We began this section in this History of Africa podcast series with the door of no return in Ghana. In this final section of the podcast series that looks at the topic of slavery in Africa’s history, we turn to the Atlantic Slave Trade.
The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth). Then more than four centuries (from the end of the fifteenth to the nineteenth) of a regular slave trade to build the Americas and the prosperity of the Christian states of Europe. The figures, even where hotly disputed, make your head spin. Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean.
Elikia M’Bokolo, L’Monde Diplomatique
When most of us think of the Atlantic slave trade we think of the plantations in the American south. That is only a small part of the story. Only 5% of slaves made it to the US. A far greater portion lived and died in the oppressive systems of slavery in the Caribbean and Brazil.
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Additional reads and links to learn more about this topic
- The Transatlantic Slave Trave
- A Brief Guide to the Transatlantic Slave Trade
- More Enslaved Africans Came to the Americas At This Port Than Anywhere Else
Follow the episodes in this podcast series on the History of Africa here.