Responsibility for Slave trade is African?

Oct 2013
There is a book in the library of Congress that backs my claims up. It is a book that speaks of the people here and it picture s them. ...
Would be useful to be more specific than "there's a book in the library of Congress".

Posting the reference (You know, author, title), would help: there's more than one book in that library You mentioned ...
Oct 2015
Matosinhos Portugal
I've read Angolan history textbooks and it is mentioned clearly that Africans participated in the slave trade. And this were books for 9-10 years old students.

In Angola it is general knowladge that some Africans sold and had slaves. The general public in Angola knows about the "kuata kuata" wars: inland armed expeditions (by Africans) to capture people from rival societies.

Also in Portugal it is often mentioned that the Portuguese navigators kidnapped and bought people in West Africa, etc.

But who had power over the Atlantic Slave trade? African kings?

Of course there is slavery in Islamic countries. Slavery is still occurring in the WORLD, today. As far as I know there are around 45.8 million people enslaved. And they are mostly producing consumer goods to the "west".

But there are also Slaves in Europe. For example in Italy in 2016 the estimate number was around 120 000 slaves.

And Europeans today do enslave other Europeans. The Europeans enslaved in Europe are mostly from eastern Europe.

Speaking slavery today, it still exists throughout Europe, it is only to see how many parents sold their daughters, to sexual slavery. Within today
Oct 2015
Matosinhos Portugal
I don't know if that's the case of that book but I've noted some ...misconceptions about the Muslim slave trade. I see often people talking about it as if it was something that did happen only in the Muslim world, or was practiced only by Muslims. In fact, the Portuguese and other southern Europeans were also participants in the Muslim slave trade.

According to medieval writers ( Zurara and, I think, Cadamosto) the first black slaves in Portugal were purchased from the moors. The Atlantic slave trade was born when the Portuguese arrived at Senegal and had direct access to the slaves they purchased or the free people they kidnapped.

Yes it is true, there are American citizens today, their background was from Senegal.
They were taken by the Portuguese.
Jun 2018
New Hampshire
The whole world is always blaming the west for the slave trade by major european powers like England , holland, France , Spain and Portugal, for creeating the slave trade.
But nothing is told of the responsibility of the very same Africans and the role that they had in the slave trade
Slave trade is still occurring today in some Islamic countries...

Opinion | How to End the Slavery Blame-Game
I couldn't agree with you more., and I am glad someone had the intellectual courage to bring this little known historical fact to the forefront on this forum.

Native African kings and chieftains had been waging war for the purpose of acquiring slaves for centuries before the first European merchants and explorers had ever set foot in sub-Saharan Africa. When European merchants arrived with their advanced firearms, African rulers were willing and eager to trade slaves in exchange for weaponry which would give them a technological advantage over their military rivals.
Likes: macon
May 2018
On earth.
Europeans did have a sense of an overall common identity when they fought in tnr Crusades, or when Polish forces helped defend Austrian Vienna against the Turks. There was some over all European identity, (i.e., western Christisn identity), but local identity (English, French) was more important of course. Still, while it was ok for Western Europeans to enslave and sell others, it would not have been ok since beyond the early middle ages to do so with fellow Western Europeans because of some sense of common identity.

What you are saying is that Africans didn't have a larger sense of identity beyond their tribe or local kingdom? I agree you can't lump all of Africa together culturally, linguistically, religiously, in clothing styles, or even physical appearance - people from the different regions of African have quite different appeances. But did Africans have no sense of greater regional identity beyond their tribe or local kingdom?

The issue with the Asante selling other Africans is that they were selling neighbors, people would be culturally similar, possibly speaking the same language, and whom they might have even peacefully trade with. They weren't selling distant strangers, like Europeans with Africans; more as if the Dutch were buying and selling French for the slaves
I think you're missing my point completely. Again, when Europeans fought other Europeans, they did not see it as 'europeans fighting europeans' - they saw it as French fighting British. When the Romans fought and subdued the Germanic tribes to the north, they did not see it as Europeans fighting Europeans, they saw it as themselves fighting 'barbarians'. You completely miss this idea.
As for whether or not 'africans' had a larger sense of identity beyond their ethnicity, kingdom, or empire? Well, I can't conclusively say yes or no to that question. The scope of it is far too broad. Did any of the thousands of African ethnic groups who lived on the continent have a wider sense of identity beyond just their groups? Yes, of course. Did many of them not have a wider sense of identity? Yes, of course. Did any of them have an identity as 'African'? Heck no! Again, you're acting like an entire continent, over three times the size of Europe, would've had one shared identity. That simply isn't plausible. I feel that you are aware of the fact that Africa is not a hive entity on the surface level, but your thinking still revolves around said logic, but I may be wrong here. Just keep the fact that Africa is massive in mind.

As for the last point, again, those neighbors were not the Asante. The Asante did not see them as of their own kind. No one here is trying to demonize the Romans for warring with and later selling the Germanics. That's what empires do. The Romans saw their neighbors as inferior, barbarians, or both just as did the Egyptians, just as did the Persians, just as did Europeans to non Europeans, and often to eachother, and just as did the Asante to their neighbors. It's the exact same concept. And yes, these people could've had peaceful trade, and may have been culturally similar. That applies to literally any human population and their neighbors. The Romans could've had peaceful trade with the Germanics, and vise versa. They didn't have to war. But they did. Infact, we all could. So, again, framing the Asante selling neighboring kingdoms as 'Africans selling Africans' is inherently wrong and misleading. The Asante did not see themselves as "African" when they did it, "African" was not a category. The Asante, like the Romans, did not think that these neighbors were their own kind, so it is historically disingenuous to frame things as if they did.
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Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
We are talking about the African slave trade. The African slave trade at the scale as we know it were initiated by Arabs. They didn't only trade Africans but Europeans too (Barbary slave trade). Europeans (Spaniards who were themselves subjugated by Arabs) just picked up their practice and further scaled up this cruel trade. The Arabs created the network that greatly facilitated the Transatlantic slave trade. As such they were no doubt the prime culprits.
Not only Arabs. Many Slavs, my ancestors, were sold at the slave markets of Istanbul.

Sadly, we have to admit that without tacit agreement of local African chieftains, African slave trade would not have been possible. You simply can not imprison or abduct that many people.

However, the mere fact that there were Africans participating in slave trade(who were at a different level of development), or Arabs who were slave traders for a long time (can't answer for Islam), does not in any way exonerate the final leg, white Christians, who were advanced and educated enough to have moral compass, whose supreme law said "to secure the blessings of liberty", and who, sadly, willingly partook in it.
Apr 2018
Upland, Sweden
In one of my university courses from 2 years ago we read a book called: "Africa and Africans in the making of the Atlantic World" by one John Thornton.

One of the to my mind mindboggling claims he made (I might have sensationalized this afterhand, and I can't provide an exact page by page reference to this) was that slaves were effectively used as the dominant form of currency in some places, in the place of or complementary to monetary or barter trade. I think he mentioned the West African kingdom's specifically in this context, but I might be wrong. Could have been Congo.

Does anyone feel confident enough to provide some answers? Obviously there would have been great regional variations etcetc. Still though - just how prevalent was slavery in pre-colonial Africa? Are there any demographers or economic historians that have done research in this?