REASONS AND EFFECTS OF THE ABOLITION OF SLAVE TRADE
Abolition of slave trade refers to the state of ending slave trade. Or was the act of freeing slaves and stopping the use of human being as commodities.
Britain was the first nation to Establish abolition of slave trade campaign. In 1833, Britain abolished slavery, in 1865 U.S.A also abolished and the total abolition of slave trade in East Africa took place during the colonial period.
REASONS FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVE TRADE
A: ECONOMIC REASONS
1. Capitalist production
This involves two classes of societies, which are the capitalists who control the major means of production and the workers who are employed by the capitalists. For the workers to be effectively employed, they must be free and not slaves.
2. Need for markets
Due to the industrial revolution, there was increased production of industrial products in Europe that lacked enough demand; this forced the British to abolish slave trade so that markets can be created in Africa for their manufactured goods.
3. Need for raw materials
Due to the industrial revolution, there was increased demand for raw materials in Britain. The existing raw materials were limited to supply due to the mushrooming of industries. This situation necessitated the abolition of the slave trade so that Africans could produce the needed raw materials.
4. The use of machines
The industrial revolution was characterized by the use of machines in the production process, these machines replaced human labor. The owners of the machines campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade because slave labor had become redundant.
5. French and British competition over sugar production
For so long period, the British had a monopoly on sugar in the European market. The sugar was produced by slave labor in the British West Indies. The British was selling their sugar at very high prices thus making huge profits.
However, by the end of the 18thC, the French West Indies and re union islands were producing sugar in large quantities and selling at a cheaper price thus making more profits than the British. This situation made slave labor in British West Indies useless thus forcing the British to abolish the slave trade.
6. The rise of men with new ideas
Adam Smith – challenged the economic arguments that were the basis of slave trade when he argued convincingly that hired labor is cheaper and more productive than slave labor, Rousseau spread the idea of personal liberty and equality of all men.
7. The ship owners stopped transporting slaves from Africa
The ship owners began to transport raw materials directly from Africa and America to Europe, which led to a decline in slave trade.
B: SOCIAL REASONS
1. Religious reasons
The religious bodies contributed to the abolition of the slave trade in Africa. They argued that slave trade was against the will of God because he had created all people equal but slave trade was treating Africans as an inferior class.
The Christians denounced slave trade in the name of God and argued that it must be abolished.
2. French revolution of 1789
The French revolution of 1789 had a role to play in the abolition of the slave trade. The slogan of the revolution was fraternity, liberty and equality. Philosophers such as Rousseau campaigned for the abolition of slave trade.
These philosophers claimed that slave trade was against the ideals of the French revolution thus it had to be stopped.
3. Humanitarian movements
The humanitarians such as Granville sharp and Thomas Clarkson played a certain role in the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. These people argued that slave trade had caused a lot of suffering to the people, thus it had to be abolished.
These efforts were followed by British declarations of 1807 and 1833 which abolished slave trade and slavery.
TACTICS USED TO ABOLISH SLAVE TRADE
Abolitionist and humanitarians used several methods to pressurize nations to abolish slave trade in the world. These tactics include the following;
1. They used campaign meetings
Sometimes they asked freed slaves to address the realities and how they were mistreated in slavery.
2. Anti-Slavery trade patrol ships from Britain
They patrolled the seas to prevent ships from sailing from Africa with slaves.
3. Intellectuals and writers
Used books, newspapers and magazines to condemn slavery and slave trade.
3. Treaties to stop slave trade were signed between nations
Some of the treaties signed between the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British in East Africa were;
- In 1807 British parliament outlawed slave trade for British subjects.
- In 1817 British negotiated the “the reciprocal search treaties” with Spain and Portugal.
- Equipment treaties signed with Spain 1835, Portugal 1842 and America 1862.
In east Africa:
1. Moresby treaty – 1822 was signed between captain Moresby and sultan Seyyid Said it forbade the shipping of slaves outside the sultan’s territories. British sips were authorized to stop and search suspected Arabs slave carrying dhows.
2. Hamerton treaty – 1845 was signed between Colonel Hamerton and sultan Seyyid Said. It forbade the shipping of slaves outside the sultan’s East Africa territories i.e. beyond to the North.
3. On 5th March 1873, the sultan passed a decree prohibiting the export of slaves from mainland and closed of slave market at Zanzibar. Zanzibar slave market was to be closed within 24 hours
EFFECTS OF THE ABOLITION OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
1. Foundation of Sierra Leone and Liberia
These areas were established by the Europeans powers as settlements for the freed slaves. They received freed slaves from America. It should be noted that the Trans-Atlantic slave trade uprooted millions of Africans who were supposed to offer labor in America.
2. Introduction of legitimate trade
There was introduction of legitimate trade that involved the buying and selling of natural resources, Example palm oil and cocoa. The colonial powers introduced legitimate trade so that it can facilitate the acquisition of raw materials and markets which were crucial in Europe after the industrial revolution.
3. Exploitation of hinterland
Before the abolition of the slave trade, the colonial powers operated along the coast of West Africa searching for slaves, but after the abolition of slave trade they penetrated the interior searching for raw materials and market where they can sell their manufactured goods.
4. Increased spread of Christianity
The European powers increased the spread of Christianity after the abolition of slave trade. Christianity was a way of compensating for the ills committed by slave trade. This religion was also spread to counter the spread of Islam in West Africa.
5. Increased provision of social services
The colonial powers increased the provision of social services especially education. The main aim of colonial education was to train Africans to become better producers of raw materials that were needed in Europe. Colonial education was also supposed to change the mentality of Africans to prefer European goods thus created a ready market for them.
6. Improvement of the agricultural sector
The colonial powers improved the agricultural sector by introducing better methods of farming to increase the production of raw materials. It should be noted that the colonialists discouraged the production of food crops in Africa.
7. Linguistic studies
The colonial powers studied native languages so that they can be able to translate the Bible into local languages. This move was to convert many Africans to Christianity. The languages that were studied by the imperialist were Hausa and Fulani.