of slave trade
Reasons why it was difficult
to stop slave trade
Slavery existed before in
Africa societies that is to say, domestic slavery and internal slave trade, which
provided a favourable situation for continuation of the lucrative slave
The Abolition movement which had begun in
Britain and her overseas territory first took effect in West Africa. The decline
in west African trade encouraged the expansion of trade in East Africa especially
with America and West Indies.
trade was difficult to stop because of division of African tribes against each
other .This meant that African tribes would find it difficult to unite together
and resist the slave traders, who raided their societies using organised bands
Disregard of human life ,many African rulers
tended to put less value for the lives of their subjects whom they ruled
for example quite often, a ruler of a tribe would easily order his warriors to
attack the villages of his subjects and seize their property ,kill some
of them .
and willing cooperation of African chiefs and coastal traders who were making
a lot of profits made the slave trade last for so long.
European countries depended on the products of slave labour in West Indies and
America for example, British industries depended on raw sugar, raw cotton and
unprocessed minerals from America which she was not willing to loose.
European slave merchants and Africans involved in the trade
were blinded by the huge profits made from the trade.
was smuggling of slaves outside the forbidden areas. Slave traders would pretend
to sail northwards when sighted by British patrol ships but would change course
after British navy ships had disappeared.
European countries refused to co-operate with Britain to end slave trade because
they had not yet become industrialized, and therefore they still benefited from
it for example Portugal and Spain.
The only economic
alternative of slave trade was Agriculture which was not reliable compared to
the booming slave trade.
The anti slavery campaign
was too expensive for Britain alone to compensate slave owners.
slave trade in the interior was difficult because Arabs were in control
of large areas.
The East African coastline was
long which delayed the anti-slavery group penetration in the interior.
Due to the tropical climate, most British personnel were affected
by malaria which hindered the stopping of Slave trade.
Said and Bargash were always unwilling to end slave trade at once due to fear
of losing revenue and risk of rebellion by Arabs who found it profitable.
The anti-slavery group was small compared to the East African
European powers continued with slave trade,
they shipped the slaves cargos in to ships bearing American Flags.
that led to the abolition of slave trade
was the British government that began the abolition of the slave trade during
the years,1822 - 1826 . This was because of the pressure by various groups
based on different factors;
of humanitarians in Europe such as Christians and scholars condemned it
on moral grounds. The missionaries wanted it to be stopped because they wanted
good conditions for the spread of Christianity. The formation of the humanitarian
movements in England aimed at stopping all kinds of cruelty including slave trade,
flogging of soldiers and child labour.
in Britain was one of the main forces behind the abolition .E.g. Britain industrialists
urged its abolition because they wanted Africans to be left in Africa so that
Africa can be a source of raw materials for their industries, market for European
manufactured goods and a place for new investment of surplus capital.
- Formation of Anti-slavery movement
and the abolitionist movement in 1787. Its chairman was Granville Sharp and others
like Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce who gathered facts and stories about
the brutality of slave trade and slavery to arouse public opinion in Britain.
- Religious revival in Europe, Anglicans preached and
condemned slave trade as being opposed to laws of God and humanity. Catholic popes
also protested against the trade and prohibited it. In 1774, many religious leaders
served as examples when they liberated their slaves in England.
- The French revolution of 1789 and the American revolution
of 1776 emphasized liberty, equality and fraternity(brotherhood) of all human
beings. As a result, people began to question whether anyone had a right to deprive
fellow man of his liberty when he had done wrong.
The British desire to protect their national interests, British planters wanted
slave trade stopped to avoid competition with other European planters .This is
because other planters were producing cheaper sugar ,British sugar accumulated
hence the need to stop over production.
of men with new ideas e.g. Prof. Adam Smith(challenged the economic arguments
which were the basis of slave trade when he argued convincingly that hired labour
is cheaper and more productive than slave labour, Rousseau spread the idea of
personal liberty and equality of all men.
had become less profitable and yet had led to over population in Europe.
Influential abolitionists like William Wilberforce( a British member of parliament
) urged the British government to legislate against the slave trade in her colonies.
The ship owners stopped transporting slaves from Africa and began transporting
raw materials directly from Africa and America to Europe ,which led to a decline
in slave trade.
in the abolition of slave trade
to abolish slave trade started in Britain with the formation of Anti-slavery
movement. The British government abolished the slave trade through anti slave
laws (Legislation), treaties and use of force.
The Anti – slavery movement
was led by Granville sharp, other members were Thomas Clarkson, William
Wilberforce and others.
The first step was
taken in 1772 when slavery was declared illegal and abolished in Britain. The
humanitarians secured judgment against slavery from the British court.
In 1807, British parliament outlawed slave trade for British subjects.
1817 British negotiated the “reciprocal search treaties” with Spain
Equipment treaties signed with Spain 1835 Portugal
1842 and America 1862.
In E. Africa in 1822 Moresby treaty was
signed between Captain Moresby and Sultan Seyyid Said it forbade the shipping
of slaves outside the sultan’s territories. British ships were authorized
to stop and search suspected Arab slave-carrying dhows.
Hamerton treaty was signed between Colonel Hamerton and Sultan Seyyid Said.
It forbade the shipping of slaves outside the Sultan‘s East African possessions,
i.e, beyond Brava to the north.
the British set up a parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate and report
on slave trade in E. Africa.
In 1872 Sir Bartle Frere persuaded
Sultan Barghash to stop slave trade but not much was achieved.
5th March 1873, the Sultan passed a decree prohibiting the export of slaves from
main land and closing of slave market at Zanzibar. Zanzibar slave market was to
be closed within 24 hours.
- 1876 the Sultan decreed
that no slaves were to be transported overland.
- 1897 decree left slaves to claim their freedom themselves
,slavery was abolished entirely in Zanzibar and Pemba.
- In 1927,
slavery ended in Tanganyika when Britain took over from Germany after the 2nd
of abolition of slave trade
of slave trade led to loss of independence that is to say, it confirmed among
the Arabs and Swahilis that the Sultan had lost independence over the East
African coast, and that he was now a British puppet .
of slave trade led to development and growth of legitimate trade which provided
equally profitable business to both Europeans and African traders. Many ship owners
diverted their ships from transporting slaves to transporting raw
cotton and raw sugar from Brazil and America.
It accelerated the
coming of European missionaries to East Africa who emphasized peace and obedience
thus the later European colonization of East Africa.
of the sultan Empire. This is because it loosened the economic and political
control which the sultan had over the East African nations .His empire in E.A.
therefore began to crumble .This gave opportunity to other ambitious leaders like
Tippu-Tip to create an independent state in Manyema ,where he began selling his
ivory and slaves to the Belgians in Zaire.
The abolition of slave
trade was a catalyst to the partition of East Africa where by Britain took over
Kenya, Zanzibar and Uganda and Germany took over Tanganyika.
trade markets were also closed foe example Zanzibar in 1873 following the frere
treaty signed between Sultan Bargash and Bantle Frere.
unpopular as many converted to Christianity.
regained their respect and strength as they were no longer sold off as commodities.