The slave coast or Diego Cao (named after the Portuguese explorer ) is the historical name of the coast of Togo , Benin and western Nigeria . The slave coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea , on the Bay of Benin and is approx. 450 km long. In the pre-colonial period it was one of the most densely populated regions in Africa. The ports on the slave coast were important centers of the slave trade from the 16th to 19th centuries .
Discovery and Colonization
In the 15th century, Portuguese navigators looking for a sea route to India discovered the coast. Soon after the discovery, a phase of competition between Spain and Portugal set in. With the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, the areas of interest of both states were divided. Portugal took over the expedition of the black continent, Spain concentrated on its American territories. As a result, Portugal achieved a supremacy at an early stage, the consequences of which would continue into the 20th century.
Soon after the area was explored, there was a brisk trade in force-recruited and hunted Africans who were taken to the various slave markets along the coast. The kidnapping and the "wholesale" of the slaves was firmly in the hands of Muslim slave traders. The Atlantic slave trade developed from the coast . About 20 percent of the roughly 20 million captured slaves were shipped on the Diego Cao; initially by Portuguese fleets, later the market opened, and Danes, French and English, including Brandenburgers, joined them.
Method of capturing slaves
The seafarers left the procurement of human "goods" to the African tribes and traded in various ports along the west coast of Africa, such as Porto-Novo or Lagos, founded by the Portuguese .
The highly militarized peoples like Ashanti , Oyo or Dahomey waged campaigns in the highlands far from the coast. The main aim of these raids was to round up young men between 15 and 30 years of age, who were particularly lucrative for the slave markets . Women were often incorporated into the court or, in some cases, also sold when they were of childbearing age, so that further generations could develop in bondage. Some of the prisoners were kept for the nobility, but most were sold for profit.
The grueling hikes into the coastal towns took their toll; The elderly, the weak, and children died of exhaustion.
Decline of the slave trade
With the onset of industrialization in the retailers' sales markets, the business lost more and more of its importance. In addition, abolitionist movements developed that tried to enforce the abolition of the slave trade. In 1803 Denmark became the first slave-trading nation to ban the slave trade . In 1807, Great Britain was the first great power to prohibit the slave trade; the United States followed in 1808, with the system of slavery lasting in the southern states until the end of the American Civil War . At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Great Britain implemented a general ban on the slave trade.
This also ended the time of the warlike tribes, who weakened each other in succession disputes and civil wars. This eventually allowed for easy colonization and the rise of Western imperialism as it went down in history.
- http://www.geschichte.uni-hannover.de Effects and economic sense of the slave trade on the Dahomey
- ^ Earnest N. Bracey: Places in Political Time: Voices from the Black Diaspora . University Press of America, 2005, pp. 64 f .