Before the Europeans were able to make complete contact with the Africans they were already ahead of the enslaving game. Most of the enslaved  Africans would be captured by different tribes/ leaders because they were either being punished for a crime, payment of a family debt, and the common of the all they were captured as prisoner of war. However even thought they were being enslaved the still had rights. They still was able to own property and marry who they wanted. So I would call this servants rather slaves. When the Europeans finally came into contact with the Africans they can willing to trade. They wanted to trade their goods for the Africans captives. So this was a plus to the Africans. Not only do they get to raid their enemy tribes but they get to trade them for goods. This system helped most of the rich and powerful Africans. They were able to gain a whole lot of goods for captives. At the time it sounded wonderful because of the fact that the leaders were thinking selfishly and didn’t think of the fact that certain tribes were diminishing.

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African and Transatlantic Slave Trade by Hakim Adi 

Something I found new and surprising to learn is the fact that race did not play a role in the beginning of the trade of slaves. It wasn’t until The New World set in that the Europeans made it race based. The Africans were more reliable to sustain temperatures, and sicknesses that other races could not. So they decide that they wanted Africans. At this point the Europeans weren’t exactly trading anymore. They started to raid the tribes and capture any and all Africans that they could put their hands on. They would soon make it an ownership thing by branding the slaves that they say are theirs. 


For my question I chose question 1, Describe the systems of slavery that has existed in  Africa since Ancient times and how is the slavery system used by Africans and Arabs different from  the New World slave systems developed under the Spanish, Dutch, French, and English ?

Slavery was treated very differently in Ancient times in Africa. Back then, slaves were people  from all parts of the world and were of all races. Slaves were allowed to own property and possibly own slaves of their own. In some societies slaves were allowed to hold prominent positions in the military or in political administration. Back then for the Arabs and the Africans, the purpose of owning slaves differed in different areas of Africa.Some societies valued slaves for their labor alone; others viewed them as a means of growing their communities or clans, integrating them into their own families. Also it was fairly easier for them to gain their freedom and assimilate into Arab society. Most African slaves were women. Some female slaves performed duties such as  cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes, while others learned skills in weaving and dyeing of textiles.   In the latter years of slavery in Africa, intelligent men and women were often chosen to serve rulers and officials in positions that involved high status and trust.

 Unlike African and Arab slave owners who  recognized the humanity of their slaves; in these societies, slaves had individual rights such as owning property  as well as some legal protections. The New World slave systems started out by only using Africans as slaves and the slave owners being white, adapting to the idea that most men were slaves worked in agriculture whereas in Africa, women were the ones that worked in agriculture, and lastly they deprived them of customary rights.

One thing that I learned and thought was interesting is that although they were slaves, they had more options during the African/Arabs system. Although still terrible, they had options to have individual rights and rights to sit on rulers and in positions that had value. New world only looked at us to clean, cook and that whites held the position of power.

Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”


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