Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Yoruba wars and slavery

A book yet to be written is a comprehensive analysis of the ways in which the slave trade took advantage of/exacerbated various internal disputes across Nigeria. I've heard that a major impetus behind the Yoruba wars of the 19th century was that of who sold who into slavery. Does anyone know any specific texts which explore the Yoruba wars in this context?


St Antonym 6:33 pm  

"the ways in which the slave trade took advantage of/exacerbated various internal disputes across Nigeria"

Jeremy, I rather expect that it would be more a question of the way internal disputes facilitated the slave trade. In other words, the slavery wasn't necessarily an outside imposition. Instead, the capture of large numbers of slaves in annual raids was a pre-existing internal condition, between kingdoms like the Oyo, the Fon and the Akan, into which the bloodthirsty Europeans inserted themselves, and made a relentless and uniquely brutal trade out of it. What was for all intents and purposes indentured servitude became, once the whites were in the picture, chattel slavery. But certain sources on Dahomey indicate, also, that before the trade with Europeans started, war captives in Dahomey were simply killed off in an annual ritual.

I don't know what the situation was in Iboland, where warmongering was presumably less centralized.

Chxta 7:22 pm  

St. Antonym shush... Don't let them hear you. The Africans were just innocent victims in the whole trade.

Richard Trillo 11:30 am  

I think it was pretty likely not widely understood what was going to happen to slaves/indentured pawns who were sold to middlemen and subsequently sold onto exporters who shipped them across the Atlantic.

Once massive fortunes (guns/cloth/alcohol) started pouring into "slave-producing" regions, the practice of slavery, in its older, less brutalising sense, was corrupted.

Anonymous,  12:00 pm  

Do you think if they had known they would not have sold their friends and neigbhours? Judging from modern slavery (especially sexual slavery and children's slavery in cocoa plantatations, Nigerian Italian prostitutes etc.) I doubt if such knowledge would have made any difference.

We have to remember that from both sides, economy was the overriding factor not a consideration for the plight of the lives they traded in.

It is only in retrospect can we try to say the sellers didn't know. In fact, they did not care to know. Lets just face it, most of us humans are simply not very nice. Period!

Africans and Europeans are both to blame. We are only blaming Europe alone now because Africans have not benefitted from the transaction. Of course, even if we had, it would not mean that the act is no less heinous.

While I think the Atlantic trade was a heinous act, I think we Africans and especially our leaders have been exceptionally irresponsible in the way we have ran our affairs. Yes, Europe depleted our human capital, but for fuck sake we have had enough resource and education to sort ourselves out. A case in point is Nigeria which has completely excelled at plundering her extradordinary resource and plunged her people into total darkness and igorance.

If i was a Nigerian, I would be totally ashamed. I guess Nigerians are at some level deeply ashamed hence their prickly defensiveness.

Sorry for taking up your blog space.


Fred 4:05 pm  

"... slavery, in its older, less brutalising sense..."

Let's ponder a bit on this meaning of the above sentence fragment. Do take your time.

There, finished? Okay, did you head explode?

What the fucking kind of thing is it to say that slavery is anything but severely brutalizing and thoroughly debasing? In any of its forms" "older," "just a little old" or "new."

You're a real Dick, Richard.

Pseudo-Independence? 10:38 pm  

It may be true that, Slavery
may have been "practised all over the world for thousands of years but never before had so many people from one continent been transported to another against their will."

I do not think there can be any shame in ignorance where both master and servant have proven to be clearly ignorant

Lolita 1:58 pm  

To anonymous Ajax, I guess we should thank our lucky stars that you are NOT Nigerian!!!

Pseudo-Independence? 4:48 pm  

this video - the extent to which this thing is being driven by greed

Anonymous,  7:10 pm  

I wonder which is more of an evil?
Modern slavery (sex/child workers etc) OR "chattel slavery" (where one person simply 'owns' another as their material possession).

Both are complicated.

Richard Trillo 6:01 pm  

Fred, here's a head-exploder for you. Perhaps. Maybe you knew this already.

In many parts of the world there has existed, and often still exists, the kind of slavery where a poorer family, or a poorer community, gives or sells or pawns some of its people (children, women, men, anyone who owes something) to a neighbouring richer community when times are hard, and buys them back when they can afford to, or if they want to.

Being pushed around and treated like dirt like this is pretty foul, you could call it brutalising, but it is *less* brutalising than being treated as an outright chattel and sent half way across the world. Go to any rural part of any African country and you'll find people working in households as indentured servants, basically household slaves, with the full knowledge of their birth family.

That's what I meant by "older, less brutalising". Wouldn't you say it's different?

Anonymous,  8:48 pm  

To Ajax,

I do not know your nationality and do not care to. Where ever you originated from, you certainly have issues there including peodphilia, child sexual abuse, incest and other crazy stuff. It is common knowledge that white males flock Thailand and other Asian countries seeking out very young girls for sex. I currently have a patient who is just back from Vietnam where he went to 'teach' English. He is on his death bed with AIDs. Nigeria is the current bashing boy for the Western media while you hypocrites play the ostrich at the rot in the so called Western world.

Anonymous,  2:09 pm  

I am Nigerian & what I feel is sadness. The horrors that went on in those days were just too bad.

My wifes grandad sold some of his wives when they displeased him.

It was age of wickedness, but the old poeple here tell us that inthe time the acts were normal & were simply viewed as survival of the fittest.

Andrea,  5:56 am  

Thoughts Upon Slavery
John Wesley
Published in the year 1774

I think this will answer many of your questions.

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