East Africa’s Transatlantic Slave Trade

East Africa’s Transatlantic Slave Trade

East Africa was a late participant in the transatlantic slave trade much to the burnt of Western Africa which was the highest trader of enslaved people. The African Muslim Arabs sold countless East Africans to the Middle East sold as slaves. Slaves were sold not just in the Middle East, but also to the Portuguese, Brazilians, Americans and French.

Slave trade became popular in Eastern and Northern Africa when Islam was gaining strength in North Africa.

Arab Muslims in North and East Africa sold captured only black Africans to the Middle East. There, they worked as field workers, teachers or harem guards. Slavery of Black African Muslims, on the other hand, was prohibited under Islamic law. Click to Read more…

Zanzibar, on the other hand, became the slave trade hub of East Africa. Many of the slaves died before they got to their destination as a result of hunger or illness, hence no recorded number of slaves sold from East Africa.

The enslaved Africans were from the east coast of Africa, which includes; the modern countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and the island of Madagascar. They also came from the Savannah area; which includes countries such as Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan and the Horn of Africa which covers Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Furthermore, the slave racial discrimination went on to cause a cold racial war among Africans.

Related: Two Africa Concepts? The Political Divided Structure

While male slaves became sailors, pearl divers, Omani army troops, industry labourers, and domestic slaves, female slaves became sex slaves.

By 1791, a slave insurrection in Haiti and the Dominican Republic had resulted at the end of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery.

See: The year of the Abolition of the Africa Slave Trade

However, it was not until 1873 that Sultan Seyyid Barghash of Zanzibar, under duress from the United Kingdom, signed a treaty making the slave trade illegal in his territory. However, the treaty didn’t stop the slave trade in East Africa as the law was not properly implemented until 1909.


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