The effect of slavery in Africa

Blunderbuss gun

Flintlock blunderbuss. Accession number 60.86.1

By providing firearms amongst the trade goods, Europeans increased warfare and political instability in West Africa. Some states, such as Asante and Dahomey, grew powerful and wealthy as a result. Other states were completely destroyed and their populations decimated as they were absorbed by rivals. Millions of Africans were forcibly removed from their homes, and towns and villages were depopulated. Many Africans were killed in slaving wars or remained enslaved in Africa.

Many states, including Angola under Queen Nzinga Nbande and Kongo, strongly resisted slavery. However, the interests of those involved in the trade proved too great to overcome.

About two-thirds of the people sold to European traders were men. Fewer women were sold because their skills as farmers and craft workers were crucially important in African societies. The burden of rebuilding their violated communities fell to these women.

"I verily believe that the far greater part of wars, in Africa, would cease, if the Europeans would cease to tempt them, by offering goods for sale. I believe, the captives reserved for sale are fewer than the slain". John Newton, former slave captain .

People in West Africa have also suffered deeply and they continue to be at a vast disadvantage compared to those who promoted the trade against them. The Reparations Movement is seeking acknowledgment of the horrors committed during slavery. The movement is also demanding financial compensation from Europe and the United States for Africans and people of African descent in the diaspora.