What were the impacts of the atlantic slave trade on African societies?
From the 16th, until the 19th centuries, millions of Africans were sold and forcefully displaced to Europe and the Americas. This large scale forced migration of Africans to Europe and the Americas, known as the Atlantic slave trade, was part of a global economic process that lasted between the 1440's and the 1860's.
Geographically, the atlantic slave trade extended from the western coast of Africa to the rest of the continent. It covered the area from the islands of Goree Saint Louis, in present Senegal, to Quelimane, in current mozambique.
It is necessary to be more specific and to speak of the trade in slaves not in general continent-wide terms but rather with reference to the varying impact on several regions. This commerce had important effects on the lives of African people and on African societies situated in diverse regions such as Senegambia, Sierra Leona, West-central Africa, South east Africa, The Bight of Benin, the Gold Coast and the Bight of Biafra. While the consequences of the trade on enslaved africans communities have been documented and supported by archival data, the effects on non-slaved africans communities remain largely unknown.. Overall, the trade brought about unceasing insecurities, economic disorder, and political chaos in the African continent. It blocked its socio-economic development by exploiting its technological, agricultural and human resources for the benefit of Europe only. It damaged Africa's mercantilist economy and prevented its evolution into a capitalist economy. On the long run, the Atlantic slave trade was the starting point of a process of socio-economic exploitation and political fragmentation that was later institutionalised by Europeans through colonisation and neocolonisation. In the end, only Europeans benefited from the trade. During this period, they gained incomparable human labour and economic capital that allowed them to...