Topic 3: Africa And External World - History Form 2

Topic 3: Africa And External World – History Form 2

History Notes Form Two, Industrial Capitalism Africa And External World, Topic 2: Socio-Economic Development And Production In Pre-Colonial Africa Social Organization - History Form 2, Topic 1: Interaction Among The People Of Africa - History Form 2

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Topic 3: Africa And External World – History Form 2


Early contact was a period when East Africa began to interact with people from Middle East and Far East as early as 200 BC. These contacts were mostly developed through commercial activities. The early visitors were Persians, Syrians, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese, Burma and Arabians. The visitors managed to travel to the coast of East Africa through the use of Sea Vessels with the help of South- Eastern monsoon winds.

Trade contacts between East African coast and the Far and Middle East intensified between 8th and 10th Century when many traders from China, Indonesia, India, and Arab came to trade to African countries. Such commercial contacts are evident from Archaeological findings such as China porcelains, coins, and foreigners tombs in areas like KilwaKisiwani and Old Bagamoyo. The Early contacts were facilitated through legitimate trade; the second phase of Contacts (from 10th century onwards) included slaves among the commodities taken from East African coast.



(i) Spreading of Islamic religion, Islam religion began in the Middle East in 7th AD from there it spread to many parts of Asia. In addition, Arabs wanted to spread their religion to new parts of the world including Africa.

(ii) Seeking refuge, some visitors who came to Africa experienced religion and political persecution in their countries so they came in search of peacefully place to settle.

(iii) Establishment of settlement, some visitors decided to live permanently in Africa especially along the coast and they built permanent stone houses in the Arabic style.


(i) Commercial exploration, some of the early visitors came to explore Africa and assess its resources. They wanted to know the climatic conditions, mineral resources, wildlife and economic activities found on the African continent. They plan to exploit resources available.

(ii) Trade, many of the early visitors were interested in products from Africa to take back to their home countries.


Origin of Visitors
Goods brought to Africa
Goods taken from Africa






Beaker, Iron pans, swords, glass ware, daggers, beads, ornaments.

Porcelains, bowl, plates, silk and clothes.

Pots, glass bowls, swords and ornaments.

Cotton cloth, metal spears, beads, swords and daggers.

Iron pans, bowls beakers and swords.

Stone pots and jars

Ivory, Gold, Slaves, tortoise shells, horns, copper, iron and coconut oil.

(i) The rise of coastal city States, these states included Mogadishu, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Kilwa and Sofala, they were once small unimportant coastal villages but they grew into cities due to settlement by foreigners.

(ii) Development of Swahili language, Swahili language and culture developed as a result of intermarriage between the people of East Africa Coast towns. Swahili language consists of roughly 65% of Bantu words, 30% of Arabic words and other few Indian words. It provided a common language for the African and Arabs on East Africa coast to use in trade.

(iii) Spread of Islam, Arabs and Persians who settled along the Coast of East Africa spread Islam along the coastal state of East Africa. It also extended into the interior. Arabs built Mosque wherever they settled. This was alongside with the introduction of Islamic laws in order to maintain justice and order and these laws were taken from the Muslim Holy book (Quran) and they were administered by the Kadhi (Judge).

(iv) New Architectures designs, the Coastal city-states adopted new style of building. For example, the Persian traders who settled along the coast introduced building using stone style similar to that found in Persia. Evidence of buildings seen in Historical sites such as ruins of KilwaKisiwani and Zanzibar.

(v) Introduction of new style of dressing, the people of Africa adopted new style of dressing from the foreigners. Examples those who converted the adopted the Islamic mode of dressing. This included the buibui (a long black rib for women), kanzu (a long while ribe for men), vails for women and barghashia (a small cap) for men.

(vi) Intermarriage, the foreigner intermarried with African, creating a new race of half-castes.


(vii) Cultural interference, this was experienced though interacting with foreigners and adopted their customs. Some Africa forgets their traditional religion, language, mode of dressing and food. This interfered African way of life.

(viii) Warfare and depopulation, Contacts brought slave trade between African and Arabs. The demand of slaves caused warfare between African communities. The wars caused insecurity, loss of life, depopulation and underemployment in many parts in Africa.

(ix) Social stratification, through trading with foreigners, some Africans acquired greatly wealth. This led to the emergence of super rids class of people among the Africans. These people exercised a lot of power and influence in the community. As result there was greatly stratification, with a big difference between the have and have not.


(i) Introduction of new crops, new crops such as rice, wheat, cloves, sugarcane and orange were introduced to the African continent from the Middle East and Far East. Their crops improved the diet of African. In fact, some grew so well the many people adopted them as their stable foods. For example, rice is a staple food among many people along the Coast of East Africa.

(ii) Exposing Africa to the world, African contacts with the Middle and Far East exposed this continent to the rest of the World. Visitors who came to Africa also travelled to other parts of the world. Africa became involved in the world economy, African products such as Ivory, Gold, Leopard skin and copper became popular and were sold all over the World and in turn African got access to products from outside the world.

(iii) Introduction of money economy, Foreigners introduced the use of currency in trade. This was more convenient and replaced barter trade as the method of exchange. Coins begun to be minted and used in the East African city-states.

(iv) Introduction of new technology, People from the Far East and Middle East brought new technology to Africa. For example, they introduced advanced navigation techniques and the art of keeping records by writing. These things helped African along the Indian Ocean shoreline to travel further. Fishermen could also sail into deeper, get larger catches and dhows, and still used in some fishing communities.


(v) Unequal Exchange, Traders from the Far and Middle East traded with African using goods with unequal values. They took goods of high value such as slaves, gold, ivory and animal skin in exchange of low value items such as beads, cowrie shells and colored clothes. These commodities from Africa were then sold at great profits in foreign markets; this means that the foreigners gained a lot of expenses of the African.

(vi) Slave Trade, Oman Arabs introduced slave trade to East Africa. Sultan Seyyid Said introduced clove plantations in Zanzibar and then got slaves to work in them. In additional they sold slaves to Europeans who began sugar plantations in America.

(vii) Exploitation of African resources, due to high demand of African commodities in outside world African resources were greatly exploited. For example, large number of elephants and rhinoceros were killed for their horns and many strong young people were captured and sold as slaves. Therefore, this contributed to reduction of African resources.

(viii) Decline of Local industries, the introduction of foreign goods led to the decline of African local industries. Due to the availability of many varieties of clothes, utensils and other tools from abroad few people bought local products so as a results local production also declined.



The Portuguese became interested in controlling the Indian Ocean trade in the 15th century due to the commercial capitalism in Europe. At the time, there was great demand for gold, silver silk and spices especially among the kings and wealthy, people, gold and silver were used to make coins and expensive ornaments.

At that time Portugal was a poor country with a small population, it was greatly overshadowed by its larger neighbor Spain. At the beginning of 15th century Portugal had begun to exceed in one area; Navigation. Portugal Price Henry the navigator set up a navigation school in the country and encouraged exploration voyages. By sailing to Africa, the Portuguese hoped to control trade and enrich the country.

In the 1470’s The Portuguese landed on the Gold coast of West Africa. They built a port which they called Elmina. From this fort they controlled the gold trade between Africa and Europe.

In 1487,Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese explorer reached the Southern cape of Africa and called it the Cape of Good Hope. On 1st March 1498, Vasco da Gama reached Malindi on the East African Coast. The same year he arrived in Calicut, India and became the first European to sail directly from Europe to India.



(i) Finding sea route to India, in the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks had occupied a large part of the Middle East, blocking the overland trade route between India and Europe. Therefore, Europeans could not get much valued silk, spices and Gold from Asia. The Portuguese came to Africa as they attempted to find a sea route through which they could trade with India.

(ii) Trade, the Portuguese wanted to trade with Africans and replace the Arab middlemen who took African goods to Europe. Portuguese traders got valuable items such as ivory, gold and gum from Africa and sold them profitably in Europe. In exchange, they brought European cloth, copper and brass items to the Africans. This trade helped to strengthen the Portuguese economy in the 15th century.

(iii) Creating Portuguese Trade Empire, Portugal wanted to dominate the trade between Asia, Africa and Europe and creating a trading empire. To achieve this the Portuguese had to overcome the Arab traders who dominated the trade. In addition, it was necessary to prevent other European nations from colonizing the African coast because the world interferes with Portuguese trading interests.

(iv) Exploiting of African resources, Portugal was a poor country, so Portuguese were in search of resources that could bring them wealth and recognition in Europe. Therefore, they established settlements and plantations on the Islands of Sao tome and Principle and they used African labor to grow sugar cane there. The produced products were exported to Europe and America.

(v) Establishment of strategic ports, along the East African coast there were many natural harbors that could serve as stop over point for Portuguese ships. The sailors could rest and restock their supplies at those harbors. Portuguese built forts at some of those harbor in order to protect their trade from Arabs and other European competitors. For example, of such forts are Elmina Castle in Modern days Ghana and Fort Jesus in Mombasa Kenya.


(i) Adventure, Some Portuguese explorers visited Africa in search of Adventure, through their advanced ships building and Navigation skills enabled them to travel everywhere in search of new land to explore. These voyages were supported by the leader in Portugal especially Prince Henry The navigator.

(ii) Spreading Christianity, The Portuguese felt that it was their duty to spread the Christian faith and reduce the influence of Islam along the coast of Africa.

(iii) Search for the King Prester John, there was a rumors that this Christian King named Prester John whose Kingdom was believed to be somewhere around Ethiopia in North East Africa. The Portuguese wanted to find this King and form alliance with him against the Muslim.


The Portuguese established trade with societies found in the coastal areas. They also created central point where ships could stop on the way to India. After establishing trade, the Portuguese obtained items such as ivory, gold, copper and silver; they exchange them with cloth, guns, gunpowder etc.

By 15th C Portuguese succeeded to establish their rule in East Africa. After that the Portuguese built the Fort Jesus in Mombasa which could strengthen their military power thus establishing the effective control over the East Africa coastal areas.

1592 was the built of Fort Jesus.

1698 was the broke down of Fort Jesus.

1499 was the year when Vasco da Gama returned back to Portugal.



(a) Introduction of crops especially cash crops in Africa e.g. Sugarcane, yellow maize, cassava, rice, pineapples, potatoes etc.

(b) Decline of trade; the trade between East Africa, Far East and Middle East was interrupted by the Portuguese.

(c) Change of major trade routes.

(d) Exposed Africa to the external world.

(e) They built several forts, example; Fort Jesus in 1592 in Mombasa, Fort at Kilwa.

(f) They acted as the introducers of new arts to the indigenous of Africa continent.


(a) Decline of cities and states.

(b) Growth of Swahili language. E.g. new Portuguese words i.e. Mvinyo from word Vincho, Meza Etc.

(c) Insecurity and loss of manpower.


1) They suffered from tropical disease like malaria.

2) The climate conditions of East African coast were unhealthy for the Portuguese.

3) Social, culture and religion differences i.e. Muslim against Christians.

4) Loss of trade due to Portuguese taxes and restrictions.

5) Harsh treatments and punishment practiced by Portuguese in their leadership.

6) Role played by Oman to the coastal city people. Hence that capture of fort Jesus marked the end of Portuguese in East Africa around 1700.



The Earliest Inhabitants of South Africa were The San (Bushmen) and the Khoikhoi then followed by Bantu people who inhabited South Africa.

THE SAN: The San people were short and had light brown skin. They had click sound in their language. They lived in highland areas of South Africa. Their main economic Activities were hunting and gathering. They had permanent settlement and they lived in caves.

KHOIKHOI: The Khoikhoi resemble the San but they are taller, Khoikhoi means “men of men” in their language. The San group helped the Khoikhoi to graze their animals. The frequent contact between San and Khoikhoi as they referred to one group of Khoisan.

THE BANTU: These made up the largest group, this was the early inhabitants of South Africa. They include the Iswana, Venda, Gueza, Zulu, Ndebele, Swazi, Shona, Xhosa and Ngoni. They lived a settled life and grew crops such as maize, beans and pumpkins. They used iron tolls and produced enough food which encouraged population growth. The surplus encouraged trade between the communities.


The Dutch or Boers came from Holland (Netherland) and firstly settled at the cape in Table Bay in April 1652 under the leadership of Jan Van Riebeek.

Dutch farmers called themselves – “BOERS”. When they settled at the cape they called themselves by the name of Afrikaners that meant the “whites of Africa” who developed language known as Afrikaans.

Dutch had a company known as United Dutch East India company (UDEIC). The company had trade with India and other Arabs in AsiaAt the cape, they grew vegetables, fruits and kept animals such as cattle.They had barter trade with Khoikhoi exchanging tobacco and alcohol for the cattle.


1. The cape was a good place where ships could stop to be refueled.

2. The cape had a good climate to support settlement of the whites. (Temperate and cool climate).

3. The Dutch wanted to produce vegetable and fruits for the ships which sailed to India.

4. The cape could provide fresh water for the sailors.

5. The cape could be a base of projecting their ships on Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

6. The cape was a center for caring sick people.


(i) Enslavement of African, Boers established large plantations, so they needed labors to work to their fields so African were forced to provide their labor.

(ii) Displacement of the African communities, The Dutch displaced the native Africans from the fertile areas and took their livestock by force.

(iii) Occurrence of social segregation, The Dutch thought that they are superior so they mistreated and exploited the African and buying foundation for the Apartheid.

(iv) Expansion of European settlements, Dutch established settlement at the cape in 1685 and their families increased to 150 families.

(v) Introduction of new culture, The Boers introduced the Dutch culture to South Africa that involved their way of life which was totally different from that of African.

(vi) Political structure of the Khoikhoi was destroyed.

(vii) Dutch raided cattle from the Khoikhoi.


THE SAN: They resisted Dutch settlement by raiding the Boers cattle’s and Boers took revenge by the hunting down the San in order to wipe them out so many san people were killed.

THE KHOIKHOI: The Boers occupied the traditional Khoikhoi grazing land so many Khoikhoi were enslaved and forced to work on Boers farms in 1659, The Khoikhoi declared war on the Dutch famers and took the war then hundreds of cattle and sheep died.

THE BANTU: Bantu groups included the Zulu, Ndebele, Swazi, Ngoni, Tambu and Xhosa communities. They cultivated variety of crops such as sugarcane, melons, maize and beans. The level of production they had reached enabled them to accumulate surplus and trade began to be conducted among them. The Boers got the Great Fish River, they encountered the Xhosa who lived around that region. The Boers fought the major wars against the Xhosa. The Xhosa called these war “Wars of possession” but the Boers called them

“Kaffir wars”.


These were series of wars carried out by the Xhosa from 1779 against Boers – at the great fish river.

The first three wars were in 1779, 1789 and 1803.

The fourth (known as Ndhalambi) happened in 1812

The fifth (known as Makanda) in 1819.

The sixth in 1834.

The seventh in 1846>

The 8th (Malenjin – 1850 –1853)

The last resistance by the Xhosa (Mlakaza was an advisor to one of the Xhosa).

The Battle of Vegkop of 19th October 1836.

Ndebele under Mzilikazi fought against the Boers in the Orange Free states.

The Battle of the Blood River on 11th February, 1837.

ZULU UNDER Dingane fought against Boer settlement in natal.

Anglo Zulu war.

Zulu under Cetshowayo fought strongly and defeated the British at the Battle of Island lwana.

But later the British suppressed the Zulu during the battle of Ulundi 4th July, 1879.


The word ‘Mfecane’ originated from zulu word which means ‘crushing’. Mfecane was the period of wide spreading warfare, plundering, disturbances, destruction and migrations among the southern African tribes dominated the first half of nineteenth century. This was the period of serious upheaval among the Bantu-speaking groups in southern Africa, the period when emerging small chiefdoms were waging expansionism wars among themselves. This was in the high area which lies between the Drakensberg Mountains, Kalahari Desert and the Limpopo River.

By the late eighteenth century, and early nineteenth century, the Ndwandwe, Mthethwa, and Ngwane were emerging as powerful kingdoms south of the Highveld. The powerful chiefdoms with chiefs ambitious to expand their possessions began the conquest and assimilation of neighboring groups. The all turmoil commenced around 1810’s when Zwide of Ndwande  andSobhuza of Ngwane fought over land along the Pongola River and Sobhuza was defeated after which he led his people further inland to the area that is known as Swaziland today.

After defeating Sobhuza, Zwide came into conflict with Dingiswayo of Mthethwa over other resources like land and water. Both kingdoms became more centralized and militarized. The Zulu were still a small group among the Mthethwa by this time. The Ndwandwe appeared victorious again in 1818, Dingiswayo was killed, and his forces scattered. Shaka who was previously a warrior in the Dingiswayo’s army, had already ascended the chief of the Zulu under full support of Dingiswayo upon the death of Senzangakona his father in 1816.

As the Mthethwa nation fell apart after Dingiswayo’s death Shaka who became ambitious to create new strong kingdom, used the opportunity to defeat all the chiefdoms in the area. Zwiderealised that Shaka could become a threat and decided to stop him, thus became the Shaka’s great enemy, but was defeated in 1818 by the Zulu’s superior strategy and disciplined army. In 1926, under Zwide’s successor Sikhunyani , they challenged the Zulu forces again and were completely destroyed. Nguni speaking people, the Ndebele and many other tribes not ready to be ruled by Shaka emigrated. Thus Zulu became very vast strong kingdom in southern Africa. This period between 1810’s-1850’s is what is known as the period of Mfecane.


(i) Population pressure, Zulu land is part of the Eastern corridor of South Africa between the Drakensburg Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Due to the favorable climate and absence of diseases such as malaria, its population tended to increase rapidly. As the population increased conflicts between those societies became common and intensified leading to the Mfecane.

(ii) Shortage of land, the people who occupied Zulu land were farmers, but the existing land was not enough due to population pressure, therefore the search for more land caused conflicts that later contributed to the outbreak of the Mfecane.

(iii) The role of Shaka, Shaka pursued an aggressive and expansionist policy to expand his Kingdom, Zulu state. He attacked many states in the attempt of expanding his state, this action created conflicts that contributed to the outbreak of the Mfecane.

(iv) Expansion of cape whites, there was the great desire by whites at the capes to expand in the interior in order to acquire more land. Therefore, the expansion of whites in cape worsened the shortage of land and thus crushes among the tribes in the interior.

(v) The control of trade at delagoa bay, trade in ivory with the Portuguese in Delagoa Bay was another factor provoked conflicts among them. Because of the desire to control trade some Nguni tribes began to attack others in order to control and acquire more tribute.

(vi) The coming of the Boers, during the Boer Trek, the Boers left Cape Town away from British control and moved into the interior of South Africa, the penetration of the Boers into the interior of South Africa intensified the pressure on land which led to conflicts that caused the Mfecane.


(i) It led to the loss of thousands of lives, as it was the warfare and crushes among the people, many chiefs and common people lost their lives in the course of fighting.

(ii) It caused depopulation in many communities, thousands more were uprooted from their homes and were forced to travel great distances. Example of these were Ngoni and Ndebele.

(iii) Destruction of properties, refugees moving in larger groups fleeing Shaka’s army caused destruction in many areas they passed through.

(iv) Emergence of any new kingdoms, many migrating tribes went to establish strong states where they settled. For example, Zulu empire emerged as a very strong political entity with very wide range expansion base.

(v) It led to the decline of many central and east African kingdoms, those kingdoms which could not stand against the military strength of the tribes from the south declined. Example of those kingdoms that were destroyed partly due to Nguni invasions were the Lozi, RozwiandTumbu.

(vi) Famine and hunger, although the mfecane in many ways promoted the political development of southern Africa, it also caused great suffering. Thousands died because of famine.

(vii) It led to the more European penetration into the interior,As many areas became depopulated, made it very easy for the Dutch famers (Boers) to easily take over the place when they were looking for new lands to establish homes. Great numbers of people were displaced and frightened communities left their own areas in places like the Orange Free State, Natal and the Transvaal occupied by whites.


The Oman Arabs helped East Africans to defeat Portuguese along the coastal in 1698. Oman now became rulers. Therefore, people of East Africa were not free apart from defeating the Portuguese.

In 1741, Mombasa established her independence chief domain under Mazrui family; this was an order from Arabs family of Oman in origin the Mazrui family was conquered by Sultan Seyyid Said of Oman. From 1840 onwards, Sultan Seyyid Said becomes the master of the East African coast.


1) To have clear control/monopoly of trade existed at the coast especially Indian ocean trade.

2) They wanted to control all the city-states along the coast.

3) To stop the spread of Christianity led by Portuguese and maintaining Islamic culture.


The following were the factors for sultan Seyyid Said to shift his capital from Muscat Oman to Zanzibar in 1840.

1) Good climatic condition supported the settlement of Arabs.

2) Fertile soil for agricultural purpose especially clove and coconut products.

3) Deep natural harbor in Zanzibar for importation and exportation of goods.

4) Trade activities examples controlling the Indian Ocean trade.

5) Abundant fresh water for irrigation and soiling.

6) To avoid conflict in his home after killing his brother Iman said.



1. Increase of slave trade.

2. Land alienation.

3. East African people were exposed to international trade.

4. The expansion of trade.

5. Introduction of new cash crops example; coconut and cloves.

6. Establishment of feudalism where African become serfs and tenants

7. Exploitation of African resources.


1. Death due to resistance against the Arabs

2. Spread of Swahili language.

3. Development of Swahili language. E.g. Addition of Arabic words like Sali, habari etc.

4. Spread of Islamic religion.

5. Slavery activities.


Slave: Is the person who is illegally owned and controlled by another person and is forced to work for them.

Slavery: Is an act of owning and using slaves.

Slave trade: Is the activity of buying and selling human beings like other commodities.

Slave trade in East Africa began after the arrival of Portuguese in 15th Century up to 1873 during the SayyidBarghash treaty or free treaty.

Africa experienced two types of slave trade.

1. The Indian Ocean slave trade which was conducted by Asians.

2. The Trans-Atlantic Ocean slave trade conducted by European merchants.


Main peoples involved: Arab traders, European merchants, African chiefs e.g. Mirambo and NyunguyaMawe, The Nyamwezi, The Kamba, The Yao, Buganda, Banyoro, Khartoumers.

The Nyamwezi: They were called Nyamwezi (people of the moon) because they came from the West direction in which the new moon is first seen. Their involvement in slave trade was partly caused by the demand for slaves in the interior. They dealt in ivory, copper, slaves and wax they wanted to acquire commodities like glass, spices, clothes, mirrors, guns in exchange for slaves.

The Role of chief Mirambo

Mirambo was born around 1830 AD and spent part of his life as a captive of the Tuta Ngoni in Bugoma. He organized a strong army of highly paid mercenaries (rugaruga) who were the basis of his power.

He established friendly relations with KabakaMutesa of Buganda with whom they trade in salt, slaves, iron implements grains and livestock. He acquired guns from Arab and Swahili traders and this helped him during his empire building process.

He controlled major trade routed in his territory by imposing taxes on traders passing through his area. Between 1860-1870, Mirambo carried out extensive conquests

Vinza and Tongwe and recruited some abled men for his army and sold others in slavery.

Unfortunately, when Mirambo died in 1884, his empire also collapsed because it lacked a military leader as powerful and courageous as him.

The Role of NyunguYamawe: The name NyunguYamawe was a praise name meaning “Pot of stones” Nyungu was a prince of the NyunguYembe ruling family but failed in 1865 after the Arabs had beheaded the Chief Mnwasele.

After the Arabs had beheaded the chief of Nyunguyamawe was terrified and ran away in 1865 and established himself at Kiwele south from where they systematically attacked and defeated the people of the regions.

His society was strategically located such that he controlled all trading activities along the routes. From the East African coast to Utipa, Tanganyika and other trading activities. This economic progress contributed to his political development.

He conquered people and those who tried to oppose him were punished severely and others sold off as slaves. Unlike Mirambo ‘s empire that collapsed immediately, Nyunguyamawe ‘s empire went on for many years after his death mainly because of economic organization and efficient political system he had created. Nyungu’s rulers took over the collection of ivory from the conquered clients and sent it to him at Kiwele. He formed a strong centralize administration with his own rulers (vatwale) placed over conquered chiefdoms directly responsible for him.

The role of Akamba: These lived in southern Kenya highlands. Their ancestors lived here as hunters and shifting agriculture when they grew rich, some Kamba communities bought slaves from the coast to do their farming. The YaoThe role of YaoThe Yao were the most active East African slave traders. This was mainly because of the growing demand for slaves at the coast and also the nature of the Yao society. It was the custom for ambitious Yao rulers to increase their power not just by capturing territories but also by raiding their neighbors for slaves who then became their personal followers.

The role of Buganda: These lived in the central region of Uganda. Their importance was significant in the commercial life of the region; they traded in Bark cloth, ivory and slaves. They were friendly to Arabs who supplied them with guns that they used to protect and expand their Kingdom.

The role of Khartoumers: These were Egyptians and Sudanese traders who dealt in ivory and slaves. They were semi-official representatives of the Egyptian government with several hundred armed men in their pay. Banyoro, Buganda and Bunyoro were enemies, kabakaMutesa I stopped slave traders from going to Bunyoro. However, they dealt in backcloth, slaves and salt.

Compliments of Makerere University, Uganda


1. The Oman Arabs who were ruling the East African coast at the time introduced clove plantations in Zanzibar and Pemba. These plantations required large numbers of labors to tend to them.

2. There was also a high demand for slave labor for the French sugar plantations in Mauritius and Reunion Island. Initially, the French mostly depended on the area around present-day Mozambique for slaves, but by the 1770s the demand exceeded supply. Hence, the French came further north, to East Africa, in search of slaves.

3. Slaves were needed as porters. They ferried goods such as ivory and gold from interior of Africa to the Coast. This was important for the ivory trade, especially to the American, Indian and British traders who took part in it.

4. Portuguese slave traders supplied slaves to the Portuguese coffee and sugar plantations in Brazil. In the first half of the 18th century, the Portuguese expanded their plantations. As a result, their sources of slaves in West Africa and Mozambique became inadequate, so they came to East Africa.

5. Slaves were in great demand as domestic workers and soldiers in the Muslims nation Arabia. The Quran forbids Muslims from enslaving other Muslims. Thus, the slaves had to come from non-Muslim regions such as the interior of East Africa. There were major slave markets in Zanzibar, Bagamoyo, Pemba, Kilwa, Mikindani and Mombasa.


There were the characteristics which prevailed during slave trade.

1. There were several human torture and transits.

2. Humiliation and dehumanization of the slaves.

3. Slave were chained and forced to carry heavy loads like salt, ivory and copper.

4. They were brutally whipped by their organizers.

5. They were blended like animals. Those who were unfit were killed or left to die on the way.


From interior to the coast –Ivory and slaves, animal skins, minerals.

From the coast to the interior caravans brought clothes, salts wine, glass ware beads and ornaments.


Slaves were obtained through various ways:

(i) Through raiding village and capturing people.

(ii) Through selling prisoners of war obtained from local civil wars.

(iii) Through selling criminals.

(iv) Through selling of domestic slaves.

(v) Through ways of laying and ambush.

(vi) Through use of trickery and false pretense.

(vii) Through inter-tribal wars many Africans become destitute.



(i) Depopulation; many people were taken to work as slaves and others died on the way.

(ii) Insecurity and fear among the people.

(iii) Development of inter-states war.

(iv) Human torture and suffering

(v) Hunger due to lack of good in areas where slave trade operated.

(vi) Growth of Arab towns such as Tabora and Ujiji.

(vii) Eruption of diseases among overcrowded slaves. E.g., The Spaniards introduced Syphilis.

(viii) Displacement of people and many became homeless.

(ix) Introduction of Swahili language, this was introduced in land and is now being widely spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and eastern Congo.

(x) Introduction of Islamic religion, Islam as a religion was introduced by the Arabs and it spread, especially in Yao land and in Buganda land.


(i) Killing of economic activities, agriculture, pastoralism and industries were killed due to lack of manpower.

(ii) Technology stagnation, no innovation was made as all able-bodied people were taken as slaves only children and old ones were left behind.

(iii) Underdevelopment of East Africa, slave trade increased dependence on European capitalist countries. Generally, slave trade had negative effects in East Africa and it created many problems

(iv) Introduction of new foods. E.g. maize, pawpaws, rice, and groundnuts.

(v) The increase of farming plantations, in some areas especially the clove plantations were slaves worked.


(i) Damage of slave’s self-worth.

(ii) Inferiority complex before their masters.

(iii) Sufferings due to difficult work.

(iv) Separation of families and homes.

(v) Loneliness.

(vi) Stress due to unsure about their future, survival and food.

(vii) Fear and Insecurity.

A TRADE ROUTE: is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo.




Refers to that type of trade that involve three continents America, Africa and Europe.

The Atlantic slave trade was divided into two eras, known as first and second Atlantic system.

(a) The first Atlantic system

This was the trade of enslaved Africans primarily to South American colonies of the Portuguese and Spanish empires; it accounted for only slightly more than 3% for all Atlantic slave trade. It started (on a significant scale) in about 1502 and lasted until 1580, when Portugal was temporarily united with Spain.

(b) The second Atlantic system

This was the trade of enslave Africans by mostly British, Portuguese, Brazilian, French and Dutch traders.

The main destinations of this phase were the Caribbean colonies, Brazil and Americas a number of European countries built up economically slave dependent colonies in the New World. Amongst the proponents of this system were Francis Drake and John Hawkins.


The Portuguese were the first foreigners to capture slaves off the coast of West Africa. They built a fort on Arguin Island (Mauritania) where they bought gold and slaves from Gambia and Senegal. Most of these slaves were taken to plantations in Portugal and Southern Spain. By 1471, the Portuguese expanded their gold and slave trading activities to Ghana. In 1482, they built Elmina castle to serve as their base there.

COMMODITIES OF EXCHANGE. The major commodities of exchange in the triangular trade were;

AFRICA – Exported slaves, gold, ivories and animal skins.

AMERICA- exported sugar, cotton, Tobacco, Gold and Silver.

EUROPE – Supplied manufactured goods such as clothes, gunpowder, glassware, sugar and tobacco.


Tokeo la picha la map showing triangular slave trade


(i) The rise of capitalism, this mode of production depended on exploitation of one man by another. Capitalism emerged in Europe after the decline of feudalism in Europe especially the first stage of capitalism mercantilism where slaves became part of the commodities to be traded to accumulate wealth.

(ii) Discovery of marine technology, the invention of gunpowder, shipbuilding, compass direction, and motor engine acted as a pushing force for the rise of slave trade, it facilitated the transportation of the commodities and slave dealers.

(iii) The discovery of the new world, on 24 October 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered a new world that opened a new chapter as far as slave trade was concerned it brought high sky demand of cheap labor to work in the new plantations in the Caribbean islands.

(iv) The profitability factor, this acted as an attracting force for many mercantilists to join a trade based on unequal exchange imagine exchanging human being with spices, umbrella, gold, ivory with guns, mirrors and cloth.

(v) Accumulation of wealth, Mercantilists accumulated a lot from this trade which enabled them to sustain super profits obtained and in addition to that, many crops could not be sold for profit, or even grown in Europe.

(vi) The expensiveness of White slaves, Before the mid of 17th century the European mercantilists depended on indentured labourers, criminal convicts, contract labourers and refugees from Europe who proved to be expensive and undependable compared to Africans who were not paid anything apart from their basic needs for survival and were slaves for life.

(vii) The establishment of plantations, after the discovery of the new world, many Europeans flocked to America; these included the British, French, Portuguese and the Dutch. Many of these immigrants established plantations that caused more demand for slave labor. The increased demand contributed to the development of Trans–Atlantic slave trade.

(viii) Accessibility, the accessibility between the new world and the West African coast facilitated the rise of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The distance from West Africa to the new world is very narrow thus it made it possible for the transportation of goods between the two regions.

(ix) The inability of the indigenous people, at first the Europeans were using Native Americans, red Indians to provide cheap labor on the plantations and mining centers; but these later died in huge numbers due to plague. This called for the importation of African slaves which contributed to the rise of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

(x) Climatic conditions of the New World, meant that Africans could easily live there since they were used to tropical climates and had immunity of tropical diseases more than people from Europe and Asia. They were able to withstand diseases and conditions of the New World.

(xi) The existence of seasonal winds, like the northeast trade wind, north equatorial current, the southwest and the Gulf streams encouraged the growth of this trade by enabling the vessels of the merchants to sail to Africa, New World and Europe.



(i) Removal of African labor, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was associated with the uprooting of many Africans who were taken to provide cheap labor on European plantations in America. The ones who were taken were between the ages of 15 and 35 who made up the productive force in Africa.

(ii) Stagnation of African technology, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade contributed to the stagnation of African technology. It led to the flooding of European manufactured goods which were exchanged for slaves.

(iii) Decline of African agricultural production, there was decline in agricultural production due to the loss of labor. Those who were taken as slaves were the ones who were very active in farms, thus their removal led to shortage of labor consequently causing the decline in agricultural production.

(iv) Decline of African traditional industries, due to these goods Africans abandoned production and exchanged their fellow Africans with the Europeans goods. The manufactured goods from Europe also destroyed African traditional industries by killing the market for African local goods.

(v) Land alienation, Africans were robbed of their best arable land and were turned into serfs and tenants who had to sell off their labor to Arab landowners for their survival. Watumbatu and Waamidu provided their labor in coconut and cloves plantations.


(i) Depopulation, it led to depopulation because millions of Africans were uprooted and exported to America as cheap labor. It is believed that during the 400 years of slave trade, around 100,000,000 Africans were taken as slaves.

(ii) Famine, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade contributed to famine in Africa. The trade was characterized with insecurity because of slave trading activities, the insecurity made it difficult for people to engage in agricultural production.

(iii) Destruction of African culture, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was associated with an influx of foreigners especially Europeans. This led to a destruction of African traditional values because Africans were coping European culture.

(iv) Separation of families, some abandoned their homes due to insecurity, some died while trying to escape and some were taken away as slaves.


(i) Decline of states, some states declined because they were weakened when their subjects were captured and sold as slaves. For example, Wanyasa were greatly weakened by frequent slave raids from their Yao neighbors.

(ii) The rise of states, some strong states arose due to accumulation of wealth from slave trade. E.g., the Yao state under Machemba, Nyamwezi under Mirambo and Buganda kingdom under KabakaMutesa.