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Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: The East African Coast and Southern Africa - Essay Example

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This research aims to evaluate and present trans-Atlantic slave trade in such regions as the East African Coast and Southern Africa. This essay analyzes the culture and history of East African Coast and South Africa of the 16th and 18th…
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Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: The East African Coast and Southern Africa
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The East African Coast and Southern Africa
The East African Coast, stretches more than a thousand kilometres from Northern Kenya to Southern Tanzania. A Swahili, African with influences of Arabic and Islamic, people lived on the East African Coast. The Swahili created over a thousand trading settlements stretching from Mogadishu in the North to Mozambique and Madagascar in the South. The Portuguese established two settlements beginning in 1531. Portuguese lasted well into the 20th century.
Southern Africa was also a trade center in the 18th and 16th century. Torwa, Zulas, Maroserana, and other African tribes ruled. The European influence however struck again during this time. Denoon asserts that"the emergence of the strong confederacies, which led ultimately to the formation of the Zulu state, was entirely independent of events at the Cape" (Denoon, 1992:702). Denoon was speaking of the Dutch East India Company creating Cape Town in 1652.
The parallels between what was happening the East African Coast and Southern Africa were numerous. The first was old trade routes created by the Swahilis and South African tribes were being taken over by an outsiders, meaning the European colonists. The trade routes were being used to move all kinds of merchandise. Basically, old trade routes were being used to rape Africa of its precious natural commodities. Instead of coming into Africa and having to build roads, the Africans had already created a system.
One trade route was the Mutapa state, South of the Zambezi River in Mozambique of today. The Mutapa controlled trade routes from inner Southern and Central African coast. Some of the imports were silks, glassware, carpets, and ceramics. Mines in this area produced gold and silver, which local tradesmen worked into jewellery. Indigenous cotton, lion and leopard skins, and ostrich plumes were also sold to various rulers of different tribes.
The people of the East African Coast and South Africa also had their own cultures. In South Africa, present day Zimbabwe masonry from the Torwa period can still be found. This decorative masonry includes checker board designs and herringbone dating back to the early 16th century. After the Torwa was conquered, no more masonry has been found.
On the East African Coast, East African Literature emerged. The earliest East African literature can be dated to 1520. This work was an anonymous history of Kilwa. This text was written in Arabic. Later literature, poems, and religious text in Swahili appeared. Clearly, as in South Africa, a vibrant culture existed before and during colonization.
Finally, the last parallel was the process of colonization. Whether the Portuguese, Dutch, or any other European country, the colonization process used Africans. Africans were used to plunder Africa of natural resources, land, ports, and of course slaves. The colonization also had European buildings and forts placed on trade routes. The Europeans fortified their positions to remain in Africa as long as possible, which in most cases was well into the 20th century.
The East African Coast and South Africa of the 16th and 18th were excellent trade routes and have rich cultures. This made colonialism too tempting for the Dutch and Portuguese in these regions. Both areas were rich territories plundered by European.
Denoon, D. Dependence and interdependence: southern Africa, 1500-1800.
Salim, A. I. East Africa, the coast. Read More
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