Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa, and still continues today in some countries. Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa , as they were in much of the ancient world. In many African societies where slavery was prevalent, the enslaved people were not treated as chattel slaves and were given certain rights in a system similar to indentured servitude elsewhere in the world. When the Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade began, many of the local slave systems began supplying captives for slave markets outside Africa.
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History of West Africa
History of West Africa - Wikipedia
The arrival of European sea traders at the Guinea coastlands in the 15th century clearly marks a new epoch in their history and in the history of all of western Africa. The pioneers were the Portuguese , southwestern Europeans with the necessary knowledge, experience, and national purpose to embark on the enterprise of developing oceanic trade routes with Africa and Asia. Their main goals were in Asia, but to reach Asia it was necessary to circumnavigate Africa, in the process of which they hoped, among other things, to make contact with Mali and to divert some of the trans-Saharan gold trade from Muslim North Africa to Christian Europe. The colonization of the Cape Verde Islands, from the s onward, provided bases for trade with the fringes of the Mali empire.
West Africa Squadron
Renovations to the West African Farm Exhibit have been partially completed, so the site is once again open to visitors. During the s and s, nearly , Africans were brought to colonial America to serve as enslaved agricultural workers, domestic servants, and artisans. Although captives were taken from a vast area of the African continent, and from many different ethnic groups, the great majority were members of West African cultures that lived in the hinterlands of the Atlantic coast.
West Africa's story is one of history's grand epics. This is a place where the great issues and contradictions of Africa's past resonate through the present: from ancient empires to the ravages of slavery, from fabulous natural resources to the destruction wreaked by climate change, from proud independence and the colonial yoke to the more complicated sovereignty of the present. Above all, West Africa's history is about an astonishing patchwork of peoples trying to write their own history against often considerable odds. West Africa's earliest history is shrouded in mystery, its archaeological evidence either residing in the belly of a termite or consumed by tropical climates and the shifting sands of the Sahara. Rivers, forests, vast lakes and savannah occupied much of what is now the Sahara, the human population was small and widely dispersed, and animals such as elephants, giraffes and the great cats were plentiful.