African slave owners
Growing rich with slavery
"The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth... the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery."
"In our curriculum, we teach a little part of the history of our land. Because some of the children ask questions about the past history of our grandfather Babatu.
Babatu, and others, didn't see anything wrong with slavery. They didn't have any knowledge of what the people were used for. They were only aware that some of the slaves would serve others of the royal families within the sub-region.
He has done a great deal of harm to the people of Africa. I have studied history and I know the effect of slavery.
I have seen that the slave raids did harm to Africa, but some members of our family feel he was ignorant?we feel that what he did was fine, because it has given the family a great fame within the Dagomba society.
He gave some of the slaves to the Dagombas and then he sent the rest of the slaves to the Salaga market. He didn't know they were going to plantations... he was ignorant."
"...here there is a certain place where slaves are sold, especially on those days when the merchants are assembled. And a young slave of fifteen years of age is sold for six ducats, and children are also sold. The king of this region has a certain private palace where he maintains a great number of concubines and slaves."
The Omani Sultan, Seyyid Said, became immensely rich when he started up cloves plantations in 1820 with slave labour - so successful was he that he moved the Omani capital to Zanzibar in 1840.
Find out more about the Swahilis
Punished for keeping slaves
"It would be a mistake to frighten the King of Kumasi and the Ashantis generally on the question of slavery. We cannot sweep away their customs and institutions all at once. Domestic slavery should not be troubled at present."
British attitudes changed when the King of the Asanti (the Asantehene) resisted British colonial authority. The suppression of the slave trade became a justification for the extension of European power. With the humiliation and exile of King Prempeh I in 1896, the Asanti were placed under the authority of the Governor of the Gold Coast and forced therefore to conform to British law and abolish the slave trade.
Slavery decreed by the gods
"We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself."
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