History of East Africa - Essay Example

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Slavery is defined as a condition whereby a person, known as a slave is under the control of another. A specific form, known as chattel slavery, is defined as the absolute legal ownership of a person or persons, including the legal right to buy and sell them just as one would a lamp or an article of clothing…
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History of East Africa
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Download file to see previous pages Slavery is defined as a condition whereby a person, known as a slave is under the control of another. Slavery almost always occurs for the purpose of securing labor. History dictates that those who become slaves had different ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex or race than the dominant group, typically taken prisoner as a result of war. Capture meant death or slavery if one paid no ransom. Social entities characterized with poverty, overpopulation, and cultural and technological lag are frequently exported as slaves to more developed nations.The nature of the slavery differed greatly across the continent. There were large plantations toiled by slaves in Egypt, Sudan and Zanzibar, but this was not a typical use of slaves in Africa as a whole. Slaves were protected and incorporated into the slave-owning family while in others, slaves were brutally abused, and even used for human sacrifices.The practice of slavery and slave trade existed in Africa long before the Europeans arrived (Beck. 2004). Slaves were regarded as investment of local chiefs, kings, merchants and dependent royal subjects for personal gains and revenue as well as performing administrative or military duties. Prior to the European conquest, slavery was a tool in building and strengthening states. In the period of the European colonization, slave trade changed dramatically causing internal divisions among African societies (Amber. 2004). The Oyo-Dahomey Wars, local/regional conflicts among the Asante, and internal division within the Congo kingdoms helped the Europeans acquire slaves in exchange for textiles, guns and ammunitions to expand their territories. The Europeans benefited from this by shipping off the slaves to the plantations of the Americas. As a result the African societies experienced a drastic change depopulating skilled craftsmen and increased wars among tribes (Cooper. 1980). Families were torn apart and children that were left behind became vulnerable to being captured by rival tribesman (Amber. 2004). The slave trade as a result expanded because of the participation of African rulers and merchants (Beachey. 1976) in the international exchange economy, involving the exports of humans.
Africans were manipulated and used by Europeans through the domination of Africa's natural resources (Cooper. 1980). In the beginning of European involvement in Africa, they were initially interested in trading with Africans for their gold, slaves, ivory, and other resources. Europeans began trading in Africa in the 15th century, mainly getting gold and slaves. When they reached the eastern coast of Africa, their prime interest shifted to controlling and securing trade routes to India. For a few centuries, European involvement in Africa was mostly contained to the coastal regions. In the East, the Omanis gained nominal control of the islands, but until the reign of Sayyid (1804-56) they took little interest in them (Nwulia. p13-14. 1975). Sayyid recognized the commercial value of East Africa and increasingly turned his attention to Zanzibar and Pemba, where he permanently relocated his court into (Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2006). He brought many Arabs with him, and they gained control of Zanzibar's fertile soil, forcing most of the Hadimu to migrate to the eastern part of the island. The Hadimu were obliged to work on the clove plantations. Sayyid controlled much of the East where Zanzibar became the main center of ivory and slave trade (Cooper.1980). Some of them were used on the clove plantations while others were exported to other parts overseas. With Zanzibar's trade being administered by Omanis' who organized caravans into the interior of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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