The Occidental Slave Trade

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A comparison of European and African motivation for the Occidental slave trade The Occidental slave trade made a profound impact on every country involved with it, and still affects societies worldwide today. Although it is a complex topic, with many moving parts, there is one motivation for the slave trade that has proven to come before all others: greed. Unsurprisingly, traders made exorbitant amounts of money, especially through the well-established European economic practise of mercantilism . However, it was not only Europeans who profited from the slave trade, as many African kings became exceptionally wealthy from their dealings with the slave trade . The difference between the Europeans and the Africans is how they justified their…show more content…
African kingdom of Asante, described by former king Osei Bonsu (r. 1801-1824) as “a country for war” . Bonsu further recounts the thriving that occurred in his country during the slave trade, with “many ships [coming] and [buying] ivory, gold, and slaves” . Throughout the passage, Bonsu repeatedly attempts to persuade his English companion to convince the English king to continue trading in slaves with him, saying that not only would it benefit him financially, but that he could make his companion “richer than all the white men” with the wealth . Whether Bonsu truly knew the extent of the mistreatment that slaves would face is unclear, but he argues that those in England who are against the slave trade “do not understand [his] country, or they would not say it is bad” . Although he mentions that some slaves of Muslim peoples appreciate being taught “good things” , his argument for re-starting the slave trade is not that African peoples need to have their souls saved by a new religion, or that they should be taken out of their savage homeland and be civilized, it is that there is money to make, and he is in a position to take advantage of that. In contrast with the European approach of attempting to establish a moral high ground, Bonsu freely states his economic…show more content…
The European practise of making it seem like the slave trade was an entirely sacred cause made the process of abducting peoples from their home and putting them through incomprehensible hardship easier to swallow for the general population. Seeing the slave trade as something that “[saved] millions from perdition” and removed people from “unhappy Africa” , as Englishwoman Anna Maria Falconbridge described, would make it seem righteous. Promoting the system as consistent with both “morality and religion” would prove integral to the slave trade’s surviving as long as it did. However, eventually the citizens of empires participating in in whole organization began to dispute the intellectual basis of why their government was encouraging and actively taking part in enslavement. Defending the slave trade on purely economic grounds is much simpler, it cannot be argued that it was extremely profitable to the European and African leaders involved. The numbers do not lie. Whether or not a trading system based on kidnapping is holy and ethical, on the other hand, can very much be debated. Because the foundation the European slave traders presented society could be challenged, the enterprise was doomed to

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