Most of the Negroes shipped off from the coast of Africa are kidnapped
-Dr. Alexander Falconbridge
A lot of misconceptions are being peddled around within the circles of Africans in the diaspora about the slave trade which seems to implicate our forefathers .These falsehoods tend to blame Our forefathers for their involvement and complicity in the slave trade.Our brothers and sisters in the diaspora still express pains in their hearts that our forefathers could not do any thing to help them, but sold them out to slavery.These hard feelings have led some African descent in the diaspora to express pain and ill feeling about Africa and its people. Of Which some have sworn never to have anything to do with Africa.
I ‘m writing to set the facts straight, and to make it known to all that our forefathers were helpless and that they never intended to sell their own.History has been misconstrued to paint the perpetrators in a good light.
According to Dr. Alexander Falconbridge who served as the surgeon aboard a number of slave ships that plied their trade between the West African coast and the Caribbean in the late 1700s was an eye witness to what went on.He began interviewing the Negroes and this is what he said:
“I was likewise told by a Negro woman that as she was on her return home, one evening, from some neighbors, to whom she had been making a visit by invitation, she was kidnapped; and, notwithstanding she was big with child, sold for a slave. This transaction happened a considerable way up the country, and she had passed through the hands of several purchasers before she reached the ship.A man and his son, according to their own information, were seized by professed kidnappers, while they were planting yams, and sold for slaves. This likewise happened in the interior parts of the country, and after pass¬ing through several hands, they were purchased for the ship to which I belonged. It frequently happens that those who kidnap others are themselves, in their turns, seized and sold”.
According to Richard Armstrong in The Merchantmen, he estimated that 24 million Africans made it through the Passage, and 9 million (c. 38%) died en route. 25 to 50 million Africans died in the Middle Passage. So says The Middle Passage Institute.
30 to 60 million Africans made the Middle Passage, and 67%(20 to 40million) died en route. So says Dr. John Henrick Clarke.
It may surprise you to know that many died due to starvation,diseases( of which they were thrown off board for fear of pandemic when a slave is known to be a little bit sick),inhuman treatments such as beatings and sexual molestation,some were thrown to sharks for trying to foment a revolt ,and many committed suicide just because they vowed to die than to be slaves in a foreign land.
After slavery was officially abolished in the US in 1864 some companies were still engaging in the trade secretly.Many black slaves died in this episode too.Any time these merchants see the US navy approaching, they just threw these slaves into the sea to avoid an arrest.It has been estimated that thousands were thrown into the sea through this means alone, and nobody knows how long this went on.
When Did Slavery Start In Africa?
There are myths and lies, being spread around, that Africans were already enslaving themselves before the European landed on the shores of Africa.This seeks to imply that Europeans only came to continue with what Africans were already doing.
Africa’s engagement in slavery started long before the episode of Jewish slavery in Egypt.Research has shown that slavery was used by Africans to build the GREAT Pyramids.So slavery is not something new to Africans.Slavery as an institution had been very important in the lives of the African. In those days, slaves were used as farm hands,some too were recruited to fight wars after which they were given the options to buy their freedoms.Very good ,skillful and intelligent slaves were chosen as opinion leaders and chiefs within the community.Most of these slaves are nobles and educated,captured as a result of war or as result of loan payment, and so they are allowed to contribute their quota .They take no sides since they have no connections with anybody, and therefore hold no allegiance to anybody except their master; the throne, the stool or skin in which they occupied.These special qualities make them good candidates for leadership.They were revered and treated well, and held in high regard in the community.We Africans never treated our slaves so poorly.In Africa ,a slave can buy his or her own freedom and their children ,never the owners’ property.Their children were all free men,even at birth.There were no molestation and abuses of these individuals right in those periods.The institution of slavery in Africa was nothing but a symbiotic relationship,where there are mutual benefits on both sides.Africa’s slave trade was characterized by respect and dignity for their fellow man.In the case of Europeans, slaves had no such rights.
Trans Atlantic Slave Trade :The Worst Human Catastrophe Unequaled In Human History
The way and manner the Europeans engaged and conducted the slave trade was far more barbaric and cruel than ever imagined by our forefathers ,and even baffles historians of today.
Indeed our chiefs and some locals did engage in the trans Atlantic slave trade.
But when the realization came that their subjects and the population, in general were
dwindling, and the reports they got from the diaspora was disturbing.They protested to the Europeans that slavery must be put to a stop on African soil.Therefore petitions were sent by the chiefs but the European traders vehemently refused.At that particular juncture,slaves were high in demand ,and very lucrative of which the slave traders were reported to have been making over 400 percent profit per a voyage.
The plea from the Kings ,chiefs and the general population fell on deaf ears by these European traders .Our forefathers had to stop the slave trade mainly because this venture was ripping apart the very fabric of society.The whole of the continent was completely depopulated.Our forefathers continuously sent petitions, upon petitions, to whom will hear but they refused to listen and they even and started threatening them with guns and cannons.
When trading first started between Africans and Europeans,Europeans were not allowed to enter into the hinter lands, they were only confined to the castles and forts.Locals(I mean the chiefs,Kings and general population) at the coast ,serve as middle men between the Africans in the hinterland and the Europeans at the castles.This time they wanted to enter in to the hinterland by force of which was against the treaty signed between Europeans and Africans when trading was first started.The slave trade had become so lucrative and profitable that Europeans no longer traded in the various Items they once traded in,notably gold ,palm oil, spices, cowries,beads etc .
A time came when eventually all the slave trade stopped for a time.The Europeans realizing that the chiefs and the kings were sabotaging them, recruited some locals as body guards and entered into the hinterlands.That was the first
time Europeans entered the hinterlands.They made war with high tech guns against our people who were using locally made spears and cutlasses .Moreover, the Europeans refused to sell them weapons on the reason that they no longer traded in gold and other items, only slaves.So that made their cohorts very powerful and fearful.Africans were really living in perpetual fear of kidnappings and raids in those days .Any town these Europeans and their cohorts reached, they plundered its population.According to historians, the Europeans captured 50,000 Africans per a day through raiding of towns and villages.
How Slavery Affected Africans To This Day
After slavery was abolished in the US in 1864, and in the UK in 1833, the population left in Africa was about a few millions .Africa was completely depopulated.Before the slave trade,Africans were about a hundred million population .At the end of the slavery, about ten million of Africa’s population was left,of which major places like west Africa and the north Africa were severely affected because of its location as the epicenter for such activities. A town, once bustling with people become a ghost town.It cost Africa’s development in terms of her human resources;the greatest resource she ever had. Economic activities was nonexistent and Africa’s trust for whites was at its lowest ebb.Life became matter of death and survival.
Realizing that Africans were religious, the Europeans then brought in the church to confuse the black man that his religion was a pagan religion and that the black man’s religion is evil.This softened the black man’s stance on trust issues against Europeans.That is how Africans were able to be colonized. It was the church that created several foundations for colonization.
They took away Africans greatest treasure:our human resource,and this has affected Africa’s development till now.Most of Africa’s intelligent and their strongest men were all whisked away to the Americas and the Caribbean .We lost most of our cultural values because most of the slaves were custodians of the culture of a particular tribe or a community.Africans went through this slave trade era not by choice of trade but it was by force of guns and cannons.
As an infinity thinker,I call on all the Africans who have been hurt by the past to know that the spirit of Africa will never die.No race,no disease,no poverty ,no wars,no famine,no philosophy,no religion,no education,no civilization ,no suffering either from the past,the present or from the future can ever break the will of the African people.If Africans have made it to this far, then I have no doubt that great things are in store for us all.When Africa becomes a success, it will link to the total liberation of the world’s downtrodden.