Africa Before the Transatlantic Slave Trade Essay example

1658 Words Apr 27th, 2012 7 Pages
Africa before the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Racist views of Africa

In the last 50 years much has been done to combat the entirely false and negative views about the history of Africa and Africans, which were developed in Europe in order to justify the Transatlantic Slave Trade and European colonial rule in Africa that followed it. In the eighteenth century such racist views were summed up by the words of the Scottish philosopher David Hume, who said, ‘I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences”. In the nineteenth
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In the 14th century, the Syrian writer, al-Umari, wrote about the voyage of the Emperor of Mali who crossed the Atlantic with 2000 ships but failed to return. Africans in east and south-eastern Africa also set up great civilisations that established important trading links with the kingdoms and empires of India and China long before Europeans had learned how to navigate the Atlantic ocean. When Europeans first sailed to Africa in the 15th century, African pilots and navigators shared with them their knowledge of trans-oceanic travel.

It was gold from the great empires of West Africa, Ghana, Mali and Songhay, which provided the means for the economic take off of Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries and aroused the interest of Europeans in western Africa. An early historian in the 9th century wrote ‘the king of Ghana is a great king. In his territory are mines of gold.’ When the famous historian of Muslim Spain, al-Bakri wrote about Ghana in the 11th century, he reported that its king ‘rules an enormous kingdom and has great power’. The king of Ghana was said to have an army of 200,000 men and

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