Transatlantic Slave Trade





Transatlantic Slave Trade

Slave trade was a popular venture in the colonial period with a large percentage of the victims originating from various African countries. For example, the transatlantic slave trade resulted in the transportation of many Africans from the western and central regions of the African continent to European countries and their colonies (Shillington 24). Consequently, the significance of this form of trade in the history of the African continent and inhabitants is the basis of this analysis. This essay seeks to discuss the main causes of the transatlantic slave trade and its effects on African countries.

One of the main causes of this inhumane venture was the high demand for cheap labor in the European countries and their colonies. During the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the regions colonized by European countries exhibited significant developments in major economic subdivisions such as agriculture and manufacturing factories. For example, European entrepreneurs in the United States increased the size and productivity of the cultivated estates comprising of tobacco, sugar, and cotton. Moreover, the construction industry and gold mines required a large number of laborers. Most of the inhabitants in these regions died due to the fights and illnesses (Shillington 40). Furthermore, the available workers were expensive. This propelled the colonists to invade the western and central areas of Africa in search of cheap laborers, an aspect that enhanced slave trade.

In addition, the search for prosperity by some of the governments in these African regions resulted in the transatlantic slave trade. Prior to this venture, African nations with a significantly stable economy conducted legitimate business deals with such European countries as Portugal. For example, the Kongo Kingdom located south of River Zaire had a stable trading network, well-established markets, and a solid federal administration. These features attracted Portuguese traders in the area. Accordingly, it did not oppose the initiation of slave trade by these European traders since the venture comprised of financial benefits. This explains why a large number of slaves originated from this geological zone. In addition, the slave traders considered these regions as strategic locations for the transportation of the laborers. This is because of the closeness to the Indian Ocean and the plantations in various European colonies (Shillington 66).

Subsequently, there were numerous negative effects of the transatlantic slave trade. To begin with, a large percentage of people of all age groups lost their lives during the raids as well as the drought that followed the destructive military actions. In addition, the slaves transported from these Africa areas were in their formative years. This reduced the regional and national productivity. The overwhelming deaths and transportation of a large number of slaves also had a negative effect on the demographics of the regions. This is because of the high death rate as compared to the birth rate. Likewise, the transatlantic slave trade resulted in the suppression of traditional values and social relations owing to the introduction of conflicting societal principles by these slave traders (Shillington 92).

In conclusion, most of the causes of the transatlantic slave trade were in relation to the quest for economic developments in Africa and the European countries. The strategic location of various geological zones in Africa with reference to transportation routes such as the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean also facilitated this inhumane venture. Subsequently, some of its effects included population reduction, economic destabilization, and suppression of the existing societal values.


Work Cited

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa. Oxford: Macmillan Education, 2005. Print.


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