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Africa's part in the Trade

Slavery existed in Africa a long time before the Europeans came. In the eleventh century, when Africa came subject to the influence of the Muslim religion, slavery increased greatly. The slave in Africa however, was a sign of prestige not a means of wealth. The slave could marry, own property and even enjoy normal legal rights. Slavery in the New World differed in kind, for it was always primarily a method of producing wealth.

The effects of the trade on Africa went far beyond depopulation: it caused an increase in warfare and contributed to the disintegration of the culture. When the Europeans arrived, the continent was divided into a series of stable feudal states. The long term effects on Africa were a disruption of social, economical and political conditions. This led to a breakdown of the social structure and a loss of security and self-respect.

Most of the slaves who were transported across the Atlantic had to be enslaved. None of them were born in slavery. This meant that they had to become slaves within Africa to supply the need for slaves in the Americas. The slaves were created through a variety of methods. The first consideration is that the slaves were captured mostly by Africans and not by Europeans. They were captured as slaves by the following ways: prisoners of war, slave raids, condemned criminals, condemned debtors, persons accused of witchcraft, kidnapped. In any one region, slaves were created by a mixture of these methods. Africa was thrown into a time were families would capture slaves to protect themselves thruogh bargaining if a slave raid occurred. In order to save themselves, they captured others. Africa was thrown into a period of great demoralization.