The Economics of the African Slave Trade

Essay by wissaramezCollege, Undergraduate March 2009

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The first stage of the triangular trade involved taking manufactured goods from Europe like cloth, metal goods, tobacco, guns, beads, and cowry shells. Locals in Africa did not have the technology to manufacture the goods brought in from Europe. These metals and manufactured goods were of great value to the indigenous tribes of the Gold Coast. The tribesman felt that they could establish dominance and impose their own agenda if allied with Europeans. The guns were used by Africans to capture more slaves and to expand already large empires into dominant powers like those of Songhai, Mali, and Ghana. The guns were brought in from Europe by the Europeans so that Africans could hunt and kill their own people. Europeans rarely conducted slave raids themselves and instead had a certain tribe do it for them. This is how Europe will completely rape Africa. Europe stopped trading guns to Africa after the Africans began using the guns against the Europeans.

The gun trade, which was non-existent before the slave trade, is the arguably the main reason for the corruption and treason that take place in Africa today . Those goods were exchanged for slaves. The second stage was known as the middle passage which the shipping of slaves to the Americas. The middle passage was the gruesome stage at which Africans began to truly realize the fate that lay ahead for them. They were exposed to even harsher conditions than they previously had in the factory dungeons of the coast, or even of the march to the sea. The third and final stage was of course the return to Europe with the produce of the slave labor plantations: cotton, rum, tobacco, sugar, molasses.

During the tenth and eleventh centuries African empires endured a prosperous era filled rich trade and agriculture. Ghana...