Slavery on African continent was known not only in the past, but continues to exist in the present time. Slavery was common in various parts of Africa, as in the rest of the ancient world. In many African communities, where slaves made up the majority of the population, they were endowed with certain rights and were not owner’s property. But with the advent of the Arab and the transatlantic slave trade, these systems have changed, and slaves became available as a live product on slave markets outside Africa.
African Slavery in historical time had various forms that sometimes didn’t match concept of slavery, adopted in the rest of the world. There were bondage, enslavement as a result of the war, military slavery and criminal slavery in certain parts of Africa.
Despite the fact that some groups of slaves were brought from the interior regions to sub-Saharan Africa, the slave trade was not a prominent part of the economy and lives of most African communities. Trafficking became of large scale after the opening of the transcontinental routes. During the colonization of Africa, there was a new change in the nature of slavery and in the beginning of the 19th century the movement to abolish slavery began.
In North Africa, traditional slavery was spread during the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, slavery remained in the large Christian populations of the region. After the expansion of Arab, slavery spread in states behind sub-Saharan Africa (Mali, Songhay, Ghana). In the Middle Ages, the main directions of the slave trade were the south and west, and a source of slaves – Central and Eastern Europe.
In the Horn of Africa, Solomonic Dynasty exported slaves from the western borders of the state or the newly conquered territories. Muslim coastal states received slaves from the depths of the continent. On the territory of today’s Ethiopia and Eritrea slaves generally became domestic workers.
Before the opening of the transatlantic slave trade numerous forms of slavery were distributed. After the start of slaves shipments to America slave trade became the basis of the economy and politics of large states in the region: Mali, Ghana and Songhay. However, other communities actively resisted the slave trade: Mosi Kingdom tried to seize key cities, and after the failure continued raiding slavers.
Until the 17th century slavery did not play a significant role in the African Great Lakes. Slaves in small quantities were exported to Arab countries and India. The peak of the slave trade was in the 19th century, and center of slavery was Zanzibar.
Slavery on African continent was known not only in the past, but continues to exist in the present time. Slavery was common in various parts of Africa, as in the rest of the ancient world. In many African communities, where slaves made up the majority of the population, they were endowed with certain rights and were not owner’s property.