trade in East Africa
Main peoples involved:
were called Nyamwezi (people of the moon) because they came from the West direction
in which the new moon is first seen. Their involvement in slave trade was
partly caused by the demand for slaves in the interior. They dealt in ivory,copper,slaves
and wax they wanted to acquire commodities like glass, spices, clothes ,mirrors,
guns in exchange for slaves.
Role of chief Mirambo
Mirambo was born around
1830 AD and spent part of his life as a captive of the Tuta Ngoni in Bugoma. He
organized a strong army of highly paid mercenaries (ruga ruga)
who were the basis of his power.
He established friendly relations
with Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda with whom they trade in salt, slaves, iron implements
grains and livestock.
He acquired guns from Arab and Swahili traders
and this helped him during his empire building process.
major trade routed in his territory by imposing taxes on traders passing through
Between 1860-1870, Mirambo carried out extensive conquests
Vinza and Tongwe and recruited some abled men for his army and sold others in
Unfortunately, when Mirambo died in 1884, his empire
also collapsed because it lacked a military leader as powerful and courageous
Role of Nyungu Yamawe
The name Nyungu Yamawe was
a praise name meaning “Pot of stones” Nyungu
was a prince of the Nyungu Yembe ruling family but failed in 1865 after the Arabs
had beheaded the Chief Mnwasele.
After the Arabs had beheaded
the chief of Nyungu ya mawe was terrified and ran away in 1865 and established
himself at Kiwele south from where they systematically attacked and defeated the
people of the regions.
His society was strategically located such
that he controlled all trading activities along the routes. From the East African
coast to Utipa, Tanganyika and other trading activities. This economic
progress contributed to his political development.
people and those who tried to oppose him were punished severely and others sold
off as slaves.
Unlike Mirambo ‘s empire that collapsed immediately,
Nyungu yamawe ‘s empire went on for many years after his death mainly because
of economic organisation and efficient political system he had created.
Nyungu’s rulers took over the collection of ivory from the conquered
clients and sent it to him at Kiwele.
He formed a strong centralize
administration with his own rulers (vatwale) placed over conquered chiefdoms directly
responsible for him.
role of Akamba
These lived in southern Kenya highlands.
Their ancestors lived here as hunters and shifting agriculture when they grew
rich, some Kamba communities bought slaves from the coast to do their farming.
The role of Yao
The Yao were
the most active East African slave traders. This was mainly because of the growing
demand for slaves at the coast and also the nature of the Yao society. It was
the custom for ambitious Yao rulers to increase their power not just by capturing
territories but by raiding their neighbours for slaves who then became their personal
The role of Baganda
These lived in the central region of Uganda. Their importance was significant
in the commercial life of the region; they traded in Bark cloth, ivory and slaves.
They were friendly to Arabs who supplied them with guns that they used to protect
and expand their Kingdom.
role of Khartoumers
These were Egyptians and Sudanese traders
who dealt in ivory and slaves. They were semi-official representatives of the
Egyptian government with several hundred armed men in their pay.
and Bunyoro were enemies, kabaka Mutesa I stopped slave traders from going to
Bunyoro. However they dealt in backcloth, slaves and salt.
Draw map of East Africa showing the Eastern slave trade routes.)