The African Slave Trade is a history book written by Basil Davidson talking about pre-colonial slave trade in Africa. In this book, Basil addresses the way Africans were sold to Europeans by the African chiefs to be taken to the New World. This trade was common in the West and Central parts of Africa. Europeans bought Africans and transported them to the New World to work as laborers. Notably, the so-called the New World was mostly the North and South America. Additionally, he asserts that the numbers of Africans who were taken there was so high that they became more compared to Old World immigrants taken there. It was the Portuguese who were the first ones to be involved in Atlantic slave trade and were followed by the Dutch, Spanish, French and Americans.
The key theme of this book is slave trade in the pre-colonial Africa. In this book, Basil highlights the happenings of the African Slave Trade. He narrates how the Portuguese were the first people to be involved in the trade and later on joined by other forces like the British and French. Slave trade was a common issue in Africa as kings sold criminals to European traders who were in search of cheaper labor in Africa. This theme is significant because it directs readers understand what they expect to experience as they read the book.
The African slave trade took place in the Western and Central parts of Africa between 16th and 19th centuries. The Portuguese were the first people to be involved in the African slave trade and later on were followed by the Americans, Europeans, Dutch and the French. The trade was mainly initiated by the shortage of labor in the New World. Notably, the New World was the Northern and Southern America where most Africans were taken. This part of the continent had developed so much in terms of agriculture and industries, and required more labor to catapult its growth. Concerning that, there was need for many laborers in their farms to increase their production.
However, the Portuguese and other Western states did not involved in slave trade directly. They feared to enter the interior of Africa because of diseases and hostile resistance from the Africans. Instead, they bought the African slaves at the African coasts. African tribal leaders who sold their prisoners and captives to the Portuguese initiated this trade. African tribal leaders were given cotton, tobacco and other vital products in return (Davidson 97). Nevertheless, not all African chiefs were involved in the slave trade as they regarded it as evil and betrayal to their people that they were governing.
The journey to the New World was relatively not easy as some of the Africans were infected and died on the way. Conversely, others could not withstand the Europeans and Americans brutality and opted to jump into the sea and die instead of going to the New World. This meant that not all the Africans that were bought got to the so-called New World. Basil affirms that approximately 12 million Africans were transported to Northern and Southern America as slaves. By the 18th century, African immigrants to the New World made the highest population of the foreigners there. However, slave trade has been noted as one of the most sinful acts ever to be committed in the world.
The author effectively attained his goal of informing readers about slave trade in pre-colonial Africa before the 1850s. While writing this book, Basil had certain goals in mind. He aimed at ensuring people understand the nature of life among Africans during the slave trade era and before the coming of colonialists. Some of the goals he achieved effectively include.
Basil wanted to expose Africa so that the world can study and understand it very well. In this book, he has talked about how Africa was as early as 16th century to 19th century and even before the White men came. Additionally, he talked how about the African continent was undeveloped and the types of social and economic activities were taking place. Before reading this book, one, may be green about Africa continent, however, after going through it one will get to study some vital things about Africa. Most people assume that slave trade was all over Africa but Basil makes them understand that it only happened in the Western and Central parts of Africa.
The book is also easy to read because of the chronological manner in which Davidson arranged different happenings that occurred during the slave trade era. Davidson also employed simple vocabulary that make the readability of the entire text enjoyable and easy for all readers. The choice of interesting words also boosts the readability of the book as it builds enthusiasm among all readers. The choice of vocabulary was so considerate and accommodative hence simplifying the book.
The book is related to many of the class readings relating to the pre-colonial Africa. It highlights similar ideas highlighted in the readings such as slave trade in Africa and the manner in which it was conducted. It also relates to the class readings that point to the nature of nomadic life and interactions among African communities. It is also related to other books in the manner it brings out the history of the pre-colonial Africa and the way of life of past African communities.
It is worth noting that the book is convincing from the way he has laid down his points from the beginning of the slave trade until it ceased. Moreover, his statements and motives of making people understand Africa are well done and accurate because that was exactly what happened then. Basil has relatively tried to discus about how brutal the traders were and this is convincing from the point of where they decided to trade with their fellow human beings. Basing on the way he arranged the flow of history, the book is easy to read (Davidson 67). Therefore, Basil’s book is similar to all the other books read about Africa. The book like many other African books addresses how the slave trade was conducted in the West and Northern parts of Africa. The content is relatively organized hence boosting its appealing nature.
In conclusion, The African Slave Trade is a history book written by Basil Davidson talking about the pre-colonial slave trade in Africa. In this book, Basil highlights about the happenings of the African Slave Trade. The African slave trade took place in the Western and Central parts of Africa between 16th and 19th centuries. The Portuguese were the first people to be involved in the African slave trade and later on were followed by the Americans, Europeans, Dutch and the French. The African tribal leaders who sold their prisoners and captives to the Portuguese initiated this trade. While writing this book, Basil had certain goals in mind. He wanted to make people understand and know Africa well, discus about racism and African leadership. Remarkably, he managed to achieve all of these issues. Basil’s book is just as all the other books read about Africa. The book like many other African books addresses how the slave trade was conducted in the West and North parts of Africa.