Europe’s slave trade left devastating economic legacy in Africa

2022-12-14 21:38:02
Europe’s slave trade left devastating economic legacy in Africa

Calls have been growing in recent years for Europe to pay reparations to African nations for the devastating damage wrought by the slave trade in Africa.

The calls have been given impetus by the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice in the US and Europe.

Proponents argue that slavery in Africa wrought a devastating economic legacy that stymied the development of former slave colonies and the countries from which slaves were forcibly removed.

Millions of Africans snatched in the interior on the orders of European agents were trafficked to coastal slave forts – including Ghana’s notorious Cape Coast Castle with its “gate of no return” – before they were loaded onto ships and sold in the Americas.

It is thought that around 2 million slaves may have died on the Middle Passage.

In August, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo urged European nations to pay reparations to Africa for damage wrought by the historic slave trade.

“The effects of the Slave Trade have been devastating to the African continent and to the African Diaspora, with the entire period of slavery stifling Africa’s economic, cultural and psychological progress.

“It is now time to revive and intensify the discussions about reparations for Africa. Indeed, the time is long overdue,” the president told a summit on the theme in Accra.

Modern-day Ghana was a major exit point for millions of slaves forced to endure the brutal Middle Passage to the United States, West Indies and South America.

Slave owners compensated, slaves ignored

Akufo-Addo compared the lack of reparations paid to Africa to the enormous compensation paid to British, French and American slaveholders when the trade was finally outlawed in those countries.

“When the British ended slavery, all the owners of enslaved Africans received reparations to the tune of twenty million pounds sterling, the equivalent today of twenty billion pounds sterling, but enslaved Africans themselves did not receive a penny.

“Likewise in the United States, owners of slaves received three hundred dollars for every slave they owned; the slaves themselves received nothing.

“Indeed, in the case of Haiti, the country had to pay reparations amounting to twenty-one billion dollars ($21 billion) to French slaveholders in 1825 for the victory of the great Haitian Revolution, the first in the Americas and the Caribbean which freed the slaves.”


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