The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-23-2009, 07:18 PM
Laudenum Laudenum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Most Africans were sold into slavery by other Africans

How true is the thread title.

I've heard from several sources (National Geographic afair among them) whcih have said that slavery was rife throughout Africa, and that most African slaves were captured by Africans, then sold to the traders.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-23-2009, 07:36 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Seems common sense.

Those that were sold into slavery had to have first been captured by someone, and nearly all the someones in Africa to do the capturing were other dark-skinned Africans. And there were a lot of warring tribes in Africa, who captured members of enemy tribes.

Those that were captured by raiders from a ship along the shore of Africa, however, were likely to have been captured by white-skinned crewmen from that ship. But they weren't sold into slavery. I'd think this would be a smaller number, since Africans would soon learn to run away and hide when they see a ship along shore.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-23-2009, 07:39 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
That statement makes a whole lot more sense once one stops considering Africa as a homogeneous ethnic and political entity. It is a large land mass. With lots of very different peoples.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:09 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
African tribes sold off their own population plus went out capturing slaves and brought them to the the people that exported them. The Portuguese were heavily into the trade. It was a mix of how slaves were collected and who did the collecting.

I can't really add more and be sure of the facts unless I read up on it again. Three or four years is too long for my memory to keep details straight.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:20 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 34,916
Remember, the countries of modern Africa are a 19th century European construction, designed for the convenience of colonial administrators. Prior to European settlement, you had small, warring tribes filling any one of those countries you see today.

Some of these captured their enemies in battle and sold them for trade goods to Europeans. While Europeans certainly captured their own slaves when they could, it was far easier to set up trading posts and have the tribes bring slaves to them.
__________________
Author of Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate, now back in print.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:43 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
Mod Rocker
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N E Ohio
Posts: 35,936
The statement is techncally true, although it conveys an erroneous impression of what happened.

Prior to the advent of European and Arabian slavers in sub-Saharan Africa, Africans behaved the same way that Europeans, Asians, and (pre-Columbian) Americans behaved. Individual tribes or nations would get into a war over the usual quests for power or resources and would capture their hostile neighbors during the conflict. Those captives would then be brought back to provide labor to make up for the labor lost with the deaths of fighters from the capturing group.

However, once Arabs and Europeans introduced chattel slavery to Africa, the new (to the region) notion of capturing and selling slaves created a new market for a new industry and led to wars and raids being initiated for the purpose of gathering slaves for sales. Those Africans who engaged in slave-catching were responding to a new phenomenon that had been created by outsiders, then embraced by locals.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:01 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
I am unaware of prisoners taken in European war since the modern period (let's say the Thirty Years War) being held as slaves.

(I would have to admit the exception of the Nazis. But they were nuts.)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:08 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 22,878
The definition of a slave as chattel to be used for a person's lifetime for individual gain changed in the 20th century.

Governments institutionalized slavery into the war effort and - later in totalitarian countries - into helping the country as a whole. Lots of prisoners in lots of countries were used as slave labor in factories, in road building, and much else.

Yes, the nature of slavery evolved. But the nature of war itself also evolved. It's not surprising that the two merged.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-23-2009, 11:16 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Broadly speaking, Europeans stopped practising slavery within Europe when the economic development of Europe made it unprofitable. Basically, with sufficient investment in the economy and a sufficient population, labour becomes productive enough that men of no property can command a wage that makes it more attractive for them to work for pay than to follow any other occupation open to them, and it is more economically attractive for employers to employ willing paid workers than unwilling and sullen slaves. European continued to practice slaver (or convict labour, which serves much the same function) in the those places which they colonised which were both underpopulated and underdeveloped (America, Australia) but not in, e.g, India . Near-slavery, in the form of serfdom, continued to be an important source of agricultural labour in Eastern Europe, but the supply of serfs was adequate and the agricultural sector was not growing at a rate which made further enslavement possible.

I suspect that the slavery practiced by warring African tribes (before European demand created such a thriving market) wasn’t so much to replace lost labour as to express conquest and subjection – a form of tribute exacted from a defeated people. Europeans stopped doing this when it became more trouble than it was worth.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-24-2009, 04:32 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
There were several competing empires on the West Coast of Africa at about the same time as the slave trade took off (could people actually stop saying "warring tribes", W Africa was extremely organised, settled, civilised and had advanced political entities) and they did most of the enslaving. Quite a few of the captured slaves were prisoners of war at least initially.

Some
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-24-2009, 07:28 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
African tribes sold off their own population plus went out capturing slaves and brought them to the the people that exported them.
Did anyone really sell off their own population? I can't imagine anyone but the (post-Shaka) Zulus had the kind of iron-fisted domination over people's minds and hearts this would require, and the Zulus didn't acquire this kind of ruthlessness themselves during the slave era (Shaka's changes came later).

Can you cite someone selling his (I'd be even more shocked if a matriarch did this) own population into slavery?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-24-2009, 07:35 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I am unaware of prisoners taken in European war since the modern period (let's say the Thirty Years War) being held as slaves.
Slightly too early a cutoff: I can't find an unbiased site, but Cromwell apparently sent tens of thousands of Irish to the Caribbean as slaves, post Confederate War, between 1651 and 1660, whereas the Thirty Years War ended in 1648. Best cite I can find.
Quote:
Estimates vary between 80,000 and 130,000 regarding the
amount of Irish sent into slavery in America and the West Indies
during the years of 1651 - 1660: Prendergast says 80,000(17);
Boudin 100,000(18); Emmet 120,000 to 130,000(19); Lingard 60,000
up until 1656(20); and Condon estimates "the number of Irish
transported to the British colonies in America from 1651 - 1660
exceeded the total number of their inhabitants at that period, a
fact which ought not to be lost sight of by those who undertake
to estimate the strength of the Celtic element in this
nation..."
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-24-2009, 07:47 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Did anyone really sell off their own population? I can't imagine anyone but the (post-Shaka) Zulus had the kind of iron-fisted domination over people's minds and hearts this would require, and the Zulus didn't acquire this kind of ruthlessness themselves during the slave era (Shaka's changes came later).

Can you cite someone selling his (I'd be even more shocked if a matriarch did this) own population into slavery?
No I can't. It was in the reading I did years ago. It was people like criminals or someone that pissed off the tribal chief.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-24-2009, 11:09 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 10,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Did anyone really sell off their own population?
Depends what you mean by own. During civil strife the Kongo state at least was the source of slaves taken from either rebels against the state or from rival factions jockeying for power. This became particularly extreme during the most prolonged civil war. So in one sense it was the old strategy of taking slaves in war, but said slaves were of their "own" people.

Nothing so unusual about that, however. Europeans did the same thing with their own rebels and "criminals" ( loosely defined ) as with jjimm's cite above.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 07-24-2009 at 11:10 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-24-2009, 07:13 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I am unaware of prisoners taken in European war since the modern period (let's say the Thirty Years War) being held as slaves.

(I would have to admit the exception of the Nazis. But they were nuts.)
Japan did it -- there were American POW's laboring in Hiroshima who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped there.

Heck, America did it, sort-of. I had relatives out in farm country who had a German POW from a POW camp as a farm laborer during WWII. He wasn't treated like a slave -- he basically replaced their hired man, lived in the same room as he had, ate meals with the family, etc. -- but then he didn't get paid for his labor, either.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-24-2009, 09:40 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
Japan did it -- there were American POW's laboring in Hiroshima who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped there.

Heck, America did it, sort-of. I had relatives out in farm country who had a German POW from a POW camp as a farm laborer during WWII. He wasn't treated like a slave -- he basically replaced their hired man, lived in the same room as he had, ate meals with the family, etc. -- but then he didn't get paid for his labor, either.
Was it Wisconsin? I just wonder as it was only a few years ago that somebody found the forgotten history that Wisconsin had POW camps with Germans that worked as day labor on private farms.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 07-24-2009 at 09:41 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-24-2009, 10:38 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Was it Wisconsin? I just wonder as it was only a few years ago that somebody found the forgotten history that Wisconsin had POW camps with Germans that worked as day labor on private farms.
No, far western Minnesota, almost into South Dakota. I think it was said that he had come from a camp in Iowa.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-25-2009, 02:22 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 21,995
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
Japan did it -- there were American POW's laboring in Hiroshima who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped there.

Heck, America did it, sort-of. I had relatives out in farm country who had a German POW from a POW camp as a farm laborer during WWII. He wasn't treated like a slave -- he basically replaced their hired man, lived in the same room as he had, ate meals with the family, etc. -- but then he didn't get paid for his labor, either.
No, we paid German POW's.

Here's an article showing that the British paid theirs, and we worked under a similar system.

http://www.fortunecity.com/campus/di.../PoWs/pows.htm
Every prisoner could work if he so wished and would usually be detailed to do farm work, which would involve hedging, ditching and harvesting, construction work or clearing bomb damage etc. During their working hours they would (if working on farms) be under the direct command of the farmer to whom they were employed. Construction work was also carried out by the prisoners as within their ranks were tradesmen who before the war worked in the construction industry. In Britain at the time there was something of a housing crisis due to the recent bombing campaign by the Germans and it was estimated that 4 million homes were destroyed which would have to be replaced.
The German prisoners were put to work on the construction of new homes within the localities of their camps and they were paid the current union rates of pay which worked out at around between three and six shillings for a 48 hour week.


Note also that the work was voluntary. Now, the prisoners could be made to maintain their own camp without pay.

Last edited by DrDeth; 07-25-2009 at 02:23 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-25-2009, 04:41 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Slavery is still practiced in sub Saharan Africa with Black African slaves enslaved by Black Africans,in the west and the east but not as far as I know in the south.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-25-2009, 10:41 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 21,995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lust4Life View Post
Slavery is still practiced in sub Saharan Africa with Black African slaves enslaved by Black Africans,in the west and the east but not as far as I know in the south.
That sort of slavery is more like indentured servitude, afaik. Still, a clear human rights violation.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-26-2009, 02:09 AM
intention intention is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
The statement is techncally true, although it conveys an erroneous impression of what happened.

Prior to the advent of European and Arabian slavers in sub-Saharan Africa, Africans behaved the same way that Europeans, Asians, and (pre-Columbian) Americans behaved. Individual tribes or nations would get into a war over the usual quests for power or resources and would capture their hostile neighbors during the conflict. Those captives would then be brought back to provide labor to make up for the labor lost with the deaths of fighters from the capturing group.

However, once Arabs and Europeans introduced chattel slavery to Africa, the new (to the region) notion of capturing and selling slaves created a new market for a new industry and led to wars and raids being initiated for the purpose of gathering slaves for sales. Those Africans who engaged in slave-catching were responding to a new phenomenon that had been created by outsiders, then embraced by locals.
tomndebb, do you have any kind of citation that Africans didn't have chattel slaves before Arabs and Europeans? I find the following (about modern times):

Quote:
Chattel slavery is typically racially-based; in the North African country of Mauritania, for example, black Africans serve the lighter-skinned Arab-Berber communities.
Chattel slaves are owned and traded, not just forced labor. I find it very difficult to believe that there was no chattel slavery until Europeans entered the picture. In fact, I seem to recall some rumors in a book of myths called "The Bible" or something like that, about the Jews being chattel slaves in Egypt, for example ...

The Encarta Encyclopedia says:

Quote:
Slavery existed in some of Africa’s earliest organized societies. More than 3,500 years ago, ancient Egyptians raided neighboring societies for slaves, and the buying and selling of slaves were regular activities in cities along the Nile River. However, whereas the Egyptians left behind written records of their activities, most other early African states and societies did not. Therefore, our understanding of most early African practices of slavery is based on much more recent observations of African traditions regarding slavery and kinship and on oral histories..
Chattel slavery ... in other words:

Quote:
For example, Amenhotep III ordered forty girls from Milkilu, a Canaanite prince, paying 40 kit of silver for each:

"Behold, I have sent you Hanya, the commissioner of the archers, with merchandise in order to have beautiful concubines, i.e. weavers; silver, gold, garments, turquoises, all sorts of precious stones, chairs of ebony, as well as all good things, worth 160 deben. In total: forty concubines - the price of every concubine is forty of silver. Therefore, send very beautiful concubines without blemish."
Chattel slaves, bought and sold ... damn those sneaky Europeans, conning the ancient Egyptians into trading chattel slaves ...

However, I'm sure you'll come back and find some way to blame it on Europeans and Arabs.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-26-2009, 03:55 AM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I am unaware of prisoners taken in European war since the modern period (let's say the Thirty Years War) being held as slaves.
During the Russian invasion of Finland in the Great Northern War (1700 - 1721) some 20 000 Finnish Ostrobothnian prisoners of war were sold by Russian officers as slaves, most transported to St. Petersburg for construction work. Just one tenth returned after several years or decades of slave labor.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-27-2009, 10:02 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 6,956
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
Japan did it -- there were American POW's laboring in Hiroshima who were killed when the atomic bomb was dropped there.

Heck, America did it, sort-of. I had relatives out in farm country who had a German POW from a POW camp as a farm laborer during WWII. He wasn't treated like a slave -- he basically replaced their hired man, lived in the same room as he had, ate meals with the family, etc. -- but then he didn't get paid for his labor, either.
The Geneva Convention of 1929 allowed belligerents to require work of POWs of less than officer rank (see section III). They were supposed to get paid though, for work that wasn't related to the upkeep of their camp. Also, no work directly towards the war effort, no dangerous work, work hours to be limited to those of the civilian population, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-28-2009, 11:57 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by intention View Post
Chattel slaves, bought and sold ... damn those sneaky Europeans, conning the ancient Egyptians into trading chattel slaves ...
What part of Egypt is sub-Saharan?
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-28-2009, 01:50 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
The statement is techncally true, although it conveys an erroneous impression of what happened.

Prior to the advent of European and Arabian slavers in sub-Saharan Africa, Africans behaved the same way that Europeans, Asians, and (pre-Columbian) Americans behaved. Individual tribes or nations would get into a war over the usual quests for power or resources and would capture their hostile neighbors during the conflict. Those captives would then be brought back to provide labor to make up for the labor lost with the deaths of fighters from the capturing group.

However, once Arabs and Europeans introduced chattel slavery to Africa, the new (to the region) notion of capturing and selling slaves created a new market for a new industry and led to wars and raids being initiated for the purpose of gathering slaves for sales. Those Africans who engaged in slave-catching were responding to a new phenomenon that had been created by outsiders, then embraced by locals.
I don't dispute this explination, however I do find it used all to often as a convenient excuse to excuse the Africans from having any part of it.

Whether they thought it up or not, isn't the point, the point is they actively participated in the event.

You could say the same about guns. Africans had a different model of warfare till they got guns. Then all of a sudden they started thinking like Europeans and slaughtering their own people.

You could say the same thing about corruption. Since independence outside of one or two states, all African nations are massively corrupt. I don't think that corruption is historically part of the African ethic (just my opinion) but it doesn't matter where they got the idea, they still are employing that idea with excellent efficency.

The problem when you have questions like these is the old "Blame game." Blacks don't like to admit they had a hand in the creatig the slavery they decry. Though it's a different question, one could even argue without Africans to capture other Africans the slave trade would've been much more limited or different. (Perhaps they would've used breeding farms instead)

Whatever you think of the subject think of it like this:

Adolf Hitler didn't succeed in killing six million Jews because HE, or HE and A BUNCH OF HIS BUDDIES wanted them dead.

He succeeded because the attitude of his fellow Germans and other Europeans was "Well I don't agree with killing Jews but if Hitler's gonna do it, why don't I look over there."

I read the autobiography of Hitler's secretary, who was with him in the buker where he died and she was 19 years old. When she was asked, if she knew what was going on, in terms of the death camps and such, she said "No, I had no idea, but then again, if I had bothered to look, I certainly would've seen it."

That is probably the most telling statement ever when you're dealing with questions like this.

Last edited by Markxxx; 07-28-2009 at 01:53 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 07-28-2009, 04:06 PM
orcenio orcenio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Markxxx you're certainly not the only one to do this, but your post is chock full of these.

The bolding/underlining all mine
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
I don't dispute this explination, however I do find it used all to often as a convenient excuse to excuse the Africans from having any part of it.

Whether they thought it up or not, isn't the point, the point is they actively participated in the event.

You could say the same about guns. Africans had a different model of warfare till they got guns. Then all of a sudden they started thinking like Europeans and slaughtering their own people.

You could say the same thing about corruption. Since independence outside of one or two states, all African nations are massively corrupt. I don't think that corruption is historically part of the African ethic (just my opinion)but it doesn't matter where they got the idea, they still are employing that idea with excellent efficency.

The problem when you have questions like these is the old "Blame game." Blacks don't like to admit they had a hand in the creatig the slavery they decry. Though it's a different question, one could even argue without Africans to capture other Africans the slave trade would've been much more limited or different. (Perhaps they would've used breeding farms instead)
Here is post #3 of this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleBill View Post
That statement makes a whole lot more sense once one stops considering Africa as a homogeneous ethnic and political entity. It is a large land mass. With lots of very different peoples.
I really think that we westerners just might be totally incapable of thinking of Africa as a multi-political, multi-linguistical, multi-cultural, multi-historical, multi-religious, multi-ethnic place. If people just took five seconds to think about the multidimensional facets of this block of land we collectively refer to as "Africa" then half of their questions would not even need to be asked.

I mean why did France and England fight against each other so many times throughout their history? Didn't they know that they were both white?! I swear we are just incapable of thinking of Africa as anything, but a homogeneous block where "the blacks" live.

Last edited by orcenio; 07-28-2009 at 04:09 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:08 AM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by orcenio View Post
I really think that we westerners just might be totally incapable of thinking of Africa as a multi-political, multi-linguistical, multi-cultural, multi-historical, multi-religious, multi-ethnic place. ... I swear we are just incapable of thinking of Africa as anything, but a homogeneous block where "the blacks" live.
I've seen US Doper's post questions of the "Do people in Europe do X?" variety which equally manage to lump together a broad range of cultures, histories, languages, attitudes, etc. There may be other reasons for this, but distance and familiarity play a part; the further away (and less familiar) an area is the more we seem to see it as homogeneous (and I'm completely failing to find the cite I recall for this).
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:07 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 21,995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
I've seen US Doper's post questions of the "Do people in Europe do X?" variety which equally manage to lump together a broad range of cultures, histories, languages, attitudes, etc. There may be other reasons for this, but distance and familiarity play a part; the further away (and less familiar) an area is the more we seem to see it as homogeneous (and I'm completely failing to find the cite I recall for this).
Well, except we get dozens of threads with things like "Christians do xxxx" (hate gays, whatever) as if Christianity were a homogeneous whole.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:22 AM
intention intention is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
What part of Egypt is sub-Saharan?
The place where they got their slaves.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 07-29-2009, 11:47 AM
orcenio orcenio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by intention View Post
The place where they got their slaves.
Sub-Sahara Africa is "The place where they got their slaves." Cite?
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:11 PM
orcenio orcenio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
What part of Egypt is sub-Saharan?
If race is what you are asking about (I'm assuming it is), here are some previous threads dealing with ancient Egypt and race that I was able to find:

Cleopatra was black/white???
What Ethnicity were the Ancient Egyptians?
Who was Tutankhamun?
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:13 PM
intention intention is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by orcenio View Post
Sub-Sahara Africa is "The place where they got their slaves." Cite?
What, you don't think the Egyptians had black slaves?
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:19 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 24,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by intention View Post
What, you don't think the Egyptians had black slaves?
Hardly a cite for where the slaves were from. They were quite possibly from Nubia, which is not sub-Saharan.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:38 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 22,775
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Hardly a cite for where the slaves were from. They were quite possibly from Nubia, which is not sub-Saharan.
Parts of Nubia were sub-Saharan.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:10 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 24,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Parts of Nubia were sub-Saharan.
But most was not. My point was that you can't tell the slaves were sub-Saharan merely from skin color.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:29 PM
intention intention is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Fight my ignorance on this one ... were there populations of black people historically living north of the Sahara? I have always believed there were not ... but I've been wrong more than once. In fact, more than twice ...
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:49 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 24,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by intention View Post
Fight my ignorance on this one ... were there populations of black people historically living north of the Sahara? I have always believed there were not ... but I've been wrong more than once. In fact, more than twice ...
Not north of the Sahara, but within the latitudes encompassed by the Sahara, rather than sub-Saharan.

Mauritanians


Nubians at Aswan in southern Egypt.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:42 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Traditional slavery in Africa was (and still is) more like the ancient Roman concept of slaves. In many ways, it resembles a caste system. People are born into certain jobs, and those jobs may indeed be jobs serving certain people. But it's not exactly like someone legally owning another human being. For example, a traditional slave may need to ask for approval to get married. But they would not be bred together like animals, as people sometimes were during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

It's bad and it is still a major problem in some areas (I've personally hung out with slaves in Mali) but it's not the same thing as systematic chattel slavery where the slaves are treated as pure commodities. Traditional slaves are still allowed to have fairly normal families, some degree of self-determinism, etc.

Women, of course, have been treated as chattel my most societies through most of history. The line between "marriage" and "slavery" can be iffy in lots of cases.

A final word, in modern times there are plenty of other forms of slavery thriving in Africa (and other places.) From forced marriages, forced child labor on a large and small scale, religious slavery, forced prostitution, etc. there are no shortage of human trafficking issues to get worked up about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
There were several competing empires on the West Coast of Africa at about the same time as the slave trade took off (could people actually stop saying "warring tribes", W Africa was extremely organised, settled, civilised and had advanced political entities.
Thanks for pointing this out. During this time period (and back into Medieval times), much of West Africa resembled feudal Europe, with powerful empires, transcontinental trade, complex religions, huge cities, centers of learning, etc. It no more resembled a bunch of "warring tribes" than Germany did during the same time period.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.