Did the Bible, the white man’s religion, introduce slavery to Africa? No, not even close

Was it the Bible that introduced slavery to Africa? When you examine the historical facts of slavery, you'll see that this is not the case.

 

Muslim Arabs, who used the Koran, began the African slave trade around 650 AD.

They found an established network of African slave owners that was already in existence. If one tribe conquered another tribe, they would readily turn the losers into slaves. This was not unique to Africa. All the kingdoms in Europe, America, and Asia were built up by the cheap labour of slaves from conquered peoples. That was the only way to build up an empire. Half of the people in Athens during her time of power were slaves.

Human history is full of the awful curse of slavery.

Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persians, Greeks, Romans, China, India, the Mongols, and the Arab states built up their wealthy kingdoms by using cheap slave labour. So did the Aztecs in Mexico, the Incas in the Andes mountains in America, and the Comanche in Texas.

Julius Caesar sold one million Gauls as slaves when he conquered France. This provided money and cheap labour to establish the Roman empire. Titus, the Roman general in AD 70, took 97,000 Jewish slaves when he destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Alexander the Great, if he had to fight hard to conquer a city, would happily sell 30,000 of their survivors into slavery.

So that was the harsh reality of warfare. If you lost a battle you could expect to end up as a slave.

So Africans, like all other people, were also involved in slave trading before the Arabs got there in 650 AD. That was the way people lived in those early days. So the Arabs were dealing in slaves for 800 years before the first white men from Portugal arrived in Africa in 1471. Africa is a huge country, and it needed the local tribes to set up the slave routes and the slave capture process. This required a lot of organization and co-operation.

The first Europeans, the Portuguese, acted as intermediate agents by carrying the African slaves, belonging to the African slave owners in one African port, to be bought by African slave purchasers who lived in another African port.

Columbus only discovered the West Indies in 1492. So there was no American market before that date.

Boats offload cargo at one port, and then load up with goods there to sell at the next port. It did not take long before the greed of the Portuguese and the African slave owners made them realize that they could include African slaves as a profitable "cargo" between the ports of Africa. Horrible. But the love of money is the root of all evil. This applies to whites, as well as Africans. Very few humans are saints when there is money to be made.

Ninety years after the Portuguese arrived, Hawkins was the first English slaver who took slaves to the Spanish in South America in 1562.

By this time the Portuguese and Spanish had invaded South America, and were setting up their empires there that depended on slave labour.

So Muslim Arabs dealt in slaves from 650 AD, and thus had about 800 years to impose slavery on Africa before the Portuguese arrived.

The English slavers were a disgrace and a stain on the flag of England. But God then woke up William Wilberforce, who had become born again thanks to the revival that John Wesley had begun in England. For 20 years Wilberforce attacked slavery, and finally succeeded in getting an anti-slavery Bill passed in Parliament in 1807. The English then captured hundreds of slave ships, and released thousands of slaves at the port of Freetown in Africa.

Thus the Gospel broke up this disgraceful Atlantic trade that treated human beings as cargo to be bought and sold.

One of the few Ghanaian historians to touch these issues, Akosua Adoma Perbi, writes that "slavery became an important part of the Asante state [the Gold Coast's most powerful] right from its inception. For three centuries, Asante became the largest slave-trading, slave-owning and slave-dealing state in Ghana."

When the Portuguese arrived on the scene in 1471, they were intermediaries, bringing slaves (and other goods) from Senegal and Benin along the coast to Ghana to sell them in exchange for gold to the Asante and other local peoples.

So a historian from Ghana tells us that Asante was the largest slave trading state in Ghana for 300 years before the first white men arrived.

So the answer is no. The Bible and white men did not introduce slavery to Africa.

Africans and Muslim Arabs were well established in this evil trade long before the evil whites showed up.

The actions of these white slavers is a stain on the pages of history that cannot be erased. They really were the scum of the earth.

 

Martin Luther began the Reformation in 1520 by preaching salvation by faith. Europe then tried to break out of the Dark Ages but was not too successful. John Wesley, around 1750 began a movement of outreach and holiness that would evolve into the missionary age that began around 1792 in England.

William Wilberforce in England became born again in 1785, and used his position in Parliament to attack slavery for twenty years until a law was passed in 1807 to ban slavery.

So it was a born again Christian, who believed in the Bible, who laid the foundation for the ending of slavery.

But it is a colossal shame that white men who claimed to believe the Bible did get involved with the slave trade at all. The greed and shame is shared by Europeans, Americans, Arabs, and Africans. Some were worse than others, but all are guilty. Only the slaves were the innocent victims.

Today there are about 30 million physical slaves world-wide.

Human trafficking is primarily for prostituting women and children and is the fastest growing form of forced labor, with Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico having been identified as leading hotspots of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

According to researcher Siddharth Kara,  the profits generated worldwide by all forms of slavery in 2007 were $91.2 billion. That is second only to drug trafficking, in terms of global criminal enterprises.

So slavery remains a horrible reality to millions of people.

 

Enslaving people from the losing party in a war, is something that has been done by virtually all human civilizations at some point or another in time. Their cheap labour is of economic benefit to the winner. Or the slaves are simply sold, bringing in a lot of money.

In 1452  Pope Nicholas V, to his lasting shame, legitimized the slave trade of the people who had been conquered as a result of war.

Please draw a difference between Jesus and the church.

Please do not blame Jesus or the Bible for the sins of the church.

The Pope and the Catholic church said that physical slavery was fine. But Jesus died to free us from our slavery to sin, which is a far worse slavery.

Anyone who repents of their sin and accepts Jesus as their Saviour cannot make a slave out of someone else. As a son of God, a person is not better than someone else. He is just in a better position because of having his or her sins forgiven.

 

So slavery has been a sickness in the human soul for a long time.

The Code of Hammurabi (about 1760 BC), for example, prescribed death for anyone who helped a slave escape or who sheltered a fugitive.

So slaves have been building other people’s empires for a long, long time.

Slavery is a disgusting topic and the shame and blame spreads out to America, Europe, the Arabs, Africa, and the East.

 

Let us consider a few of the tragic facts dealing with the slave trade in Africa.

White guilt and Arab guilt on the side of the slave traders can never be erased. But black participation in this ghastly trade lets no one off the hook.

Slavery leaves a lot of blood on a lot of people’s hands.

The Guardian Newspaper :

Traditional African rulers whose ancestors collaborated with European and Arab slave traders should follow Britain and the United States by publicly saying sorry, according to human rights organisations.

The Civil Rights Congress of  Nigeria has written to tribal chiefs saying: "We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans, particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless."

The appeal has reopened a sensitive debate over the part some chiefs played in helping to capture their fellow Africans and sell them into bondage as part of the transatlantic slave trade.

Shehu Sani, head of the congress, said it was calling for traditional rulers to apologise now because they were seeking inclusion in a forthcoming constitutional amendment in Nigeria. He said that on behalf of the buyers of slaves, the ancestors of the traditional rulers "raided communities and kidnapped people, shipping them away across the Sahara or across the Atlantic".

Many slaves captured inland in Africa  died on the long journey to the coast.

The position was endorsed by Henry Bonsu, a British-born broadcaster of Ghanaian descent, who examined the issue in Ghana for a radio documentary. He said some chiefs had accepted responsibility and sought atonement by visiting Liverpool and the United States.

"I interviewed a chief who acknowledged there was collaboration and that without that involvement we wouldn't have seen human trafficking on an industrial scale," said Bonsu, the co-founder of digital station Colourful Radio.

"An apology in Nigeria might be helpful because the chiefs did some terrible things and abetted a major crime."

The non-government organisation Africa Human Right Heritage, based in Accra, Ghana, supports the campaign for an apology. Baffour Anning, its chief executive, said: "I certainly agree with the Nigeria Civil Rights Congress that the traditional leaders should render an apology for their role in the inhuman slavery administration." He said it would accord with the UN's position on human rights.

Fred Swaniker, the founder of the African Leadership Academy, said: "I'm not sure whether an apology is needed, but it would be worth looking at and acknowledging the role Africa did play in the slave trade. Someone had to find the slaves and bring them before the Europeans."

The shameful history of some traditional leaders remains an awkward subject on which many politicians prefer to maintain silence. One exception was in 1998 when Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, told an audience including Bill Clinton: "African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologise it should be the African chiefs. We still have those traitors here even today." (End of Guardian article)

The black slave market was supplied by well-established slave trade networks controlled by local African societies and individuals. Indeed, as already mentioned in this article, slavery persists in several areas of West Africa until the present day.

Slaves had to travel long distances to get to the coasts.

This required co-operation from the local tribes.

The Arabs began the African slave trade 800 years before the Portuguese and other white nations began.

From Wikipedia: In the 1860s, David Livingstone's  reports of atrocities within the Arab slave trade in Africa stirred up the interest of the British public, reviving the flagging abolitionist movement that outlawed slavery in 1833.

Afrikan Involvement in the Atlantic Slave Trade, by Kwaku Person-Lynn, PhD". Africawithin.com. Archived from the original  on April 18, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2010.

There is adequate evidence citing case after case of African control of segments of the trade. Several African nations such as the Calabar and other southern parts of Nigeria had economies depended solely on the trade. African peoples such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania would serve as middlemen or roving bands warring with other African nations to capture Africans for Europeans.

 

The Arab slave trade lasted more than a millennium. As recently as the early 1960s, Saudi Arabia's  slave population was estimated at 300,000.  Along with Yemen, the Saudis abolished slavery only in 1962.

A report by the Walk Free Foundation in 2013, found India had the highest number of slaves, nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million), North Korea 2.6 million (one in 10), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and Bangladesh; while the countries with the highest of proportion of slaves were Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

So some African countries are still involved in the slave trade.

Luc Gnacadja,  minister of environment and housing for Benin, later said: "The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it."

Researchers estimate that 3 million slaves were exported out of the Slave Coast bordering the Bight of Benin.

President Jerry Rawlings of  Ghana also apologized for his country's involvement in the slave trade.

In 2010, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi apologized for Arab involvement in the slave trade, saying: "I regret the behavior of the Arabs… They brought African children to North Africa, they made them slaves, they sold them like animals, and they took them as slaves and traded them in a shameful way".

African slavery has a shared and tragic past.

The history of the slave trade proves that virtually everyone participated and profited—whites and blacks; Christians, Muslims, and Jews; Europeans, Africans, Americans, and Latin Americans. Once we can recognize the shared historical responsibility for the Atlantic slave trade.

Africans who had slaves didn't think of themselves or their slaves as 'Africans.' Instead they thought of themselves as Edo or Songhai or members of another tribal group. Each tribe thought of their slaves as foreigners or inferiors. In the same way, the Spanish, the French, and the English could massacre each other in wars because they thought of themselves as Spanish, French, or English rather than Europeans.

Often the winning tribe of a war would reduce their tribal enemies to slaves.

Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine, and Stanley Harrold, The African-American Odyssey, 2nd ed. , vol. one (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2005), 27, 30

This is a current college textbook co-authored by three African-American historians:

Europeans did not capture and enslave people themselves. Instead they purchased slaves from African traders [who]…restricted the Europeans to a few points on the coast, while the kingdoms raided the interior to supply the Europeans with slaves. ... The European traders provided the aggressors with firearms, but they did not instigate the wars. Instead they used the wars to enrich themselves. Sometimes African armies enslaved the inhabitants of conquered towns and villages. At other times, raiding parties captured isolated families or kidnapped individuals. As warfare spread to the interior, captives had to march for hundreds of miles to the coast where European traders awaited them. The raiders tied the captives together with rope or secured them with wooden yokes around their necks. It was a shocking experience, and many captives died from hunger, exhaustion, and exposure during the journey. Others killed themselves rather than submit to their fate, and the captors killed those who resisted.

Michael Omolewa, CertificateHistory of Nigeria (Lagos, Nigeria: Longman Group, 1991), 96–103, cited in Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward, History Lessons: How Textbooks around the World Portray U.S. History (New York: New Press, 2004), 79-83.

Nigerians, for example, explicitly teach about their own role in the trade:

Where did the supply of slaves come from? First, the Portuguese themselves kidnapped some Africans. But the bulk of the supply came from the Nigerians. These Nigerian middlemen moved to the interior where they captured other Nigerians who belonged to other communities. The middlemen also purchased many of the slaves from the people in the interior . . . . Many Nigerian middlemen began to depend totally on the slave trade and neglected every other business and occupation. The result was that when the trade was abolished [by England in 1807] these Nigerians began to protest. As years went by and the trade collapsed such Nigerians lost their sources of income and became impoverished.

In Ghana, politician and educator Samuel Sulemana Fuseini has acknowledged that his Asante ancestors accumulated their great wealth by abducting, capturing, and kidnapping Africans and selling them as slaves.

Johnson, et al., Africans in America, 2–3; Howard W. French, "On Slavery, Africans Say the Guilt Is Theirs, Too," New York Times, 27 December 1994, A4.

Likewise, Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Awoonor has written: "I believe there is a great psychic shadow over Africa, and it has much to do with our guilt and denial of our role in the slave trade. We too are blameworthy in what was essentially one of the most heinous crimes in human history."

 

"Benin Apologizes for Role in Slave Trade," Boston Globe, 19 April 2000; Richmond Times-Dispatch, 29 June 2003.

In 2000, at an observance attended by delegates from several European countries and the United States, officials from Benin publicized President Mathieu Kerekou’s apology for his country’s role in "selling fellow Africans by the millions to white slave traders."

"We cry for forgiveness and reconciliation," said Luc Gnacadja, Benin’s minister of environment and housing.

Cyrille Oguin, Benin’s ambassador to the United States, acknowledged, "We share in the responsibility for this terrible human tragedy."

 

Ellen Knickmeyer, "Senegal’s President Rejects Idea of Slavery Reparations," Boston Globe, 30 August 2001, A27.

A year later, Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade, "himself the descendant of generations of slave-owning [and slave-trading] African kings," urged Europeans, Americans, and Africans to acknowledge publicly and teach openly about their shared responsibility for the Atlantic slave trade.

 

Brahima Ouadraego, "African Film Depicts Blacks Enslaving Blacks," Boston Globe, 4 March 2001. The film won a grand prize at the film festival in Amiens, France, in November 2000.

Wade’s remarks came months after the release of Adanggaman, by Ivory Coast director Roger Gnoan M’bala, "the first African film to look at African involvement in the slave trade with the West."

"It’s up to us," M’Bala insisted, "to talk about slavery, open the wounds of what we’ve always hidden and stop being puerile when we put responsibility on others . . . . In our own oral tradition, slavery is left out purposefully because Africans are ashamed when we confront slavery. Let’s wake up and look at ourselves through our own image."  

 

 Loren King, "A Disturbing Look at Betrayals of Slaves," Boston Globe, 21 September 2001, C7.

"It is simply true," declared Da Bourdia Leon of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Culture and Art, "We need this kind of film, Adanggaman,  to show our children this part of our history, that it happened among us. Although I feel sad, I think it is good that this kind of thing is being told today."

 

Several television productions of the last decade have acknowledged these facts: Africans in America (PBS, 1998), Wonders of the African World (PBS, 1999),

and The African Trade(History Channel International, 2000).

The latter begins with the visit by a group of African-Americans to the infamous slave castle and Door of No Return on Goree Island off the coast of Senegal. "Appalled by the cruelties of the Europeans," the narrator relates, "the visitors become curious as to how Africans fell into their hands." Their African guide admits that "this history is difficult to tell and hard to believe" but pulls no punches about African complicity in kidnapping and selling millions of African people:

"All the tribes were involved in the slave trade—no exemptions."

The African-Americans were staggered: "So we really can’t blame the Europeans," one declares,

"We sold our own. It takes two."

Another visitor declares, "That’s right—money and greed."

The program concludes that "white guilt can never be erased"—but cautions that it is also important to remember that "black participation lets no one off the hook."

 

Johnson, et al., Africans in America, 2, 5, 7; Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, eds., A Historical Guide to World Slavery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 370-375.

The historical record is incontrovertible—as documented in the PBS Africans in Americas series companion book:

The white man did not introduce slavery to Africa . . . . And by the fifteenth century, men with dark skin had become quite comfortable with the concept of man as property . . . . Long before the arrival of Europeans on West Africa’s coast, the two continents shared a common acceptance of slavery as an unavoidable and necessary—perhaps even desirable—fact of existence. The commerce between the two continents, as tragic as it would become, developed upon familiar territory. Slavery was not a twisted European manipulation, although Europe capitalized on a mutual understanding and greedily expanded the slave trade into what would become a horrific enterprise . . . . It was a thunder that had no sound. Tribe stalked tribe, and eventually more than 20 million Africans would be kidnapped in their own homeland.

Johnson, et al., Africans in America, 7, 69–70.

Historians estimate that ten million of these abducted Africans "never even made it to the slave ships. Most died on the march to the sea"—still chained, yoked, and shackled by their African captors—before they ever laid eyes on a white slave trader.

(Ibid (from the same source).; Drescher and Engerman, Historical Guide toWorld Slavery, 34.)

The survivors were either purchased by European slave dealers or "instantly beheaded" by the African traders "in sight of the [slave ship] captain" if they could not be sold.   Of course, the even more horrific and inhuman middle passage—the voyage of a European (and later American) slave ship from Africa to the Western Hemisphere—still lay before those who had survived the forced trek to the coast.

 

One of the few Ghanaian historians to touch these issues, Akosua Adoma Perbi, writes that "slavery became an important part of the Asante state [the Gold Coast's most powerful] right from its inception. For three centuries, Asante became the largest slave-trading, slave-owning and slave-dealing state in Ghana."

When the Portuguese arrived on the scene in 1471, they were intermediaries, bringing slaves (and other goods) from Senegal and Benin along the coast to Ghana to sell them in exchange for gold to the Asante and other local peoples.

The Asante then mounted slave-trading expeditions to get labour for gold mines.
Most of the slaves sold to Europeans in later centuries were men and women captured in battles between tribes like the Asante and the Acan. Many of the captives were kept as slaves by the victors, where they were treated relatively well and could gain some social standing within their new families. Still, the proliferation of wars between the tribes was, as Ms Perbi writes, "mostly aimed at acquiring slaves for sale to the European companies and individual European merchants". So integral did the slave trade become to the local chiefs' welfare that its abolition in 1807 hit hard.

In 1872, long after abolition, Zey, the king of Asante, wrote to the British monarch asking for the slave trade to be renewed.

The book "A splendid exchange: how trade shaped the world" by William J. Bernstein.

It said that the idea of Europeans going into mainland Africa to capture people was a myth.

Most mariners didn't have the constitution to endure Africa's hot climate, so it would have been really hard for them to venture inside the continent to enslave people. Apparently what happened was that they ran outposts in the coast which had Europeans on duty, where they stayed just a few months before being relieved by another new wave of workers.
These outposts were the place where the slaves were bought. Usually, African tribes in coastal parts fought wars with clans in the mainland, and if they captured people, these would be sold to the Europeans, in exchange for goods such as mirrors, clothes and spices.

The Europeans cruelly and greedily encouraged this inter tribal warfare in order to produce more slaves.

From the website : Asante (Ashanti) History Much of the modern nation of Ghana.
"Asante was the largest and most powerful of a series of states formed in the forest region of southern Ghana by people known as the Akan. Among the factors leading the Akan to form states, perhaps the most important was that they were rich in gold.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, gold-seeking traders came to Akan country not only from the great Songhay empire (in the modern Republic of Mali) and the Hausa cities of northern Nigeria, but also from Europe. After the Portuguese built the first European fort in tropical Africa at El Mina in 1482, the stretch of the Atlantic coast now in Ghana  became known in Europe as the Gold Coast.

Akan entrepreneurs used gold to purchase slaves from both African and European traders.

Indeed, while Europeans would eventually ship at least twelve million slaves to the Americas (the estimates vary between 20 - 40 million people who were sent to the Americas as slaves from West Africa by  European slave traders), they initially became involved in slave trading by selling African slaves to African purchasers.  

The Portuguese supplied perhaps 12,000 slaves to Akan country between 1500 and 1535, and continued selling slaves from Sao Tome and Nigeria to the Gold Coast throughout the 16th century. Before Benin imposed a ban on slave exports, a Portuguese slave trader reported that at Benin they purchased, "a great number of slaves who were bartered very profitably at El Mina.

The labour of these slaves enabled the Akan to expand gold production by developing deep-level mining in addition to panning alluvial soils. Even more importantly, slave labor enabled the Akan to undertake the immensely laborious task of clearing the dense forests of southern Ghana for farming.

The most prominent historian of Asante, Ivor Wilks, suggests that while some farming on a very limited scale had probably been practiced in the Ghanaian forests for millennia, only when the Akan began importing slaves in the 15th and 16th centuries were they able to shift from an economy which relied  primarily on hunting and gathering to one which became primarily agricultural. As this transition to agriculture took place, Akan communities not only planted more of their traditional crops - plantains, yams, and rice - but also adopted a wide variety of new crops from the Americas, including maize (corn) and cassava, which were brought to Africa by Europeans..."

In West Africa, along the coast in Ghana and Senegal: the slave markets where hundreds of people were taken captive and shipped across the Atlantic to America or to Brazil. The conditions were unspeakable. Most of these people died in transit. The survivors were put to work.

East and Central Africa: the Arab slavers were doing much the same thing. The island of Zanzibar was once the greatest slave market in the region.

By the nineteenth century, slavery on a massive scale had decimated life in central Africa. Explorers such as David Livingstone described the region as a nightmare of empty fields, burned huts, and captives being marched eastwards towards Zanzibar. The greatest single cause for this was slavery.

From Wikipedia: Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa, and still continues  today in some countries

When the Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade began, many of the local slave systems began supplying captives for slave markets outside Africa.

Slavery for domestic and court purposes was widespread throughout Africa. Plantation slavery also occurred primarily on the eastern coast of Africa and in parts of West Africa. The importance of domestic plantation slavery increased during the 19th century due to the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. Many African states dependent on the international slave trade reoriented their economies towards legitimate commerce worked by slave labor.

Ibn Battuta, who visited the ancient kingdom of Mali in the mid-14th century, recounts that the local inhabitants vied with each other in the number of slaves and servants they had, and was himself given a slave boy as a "hospitality gift."

The Annual customs of Dahomey was the most notorious example of human sacrifice of slaves, where 500 prisoners would be sacrificed. Sacrifices were carried out all along the West African coast and further inland. Sacrifices were common in the Benin empire, in what is now Ghana, and in the small independent states in what is now southern Nigeria. In the  Ashanti Region, human sacrifice was often combined with capital punishment.

Many nations such as the Ashanti of present-day Ghana and the Yoruba of present-day  Nigeria were involved in slave-trading. Groups such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi  of Tanzania  would serve as intermediaries or roving bands, waging war on African states to capture people for export as slaves.

Henry Louis Gates, an African American, the Harvard Chair of African and African American Studies, has stated that "without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred."

The entire Bubi ethnic group descends from escaped intertribal slaves owned by various ancient West-central African ethnic groups.

With the development of the trans-Saharan slave trade and the economies of gold in the western sub Sahara, a number of the major states became organized around the slave trade, including the Ghana empire, the Mali Empire, and Songhai Empire.

Slavery was widespread among Taureg peoples in North Africa and lasted until at least 1975. Among the Adrar 15 percent of people were enslaved, and 75 percent of the Gurma were enslaved.

The Arab slave trade was on the east coast of Africa. At various times, between 65 and 90 percent of Zanzibar was enslaved. Along the Kenya coast, 90 percent of the population was enslaved, while half of Madagscar’s population was enslaved.

Between 1500 and 1900, up to 17 million Africans slaves were transported by Muslim traders to the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, and North Africa. (Yet Muslim Arab slave trading had already started about  650 AD).

David Livingstone wrote of the slave trade: "To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility ... We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer. We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead ... We came upon a man dead from starvation ... The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves."

Livingstone estimated that 80,000 Africans died each year before ever reaching the slave markets of  Zanzibar. Zanzibar was once East Africa's main slave-trading port, and under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year.

Slavery has never been eradicated in Africa, and it commonly appears in African states, such as Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger,  and  Sudan, in places where law and order have collapsed. (Wikipedia)

 

Some historians estimate that between A.D. 650 and 1900, 10 to 20 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders. Others believe over 20 million enslaved Africans alone had been delivered through the trans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world.

Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his 2001 book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa estimates that over 80 million Black people more died en route. Only 1 in 5 African slaves survived the journey.

Slavery in Mauritania in North West Africa was only criminalized as recently as August 2007.

Slavery has been a part of life up until fairly recently. The slavery abolition Act was passed in England in 1833.