Chapter 20: Africa and the Africans in the Age of the Slave Trade


Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic System

       In this chapter, parts of Africa are explored and conquered by the Europeans for their own use. The Europeans establish commerce with the different countries within Africa. Slave trade is the main type. Thousands and thousands of slaves were traded with the Europeans for things such as weapons, different types of currency, etc. The Europeans greatly relied on slave trade as a form of labor force. The Europeans would ship hundreds of slaves to the Americas and they would then force them to work on plantations or domestic areas. The slaves basically did anything. They worked in mines, on plantations, in the household, as street vendors, etc. Slaves were greatly needed on plantations that grew cotton, sugar, and tobacco. Other forms of trade between the Europeans and the Africans included trading palm oil, peanuts, ivory, gold, etc. 

Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures
Gender roles played a big role in this chapter. During this era, the slave trade began and the main target for these slave traders were typically grown healthy men primarily for their ability in the labor force. As a result, women and children were left behind in Africa causing women to act as concubines to the Europeans. This causes a decrease in the African population, resulting in a resurgence of mixed races (mulattos). Europeans acted superior over Africans and treated them like a piece of property. Hard labor had different forms in: indentured servants, convict laborers, debt peons, and chattel slaves. 



- Portuguese established forts and trading posts 

  with resident merchants

Location of different factories

El Mina:

Crucial factory located in the heart of the gold- producing region of the forest zone


- Settlers and adventurers of Portuguese origin

- Many were Jews escaping persecution from Portuguese Inquisition

Nzinga Mvemba: 

-Ruler, from 1507 to 1543, who brought the 

 whole kingdom to Christianity and attempted to    

 "Europeanize" the kingdom.

- Tried to end the slave trade and limit Portuguese 

  activities after the enslavement of his subjects.

- Partially successful due to Portugal's control of 

   Kongo's ability to communicate with outside

   world and dominance over Kongo's trade

Portrait of Nzinga Mvemba



- Basis for Portuguese colony of Angola

Map of Luanda 

Royal African Company

- English were eager to have their own supply of slaves for their colonies in Barbados, Jamaica, and 


- Slaving company wet up by Stuart family and London merchants after the former retook the English 

  throne in English Restoration of 1660

- Led by James, Duke of York, Charles II's brother

- Originally known as Company of Royal ACollapsed in 1667 during the war with Netherlands 

  Adventures Trading to Africa

- Granted monopoly over English slave trade

- Collapsed in 1667 during a war with Netherlands

Indies Piece

- Complicated Spanish system for slaves

- Established the price of a healthy man

- Women and children were a fraction of that price

Picture depicting the Triangular Trade 

Triangular Trade

- Trade between America, Europe, and Africa

- Slaves carried to American

- Sugar, tobacco, and other goods were sent to Europe

- European product were sent to Africa


- Empire in the Gold Coast by the Europeans

- Rose to prominence in period of the slave trade

- Members of this empire were called Akan

   - Who were major groups of modern Ghana

- Settled in and around Kumasi

  - Region of gold and kola nut production

  - Between coast and Hausa and Made trading 

    centers in the north

- 20 small states basted on matrilineal clans

- Cooperations and access to firearms after 1650 

  allowed them to have the ability to centralize and 


Location of Asante

Picture of Osei Tutu 

Osei Tutu:

-Co- founder of Empire Ashanti

- Led alliance of Ashanti against regional hegemony, Denkyira

   - Completely defeated them

- Induced rulers of other Ashanti city- states to 

  declare allegiance to Kumasi, his capital, through 

  force of arms and diplomacy

- Politically advised by Anokye, cleric whose 

   spiritual authority over people aided the finding of 

   the empire, throughout his career


- Title created to designate supreme civil and 

   religious leader

- Osei Tutu's asantehene was his golden stool

   - The golden stool became a symbol of the 

     Asante union created by the linking of many 

     Akan clans under the authority of the 


Asantehene: Golden Stool


- Located between Volta and Benin river on what 

  the Europeans called the Slave Coast

- At the height of its power when Europeans 


- Traced origin to city of Ife and Yoruba people 

   that were its neighbors

- Bacmae separate and independent kingdom with 

  its own well0 developed political and artistic 


- Casted bronze, was into pepper, textiles and 


- Never made slave trade its primary source of 

  revenue or state policy

Map of Benin 


- Developed among Fon peoles

- Emerged as a power in the 17th century from 


- Kings ruled with advice of powerful councils

- By 1720s access to firearms allowed rulers to 

  create autocratic and sometimes brutal political 

  regime based on slave trade

- Under King Agaja, kingdom was moved toward 

  the coast

- Attracted many European traders

- Maintained its autonomy and turned to the cycle 

  of firearms and slave

Dahomey on the bottom in blue


- Spoke language of Nilotic group

- Resulted in construction of related dynasties 

  among the states in area of large lakes of east 

  central Africa

- Eventually established ruling dynasty among 

  Bantu population

- Exercised considerable power in 16th and 17th 


Map of Luo 

Uthman Dan Fodio

- Founder of Sokoto Calphate in 1809 which is 

  located in northern Nigeria

- Created largest empire in Africa since the fall of 

  Songhai in 1691

- Stretched from Dori to Adamawa, 1500 

   kilometer at its strongest peak

- Provided inspiration for series of related holy wars

Picture of Uthman Dan Fodio 


Great Trek

-Eastward and north-eastward migration away 

 from British control of Cape Colony during 1830s 

 and 1840s bye Boers

- Set it so that they could be free of government 


- Eventually brought them across Orange River 

  into Natal

- Didn't realize or care that lack of population 

   resulted from great military upheaval taking 

   place among Bantu peoples of the region

 PIcture depicting the Great Trek


- Most influential king of the Zulu Kingdom

- Center of new military and political organization

   - Began to absorb or destroy its neighbors

- Demonstrated talent as a politician

  - Tooling families of groups he incorporated into growing Zulu state

- Ruled with an iron hand

   - Destroying his enemies

   - Acquiring cattle

   - Crushing any opposition

- Policies brought power to Zulu, but his behavior brought many enemies

- Assassinated in 1828

Picture depicting a gathering of the Fulani people 

  Along with the Europeans came the arrival of new religions such as Muslim. In the 1770s, a Muslim reform movement took place and swept western Sudan. A purifying Sufi variant of Islam had an intense impact on the Fulani people, a pastoral people who spread across a broad area in western Sudan. More than 17000 Afrikaners settled there. 

  Afrikaners were settlers that settled in Cape Colony. Settlers saw Cape Colony as wealthy land and potential areas to invest in. 

  Boers (Dutch), also called voortekkers,  moved into lands occupied by the southern Nguni because of various government measures, the arrival of English-speaking immigrants, and the lure of better lands. 

Although Africans were treated harshly, they never lost their identity and culture. Obeah is a name to term African religious practices. Through practices of Brazilian candomble and Haitian vodun, fully developed versions of African religions flourished despite attempts to suppress them. 

 Zulu Wars were fought in 1879 between the British and the Zulu kingdom of Africa. British wanted to gain as much land in Africa as possible so it took imperialistic measures to achieve this goal. However, the authorities of the Zulu kingdom would not give in easily and so a war broke out. The British ended up triumphing. 

 The rise of Zulu and other Nguni chiefdoms was the beginning of the mfecane, wards of crushing and wandering. With the expansion of Zulus came the forced migrations that led to constant battles between the peoples in the area. Surrounding states either fled or joined the Zulus 

  New African states emerged because of the mfecane. One state, Swazi, adapted aspects of the Zulu model and survived. 

Another state Lesotho successfully resisted the Zulus. It combined Sotho and Nguni armies and defended itself and eventually developed a kingdom less committed to military organization. 

Map of Lesotho 

 In the 18th century African slaves traveled across the Middle Passage, a slave voyage, to the Americas. Many were crammed into tight spaces in the ships with horrible environments. Many Africans faced violence, disease, poor treatment, etc . and often died on these voyages. 

 Picture depicting the events that occurred during the Middle Passage

There were certain class distinctions amongst occupants of Americas. Saltwater slaves, African born humans, and Creole slaves, slaves born in the Americas, made up the bottom of the social class. 

  Because of the harsh ways they were treated, many Africans tried escaping by running away and rebelling against their suppressors. In Brazil in the 17th century, Palmares, a huge runaway slave kingdom, resisted Portuguese and Dutch attempts to destroy them.  However, one of the most remarkable examples of African American resistance are the Suriname Maroons. A large number of slaves ran off in the 18th century and battled an amazing war in the rain forest against its suppressors. Although some were captured, the ones that did survive kept their African background alive and running. 

Picture depicting Suriname Maroons 

 Although slave trade was prevalent, there were still some whites that were against the act. People such as William Wilberforce started an abolitionist movement and eventually managed to persuade the parliament to abolish British slave trade in 1807. 

Portrait of William Wilberforce 

African Diaspora was caused by new contacts with Europe and other countries around the world. This caused the spread of Africans to places such as Europe, Middle East, and the Americas. 

Portait of Shaka 

 The kingdom of Benin was at the heights of its power when the Europeans came in and interrupted. It was independent kingdom that had its own well developed political andartistic traditions. Its ruler, or Oba, limited slave trade with the Europeans in 1516. 

Video depicting the Middle Passage 

Quiz Time:

What was the most important Portuguese trading factory? El mina


Who was the king of kongo south of Zaire River, converted to Christianity and took title of Alfonso 1? Nzinga Mvemba


Name the 3 countries that participated in the Triangular trade. Africa, America, Europe


What was the movement of Dutch settlers in Cape colony of southern Africa to escape influence of British colonial governments? Great Trek


What is the difference between Obeah and Candomble? Obeah is the african religious ideas and practices in the English and French Caribbean islands. On the other hand, Candomble is the african religious ideas and practices in Brazil, particularly among Yoruba people.


What is the difference between saltwater and creole slaves? Saltwater slaves were slaves transported from Africa, almost invariable black. While Creole slaves were American-born descendants of saltwater slaves as a result of sexual exploitation of slave women. 


Who was the British statesman and reformer, a leader of abolitionist movement in English parliament that led to end of English slave trade? William Wilberforce 


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