‘Alik Shahadah)


No one traveled all the way into the Congo Basin to procure Africans because of some deep hatred of African people. Slavery has a sociological factor and will always prefer to enslave someone not related to the community (any definable group with shared self-interest). When this logic is expand out it explains slavery of the “other.” if I am Fulani then the other is Mandingo, If I am English then the other maybe Irish. The more different the better. Any perceived notion of difference became the ideological backdrop to what would become modern racism. “They are not as advanced as us”, “They do not believe in the same god as us.” “They are deserving of enslavement.”

While subjective, the slavery in Africa was uniracial; with Africans as slave masters and Africans as enslaved people. While ethnic difference would have acted like “race” it was still relatively easier for the captive, after time, to become part of the enslaving race (Turaeg for example). With Arab systems, which include Turkish, Chinese and Indian, slavery were multiracial up until the 19th Century when it started to become dominated by African people as the targeted racial group.

From surf to sultan was a feature of both the native African systems as well as Arab systems of slavery. Mazrui, Hunwick both make the argument that Arab slavery, unlike the European counterpart, used enslaved people’s in their armies and thus created a large powerful military who could one day capture power. What made the European trade in enslaved Africans particular was it deliberately targeted Africans, for most of its duration. And part of the legacy of this was the natural association of Africans as inferior: Slavery in the West was by virtue of your skin color, and while religion usually override this in the Arab system (being Muslim and Africa might save you from being enslaved: for example Somalia was not supply zone — as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved. Although sometimes the conquering group would just saw the target Muslim group they were guilty of shirk ( شرك‎ širk) thus taking them outside of Islamic protection), in the West no mitigating factor could override race.

So much so that a European could parent children with enslaved African women and still could imposed the most horrendous crimes upon his own offspring without consideration and mercy: whipping them, torturing them, selling them for profit. So corrupt and vile was the systems of slavery that it poisoned natural parental bonds, where a slave master could rape his own daughter and go to church on Sunday without seeing the gross immorality.


African HolocaustThe crimes against humanity are not limited to non-Africans. Honesty cannot be a one-way mirror: Inhumanity is not racially exclusive.

Although the slave trade made an extremely small number of chiefs wealthy, it ultimately undermined local economies and political stability as villages’ vital labor forces were shipped overseas as slave raids and civil wars became commonplace. Indigenous systems had ways of dealing with prisoners and these systems became corrupt to a point where all crimes became punishable by enslavement.

Historians have described collaborators in two other major Holocausts: the Jewish Holocaust and the Native American Holocaust. Yet some academics, ignoring the historical record, makes the morally unacceptable error of collapsing three distinct groups involved in the Holocaust of enslavement: perpetrators, collaborators and victims. (Karenga). The Jewish Holocaust had its Judenräte, Jewish councils which chose Jews for enslaved labor and for the death camps and facilitated their transport to them, as well as its kapos, Jewish camp overseers, who brutalized their fellow prisoners along with the SS guards. More than 150,000 Mischlinge (mixed blood) fought for the Nazis. In WWII Luftwaffe Field Marshall Erhart Milch, was Jewish. One way or another, at least 6,000 full-blooded Jews served in the Wehrmacht . There is some elaboration of Hitler’s obsessive fear of his Jewishness, as well as the probable Jewishness of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust itself. Most documents that trace the ancestry of top Nazi officials have been destroyed.<4> In the Native American Holocaust, there were also Native American collaborators who fought with the Whites to defeat, dispossess and dominate other Native Americans. Thus, such collaboration in oppression is not unique to Africa and Africans.

With the rise of a large commercial slave trade, driven by European needs, enslaving your enemy became less a consequence of war, and more and more a reason to go to war (Nehusi). The Europeans skillfully empowered one group over another, they armed some and left some unarmed. Those who promised to trade were favored and those who resisted were crushed. The Gun – Slave cycle and the Horse – Slave cycle. All born from a dependence on technologies not locally found, i.e. inability to make advanced weapons of war, an inability to breed horses. divide, rule worked with scientific accuracy and the outcome was always certain; more slaves for European plantations.

The dilemma on the continent was either you sell your neighbor or they would be forced to come and sell you. Because of disunity, the European was able to exploit every social weakness to procure more victims. Indigenous systems had ways of dealing with prisoners and these systems became corrupt to a point where all crimes became punishable by enslavement. In Atlantic Africa during two cycles created a dangerous loop.

Enslaved Africans In history, as now, the balance of trading powers was never equal. Some, namely Eurocentric authors such as Henry Louis Gates, suggest a trade relationship which was mutually beneficial to both European and African slave traders. While the Europeans did engage and recruit some African kingdoms notable kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo. Once the enslaved African was sold, that was the beginning and end of profit for the slaving kings; supply and demand. However, for Europe is was an investment, which procured profit over hundreds of years, from generation to generation.

The entire Diaspora population was in free-servitude and therefore it is economically and socially impossible to compare the few African slavers verses the national project of Western Europe, and the Americas. Jewish historian William Rubinstein, “Of these 10 million estimated dead blacks [sic], possibly 6 million were killed by other blacks in African tribal wars and raiding parties aimed at securing slaves for transport to America ” This is the tone taken to discuss the African Holocaust, the same Rubistein takes a completely different objection to any tone which diminishes or subtracts from the reality or the humanity of the victims of the Jewish Holocaust.

As the trade progressed the items traded with Africa were of no sustainable value. While Europe’s wealth increase African merchants toyed with silly trinkets, images of a white god, inferior cloth, cheap alcohol, damp gunpowder, old pots and pans and all forms of assorted garbage not generally fit for European consumption. If Europe and Africa began their ill-fated relationship as near equals, the influx of European goods, particularly of firearms and alcohol, slowly disrupted the equilibrium of West African cultures. To Europe the enslaved workforce brought power and wealth, but to Africa the so-called trade only brought more efficient means to capture their neighbors and alcohol to corrode societies.


“African slavery is hardly to be praised. But it was far different from plantation or mining slavery in the Americas, which was lifelong, morally crippling, destructive of family ties, without hope of any future. African slavery lacked two elements that made American slavery the most cruel form of slavery in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, Black was slave” – Howard Zinn

Most European reports of slavery throughout Africa in the 1600s and beyond are not reliable sources because they often conflated various forms of servitude as equal to chattel slavery.[11] And this also was a problem with the entire history of Africa from a Western point of view in all areas; religion, culture, economic and even warfare (Thornton). Africa made sense exclusively in terms already observed in the European worldview–even if they were totally different. So slavery had no nuance, it was slavery as Europeans practiced it. Warfare as Europeans practiced it, religion lost all nuance– it was just black paganism.

The line that defines what is and isn’t slavery is blurred and there is no secret that when ethnic groups and nationalities fought in wars the vanquished where given into a system of subservience to the victors: askew rules of war. However, let not the word “slavery” allow an analogue to what happened on the plantations of Jamaica, Brazil and America.

Atlantic Voices: Anne BaileyThe limits of language take radically different systems, Atlantic slavery and vassalship in Africa, and subject them to the same treatment because they share the same abstract word “slave.” In Africa there were rarely any fields filled with men and women tolling away to the crack of a whip. There was certainly no place where so-called slaves outnumbered their enslavers. Chattel slavery rarely existed within Africa but serfdom, servitude or vassalship did, as it did in most of Europe and the rest of the world. Slavery in Africa was also not monolithic, as some suggest. It also had a serious range from mild to very severe. (Anne Bailey, 2005) In addition, this vassalship was scattered and infrequent; it was never the commerce of the land. Most non-free people could amass wealth and upward mobility was frequent. Some, as in the case of Ali Kolon ascended the ranks to become rulers.

Many enslaved people were employed in high government office with virtually no restrictions on their native language, religion etc. Naturally, it suits the people who profited from slavery to make the world think that slavery was the fault of Africans, and that slavery was good for Africa and natural to Africans.

The most brutal phase of enslavement came into play when enslaved people started to become transported outside of their local zones to distant locations (inside of Africa or outside of Africa). This happened as greater centralized African and later Arab powers came to the table. They had the power to seek captives in distant slave pools, and the lust to source free labor to expand their national objectives. The transportation over long distances increase mortality. The rise of larger civilizations meant specialization became more frequent, the dedicated solider, the merchant, and the professional slaver.


New research reveals that up until the 15th century, most of the world was still under band and tribal groupings. (Diamond, 2005) Africa was no different, as a majority of the continent, like the majority of most continents, were not in organized states. Only states have use for slavery, it is not a feature of hunter gather society which does not have the specialization to accommodate captives. Tribal groupings also rarely have slavery. It would therefore be safe to say African slavery was confined to states, and kingdoms. It was not an ubiquitous reality.

Note: upward mobility in the different forms of slavery practiced in Africa and the world. The problem with using any one feature to differentiate one type of slavery from another is this: how widespread was upward mobility in Africa? Was it unique? Because we know there was no hope of upward anything in the Atlantic system, one of the most rigid immoral slave systems the world had ever seen. But even the Arab slave trade had upward mobility. But so did Rome, unfortunately those not so lucky suffered the terrible variant form of slavery. So we need to be careful using any one feature as the definitive guide to which slavery was worst.


How Many Died in SlaveryWhile traditional studies often focus on official French and British records of how many Africans arrived in the “New World” these studies neglect the death from raids, the fatalities on-board the ships, introduced European diseases, the victims from the consequences of enslavement, and the trauma of refugees displaced by slaving activities. The numbers of arrivals also neglects the volume of Africans who arrived via pirate ships who for obvious reasons wouldn’t’ have kept records. In her book Dreams of Africa in Alabama, Sylviane Diouf details the lives of the enslaved Africans to be brought to the U.S. even after emancipation. Most of this history is neglected in calculating numbers of Africans stolen into slavery.

In the centuries of death that surrounded slavery some suggest that a few kings got rich or life in Africa was so horrid that being brought to slave plantations was a progressive life style change. (See African Kingdoms for Africa prior to slavery)

If 12-15 million Africans arrived in the New World. Over 10 million died as direct consequences of the Atlantic slave trade alone. But no one knows the exact number. An often-neglected study within history is the value of population demographics as a function of time. 30 million people 500 years ago is not equivalent to 30 million people today because 30 million as a percentage of the world population represented 500 years ago is far greater than what it represents today.
We must also realize the percentage of Africans in a state of slavery might have meant that 40% of all Africans alive were enslaved at any given period in the last 300 years. In short this means that African, by a landmark, are the most enslaved people in the history of humanity; by any and all definitions of slavery. It is estimated that by the height of the Transatlantic slave trade the population of Africa unlike the rest of the World had stagnated by 50%.

How Many Died in SlaveryNot only was Transatlantic Slavery of demographic significance, in the aggregate population losses but also in the profound changes to settlement patterns, epidemiological exposure and reproductive and social-economic development potential. (Shahadah) Thus Africa’s development potential was being experienced outside of Africa, as opposed to inside Africa. This was perhaps the most profound destructive factor to the development of Africa. Systems of enslavement inside of Africa never underdeveloped the continent, while the Transatlantic Slave trade did at the same time enriching Europe.

Because if 12 million arrived how many generations from that 12 million were subjected to slavery? 140 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere, most of them the direct consequence of the Atlantic Slave Trade. So now consider 350 years of slavery how many African generations were enslaved, how many people died via that horrid process of enslavement? These are the new questions which must be attached to the old study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.


Everyone with a PhD and not, has had a crack at the numbers lost to the Atlantic Slave system. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. He claims a 50% mortality rate among new slaves while being gathered and held in Africa, a 10% mortality among the survivors while crossing the ocean, and another 50% mortality rate in the first “seasoning” phase of slave labor. Overall, he estimates a 75-80% mortality rate in transit.

In “The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust” (Is the Holocaust Unique, A. Greebaum, ed., 1996), Seymour Drescher estimates that 21M were enslaved, 1700-1850, of which 7M remained in slavery inside Africa. 4M died “as a direct result of enslavement”. Of the 12M shipped to America, 15%, or 2M more, died in the Middle Passage and seasoning year.

Three large regions of Atlantic Africa were the major contributors to the slave trade: Upper Guinea, including the modern countries of Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; Lower Guinea, including the southern portions of Eastern Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; and West Central Africa, which encompassed mostly the western portions of the DRC and Angola. The procurement area constitutes 15 percent of Africa’s total area, all on the Atlantic side of the continent.

Jan Rogozinski, A Brief History of the Caribbean (1994): “[A]s many as eight million Africans may have died in order to bring four million slaves to the Caribbean islands.”

In The Slave Trade, Hugh Thomas estimates that 13M left African ports, and 11,328,000 arrived. Here are a few other numbers from Thomas:

Rummel estimates a total death toll of 17,267,000 African slaves (1451-1870)

  • Among slaves going to Orient: 2,400,000 dead
  • Among slaves staying in Africa: 1,200,000 dead
  • Among slaves going to New World: 13,667,000 dead

Fredric Wertham claims that 150,000,000 Africans died of the slave trade. Looking at all the speculations on demographic impact on Africa we can estimate that at bear minimum 35% of those enslaved in Africa died before reaching the slave ships. Between these extreme possibilities the most likely mortality rate is 62%.

In terms of absolute numbers, the lowest possible is 6 million. If we assume the absolute worst, a death toll as high as 60 million is at the very edge of possibility (including indirect death, epidemiological exposure, etc.; however, the likeliest number of deaths would fall somewhere from 15 to 20 million.

Death Rates









9.5 Million

11 Million

15 Million

Ocean Crossing









6 Million

17.8 Million

58 Million

If 5 million slaves were shipped in the 18th Century (the busiest century, see Hugh Thomas, above), then the 18th Century death toll could be around 8.1 million. (=5/11*17.8)

And what is often neglected, deliberately so, that these numbers are only the dead among the first generation of enslaved Africans brought from Africa. Subsequent generations would contribute additional unnatural deaths…


The image is always given that the Africans themselves acquiesce to the process of slavery. But you’ll find that in West Africa there was a polity or a political entity that existed that guaranteed security right across West Africa and that was the Songhay Empire. We saw Malik Sy in the 16th Century as well, and men like Abdul Qadeer and Cherno Sulayman Kaba, these men who waged resistance in what is known as Futa Toro and Futa Jalon. Also the campaigns of Nasr al-Din’s [Nasser Uddin] (Tubenan movement) anti-slavery and Western imposition galvanized Africans in the region in the late 17th century.

We had Nzinga and the Southern areas of Africa as well that was fighting its resistance against European invasion. All the way up until the 17th Century men like Umar Tall, Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodiod and Umar Futi as well as Ahmed Lobo. And then we had the courageous wars, which took place in 1884 under the armies of Muhammad Ahmed, Ibn Abdullahi of the Sudan as well as Muhammad Abdullahi al Hassan of Somalia. And then we had in 1903 finally, the wars that took place between the Sokoto Empire.

“The man that enslaves you doesn’t get a medal for stopping enslavement—You not supposed to enslave people in the 1st place” – Shahadah

Probably about one in ten slaving voyages experienced major rebellions, of which the attempts to control increased the costs of a slave voyage to the point where far fewer slaves entered the traffic than would have been the case without resistance. In addition, vessels from some regions on the coast appear to have been more prone to experience slave uprisings than those from other regions. So the Africans did not acquiesce colonialism, nor did they acquiesce towards slavery, they fought at every point. The image of Europeans as the liberators of African (as if Africans just waited by the river watching the clouds go by) is part of the take-away from Africans as agents. And in fact when the slaves were landing in the Western hemisphere in Bahia Brazil you saw the emergence of jihad movements. You saw the emergence of men like Muhammad Sambo who led a two-month jihad in the Louisiana territories in North America. Men like Nat Turner and other men who refused to submit to slavery. The Haitian Revolution as well. Men like Macantow. So The Africans never acquiesce to slavery in fact we can say this year that the whole concept of freedom that the American thirteen colonies had, they got that concept of freedom and liberty from the African resistance movement that took place in the Western Hemisphere.

What did the Slave Master learn from Bahia et al? That it was critical to separate the African (the one who just arrived with a memory of home) from the conditioned slave (the one born into enslavement). Teaching the conditioned slave to hate anything African, anyone who remembers another home is dangerous to the designs of slavery.

“If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good requires that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which was intended for them to occupy. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away” – Samuel A. Cartwright

Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused African slaves to flee captivity. So ingrained was the notion of Africans only purpose being in the capacity as slaves, it was seen as unnatural and a sickness that would cause them to want to escape slavery. And today we must ask what has really changed? Africans in America seeking to rename their children in the African traditions, or seek African ways of life, African religions, or African culture, are seen as “confused.”


“The fact of the dual involvement of Europeans and Africans in the slave trade did not imply equal partnership, but rather parallel lines of activity originating from different cultural and political space” – Anne C. Bailey

In popular circles there is a “Who sold us into slavery?” debate that has been raging for years. It however has done little to advance a pure understanding of the African reality. It has always been used to divide African loyalty, and foster further distrust in Pan-African communities: by targeting certain countries, ethnic groups or religious groups. If African people are to heal and come to terms, and hence grow and reach a higher potential, it is impossible to avoid this issue for it will stymie Pan-African development. Understanding this notion of “Selling out” is critical aspect of the African Holocaust.

Now who did the “selling out” is not a binary Diaspora vs Continental issue. The “selling out” personality was on the boats that carried Africans to the New World, it was on the plantations, it followed its way into current leadership in Africa and the America’s: It lives in the heart of all those who try to fragment Africans by location, tribe and religion. It creates distrust and suspicion around great works, and leads Africans into nothingness rather than glory. It tries to suggest patterns of “selling out” to create distrust to further the political agenda of certain groups: “Oh it was the Christians that sold us out.” But the historical record clears both Islam and Christianity as the primary agent involved in “selling out” Africans to the Atlantic or even Arab slave trade. So what we are left with is the 100% agency of African people: Africans as free people, uninfluenced doing Holocaust.

Ethnic groups who may have engaged in selling other groups, at later stages as the system got out of control, may have themselves been taken to the New World. So there is zero point in binary Diaspora vs Continent blame games. It is impossible to point to West Africa and say “they sold us out”. It was a human personality that betrayed truth and justice when under duress, there is a more worrying and insidious human personality of greed and myopic ambition that has found its way through history into the current African leadership, that sells it resources and condemns its people to poverty to service Western designs, which reward this betrayal with trinkets.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Who sold Africa out is the personality of greed and selfishness, and moreover disunity. The failure of African people to purge the “devil” within. It is not the people of Ghana, or the people of Nigeria, The Muslims, or the Christian converts, that was the sole culprit, because this generalization does not account for the traitors on the plantations of Louisiana. It does not account for the overseers who made deals to usurp African rebellion. And it goes soft in dealing with the flaws inside of ATR that were the biggest justification for enslavement. It also generalizes targeted African groups who remained in Africa but were equal victims of enslavement.


A lot of research has revealed that Africans as a group were suitable for enslavement due to physical endurance; resistance to disease, the advantages of procuring large numbers from slave pools. But there was something more profound than that, that made Africans ripe for enslavement. A failure of people of Africa to form defenses around spheres of interest. And that started, for what ever reason, because of a failure to understand continental interest above national interest. And this is tied hard and fast to notions of identity. Through no fault of African people in antiquity, since they had no reason then to have a Pan-African identity. However it is certainly an ongoing issue in Africa today, where blame can be laid squarely with contemporary Africans and no one else.

Had Europeans come to Africa and met with a united people who mastered space technology, nuclear weaponry, vacationed on the moon, and drove cars running on air, two things would have happened. A. there would be no perception of inferiority b. They would have been no opportunity for their designs on African flesh.

What Africans are still not getting, is, never let “internal” squabbles or confusions around difference (religious, ethnic, political, etc), allow a foreign aggression or agendas in Africa: Some term this divide and conquer, but steps to counter it are fleeting, especially when those that advocate unity are also busy causing disunity. So still the lessons of history have not be learned The failure to have a clear hierarchy of agendas allowed the African Holocaust. The African Holocaust affected all Africans, and required all Africans to close ranks around this issue. However. the issue of a pan-African concern was secondary, or non-existent to a “tribal” concern. The myopic acceptance of partnerships with Europe to rid one of a local enemy still work then and now in African politics. And even with hindsight this pattern of divide and rule is stated, but not fully understood. Africans will always have to deal with each other and conflict is inevitable, but in the hierarchy of interest, defense of the Motherland today must reign supreme.


“The viewpoint that “Africans” enslaved “Africans” is obfuscating if not troubling. The deployment of “African” in African history tends to coalesce into obscurantist constructions of identities that allow scholars, for instance, to subtly call into question the humanity of “all” Africans. Whenever Asante rulers sold non-Asantes into slavery, they did not construct it in terms of Africans selling fellow Africans. They saw the victims for what they were, for instance, as Akuapems, without categorizing them as fellow Africans. Equally, when Christian Scandinavians and Russians sold war captives to the Islamic people of the Abbasid Empire, they didn’t think that they were placing fellow Europeans into slavery. This lazy categorizing homogenizes Africans and has become a part of the methodology of African history; not surprisingly, the Western media’s cottage industry on Africa has tapped into it to frame Africans in inchoate generalities allowing the media to describe local crisis in one African state as “African” problem” – Dr. Akurang-Parry, Ending the Slavery Blame, Ghana Web

When we study the dilemma which created a supply of slaves for the Western markets we see that the primary process was warring Africans. While some historians consider these merely “Slave Raids” it can be shown that casualties would have been experienced on both sides and thus making such activities more akin to warfare. Even if that warfare was against a “weaker” nation who served as a target group for procuring captives. The long standing temptation is to paint all these groups as African fighting Africans. However, in this historical period there was no African identity. People in 15th century Africa never heard of “Black people” as an identity. While they had knowledge of self from an internal perspective, that knowledge of self lacked a relationship to other African groups in the broader sense, especially when confronted with the arrival of Europeans. And that is key because being proud to be Zulu, for example, but seeing a Xhosa as different is a narrow understanding of ‘self.’ And this failure made it easy for identities, whether ethnic or national, to be used as a opportunity for exploitation. And this is not unique to Africa, the same thing happened everywhere the European went in his expansion where he met different ethnic groups.

Perhaps this is also the largest factor which added the European interest in Africa, lack of a singular identity. The Aro Confederacy and the Imbangala cult, all had strict conceptions of what made an individual eligible for enslavement. Among such criteria were constructions of gender, definitions of criminal behavior (which expanded and corrupted as demand increased), and conventions for dealing with prisoners of war. The Serer for example had a policy of not keeping their enemies as slaves, so they killed them. (Martin Klein) While in other communities various regulations govern their POW. All of this was never static as duress increased from the consequences of the Atlantic slave machine.


How did you become enslaved? Especially in the beginning people would have been debt slaves, or religious violators, people who were political rivals, or general undesirables (Nehusi). But as the trade progressed that internal supply pool from within ones nation was limited. The best source of new captives were prisoners of war; bought, traded or procured directly by violent warfare.

The ethnic groups that were most frequently transported across the Atlantic came from a relatively small ethnic pool.

  • BaKongo of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
  • Mandé of Upper Guinea
  •  Gbe speakers of Togo, Ghana and Benin (Adja, Mina, Ewe, Fon)
  • Akan of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire
  • Wolof of Senegal and The Gambia
  • Igbo of southeastern Nigeria
  • Mbundu of Angola (includes Ovimbundu)
  • Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria
  • Chamba of Cameroon
  • Makua of Mozambique

Groups most active in procuring captives where:

  • Oyo, Benin
  • Igala
  • Kaabu
  • Imbangala
  • Asanteman
  • Dahomey
  • The Aro Confederacy of Angola (includes Ovimbundu)


Modern Slavery is fundamentally an economic phenomenon. Throughout history, slavery has existed where it has been economically worthwhile to those in power. The principal example in modern times is the U.S. South. It is preposterous and a historical denial to say that slavery did not significantly build the West. Obviously the likes of John Thornton are self-serving and protecting the wealth of the West by denying and spinning the contributions gained from slavery. There was not only direct monetary reward from holding slaves to do work on a plantation. Enslaved people also allowed their captors “free hands” to pursue activities which further enriched the West.

"Slave Money" | OkpohoNearly 4 million enslaved Africans with a market value of close to $4 billion lived in the U.S. just before the Civil War. Masters enjoyed rates of return on slaves comparable to those on other assets; cotton consumers, insurance companies, and industrial enterprises benefited from slavery as well. Such valuable property required rules to protect it,
and the institutional practices surrounding slavery display a sophistication that rivals modern-day law and business. (100 trillion dollars, based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compounded interest of 6% (and that is only for the USA),

The currency used in the African economic system of was the Okpoho (anillas are penannular armlets, mostly in bronze or copper). The word comes from the Igbo language known to in Spanish as Manillas.

Slavery chart

Masters profited from reproduction as well as production. Southern planters encouraged slaves to have large families because U.S. slaves lived long enough — unlike those elsewhere in the New World — to generate more revenue than cost over their lifetimes. But researchers have found little evidence of slave breeding; instead, masters encouraged slaves to live in nuclear or extended families for stability. Lest one think sentimentality triumphed on the Southern plantation, one need only recall the willingness of most masters to sell if the bottom line was attractive enough.


Part 3 will cover the following subjects:

Companies Who Profited From Slavery
Reparations Debate
Reparations Means Repair
Slavery As A Penal System
Slavery, Legacy And Language
Africa, Religion And Slavery
Slavery | Holocaust Today
Problem Identifying Slavery
Maafa Or Holocaust
Modern Slavery Today
Authors Notes