Kwame - Life before capture
My people, the Asante, traded with the whites for longer than I can remember. We swapped our slaves for wood and metal weapons called muskets. Now I am one of those slaves.
Trading with white men
The Asante (also known as Ashanti) are from an area of southern Ghana (not on the coast). They are best known for their ceremonial stools, gold work and the prestigious Kente cloth. The early Asante economy traded gold and slaves to other Africans and white traders. In return they received firearms which they used to increase their power in the region.
Africans had a tradition of slaving before the transatlantic trade began. Arab merchants brought goods across the desert to swap for Asante gold, cloth and slaves. There was no stigma attached to slaving for the Asante, it was not racially motivated and it was understood that the period of slavery would be temporary.
White traders deliberately encouraged this trade by selling guns and ammunition. Thereafter the trade became increasingly bloody and destructive.