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My History SBA
What evidence is there to suggest that the African Slave trade did more harm than good to West African Societies?
Name: Christina Chambers
Class: 11 8b
Main evidence to suggest that more harm was done to the West African Societies. Caribbean Economy and Slavery.
Population Depletion, Relationship Division and Trade Damage.
Population Depletion-The Europeans came and took the Africans to become enslaved.
Relationship Division- Because of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Social life between families and friends were ruined.
Trade Damage-Europeans traded guns for African slaves which placed many Africans in fear.
Depopulation led to the lack of labour for the agriculture industry, where the absence of the able-bodied leaving either the very old or the very young who would insufficiently try to carry this practice. It was not only caused man’s capturing but by the disruption and discontinuity of community life after a raid.
Depopulation of the African continent also had a clear negative impact on culture. The people stolen as slaves may have fulfilled any number of societal roles in their community of origin. The loss of so many potential artisans, traders, philosophers and skilled laborers incurred an economic and cultural depletion to the affected regions, slowing the growth of existing population groups and the development of nation-states. It is of particular note that younger, stronger people were often taken for enslavement, thus their opportunity to raise children of their own within their own culture irreparably damaged cultural perpetuation.
The slave trade further damaged many aspects of African cultures through a heightened emphasis on guns and warfare. The threat of slave raids placed many African peoples in states of fear or aggression to either procure slaves for European traders or avoid being raided themselves. The influx of gun trading in certain areas of Africa to propagate a steady supply of slaves destabilized many regions and encouraged increasingly vicious raiding, as opposed to the cultural interchange brought by the exchange of regional and international goods.
The Europeans’ introduction of firearm not only helped the states to protect themselves but promoted violence and further turmoil, as the firearms were more superior to their own weapons.
An obvious effect is warfare, either among once unified states or towards the Europeans. The Portuguese didn’t rely on the Gold coast to supply them with slaves as they “realized that the purchase of slaves, mostly war-captive would encourage warfare, which would negatively affect the gold trade.”(189) In addition, there was battle between states that were once unified. Allada raided neighbouring states that were considered “sons” of Allada, Weme and Dahomey, when there were shortages in the supply of slaves in their states. (191)
The most basic level of negative cultural impact lay in how slavery tore African family units apart. The trauma of losing young family members, people removed from the social frameworks that relied upon them to fulfill roles and provide continuity, took an incalculable toll on the affected regions. The relationships between different ethnic groups and kingdoms were negatively affected as well. Societal hierarchies became more rigid as protection from slave traders took precedence over other matters of state, leading to increased stagnation in cultural and economic development.
Mostly young men were captured than women and the balance of society was distorted. Young men were more
flexible and strong and fit to comply with the given labor.
By removing millions of Africans from their homes at the most productive stage of their lives, the slave trade also seriously affected the technological advance of West Africa. Population Depletion in West Africa led to the lack of labor for the agricultural industry, where the absence of the able bodied leaving either the very old or the very young