel comfortable wherever they were as long as it was Africa and thus the creating of what was called the dumping ground Liberia came into exist stance.

Slave caravans as they were called crossing the African inland. 

President James Monrovia who initiated the $100,000 from funds that had been used from illegal slave trade saw a new city Monrovia built in 1824. Sounded useful but was not a territory of United States as some claim. Though the American Colonization Society a sister to the National Geographical Society of Great Britain had signed a constitution granting Liberia to be a territory of the United States, it sounded as if another slave ownership was to take a place a decision America never took to action. 

a mix up of European and Arab traders in African villages near palaces-courtesy foto 

And as Europeans planned to come and have Liberia, the Liberians became smart and brave enough to declare independence in 1847. The first Governor of Liberia Joseph Jenkins Roberts who had become governor in 1841 would become the first president of Liberia. 

Did this creation of Liberia bring good or a curse to the end of slavery? I have asked myself that question a million times when the topic comes up and have failed to bring a closing answer to it because Mr. Oyler a missionary to Liberia once said that many Afro-American were treated way inhuman in the south of America and so the outcome and anger from the Americo-Liberians towards native Africans was such at an equal scale hence creating a lift valley between the two people. And because the Afro-American saw themselves as second hand citizens in America, the same treatment went for the indigenous Liberians a practice that killed what would have been a great solidarity to the newfound nation. 

This would see lots of wars that were brought about by Charles Taylor who murdered his predecessor Samuel K Doe or Sergeant Doe, as he was well known who had murdered William R. Tolbert to become president.

All in all like my favorite writer Clemens said, It takes a lot to have freedom and now that Miss Ellen Johnson " Sirleaf is President we can write some good history from now onwards but the scars of slavery still haunt even the child that will be born fifty years from now because it was horrific.

Historical Slave Museum at Zanzibar, East Africa

Slavery had ended, nations had been built, lessons had been learned from the past and people were well equipped with knowledge since becoming literate thus driving the once un-civilized group of people to become world leaders in not only modern technologies, but as well medicine, invention, farming and artistry. And I wind up by saying that though cruel as it sounds and sounded many years ago, Slavery opened doors to so many other beautiful things that have brought accolades to those that strive to be the best in what was once thought of as a color that knew nothing, had nothing and will never be anything. And here we are the best of the best and so proud as history and archeology tells us that everyone`s origin is from African people. What a beauty after suffering!