Ending The African Slave Trade


Figure 1.--Ending the European slave trade in the Atlantic and the Arab slave trade in the Indian Ocean was primarily accomplished by the British Royal Navy. It was a long, difficult, and complicated undertaking. The Royal Navy of course could not interdict the Arab trans-Saharan slave trade. Here a painting by Alphonse LÚvy (1843-1918) depicts a coffel of women captives and their children along with their Arab captors. We do not know if Levy personally obseved such scenes. LÚvy was an illustrator, painter and cartoonist, who was best known for for his illustrations depicting the French Jewish community. The date is unknown, but the 1870s seems likely. The location is also unspecified, but was probably the western Sudan. Source: Musee des Arts Africains et Oceaniens, Paris.

Ending the slave trade was a complicated length process which involved many countries and a groiwing abolitionist movement based on Christianity. William Wilberforce was a primary figure in the abolitionist movement which obtained British commitment to ending the slave trade (1807). An abolitionist movement never developed in the Islamic world, primarily because of Koranic recognition od slavery. Ending the slave trade, however, involved much more than religion and morality. A complex web of economics, international affairs, diplmomacy and European colonialism were involved in ending the slave trade which was conducted by both Europeans and Arabs. The British diplomastic effort was complicated by suspicions concerning Brititish motives. The primary agent for ending the slave trade was the British Royal Navy which mounted naval patrols in both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. Only the Arab trans-Saharan slave trade was imune from Royal Navy interdiction. The effort began during the Napoleonic Wars and was not finally ended until the European colonization of sub-Saharan Africa in the late-19th centuty.

Abolitionist Movements

Ending the slave trade was a complicated length process which involved many countries and a growing abolitionist movement based on Christianity. The strongest abolitionist movement developed in Britain. William Wilberforce was a primary figure in the abolitionist movement which obtained British commitment to ending the slave trade (1807). An abolitionist movement developed in America as well. It grew more slowly, but by the mid-19th century had gained considerable prominance. It faced, however, a considerable hurdle--the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was not enshrined in the Constitution, but the political power of the slave-holding South was. Slavery was abolished in Britsin by a majority vote of Parliament. In America, this was possible in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate where a minority of Senators could block empancipation. Even so, the American abolitionist movement played a key role in ending slavery. The abolitionists suceeded in winning the propaganda war. Slave holders and slave masters were depicted as evil men. Hariet Beacher Stow's Uncle Tom's Cabin was only the most famous of the abolitionist literature. The slave-holding south was infuriated. Many came to the conclusion that they needed to form their own countrr. President Lincoln's election was only the final straw. The irony is that as part og the Union they could block emancipation. Once out of the Union, President Lincoln and the Reublicans could proceed with emancipation. In sharp cintrast to Christian countries, an abolitionist movement never developed in the Islamic world, primarily because of Koranic recognition of slavery.

Campaigns

Ending the slave trade involved much more than religion and morality. Actualy religion and morality helped to perpetuate slavery. This was the case because slavery is legitimized in the Holy Koran itself. It was Christianity which led the fight against slavery. Only when the abolitionists in England had won thrir effort to convince the British Prliament to end the slave trade, werte campsigns against slavery possible. A complex web of economics, international affairs, diplmomacy, and European colonialism were involved in ending the slave trade which was conducted by both Europeans and Arabs. The British diplomatic effort was complicated by suspicions of other European countries concerning Brititish motives. There were two major efforts to stop the slave trade. The first was the effort to end the European slave trade, primarily conducted in the Atantic Ocean. The second was to end the Arab slave trade which was conducted in both the Indian Ocean and well as across the Sahara. This thus required not only a naval campaign, but terrestial efforts to end the trans-Saharan trade. Here there were both trans-Saharan caravans as well as ship traffic up the Nile. The primary agent for ending the slave trade was the British Royal Navy which mounted naval patrols in both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The Royal Navy received some support from America and other European countries in the Atlantic. They received no support from Muslim powers in the Indiuan Ocean effort some of which continued to permit slavery into the 20th century. Only the Arab trans-Saharan slave trade was imune from Royal Navy interdiction. The effort began during the Napoleonic Wars and was not finally ended until the European colonization of sub-Saharan Africa in the late-19th centuty.







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Created: 3:58 PM 4/8/2010
Last updated: 3:58 PM 4/8/2010