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Facts about the Slave Trade in Africa

Facts about the Slave Trade in Africa



Nearly 40% of Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon were imprisoned Africans were enslaved on bights and were sold to the present day US State of Virginia. Many of these captives were Igbo, a people living in the area north what is now Nigeria.



Painted in 1840 during a time when slavery was still legal in French colonies, The Slave Trade by Auguste-Francois Biard is a strong statement against the institution.
The Slave Trade by Auguste-Francois Biard


Western Africa's Bight of Bonny African Slave Trade



The Bight of Bonny is a bay in the warm waters of the Gulf of Guinea. The Gulf of Guinea is the bay the northeastern most part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean off the Western African coast. Bight is an Old English word for the Modern English word bay or bends. The Bight of Biafra was renamed the Bight of Bonny after the Biafra War in 1972. 

Between the 16th and the 19th century, nearly one fifth of the enslaved Africans brought to colonial America were from African regions based mainly on the ports of Brass, Bonny, Opobo and Calabar in Nigeria. 

The Slave Coast in the 18th and 19th  century transatlantic slave trade was the section of the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, in Africa, in the present-day republics of Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.

Around 18% of Africans were sold to British colonies and the United States were captured from the Bight of Bonny. In the 1830’s Britain began enforcing the end of the slave trade on the bights. 

The slave trade was the main income of most of the residents however; by the 1850’s, Bonny had become a major exporter of palm oil and palm kernels. One hundred years later, around 1950, oil became the chief source of income for the area. ExxonMobil Qua Iboe crude oil is produced from numerous offshore fields in the Bight of Bonny in Nigeria's South Eastern region.


The Slave Coast in the 18th and 19th  century transatlantic slave trade was the section of the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, in Africa, in the present-day republics of Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.
Bight of Biafra was renamed the Bight of Bonny
after the Biafran War in 1972


Dutch sea captain Willem Bosman in 1705 wrote a firsthand detailed account of how the middle passage slave trade was managed in West Africa.


"Not a few in our country fondly imagine that parents here sell their children, men their wives, and one brother the other. But those who think so, do deceive themselves; for this never happens on any other account but that of necessity, or some great crime; but most of the slaves that are offered to us, are prisoners of war, which are sold by the victors as their booty.

Those which are approved as good are set on one side; and the lame or faulty are set byas Invalides, which are here called Mackrons. These are such as are above five and thirty Years old, or are maimed in the Arms, Legs, Hands or Feet, have lost a Tooth, are grey haired, or have Films over their Eyes; as well as all those which are affected with any Veneral Distemper, or with several other Diseases.

The Invalides and the Maimed being thrown out, as I have told you, the remainder are numbred, and it is entred who delivered them. In the mean while a burning Iron, with the Arms or Name of the Companies, lyes in the Fire, with which ours are marked on the breast. This is done that we may distinguish them from the slaves of the English, French, or others (which are also marked with their mark), and to prevent the Negroes exchanging them for worse, at which they have a good hand. I doubt not but this trade seems very barbarous to you, but since it is followed by mere necessity, it must go on; but we yet take all possible care that they are not burned too hard, especially the women, who are more tender than the men.

Dutch sea captain Willem Bosman in 1705 wrote a firsthand detailed account of how the middle passage slave trade was managed in West Africa.

When we have agreed with the owners of the slaves, they are returned to their prison; where, from that time forwards, they are kept at our charge, cost us two pence a day a slave; which serves to subsist them, like our criminals, on bread and water: so that to save charges, we send them on board our ships with the very first opportunity, before which their masters strip them of all they have on their backs; so that they come to us stark-naked, as well women as men: in which condition they are obliged to continue, if the master of the ship is not so charitable (which he commonly is) as to bestow something on them to cover their nakedness.

The slaves are fed three times a day with indifferent good victuals, and much better than they eat in their own country. Their lodging place is divided into two parts; one of which is appointed for the men, the other for the women, each sex being kept apart. Here they lie as close together as it is possible for them to be crowded."

Source: Willem Bosman, A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea Divided into the Gold, the Slave, and the Ivory Coasts.




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