The enslavement of individuals is an injustice that has been documented as being in existence as early as c. 1860 BC. There are many slave trades that have affected civilizations throughout history such as the Arab, East African and Trans-Atlantic slave trades. Slavery is still prominent in modern times in the form of human trafficking, caste systems and forced labor.
West Africa was most affected by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade which occurred from the 16th through the 19th centuries.
Europeans in search of free labor and Africans in search of a profit enslaved and sold Africans to work in the Americas and the Caribbean. Cooperation within colonizers and African slave traders, violence and coercion were the tools used to accomplish the aforementioned.
Now, where exactly were slaves transported from? Here are top 6 African countries where people were stolen and shipped into bondage.
The proof is in the pudding. Among the 40 slave castles built by European colonizers along the West African coast lies the Cape Coast Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana.
Originally built for gold and timber, it was later used to transfer slaves. The castle was controlled by the Swedish, Dutch and the British during various points in time.
The Cape Coast Castle features the infamous “Door of No Return” where slaves left the continent and more often than not, never returned home. Other forts in Ghana include Elmina Castle and Fort Christiansborg.
Upper Guinea was very instrumental in the transport of slaves to the new world. Sierra Leone is included in this region; European settlers travelled to Sierra Leone and in 1495 built forts for this sole purpose.
Later, the Dutch and French followed suit. In 1562, the English initiated the Triangle Trade.
Senegambia was a confederation created by the French and English in the 16thcentury. The French conducted their portion of slave trading on the Senegal River while the English on the Gambia River.
Ouidah, located on the coast of Benin was the point of slave trading in Benin.
The Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá was constructed by the Portuguese in 1580. It was reconstructed in 1721 and was under Portuguese control until 1961.
The Route des Esclaves which was used to take the enslaved to the beach led to the Door of No Return, represented by a memorial arch.
The Bight of Benin and the Bight of Biafra supplied a significant amount of slaves to the trade. More specifically in the west of Niger Delta and east of the Niger Delta.
European conquerors initially traded with the inhabitants of the before mentioned, however, they eventually captured them and sold them into slavery. Slaves were acquired via war and invasions.
Other significant ports were in Badagry, the Aro Confederacy and Bonny Island.
The arrival of Portuguese traveller Diogo Cão signaled the start of slave transportation within Central Africa. From 1617 to 1621, Angolans – a large percentage being the Mbundu tribe were conquered and made to work in the slave trade.
By the 18th and 19th centuries, Angola became the premier point where Africans were captured. Posts were established in Soyo, Luanda and Benguela.
Slavery was abolished in various stages within the 19th and 20th century. Nonetheless, its effects still run rampant within Africa and the African diaspora.