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Tippu Tip Notorious African Slave Trader

Tippu Tip Notorious African Slave Trader

Topics: Arab Slave Traders, African Slaves, African Coasts, Berlin Conference

Arab slave trader Tippu Tip made himself very wealthy in the internal slave trade and ivory trading business by specializing in traveling to the interior of Africa buying and capturing slaves.


Tippu Tip Notorious African Slave Trader

Arab Tippu Tip Notorious African Slave Trader


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture



Rev. Dr. David Livingstone was a reverend, doctor, Scottish explorer and Victorian missionary for Britain who was the first European to cross the width of southern Africa. Livingstone opposed the slave trade after witnessing its horrors firsthand in Africa. Tippu Tip and Livingstone paths crossed while Livingstone was searching for the source of the Nile River.


Arab slave trade is a fact of history

Hamid bin Mahamed bin Juma Borajib best known as Tippu Tip was the most notorious Arab slave trader. In the 1840 Tippu Tip was born in Zanzibar and at a very young age, he became involved in the internal slave trade and ivory trading business.  Most of the thousands of slaves taken by Tippu Tip were used to carry ivory to the coast and supplies back to the interior.


Hamid bin Mahamed bin Juma Borajib best known as Tippu Tip was the most notorious Arab slave trader
Tippu Tip
For centuries, Swahili were merchants between the interior of Africa to the coast, dealing mainly in ivory, and slaves from Africa and in textiles and beads from Asia. Swahili identity is unique.

The Swahili see themselves as either African or Asian, but as having their own unique civilization. The Arab traveler and trader Tippu Tip made himself very wealthy in the internal slave trade and ivory trading business by specializing in traveling to the interior of Africa buying and capturing slaves until his slave trade industry was closed down in 1873 by the British.



Tippu Tip Meets Dr. Livingstone

Rev. Dr. David Livingstone was a reverend, doctor, Scottish explorer and Victorian missionary for Britain who was the first European to cross the width of southern Africa. Livingstone opposed the slave trade after witnessing its horrors firsthand in Africa. In 1841, Livingstone was posted to the edge of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa as a doctor and missionary. 

Between 1849 and 1851, Livingstone traveled across the Kalahari, filling huge gaps in western knowledge of the interior of central and southern Africa. In 1855, Livingstone discovered a spectacular waterfall which he named Victoria Falls. 

Livingstone spent his final years in Africa from 1866 to 1873 searching for the source of the Nile, a journey that led him into the slave and ivory trading stronghold of Tippu Tip. Livingstone was ill and destitute; Tippu Tip helped Livingstone with supplies and directions. 


Livingstone wrote this passage in his journal: 29th July, 1867.-Went 2½ hours west to village of Ponda, where a head Arab, called by the natives Tipo Tipo, lives; his name is Hamid bin Mahamed bin Juma Borajib.
Stanley meets Livingstone
Stanley meets Livingstone


After the massacre of the Manyuema women at Nyangwe Livingstone wrote: “To overdraw its evils,” he wrote, “is a simple impossibility. The sights I have seen, though common incidents of the traffic, are so nauseous that I always strive to drive them from memory.” 


The massacre of Nyangwe deeply affected Livingstone, he fell ill and returned to Ujiji, the oldest town in western Tanzania, where Henry Morton Stanley found him in 1871. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley uttered his famous words “Dr. Livingstone I presume”. In 1874, Livingstone was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

The inscription on his tomb bears a reminder of his lifelong crusade against slavery: All I can add in my solitude, is, may heaven’s rich blessing come down on everyone, American, English, or Turk, who will help to heal this open sore of the world. Tippu Tip became very wealthy from the ivory and slave trade and by 1895; he owned seven plantations on Zanzibar and 10,000 slaves. Tippu Tip died in 1905. 

Before Tippu Tip the Ivory Coast, Grain Coast, Gold Coast, and the Slave Coast were a thriving industry



Centuries before Tippu Tip the Arab slave trader began his money-making slave trading and ivory exporting businesses, French and Portuguese explorers in the early 16th century divided the countries of the west coast Africa into four coasts according to the trade economy, the Ivory Coast, Grain Coast or Pepper Coast, Gold Coast, and Slave Coast.


Ivory Coast
The French named the Côte d'Ivoire literally means Ivory Coast. Côte d'Ivoire was unofficially known as Costa do Marfim by the Portuguese, côte des dents or the teeth coast and the Ivory Coast reflecting the trade in ivory.


Grain Coast
The Grain Coast, Malaguetta Coast or Pepper Coast is the former name of a part of the Atlantic coast that is roughly identical with the coast of modern Liberia.


Gold Coast
The Gold Coast was the former unofficial name for present-day Ghana in West Africa. The Gold Coast is so-called because it was an important source of gold for the British, Portuguese, and Dutch traders.


Slave Coast
The Slave Coast is a historical name formerly used for parts of coastal West Africa from present-day Nigeria, Togo, and along the Bight of Benin. The Slave Coast was a major source of African slaves during the transatlantic slave trade from the16th to 19th century largely by the British, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.



Berlin Conference Outcome and Effects on Africa

The Berlin Conference did not initiate European colonization of Africa. Following the close of the conference, European powers expanded their claims in Africa such that by 1900, European states had claimed nearly 90 percent of African territory.

The Berlin Conference is also known as the Congo Conference meet Nov. 15, 1884, to Feb. 26, 1885 for a series of negotiations Berlin Germany. The major European nations met to decide to carve up Africa based on their needs not knowing or caring the trauma they were inflicting on the people of Africa. Africa suffered and is still suffering from ethnic division.

Numerous tribes were cut off from their relatives in a neighboring country. Similarly, numerous Africans were forcefully separated from fellow Africans by the way of slavery. The coming together of Africa is a healing process from which Africans will benefit, relatives and long separated ethnic groups will be united.

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