Well, yes, why not?

A descendant of Edward Colston has written to Bristol’s mayor to suggest ways of “making peace with the past” such as twinning Bristol with cities in west African countries most affected by slavery

The descendants of slavers can speak unto the descendants of slavers. You know, those remaining in Africa being rather more likely to be the people having done the selling rather than those being sold.

13 thoughts on “Well, yes, why not?”

  1. Indeed. My antecedents are yokels from the North West of England, none of whom earned a penny from slavery. Racist collective guilt-mongers can do one.

  2. MC, you deserve compensation from farmers, just as I deserve it from the factory owners and householders with servants who exploited my forebears.

  3. Don’t know how true that is as a generalisation Timmy. The sellers and traders would have been a relatively small minority at both ends of the deal. What proportion of West African slaves were kept in the vicinity rather than sold on to Arabs or Europeans and removed from the area entirely? Overall my suspicion is that the numbers kept around would have been so substabtial your typical West African is far more likely to be more closely descended from a slave than a slave-trader, even bearing in mind that traders presumably had more (surviving) kids. Though go back far enough and you’d probably find descent from both.

    Just for an idea of scale of slavery within Africa, if one trusts Wikipedia:

    “French historian Fernand Braudel noted that slavery was endemic in Africa and part of the structure of everyday life. “Slavery came in different guises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and intermediaries, even as traders”. During the 16th century, Europe began to outpace the Arab world in the export traffic, with its slave traffic from Africa to the Americas. The Dutch imported slaves from Asia into their colony in South Africa. In 1807 Britain, which held extensive, although mainly coastal, colonial territories on the African continent (including southern Africa), made the international slave trade illegal, as did the United States in 1808.

    In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. In early Islamic states of the Western Sudan, including Ghana (750–1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275–1591), about a third of the population was enslaved. In Sierra Leone in the 19th century about half of the population consisted of slaves. In the 19th century at least half the population was enslaved among the Duala of the Cameroon, the Igbo and other peoples of the lower Niger, the Kongo, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe of Angola. Among the Ashanti and Yoruba a third of the population consisted of slaves. The population of the Kanem was about a third slave. It was perhaps 40% in Bornu (1396–1893). Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves. The population of the Sokoto caliphate formed by Hausas in northern Nigeria and Cameroon was half-slave in the 19th century. It is estimated that up to 90% of the population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved. Roughly half the population of Madagascar was enslaved.

    Slavery in Ethiopia persisted until 1942. The Anti-Slavery Society estimated that there were 2,000,000 slaves in the early 1930s, out of an estimated population of between 8 and 16 million. It was finally abolished by order of emperor Haile Selassie on 26 August 1942.

    When British rule was first imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate and the surrounding areas in northern Nigeria at the turn of the 20th century, approximately 2 million to 2.5 million people there were slaves. Slavery in northern Nigeria was finally outlawed in 1936.

    Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, Le Monde diplomatique. Quote: “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).” He continues: “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.”

    So that’s indeed a lot of slaves traded out but looks like an awful lot more kept behind.

  4. So Greene King and Lloyd’s of London are going to pay reparations for slave trading 200 years ago… To whom?

    Oriel College are going to take down a statue so inconspicuous that I walked past it every day for 3 years without noticing it. It is on a ledge 3 storeys up and is on the small side.

    Are we ruled by complete fuckwits? What’s the term for that? More extreme than idiocracy

  5. In Senegambia, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved

    If apparently all of US industrial success is due to the use of slavery, imagine how wildly successful Senegal and Gambia must be!

  6. The Meissen Bison

    Diogenes: I walked past it every day for 3 years without noticing it. It is on a ledge 3 storeys up and is on the small side.

    I hope that the trustees funding Rhodes scholars declare a moratorium until he is reinstated.

  7. @dioggers

    “To whom?”

    Bearing in mind how terrible everyone seems to agree slavery is, and bearing in mind how difficult it is to get everyone to agree on anything these days, the logical thing to do (seeing as it still doesn’t seem to be extinguished today) would be on efforts to deal with the last strongholds of modern slavery, largely in Africa and Asia. Though I’m not sure that’s what British- and American-based campaigners are actually hoping for…

  8. Rhodes was not a supporter of slavery and supported the right of Africans to vote, subject to the same property qualifications as white South Africans. “Rhodes explicitly stipulated in his will that all races should be eligible for the scholarships.” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Rhodes )
    The BLM campaigners are not universally idiots but they are either ignorant and lazy (it’s not hard to learn about Rhodes – who was far from perfect but against whom the Boers had more cause for complaint than the blacks) or deliberately lying.

  9. The number of Black British people who were enslaved or kept as slaves by whites (i.e. mainly those of West Indian descent) is a small minority now. Most blacks in the UK directly came from, or have ancestors who directly came from, Africa.

    Of course, that means that they were probably more likely to have been enslaved by other blacks, but I don’t see what that’s got to do with me.

  10. Yes Diogenes – when wishing to pay my respects to Cecil I had to ask oriel college gate keeper where the Rhodes statue was – it being small and high up.
    I recall some petulant black SA student couple of years back had a hissy fit about it needing to come down – and he was on a Rhodes scholarship! But for Rhodes he’d probably be barefoot in beads and grass skirt

  11. The descendants of slavers can speak unto the descendants of slavers. You know, those remaining in Africa being rather more likely to be the people having done the selling rather than those being sold.

    Would it be too late to return the goods & ask for a refund?

  12. The RFU is reviewing the singing of Sweet Chariot. A gospel song written by a native American slave, popular in church, adopted by Twickenham crowds in honour of Martin “Chariots” Offiah and Chris Oti. It’s “problematic” apparently.

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