The true history of the slave trade

The Guardian lets us in on it.

All of modernity stems from that kidnapping of West Africans. Of course it does.

With, ahem, no mention at all of the first regular buyers of slaves from The Portuguese – Akans. That first trade (after the collection of some Berbers to be sold in Lagos) was actually from the oil coast (roughly, now Nigeria) to the gold fields in now Ghana.

Oh, and of course, absolutely nothing about the trans-Saharan trade.

Nope, all wipipo from Europe. Tsk, aren’t we the naughty ones.

17 thoughts on “The true history of the slave trade”

  1. So let me get this straight –
    For thousands of years:
    Black people capturing black people to use as slaves is OK.
    Arab people capturing black people to use as slaves is OK
    Arab people capturing white people to use as slaves is OK.
    Black people selling black slaves to black people is OK.
    Arab people selling black slaves to black people is OK.
    Black people selling black slaves to arab people is OK.
    Arab people selling black slaves to arab people is OK.
    Black people selling arab slaves to arab people is OK.
    Arab people selling arab slaves to arab people is OK.
    Black people selling white slaves to black people is OK.
    Arab people selling white slaves to arab people is OK.
    Black people selling white slaves to arab people is OK.
    Black people and arab people selling black slaves to white people over a period of around 230 years is definitely NOT OK and is totally the fault and responsibility of the white people who must now pay reparations.

  2. I thought the first two thirds of the article were historically accurate and absolutely fine.
    Europeans developed seafaring techniques on the African coast that would later allow global exploration. African trade increased the wealth of Europe (and of course Africa). Some cash crops such as sugar were more finacially viable with slave labour – white indentured servants had been used initially with little success. The only weakness I saw was the extrapolation of slave labour to the whole of the North Atlantic economy. Most of the 13 Colonies economy was based on white indentured and free labour.
    The final third about why has all this been kept hidden(it hasn’t)and black people ended slavery by rebellion (they didn’t) was more contentious.

  3. So much rewriting of history. If there was any truth in this garbage, surely we’d be living under the benevolent rule of the Wakandans by now?

    As it is, they’re relying on the Chinese to build their roads for them. (although China has cracked down on SOEs spunking cash on worthless belt and road initiatives, so that might already be over)

  4. The Gladrag lies in every possible way. Most slaves cross Atlantic went to Carib and South America,.

    And of course modern socialist slavery gets no mention at all.

  5. I’m more concerned with the historical Irish slave-raiding on Britain. Time for the Micks to pay us reparations. Though what the part-Micks like me are to do I don’t know. Settle for 75% reparation?

  6. One thing I find revealing. Whilst led by the Graun & various US opinion formers, Anglo-Saxons are flailing their backs with shame over the slave trade & slavery, in Spain & Portugal – the instigators & the nations who kept slaves the longest & in vastly greater numbers – it’s hardly even a subject. Half the people I know have slave blood in them to some extent. Some of them virtually all of it. It’s just not something that’s referred to. They don’t give a damn.
    Seems to me, you Anglo-Saxons should round up all your resident blacks, put them in collars & chains & work them hard for a century or two. Do them & you a world of good.

  7. Other explanations for the emergence of the modern world reside in the ethics and temperament that some associate with Judeo-Christian beliefs, or with the development and spread of the scientific method, or, more chauvinistically still, with Europeans’ often-professed belief in their unique ingenuity and inventiveness.

    If Mr French’s hypothesis – that Europeans aren’t any better than anyone else – were true, then Arabia and the Islamic world should have easily surpassed Europe and now be ruling over the whole Solar System.
    Also, there’s no such thing as Judeo-Christian beliefs; there’s Judaism and there’s Christianity and there’s Islam. Of the three, Judaism and Islam have more in common with each other than either do with Christianity.

  8. Dennis: Oppressor, Warmonger, Capitalist and Consumer of Petroleum Products

    Yes, you too can enjoy white guilt and an unearned feeling of moral superiority from the comfort of your own home… For just pennies a day! Subscribe to The Guardian.

    Because faked concern for People You Don’t Know is a terrible thing to waste!

  9. Aside from all the excellent points above (and always when this topic comes around every week in the Guardian) the idea that our wealth is from slavery is highly suspect. I haven’t done it but I am pretty sure if one were to run a regression model of slavery vs industrialization the trend would be negative i.e. industrialized nations have fewer/no slaves (e.g. UK first industrialized nation, first to get rid of slavery. Southern US less industrialized than northern US, big slavery cotton plantations).

    Given all of our modern wealth is from industrialization slavery can easily be said to have delayed/harmed industrialization and therefore reduced our modern day wealth, rather than added to it. What are reparations in the context of that? Are we now owed money?

  10. . . . Anglo-Saxons are flailing their backs with shame over the slave trade & slavery . . .

    No good deed goes unpunished. The most significant contribution “Anglo-Saxons” made to the slave trade was to abolish it; for ourselves and, as much as we could manage, for everyone. We started the moral cascade through Europe, and we strong-armed the others to follow suit. Our leadership and sacrifice created the international structures and standards that guide the modern world. It’s no wonder we’re so hated.

  11. “if one were to run a regression model of slavery vs industrialization the trend would be negative i.e. industrialized nations have fewer/no slaves (e.g. UK first industrialized nation, first to get rid of slavery. Southern US less industrialized than northern US, big slavery cotton plantations).”

    You only need to look at the economies of the Peninsular. Spain was awash with the spoils of slavery & gold from the New World (acquired by enslaving the people they stole it from). Paid for all manner of fine palaces & churches. Endless toys & baubles for the rich. All built or supplied by foreign enterprise. Industrial revolution here was late & patchy. When I first came down here in the sixties average earnings were a fifth or the UK. It was virtually a third-world country. From personal experience I don’t think they really understand commerce even now. Without the crutch of the EU the place would be indistinguishable from Morocco. And that’s giving it more credit than it deserves.

  12. Capitano Otho Kringa

    Slavery is a highly inefficient mode of production useful only for primary extraction, where machinery is impractical. The harvesting of sugar cane is a prime example, it requires strength and stamina to gather the sugar and speed to deposit it in the boiler/crusher without losing a limb or two. The Spanish learnt at an early stage that the indigenous tribes whom they enslaved were quite unsuited to the task and that the English indentured workers did not last long enough in the tropics.

    Occam’s Razor is easily applied when discussing this whole subject. Imagine you are an entrepreneur sitting in your rented cog in the Tagus and discussing where to go with the captain :
    “Whats this land mass to the south?”
    “That’s Africa, few weeks sail, gold, coffee, chocolate, ivory, slaves.”
    “What’s in this blank bit of the map to the west ?”
    “Big fuck-off sea monsters ”
    “Right, south it is, then.”

  13. Coffee and chocolate from West Africa? Surely not, until oppressive British colonialism had brought chocolate there to the great profit of the Africans; and West African coffee, I’ve never come across it.

  14. Coffee and chocolate from West Africa? Surely not,

    Late 15thC supply chain difficulties. Barques backed up along the Gambia, shortages of Heavy Goods Carts drivers…

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