Africa has a long history of the presence of Europeans. According to historians, the first contact between the two societies began during the slavery. This was intensified during the emergence and expansion of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Despite its prominence, this trade later declined after its abolition in the second half of the 19th century ( Chris E. & Göran, R, 2007). However, this was necessitated by the colonial administration which was itself a project of the same European countries. This paper gives an in-depth analysis of the characteristics and consequences of this trade and the subsequent colonization of Africa.
Transatlantic Slave Trade was organized among three continents: Africa, America and Europe. Whereas Africa was used as the chief source of slaves and market for the finished products, America and Europe offered raw materials and industries respectively. Hence, African slaves were transported to America in which they worked in the sugar cane, tobacco and cotton plantations in America. This in turn provided the raw materials which were later processed in Europe and eventually brought to Africa for sale. On the other hand, colonization was characterized by political, social and economic domination. Thus, the Europeans decided to establish settlements in Africa and gained a full control over the political structures. At the same time, they decimated upon the Africans, grabbed their lands and denied them an opportunity for development. Although slavery had been abolished, it was manifested during the colonial era. In deed, forced labor was an advanced form of slavery (Vincent B. K., 2008).
Transatlantic Trade and colonialism affected Africans in different ways. They had direct implications in their socio-political and economic organization. To begin with, Transatlantic Trade led to ethnic rivalry, population decrease, loss of human dignity, poverty and the displacement of populations. It was quite inhumane to capture and yoke human beings just like animals. This was quite oppressive, led to psychological torture and loss of many lives. In addition, the capturing of energetic young men seriously disrupted agriculture and eventually contributed to hunger in the continent. As Kevin Shillington explains, ‘It is for these evils that the trade was eventually abolished by the same European countries in the 1880s.’ However, this ban was not effectively complied with. It was opposed because it had become a very lucrative venture. Hence, it persisted even during the earlier stages of the colonial era.
On the other hand, colonialism led to ethnic rivalries and loss of fertile lands to the white settlers. It fuelled animosity between the collaborators and resistant who perceived one another as traitors for instance, Shona and Ndebele .However; it contributed to the introduction of medical care, Christianity and formal education in the continent. Moreover, it directly contributed to the development of infrastructure. During their rein, the colonial administrators constructed roads and railway lines. These have greatly contributed to the development of agriculture, communication and trade throughout the continent.
Chris Evans and Göran Rydén. Baltic Iron in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century : Brill, 2007. Print.
Kevin Shillington. History of Africa. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000. Print.
Morgan, Kenneth. Bristol and the Atlantic Trade in the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.
Vincent B. Khapoya. The African Experience. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.