"The Last Slave Market"

May 2011
13,624
Navan, Ireland
#1
Just returned from holiday and it included a visit to the 'pitiless hell' for book lovers -- Hay-on-Wye.

Why is a picturesque small town in the Welsh borders so bad? well its a book town full of second hand book shops, I managed to keep my nerves and wallet in control and to keep it down to only half a dozen purchases.

The one I am reading at the moment is below (princely sum of £2.50 and in perfect condition)




Its not a episode in history I knew about much and its an excellent read. Even after the West African slave trade was effectively stopped or limited it continued for a long time in East Africa-- mainly for slaves for the Middle East and run by Arabs and Indians.

One interesting factor (which I have come across before in reading about 'White' slavery in North Africa) is the claim (repeated on this site at times) that 'Arab' or Muslim slavery was not as bad as that in the Americas and I think that there is some merit in the claim.

Muslim slaves were often treated as a member of the household and did have opportunities to advance an even prosper, it reminds me of Roman slavery.

However ,as in Rome, if you were sent to 'industrial' activities such as the quarries then your life was not good and matched that of slaves in the Americas.

There was also the creation of eunuchs for which there was a large demand.

It also ignores that African slaves were taken in a most brutal way and there transport to places such as Zanzibar was every bit as horrific as the Atlantic trade.

The book is about John Kirk a British (Scottish) doctor/explorer/botanist and how he is instrumental in finally stopping the vile trade as Britsih consul in Zanzibar (after years of ignoring the problem by the British and in particular the 'Indian' governments).

He is the doctor and vice consul for years before being appointed consul and does nothing to stop the trade -- he see successive consuls come and go (often they die through disease a very unhealthy place for Europeans) some tried to stop the trade but they have no support from India (the Indian office is responsible for the area) who have not interest in disturbing local 'custom' and trade and London is a long way away.

Kirk just watches and learns, his philosophy was that unless you understand a condition and how to cure it (he is a doctor) don't interfere, unless your actions will actually have an impact don't waste your time and energy-- you might just make the problem worse.

This is neatly illustrated in his early travels with Livingstone -- missionaries arrive to 'help' the local people (well meaning but naïve people) and befriend a local tribe. Their new friends are attacked by another tribe looking for slaves -- with 'missionary zeal' they leap to the defence of their 'friends' and being armed with rifles defeat their 'enemy'. However they are in a situation they don't understand (their 'friends take prisoners and guess what they do? sell them to slavers) they get drawn into tribal conflicts they don't understand and become just another 'gang'.

When Kirk is appointed consul with orders to stop the trade he is an expert on the region and its trade-- where the slaves come from and who takes them etc eventually he succeeds in stopping the trade (I presume as I haven't finished it yet).

John Kirk deserves to be better known and its a good story in a well written book.

Two reviews.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2011/07/witness-for-the-prosecution/

https://broadsidesdotme.wordpress.c...e-man-who-ended-the-east-african-slave-trade/
 
Last edited:
Mar 2017
852
Colorado
#2
I have a problem with two of your statements:

1) The "last" slave market. What is this talking about? There are more slaves now than there have ever been.
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19831913

2) Muslims are "nicer" to their slaves. I don't know much about Alexander Hamilton & his treatment of Sally Hemmings, but if it were like this, I think we would have heard about it.
https://www.denverpost.com/2005/07/18/sex-slave-suspect-seen-as-flight-risk/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/25/slaves-of-isis-the-long-walk-of-the-yazidi-women
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-speckhard/isis-defector-reports-on-sale-of-organs_b_8897708.html
 
Last edited:
May 2011
13,624
Navan, Ireland
#3
I have a problem with two of your statements:

1) The "last" slave market. What is this talking about? There are more slaves now than there have ever been..................
I think the author is talking about the last of the ancient slave routes and open markets-- that existed for millennium. One of the barriers Kirk faces is the attitude that it has 'always been thus' and nothing will change it.

Slavery still exists in the world (twice once in Ireland and once in Wales in my has there been a police raid on farms comparatively close to my home to 'free' slaves).

Britain at the turn of this century was faced with the embarrassing situation that when the police wanted to prosecute some people for keeping people in 'a state of slavery' the legal team pointed out that slavery didn't exist in British law therefore couldn't be illegal.

2) Muslims are "nicer" to their slaves. I don't know much about Alexander Hamilton & his treatment of Sally Hemmings, but if it were like this, I think we would have heard about it...............

Not sure quite the point you are trying to make? did I say all Muslim automatically treated slaves 'better' than non-Muslims? I don't think I did at all.

I made the point that some Muslims claim that slavery in Islam was 'better' than the Atlantic slave trade -- so then (and they have done it on this site) jump to the conclusion that slavery under Islam was some how benign and even a positive experience. Indeed in the book above Muslim and 'Indian' officials make that case to down play the Zanzibar trade.

I think that Horlicks. For a start the actual trade of people up to a beyond the point of sale and transport to the East was easily as horrific,as bloody not to mention cruel and merciless as that in West Africa.

We also have the added 'cultural demand' for eunuchs -- which Hazell claims had a success rate as low as 10%.

And however well treated of the possibilities it was still slavery and open to any abuse.

However there is some truth in the assertion in that from what I have read Islamic slavery resembled (from which I suppose its a direct descendent ) that of the ancient world such as Rome.

If a slave could be treated well, if he she/he was lucky and had 'good master' there were opportunities even eventual freedom a advancement.

That still does not mean there were not ample opportunities for horror-- in North Africa captured Europeans could advance very high in society -- but if put into jobs such as the quarries (as in ancient Rome) their life was brutish and short.

This does not mean that I buy into the notion that slavery under Islam was good far from it.
 
Aug 2011
5,436
Amerikay
#4
I have a problem with two of your statements:

1) The "last" slave market. What is this talking about? There are more slaves now than there have ever been.
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19831913

2) Muslims are "nicer" to their slaves. I don't know much about Alexander Hamilton & his treatment of Sally Hemmings, but if it were like this, I think we would have heard about it.
https://www.denverpost.com/2005/07/18/sex-slave-suspect-seen-as-flight-risk/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/25/slaves-of-isis-the-long-walk-of-the-yazidi-women
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-speckhard/isis-defector-reports-on-sale-of-organs_b_8897708.html
You mean Thomas Jefferson's treatment of Sally Hemmings?
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,566
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#7
I have a problem with two of your statements:

1) The "last" slave market. What is this talking about? There are more slaves now than there have ever been.
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19831913
There are not more slaves now than there ever have been. There are no slaves in the world today as far as I know. A slave is defined as a person who is the property of another person according to the legal system in their location. Slavery is illegal everywhere as far as I know..

Therefore nobody is legally a slave anywhere. There are millions and millions of people in the world who are treated a lot like slaves in conditions that vary from 100 percent legal to 100 percent illegal in their various localities and who need and deserve to be rescued from their situations. But they are not the legal property of anyone and are not slaves.


I don't know if Alexander Hamilton had anything to do with Sally Hemings. As far as I remember Sally Hemings was owned by Thomas Jefferson.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,525
Australia
#8
There are not more slaves now than there ever have been. There are no slaves in the world today as far as I know. A slave is defined as a person who is the property of another person according to the legal system in their location. Slavery is illegal everywhere as far as I know..

Therefore nobody is legally a slave anywhere. There are millions and millions of people in the world who are treated a lot like slaves in conditions that vary from 100 percent legal to 100 percent illegal in their various localities and who need and deserve to be rescued from their situations. But they are not the legal property of anyone and are not slaves.



I don't know if Alexander Hamilton had anything to do with Sally Hemings. As far as I remember Sally Hemings was owned by Thomas Jefferson.


Interesting post here. https://www.antislavery.org/slavery-today/modern-slavery/

Indicates that slavery is still alive an well in the world. I can say that I have had first hand experience with sex slaves in Australia when I was a Customs Officer. These women would certainly argue that slavery still exists.
 

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