The Impact of Slavery on African Society Essay

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The Impact of Slavery on African Society

Slavery has played a strong role in African society from as early as prehistoric times, continuing to the modern era. Early slavery within Africa was a common practice in many societies, and was very central to the country’s economy. Beginning around the 7th century, two groups of non-African slave traders significantly altered the traditional African forms of slavery that had been practiced in the past. Native Africans were now being forced to leave the country to be used as slaves. The two major slave trades, trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic, became central to the organization of Africa and its societies until the modern era. Slavery and the slave trade strongly affected African society, and
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These wealthy slave dealers would use their riches to then identify with other wealthy families through marriage. This created a gap between the prosperous elite, and the struggling lower class. Throughout the continent, slavery had become a major element in African life. As the demand for slaves increased, slave raids became more prevalent, leaving parts of Africa dismantled and unorganized. Other practices such as enslavement as discipline and punishment for crime began to be introduced. Society was constantly changing in reaction to what was happening in slave trade.
The slave trades caused political instability, led to much social fragmentation, and resulted in a decline of legal institutions. The countries from which the greatest number of slaves were taken, are the same areas that had the least developed political structures when the slave trades ended. These are the same countries that are the most ethnically fragmented in modern era Africa. These areas include states such as Angola, Chad, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone. When the slave trade came to an end, the African continent was strongly affected. Societies that for many years based their economy on slave labor, and slave trade, had trouble with creating new forms of gaining riches and organizing labor. Upon the ending of slavery and the slave trade in Africa, many governments that once had slaves, still were in desperate need of cheap labor. Due to this