Sample Essay on The bad effects for slave trade

The bad effects for slave trade

Slave trade refers to the involuntary movement of people from their native place to a foreign place to work as slaves. The involuntary movement from Africa signifies one of the most significant forced migration experiences in history. Africa has experienced around 500 years of slavery from 1400 to 1900, in four waves; the trans-Saharan, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and transatlantic slave trades. Slavery is an ancient practice that can be dated back to 15th century when the Portuguese transported the first transatlantic slave voyage from Africa to the Americas (Wolfe 7 Diamond, 2007). The American continent was described as the new world where slavery was initiated in 1600 under the name the Atlantic Slave Trade. From the mid-1400 to the mid-1800, the trade sent 10 million to 12 million African people from Africa to the America as slaves. Resultantly, the descendants of the people brought to America under slave trade are called African-Americans who are exposed to inequalities that are associated with the slave trade that was abolished more than 100 years ago. Bertocchi (2015) indicates that there are long-lasting impacts of the forced migration of African people up-to-date which can be broadly divided into economic and social factors. Therefore, this essay highlights some of the adversities experienced by African-Americans and black people in general as a result of slave trade.

To begin with, the economic factors refer to the aspect of manufacture, supply, and consumption of commodities and services. Nunn (2008) indicated that the Africa’s economic performance remained undesirable in the second half of the twentieth century. Most of the African countries are categorized under developing countries or third world. Whatley and Gillezeau (2009) try to find a connection between the slave trade and deteriorating economic performance among African countries and the African-American generation.  Slave trade exhilarated slave capture at the expense of state-building and development. African leaders were busy selling off their energetic men and women to foreign land; these people could have been productive if they remained in their own place. Whatley and Gillezeau (2009) assert that holding slaves captive did not have any value to Africans as they were utilized for creating wealth in foreign lands. The people who could have been used in developing the countries were sold and exported leaving their home land vulnerable to poor development and unequal social economic impacts. Initially, African attacked other bordering communities and benefited from the things they recovered from the raid. On the contrary, slave trade did not have a positive output as the captured slaves were exported out of Africa. This implies that the sluggish rate of development among African countries can be dated back to slavery era as they traded their people who could have contributed to state-building and African development.

Another adversity attributed to slave trade involved ethnicity, political structures, and local animosity. The pre-colonial slave trade left African communities divided as they were angered by the forced migration orchestrated by their local leaders (Bates, 2008). It was quite undesirable to be sold-off by their local people creating ethnic divisions. Colonialist worsened the animosity by forcing Africans to fight in the World Wars. Bates (2008) argues that colonialism led to political and military challenges among African communities as their strong members of the community were repatriated to fight in a foreign battle. This increased the ethnic stratification diluting the structures developed by the African communities. They were strapped off their unity and they could no longer concentrate in building their society. Nunn (2008) states that African continent experienced four simultaneous slate trades from 1400-1900. As if that was not enough, slave trade was succeeded by colonialism denying them a time to recover and concentrated on building their economy.

According to Nunn (2008), the Atlantic slave trade accounted for 34,584 voyages from 1514 to 1866. Bertocchi (2015) says that this database can be used to explain the negative relationship between the slave population and per capita income. Nunn (2008) found a connection between the number of slaves exported from an African country and the per capita income of the same country in 2000. The consequences was that the larger the number of slaves the lower the level of per capita income. Slaves earned peanuts in terms of wages which were then recovered through taxation by the government. This resulted to little money at their disposal which meant they could not have enough for their economic practice. The effect of the minute payment has trickled down to the current economic performance among the black people. With little per capita income it meant the slaves could not access the social amenities such as schools and better health care. Lack of access to education meant that the slaves could not have the economic power to salvage their impoverished situation (Klein, 2007). In the late 19th century, education became a basic tool that separated people into semi-skilled and skilled labor force. Semi-skilled labor force was subjected to manual work and received low wages and salaries. As a result, they could not support their family members into accessing education passing the illiteracy to the next generation. This has become a problem up-to-date which is a major challenge to the current economic performance among the black people.

The social impacts of slave trade are clearly connected to the inhumane treatment that the slaves were subjected to.  Marcus (2007) asserts that the diversity between black and white cultures is as a result of slavery. The white was seen as the master while the black was the servant during this period. The white superiority complex is observed as far from how the captain crews treated the slaves even before they reached their masters. There was a clear distinction that created a wide gap between the slave and the master. The whites were rich and powerful and had control over the blacks in all aspects. When slavery was abolished, it was hard to create a rapport between the two conflicting cultures. There were already strong feelings of hate that were created widening the gap between the two. As a result, racism was introduced as an institutional ideology just like slavery. Marcus (2007) state that racism was even much was than slavery as they went beyond personal hatred to an ideology that was fostered by institutions and the government. Racism was established even in the corporate world and in the public institution leading to other adversities such as discrimination. Marcus (2007) argues that the conception of dividing people by race was contributed by slave trade. In his explanation, African race was deemed as inferior and the whites had a mind-set that abhorred Africans and their practices. Africans were subjected to abiding by the White culture as they had to abandon their religion, way of dressing, beliefs, and language among other practices in order to have equal status with the whites.

Slavery involved forced labor with little or no wages at all; this gave birth to the modern human trafficking issues. Slavery and human trafficking have equal weights as they involve trafficking people involuntary to provide forced labor and other inhuman treatments. Slaves were forced to march for long distances due hefty duties with their masters constantly whipping them (Dalton & Leung, 2014). This led to high death toll and their well-being kept on deteriorating. The United Nations introduced human rights that protect individuals from forced labor and inhumane treatment. However, the culture had already taken roots from slave trade as the transition was quite abrupt. Those who were used to slaves serving them and doing all the manual work did not leave the practice but engaged to a modern form of slavery known as human trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) indicates that it received around 24,757 reports of human trafficking activities within the United States in 2015. Most of the victims were of Latino ethnicity followed by blacks and Asian trailing. This shows how the practice is on the rise despite the measures put in place to control it. In conclusion, all these negative effects of slave trade are reflecting in the global problems experienced in the world today. Unfortunately, blacks are the greatest victims of these adversities such as poor economic performance, inhumane treatment, and even hostility among communities.


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Dalton, J.T. and Leung, T.C., 2014. Why Is Polygyny More Prevalent in Western Africa? An African Slave Trade Perspective. Economic Development and Cultural Change 62, 599-632.

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Marcus, R. (2007). The Slave ship. New york, penguin group.

Nunn, N. (2008) “The Long Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, no. 1: 139-176

Wolfe, N. D., C. P. Dunavan, and J. Diamond (2007): “Origins of major human infectious diseases,” Nature, 447(7142), 279–283.

Whatley, W & Gillezeau, R. (2009). The impact of slave trade on African economies.  Retrieved from: