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George Michael La Rue

sultan of the Sudanese kingdom of Darfur from 1785 to 1801, was born to Sultan Ahmad Bukr and an unknown woman. The youngest of four sons of Ahmad Bukr who ruled Darfur, many thought him a weak choice. He became a very successful monarch, after overcoming internal opposition. During his reign Darfur’s system of sultanic estates (hakuras) flourished, and the sultanate became Egypt’s main supplier of trans-Saharan goods, including ivory, ostrich feathers, and slaves.

After a series of wars and intrigues involving internal factions, the rival Musabbaʾat dynasty in Kordofan, and Wadai, sultan Muhammad Tayrab ibn Ahmad Bukr made peace with Wadai to the west and successfully invaded Kordofan. This war took the Fur armies far from home (reputedly to the Nile), and the sultan was forced to turn back in 1786 By the time the army reached Bara the sultan was dying and the succession ...

Primary Source

Although the colony of Maryland imported indentured servants to work in the burgeoning tobacco industry the law initially allowed for a process of manumission as well as some basic legal rights for workers Moreover blacks were among several ethnic groups who worked as indentured servants In September 1664 however a session of Maryland s General Assembly passed a new law focused specifically on African Americans declaring that all black servants were to now be labeled as slaves on a permanent basis In addition freeborn women who married slaves would also serve their husband s master and their children would also become the master s property for the term of their lives a provision designed to prevent shameful interracial relationships The act demonstrates that slavery was not a practice inherited by the colony but was instead imposed well over a generation after Maryland was founded It would take until 1864 for ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

king of Dahomey, was born sometime in the middle of the eighteenth century. His father was Agonglo, king of Dahomey from 1789 to 1797. Adandozan was the eldest son of Agonglo. Oral narratives collected later in the nineteenth century presented him as incompetent and mentally deranged, but it should be kept in mind that rival royal family members eventually ousted Adandozan from power and would have had a vested interest in deriding his achievements. Adandozan ascended to the throne of Dahomey in 1797, in a time marked by difficulties for the kingdom. The royal slave-trading monopoly ran aground on international difficulties, particularly the decision of the French government to abandon the slave trade from 1794 to 1802 and the British and US governments’ decision to abandon the slave trade in 1807 and 1808 respectively The British government began to send warships to stop other countries from purchasing ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

leader of the Kongo kingdom, was born in the mid-fourteenth century. His birth name was Mvemba a Nzinga and he was the child of King João I Nzinga Nkuwu of Kongo and Nzinga a Nlaza, one of the king’s wives. When the Portuguese ship captain Diogo Cão first arrived in 1483, Afonso was a high-ranking officer in the kingdom. He consented to be baptized by Catholic missionaries. When a royal court faction opposed to Christianity arose after João I’s baptism in 1491, Afonso developed his authority in his own province of Nsundi. He allowed two Portuguese priests, Goncalve Vas and Rodrigue Anes, to live in his court.

Not surprisingly Portuguese missionaries and officials gave Afonso support especially after his father renounced Christianity In Nsundi Afonso used his privileged access to European trade goods to gain access to valuable high grade copper located north of the Congo River and ...

Article

Jeffrey A. Fortin

The idea of Africa changed dramatically from antiquity to the era of European exploration and colonization; European and African views of each other continually transformed as a result of the evolving nature of their interaction. The Atlantic slave trade, perhaps the most significant event in the history of Africa, forever changed the manner in which Africans and Europeans intermingled. Perceptions of Africa were fluid, shifting according to geographic, economic, political, racial, and religious factors stemming from within as well as outside the continent. By 1830 the most broadly held notion of Africa had transformed from one of reverence, by the peoples of antiquity, to one of contempt and apprehension, by early modern Europeans. For Africans in the diaspora, the land of their ancestors' birth remained a symbol of guidance, hope, and spirituality.

Article

When Africa is regarded as part of the cultural and political history of the African diaspora, it is usually recognized only as an origin—as a past to the African American present, as a source of survival in the Americas, as the roots of African American branches and leaves, or, at the most dialectical, as a concept conjured up by New World blacks as a trope of racial unity.

Yet, in truth, the cultures of both Africa and the Americas have shaped each other through a live dialogue that continued beyond the end of the slave trade. In ways easily documented since the eighteenth century, travel by free Africans and African Americans (by which I mean people of African descent throughout the Americas) has continued to shape political identities and cultural practices in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Since the eighteenth century enslaved or free black seamen have ...

Article

Akitoye  

Jeremy Rich

ologun (king) of the city of Lagos (in present-day Nigeria), was born early in the nineteenth century in the city that he would later rule. His father, Ologun Kuture, reigned over the port from roughly 1780 to around 1803. Akitoye’s elder brothers Adele and Osinlokun battled for power in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. Eventually Osinlokun won this struggle. Akitoye only entered the competition for the throne in the 1830s, after the death of Osinlokun and his son and successor Idewu. The latter had no children. When Idewu’s ambitious brother Kosoko tried to seize the crown, his numerous opponents in Lagos sought to find other candidates to prevent Kosoko from taking power. The aging Adele was named ologun but only lived two years Then various family leaders and chiefs selected Adele s son Oluwole to block Kosoko from becoming the king but he only lived ...

Article

Alloron  

Stephanie Beswick

Sudanese leader, was the first prominent Bari private merchant, slave trader, and opportunist insurgent warlord. He rose to power during the 1860s by exploiting poisonous dynastic rivalries between Nyigilo and Subek, the royal sons of Lagunu, the unchallenged Bari leader in 1840, and their respective noble offspring. The faction of Nyigilo had enjoyed the support of Catholic missionaries up to their departure in 1860, but thereafter allied with the northern slave traders who at that time were establishing fortified trading operations throughout southern Sudan. It was to become an era, for the first time in Bari history, during which commoner traders such as Alloron found it possible to acquire economic and political power. However, the upstart was often reminded of his humble origins by the epithet “man without rain,” implying that he lacked the arcane fructifying powers of royalty.

The arrival of Turks northern Sudanese and Europeans ...

Article

Marian Aguiar

On June 29, 1820, an American revenue cutter captured the Spanish vessel the Antelope off the coast of northern Florida, bringing it to port in Savannah, Georgia. The Antelope had been seized by pirates, and over 280 Africans were discovered chained in the ship's hold. Some of the Africans had been on the Antelope when it was taken by the pirates, but others had been seized from at least two other slave ships, one Portuguese and one sailed illegally by Americans. The U.S. district attorney for Georgia argued that the captives were free under the acts of the U.S. government prohibiting the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1808 and declaring the slave trade to be a form of piracy in 1820. The Spanish and Portuguese governments, however, which had not outlawed the slave trade, claimed the Africans as property stolen from ships of their nations.

The case went to ...

Article

Awutiek  

Stephanie Beswick

chief of the Palyoupiny Malwal, created an early aristocratic Dinka state in the southern Sudan during the 1880s. Awutiek’s uncle and predecessor Duang Marial had gained power by collaborating with slave traders such as Zubayr and with officials of the Egyptian colonial government. These lessons were not lost on the young chief Awutiek, who quickly realized the importance of firearms and purchased large quantities from Fertit middlemen, northern Sudanese traders, and Azande. He also acquired arms from Mahdists fallen in battle. Awutiek built a standing army. He set his warriors to regular military drills and maintained a strong, well-trained force. By 1892 having annihilating the last Mahdist force to venture into his territory Awutiek extended his influence down the Chell and Loll Rivers as far as the Rek country in the eastern Bahr el Ghazal By the height of his power Awutiek controlled most of the diverse peoples living ...

Article

Richard A. Bradshaw

a Bandia paramount chief (or “sultan”) of the Nzakara kingdom, a precolonial polity spanning the Mbali River in the southeastern region of what is now the Central African Republic. Named Kpangba at birth, he adopted the name Bangassou (“blazing sun”). According to Nzakara oral history, his father was Mbali/Bali (Mbari/Bari) “the gazelle,” son of Gwendi (or Boendi) “the taciturn,” son of Beringa “the drunkard,” son of Dunga “the quarrelsome,” son of Gobenge, son of Pobdi, son of Bwanda “the healer,” son of Agungu, son of Pongiet, son of Bongumu. These ancestors of Bangassou were members of the Bandia clan who left their Ngbandi homeland on the Ubangi River and conquered the Nzakara people.

The Bandia rulers participated in the growing slave trade of the nineteenth century and incorporated women and children into their polity thus prospering while nearby peoples in stateless societies were raided by slave traders The Nzakara often ...

Article

The triangular shipping route of the slave trade largely formed the banking industry in England. British goods such as textiles, arms, and iron were exchanged for slaves in Africa, which were then transported to the West Indies and traded for sugar, tobacco, cotton, spices, and rum. The triangular trade was a system of immense earnings, as every ship sailed with a profitable cargo. The wealth generated by the triangular trade brought increased affluence to the planters who cultivated the West Indian produce, the merchant capitalists who sold the slaves, and the industrial capitalists who produced the British goods, which in turn demanded new banking facilities and functions.

Primary of these new requirements was insurance Shipowners and slave merchants themselves insured early voyages travelling the triangular trade route However the increasing amount of bills drawn against West Indian merchants and accumulated wealth soon required large scale insurance schemes most often drawn ...

Article

Benin  

Elizabeth Heath

Benin, formerly Dahomey, is a country better known by its past than its present. Along its narrow tropical coast, precolonial kingdoms grew wealthy through participation in the transatlantic slave trade. They developed rich religious traditions, such as Vodou, and built formidable armies, which for years resisted French conquest. During the colonial era, Dahomey—a small palm oil exporter known for frequent uprisings—found itself on the periphery of France’s West African empire. In the years that followed independence in 1960, Dahomey maintained its reputation for political volatility while doing little to invigorate an economy still heavily dependent on palm oil exports. Since democratic reforms in the early 1990s, however, Benin’s political climate and economy have both improved considerably. Observers are now waiting to see if this progress continues after the 2001 reelection of former dictator Mathieu Kérékou.

Article

From the colonial era to the present, black organizations and leaders have promoted business as a route to economic equality, both on an individual basis and through the encouragement of support for black business by black economic nationalists. Other long traditions among blacks include cooperative economic ventures, from the burial societies and mutual benefit societies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the fraternal organizations and black banks and insurance companies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The past century saw the development of black business empires built on the black consumer market and, in the late 1900s, competition and integration of black business with white corporate America.

Article

The first Africans came to the region of present-day South Carolina as slaves with a Spanish expedition in 1526. Nearly 150 years later, another group of Africans arrived in Charleston—or Charles Town, the name by which it was first known. Approximately 1,000 Akan and Asante people arrived as slaves to the English settlers from Barbados who established Charles Town as the first permanent settlement in South Carolina in 1670. Beginning in the 1690s, slaves from present-day Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia provided the labor force and expertise for growing rice in the colony. There were also Bantu-speaking slaves from Kongo and Angola, the ancestors of the Gullah communities that thrived for centuries in the Sea Islands near Charleston. By 1700, African slaves and their African American children had become the majority of Charleston's population.

In the eighteenth century Charleston became the most active center ...

Primary Source

America s long standing reliance on the peculiar institution as a theoretically inexhaustible source of human labor brought with it difficulties beyond the stark ethical and moral paradox of said practice existing within the world s first functional Enlightenment democracy By the early nineteenth century the move was on to shut down the international slave trade the mechanism through which countless Africans were carried against their will to the New World and which was a growing threat to the expanding and increasingly prosperous domestic slave trade Early efforts however such as the Slave Trade Act of 1794 which could only attempt to slow the international trade Article One of the Constitution forbade Congress from interfering in the slave trade until 1808 and the Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1807 which carried the relatively light penalty of forfeiture of vessel and human cargo were less than completely successful In 1820 Congress ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

commercial and political leader, was born sometime in the late seventeenth century on the coast of southern Ghana. Little is known about Conny’s background. He became an extremely prosperous trader by acting as a middleman between European buyers with interior trade networks that provided slaves and gold. It is highly likely that Conny profited indirectly from the Asante kingdom’s bloody rise to power against its rivals, since these wars produced thousands of slaves sold to Europeans on the Ghanaian coast between roughly 1700 and 1750. Conny established his headquarters at Cape Three Points in the Ahanta region. One of his immediate neighbors was the Prussian fort of Gross Friedrichsburg, established by the kingdom of Prussia in 1682 as a trade center to purchase gold and slaves This small post faced both European rivals in the Dutch fort of Axim and the English post of Cape Coast According to a ...

Article

Abomey, the capital of Dahomey, was founded around 1620 by Dogbari, who fled Allada after his brothers fought with one another for control of that kingdom. Dogbari’s grandson, Wegbaja, expanded Abomey through military conquest and consolidated it into a powerful state in the middle to late 1600s. Wegbaja’s grandson, Agaja, conquered both Allada and Whydah in the 1720s, founding the kingdom of Dahomey with its capital at Abomey. The government of Dahomey was an absolute monarchy with a well-established, centralized state and bureaucracy. Dahomey became heavily involved in the European slave trade, which had begun in earnest a century previous with the arrival of the Dutch.

The rule of Gezu (1818–1858) marked the pinnacle of Dahomey’s power and influence. Military victories enabled the kingdom of Dahomey to stop paying its annual tribute to the Oyo empire of what is now Nigeria Still the end of the slave ...

Article

Delano Greenidge-Copprue

Before his apprenticeship as a ship's caulker in Baltimore, Maryland, Frederick Douglass (then Frederick Bailey) was imprisoned for a week in Easton, Maryland, when his 1835 plan to escape the slavery of the colonel Edward Lloyd's plantation at Saint Michaels was discovered. Along with four conspirators, Douglass was shackled and pulled by horses, stumbling and at times simply dragged over the fifteen miles from the plantation to the jail in Easton.

As the seat of Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Easton was a haven for traders who made a living buying slaves from jails and selling them into the more concentrated plantation labor of the Deep South. Hounded by traders while imprisoned in Easton, Douglass never forgot them. On 5 July 1852 Douglass denounced Austin Woolfolk a Maryland slave trader at whose slave mart on Pratt Street in Baltimore the fates of countless African Americans were ...

Article

Cecily Jones

Queen of England and patron of slave‐trading ventures.

1.Genesis of the British slave trade

2.Africans in Elizabethan England

3.Scapegoating ‘Blackamoors’

4.Attempts to expel Blacks