Slave trade throughout Africa, including the Trans-Saharan, East African, and Atlantic regions are covered in detail in the following articles:
Additional details are as follows: Coast of Slavery in West Africa, Coast of Swaziland, and Coast of the Barbary Coast
Africa in the 13th century, showing the major commercial routes as well as the republics, kingdoms, and empires.
In an article published in 1984, the French historian Fernand Braudel made the observation that slavery had been a pervasive problem in Africa and an integral component of the social fabric of daily life from the 15th to the 18th century. “Slavery came in different guises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and intermediaries, and even as traders.” [Traduction] “There were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, domestic and household slaves, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and In the 16th century, Europe began to overtake the Arab world in the export trade, namely the trade of enslaved people from Africa to the Americas. This allowed Europe to gain a competitive advantage over the Arab world. [source: missing citation] During the 17th century, the Dutch colonists in what is now known as Cape Town transported enslaved people from Asia into their settlement at the Cape of Good Hope. [source: missing citation] The United States followed Britain’s lead in 1808 by passing a law that made it illegal to trade slaves within its borders. At the same time, Britain passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which criminalized the practice of trading slaves within its empire. At the time, Britain already controlled a small coastal territory in Freetown, Sierra Leone, that was designed for the resettlement of formerly enslaved people.
Between the years 1300 and 1900, in the region of Senegambia known as Senegambia, close to one-third of the people was held in slavery. Slavery affected approximately one-third of the population of the early Islamic nations that existed in the Western Sudan. These states were Ghana (750–1076), Mali (1235–1645), Segou (1712–1861), and Songhai (1275–1591). The first Akan state, Bonoman, during which time a third of its inhabitants was held in slavery. This occurred in the 17th century. During the 19th century, almost half of Sierra Leone’s population was made up of individuals who were held in slavery. At the beginning of the 19th century, at least half of the population of the Duala of Cameroon, the Igbo and other peoples of the lower Niger, the Kongo, and the Kasanje kingdom and Chokwe of Angola were held captive as slaves. Slaves made up one-third of the population of the Ashanti, Yoruba, and Bono peoples, respectively. Bono was also a part of this proportion. Slavery affected around one third of the Kanem people’s total population. In Bornu (1396–1893), it may have been as high as forty percent. Slaves made up between one-third and two-thirds of the total population of the Fulani jihad republics between the years 1750 and 1900. This occurred during the Fulani jihad. In the 19th century, over half of the population of the Sokoto caliphate, which was created by Hausas in northern Nigeria and Cameroon, consisted of slaves. It is reported that up to 90 percent of Zanzibar’s Arab-Swahili people was held in servitude at one point or another. Slavery affected almost half of Madagascar’s population at its height.
Slavery was practiced in Ethiopia until the year 1942. At the beginning of the 1930s, it was believed that there was a population of between 8 and 16 million people in the country, and the Anti-Slavery Society estimated that there were 2,000,000 people who were enslaved. On August 26, 1942, Emperor Haile Selassie issued the edict that put an end to the practice for good.
At the start of the 20th century, when British administration was initially imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate and the lands surrounding it in northern Nigeria, roughly 2 million to 2.5 million people living there were enslaved.
The practice of slavery was ultimately criminalized in northern Nigeria in the year 1936.
Elikia M’bokolo, a journalist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, wrote an article in 1998 regarding the scope of commerce going to and coming from Africa “The human resources of the African continent were extracted using any and all methods that were available. over the Sahara Desert, along the coast of the Red Sea, down the coast of the Indian Ocean, and finally across the Atlantic Ocean. At least 10 centuries of slavery were practiced for the advantage of Muslim countries (beginning in the ninth century and continuing until the nineteenth century).” He continues by saying, “Four million slaves were exported via the Red Sea, another four million were exported through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean.”
The African slave trade, the East African slave trade, and the trans-Saharan slave trade are the topics of the main articles.
Slaves from Africa were being transported across the Sahara Desert by an Arab slave trafficking caravan.
During the time of the East African slave trade and when the city was ruled by Omani Arabs in the 19th century, an estimated 50,000 enslaved individuals passed through Zanzibar on an annual basis. Zanzibar was historically the primary port for the trade of slaves in East Africa.
Before the 16th century, the vast majority of persons taken as slaves from Africa were transported from East Africa to the Arabian peninsula. These voyages began at East African ports. As a result of its success in this commerce, Zanzibar became an important port.  Arab dealers of enslaved people were distinct from their European counterparts in that they frequently led raiding expeditions themselves, sometimes venturing deep inside the continent. This allowed them to acquire slaves more easily. In addition to this, they were distinct from one another in that their market was substantially more interested in the acquisition of enslaved women than men.
Arab traders shifted their attention to the overland slave caravan routes that across the Sahara from the Sahel to North Africa as a result of the rising presence of European competitors along the East coast. In the year 1870, the German explorer Gustav Nachtigal reported seeing slave caravans leave Kukawa in Bornu going for Tripoli and Egypt. These slave caravans originated in Bornu. Even as late as the year 1898, the primary source of money for the state of Bornu was the commercialization of enslaved people. There is still a population density of fewer than one person per square kilometer in the eastern portions of the Central African Republic. These territories have never recovered demographically from the effects of attacks in the 19th century that came from the Sudan. During the 1870s, European measures against the trafficking of enslaved persons generated an economic crisis in northern Sudan, which in turn contributed to the formation of Mahdist forces in that region. The triumph of Mahdi established an Islamic kingdom, which almost immediately began the practice of slavery once again.
The establishment of Estado da ndia in the early 16th century by Portugal marked the beginning of European participation in the transport of enslaved people from East Africa to Europe. From that time until the 1830s, around 200 enslaved individuals were shipped out of Portuguese Mozambique each year. It is thought that during the Iberian Union (1580–1640), similar numbers of enslaved people were transferred from Asia to the Philippines.
The journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas, during which enslaved people were laid out in rows in the holds of ships, was only one component of the well-known triangular trade that was participated in by Portuguese, American, Dutch, Danish-Norwegian, French, British, and other nations. The Middle Passage was an ordeal that these people were forced to endure. Sugar, indigo, raw cotton, and eventually coffee would be loaded onto ships that had previously landed enslaved Africans in Caribbean ports. These ships would then set sail for Liverpool, Nantes, Lisbon, or Amsterdam. Ships sailing from European ports to West African ports would load up with printed cotton fabrics, some of which originated in India, copper utensils and bangles, pewter plates and pots, iron bars with a value greater than that of gold, caps, toys, gunpowder and weapons, and wine. In the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, tropical shipworms were exterminated, and a profit was gained with each unloading of cargo. [source: missing citation]
In the latter part of the 18th century, when raiding excursions into the interior of West Africa were taking place, the highest number of individuals were taken captive and sold into slavery. This was the high point of the Atlantic slave trade. These expeditions were typically led by African states such as the Bono State, the Oyo empire (Yoruba), the Kong Empire, the Kingdom of Benin, the Imamate of Futa Jallon, the Imamate of Futa Toro, the Kingdom of Koya, the Kingdom of Khasso, the Kingdom of Kaabu, the Fante Confederacy, the Ashanti Confederacy, the Aro Confederacy, and the kingdom of Dahomey, among others.   Because of their fear of sickness and the intense resistance they encountered there, Europeans traveled very seldom into the interior of Africa. The enslaved individuals were transported to outposts along the coast, where they were exchanged for various items. The European merchants who participated in these expeditions took the captive natives and transported them to various colonies in the New World. It is estimated that between twelve and twenty million enslaved people were shipped out of Africa by European traders over the course of several centuries. Of these, approximately 15 percent perished during the harrowing journey, with the majority of deaths occurring during the difficult trek through the Middle Passage. The Americas received the vast bulk of these goods; nevertheless, some also made their way to Europe and Southern Africa. [source: missing citation]
David Livingstone created this sketch in the 19th century depicting Arab slave traffickers with their victims along the Ruvuma river, which is located in what is now Tanzania and Mozambique.
In his notebooks, David Livingstone said that “to overdraw its depravity is a simple impossibility.” He was referring to the trafficking in enslaved persons that was prevalent in East Africa at the time.
In 1866, when traveling across the region of Africa that contains the Great Lakes, David Livingstone recorded a trail of slaves:
19th of June, 1866 – We came across a dead woman who was tied by the neck to a tree. The locals of the area told us that she had been unable to keep up with the other slaves in a gang, and that her master had decided that she should not become anyone’s property if she got better. She was found as we traveled through the area.
26th of June. –…We passed a slave woman who had been shot or stabbed through the body and was lying on the path: a group of men stood about a hundred yards off on one side, and another of the women stood on the other side, looking on; they said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer; she was unable to continue her journey.
27th of June, 1866 – Today, we came across a man who had starved to death, since he was quite frail when we found him. They were too feeble to communicate or tell where they had come from; some of them were pretty young. One of our men went on a wandering mission and discovered numerous slaves who were wearing slave sticks and who had been abandoned by their masters because they were hungry.
The sickness that affects free men who have been taken captive and converted into slaves seems to be the most peculiar one that I have seen in this nation, and it causes them to have shattered hearts… Twenty one were freed, which meant they were no longer in danger; nevertheless, they all escaped at the same time. Eight, along with many others who were still chained, were found dead three days after the crossing. They characterized their sole discomfort as being in the heart, and they properly located the ache there, despite the fact that many people believe the organ is located much higher up in the breastbone.
The role of Africa in the transatlantic slave trade
Also see: the trade of slaves across the Atlantic and Sara Forbes Bonetta
Slavery was a frequent practice among people living in sub-Saharan Africa long before the participation of Arabs, Berbers, and Europeans. The King of Dahomey, an African ruler, played a crucial role in the trading of enslaved people. There were three categories of slaves: those whose parents offered them as property to tribal chiefs, those whose parents were forced to sell them in exchange for unpaid debts, and those who were enslaved as a result of conquering. Chieftains would trade their enslaved people to purchasers from other cultures, such as Arabs, Berbers, Ottomans, or Europeans, in exchange for rum, spices, fabric, or other things.  During that time period, it was usual for Africans, Turks, Berbers, and Arabs to engage in the practice of selling captives or hostages. On the other hand, as a result of an increase in demand caused by the Atlantic trafficking of enslaved persons, local institutions that solely catered to indentured servitude grew in size. As a consequence of this, the trafficking of enslaved people on the European continent was the event that had the single most significant impact on the social, economic, cultural, spiritual, theological, and political dynamics of the practice of dealing in enslaved people. In the end, it was detrimental to the local economy as well as the political stability because key labor forces from villages were taken overseas during a time when slave raids and civil conflicts were prevalent. Enslavement as a form of punishment was introduced for crimes that had previously been subject to another kind of punishment.
The process of examining and selling a slave.
Before the advent of the Portuguese, there was already a system of slavery in place in the Kingdom of Kongo. Afonso I of Kongo was of the opinion that the slave trade should be regulated by Kongo law due to the fact that it was already operating within his realm. As soon as he had reason to believe that the Portuguese were trafficking in unlawfully enslaved people, he sent a series of letters to King Joao III of Portugal in 1526, pleading with him to put an end to the practice.
The monarchs of Dahomey put their war prisoners up for sale into transatlantic slavery. If they hadn’t done so, these individuals may have been put to death in a ritual called the Annual Customs. Dahomey, which was one of the most important slave republics in West Africa, had a reputation for being exceedingly unfavourable among its neighbouring peoples. The economies of the Khasso kingdoms, much like those of the Bambara Empire to the east, were primarily dependent on the sale and purchase of slaves. A family’s status was determined by the number of enslaved persons it held, which led to conflicts that were fought solely for the goal of capturing additional captives. Through their participation in this commerce, the Khasso were more acquainted with the European towns that had established themselves along the west coast of Africa, in especially the French.  During the 16th and 17th centuries, Benin became immensely wealthy as a result of its participation in the trade of enslaved people with Europe. Slaves from governments of the interior that were at war with Benin were purchased, and then transported to the Americas aboard Dutch and Portuguese ships. Soon after its discovery, the beach of the Bight of Benin became known as the “Slave Coast.”
“My people have always operated under the guiding concept of the slave trade. It is the origin of their wealth as well as its crowning glory…the mother lulls the infant to sleep with notes of victory over an adversary who was brought to servitude.”
Celebrated on a British two-pound coin is the 200th anniversary of the act of parliament that put an end to the practice of trafficking slaves in Britain.
The Slave Trading Act was passed in 1807 in the United Kingdom and made it unlawful to engage in the worldwide trade of enslaved persons. Slavers coming from West Africa, the United States, France, Spain, Portugal, and Holland were met with resistance from the Royal Navy, which was stationed in West Africa. It is said that the King of Bonny, which is now in Nigeria, got disgruntled with the interference of the British in banning the trafficking of persons who were held as slaves.
“In our opinion, this transaction needs to take place. This is the conclusion that our oracle and the priests have reached. They think that no nation, no of how powerful it is, can ever halt a transaction that has been predetermined by God himself.”
Joseph Miller claims that African purchasers would have a preference for male slaves, but in actuality, it would be far easier to capture women and children as the men fled. Those who were taken captive might be sold for a variety of reasons, including payment for food or debts as well as slavery. After they were taken captive, those who survived the voyage to the shore were severely debilitated. Many people fell victim to disease, and those that reached the coastlines were further harmed by a lack of food. Due of the disease’s prevalence, it was referred to as “mal de Luanda” (Luanda sickness).  It is presumed that those who passed away on the voyage did so as a result of starvation. It’s possible that the water supply was equally as poor as the food supply was restricted. There was a significant problem with sanitation at the ports, which contributed to the outbreak of dysentery. The lack of supplies meant that persons who were enslaved did not have access to the best clothing, which meant that they were much more at risk of contracting illnesses.
People were terrified of being caught for unknown reasons in addition to the possibility of contracting a sickness. Cannibalism was a prevalent theory that held that Europeans engaged in the practice. There were tales told and rumors propagated that white people kidnapped Africans with the intention of eating them. Olaudah Equiano relates the suffering that enslaved persons had through at the docks from his own personal experience.
Others are of the opinion that slavers had a vested interest in capturing rather than killing, and in keeping their captives alive; and that this, coupled with the disproportionate removal of males, and the introduction of new crops from the Americas (cassava, maize), would have limited general population decline to particular regions of western Africa around 1760–1810, and in Mozambique and neighboring areas half a century later. It has also been hypothesized that inside Africa, girls were often kidnapped for the purpose of marrying, while their male defenders were considered a “bycatch” and would have been put to death if there had not been a market for them to be exported.
When journeying through Mandinka territory, the British explorer Mungo Park came upon a community of people who were held in slavery:
They all had a lot of questions, but at first they stared at me with horrified expressions and constantly inquired as to whether or not people in my nation ate each other. After the slaves had made it through the sea water, they were quite interested in finding out what happened of them. I tried to convince them that they had jobs cultivating the land, but they refused to believe me… A deeply ingrained belief that white people buy negroes with the intention of devouring them or of selling them to other people so that they may be devoured in the future naturally causes the slaves to consider a journey towards the coast with great terror, so much so that the slatees are forced to keep them constantly in irons and watch them very closely to prevent them from escaping. The belief that white people buy negroes with the intention of devouring them or of selling them to others so
The need for the labor-intensive harvesting of rubber during the time between the late 19th century and the early 20th century fueled frontier expansion and forced labor. In order to get rubber, several people were killed under the personal monarchy of King Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State. Slaves were also used in this process.What Do You Know About The Philippines?