Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 28, 1990 - History - 236 pages
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This interpretation of the impact of slavery on African life emphasizes the importance of external demand for slaves by Occidental and Oriental purchasers in developing an active trade in slaves within Africa. The book summarizes a wide range of recent literature on slavery for all of tropical Africa. It analyzes the demography, economics, social structure and ideology of slavery in Africa from the beginning of large-scale slave exports in the seventeenth century to the gradual elimination of slavery in the twentieth century. While primarily a general survey, Dr. Manning presents original research and analysis, especially in his demographic model, computer simulation of slave trade and analysis of slave prices. By revealing clearly the succession of transformations which slavery brought throughout the African continent, the book shows in new depth the place of Africa in the history of the Atlantic basin, of western Asia and North Africa, and of the Indian Ocean.

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Professor Patrick Manning's book is a modern interpretation essay on African history. The study seeks to reconstruct past reality of slavery and African life. The book therefore, covers the period from sixteenth century onwards. As an introduction to the subject of slavery in Africa; he argues that many studies on slavery in Africa have rarely mentioned the continent and mostly have concentrated on the plantations slavery in the Americas. slavery and African life according to Manning is an attempt to summarize and the impact of slavery on Africans. The study places slavery in Africa in a wider global context. The book is based on three pillars: Number one, the it looks at the African economic and social life and how it was transformed by the slave trade from the seventh century to nineteenth century. Manning argues that the slave trade was not a "long misfortune for Africa" but, a series of transfomative misfortunes. Number two, external transformations came mainly from European, Middle Eastern and Asian demand for slaves. Number three, transformation from within Africa itself through conflict among various societies (p. 8-9, p.26).
Professor Manning's study is "Brief" analyzes of major studies on African slavery in the continent and the diaspora. The works that is discussed in his book are all secondary materials and mostly written be scholars outside Africa. Earlier in the book Manning criticizes past studies of African slavery that only concentrated on the plantations of the Americas. Manning's concentrates on a few points: demographic of slavery; where he looks at fertility, mortality, and migration of slaves. He then focuses on economics of slavery; where he pays close attention to the price of slaves. He then concentrates on the transformations of slave institutions within Africa. Finally, he analyzes the ideology of slavery within Africa (p.9).
Manning divided his study into three geographical areas: Western Coast, Eastern Coast and what is left of the continent he calls it Savannah and Horn. Manning has divided slavery in Africa into three categories: the Occidental trade, Oriental trade and the African trade. Manning argues although he uses old terms such as occidental and Oriental to describe slave trades taking place in Africa. Nevertheless, this terminologies have two components; one cultural and the other geographical. Therefore, Occidental slave trade covers all the trades conducted by Europeans in the Atlantic slave trade and also the Indian Ocean slave trade; where slaves were destined towards the Americas and Mascarene islands.The Oriental slave trade covers all trades passing through the Sahara and the Indian Ocean and destined towards the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, India and the Ottoman empire. The third category he calls African slave trade meaning slaves destined for other parts of Africa (p.10).
The book is just over two hundred pages (236 pages which includes, notes, maps, bibliography and the index). Only 176 pages is devoted towards analyzing slavery and African life; covering r a period of five centuries. The study is divided into nine chapters: dealing with political economy of slavery in Africa; reasons for enslavement of Africans; why Africa?; demographic effects of slavery, where he asks questions like why are Africans more visible in the Americas than for example the Ottoman empire?. He provides diagrams showing the process of enslavement and enslaved people in slave society, "model in schematic form" it is confusing for a non-mathematics major to follow late alone understand (p.39-40). He also uses graphs to explain the quantitative impact of the slave trade; showing variables like sex ratio, slaves export and so forth. These graphs are supposed to illustrate the impact of slavery on the African peoples. He tells us through graphical simulation the that inferences collected from the simulated data show that the effects of catastrophes like famine, droughts and epidemics paled in comparisons to the profound effects slave


Tragedy and sacrifice in the history of slavery
The political economy of slavery in Africa
Why Africans? The rise of the slave trade to 1700
Slavery and the African population a demographic model
The quantitative impact of the slave trade 17001900
The economics and morality of slave supply
Patterns of slave life
Transformations of slavery and society 16501900
The end of slavery
The world and Africa
Slave prices
The demographic simulation

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About the author (1990)

Patrick Manning is Professor of History and African-American Studies at Northeastern University, where he directs the World History Center.

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