How Did We
always existed from very early times as people and nations
conquered others through tribal wars and in various other
ways. The victor would slay many and capture mostly women
and children whom they enslaved for there own purposes, or
sold them to others.
African kings and chiefs were selling and
trading slaves long before the European slave trade began.
Slaves were sold to the Arab traders who traveled the Sub
Saharan trade route in exchange for goods, especially iron.
Also the king could enslave you for his personal use such as
to work his farms, or sell you to another village,
especially if you were considered to be a liar or a thief.
In the 13th and 14th century, the Europeans
began showing up on the west coast of Africa, in large
ships. They had many goods that the Africans wanted such as
iron, cloth, guns, and other valuable goods. Since the
discovery of the new world, Spain, England, Portugal, and
other European countries needed slave labor to work the
fields, clear the lands etc. The Bight of Benin was
controlled by the Kings of Dahomey, now present day Benin
and Nigeria. They traded slaves for enormous wealth.
Villages were raided to supply the slavers ships with human
cargo. Wars were waged and the captured was sold into
slavery. If you were found guilty of crimes or if your
neighbors complain about you, you could be sold into
In Guinea Bissau or the Gabu region, people
were decentralized. They did not have a form of government
or kings. The merchants in the coastal cities began to
procure slaves for the Portuguese ships in exchange for
goods, in which they became very wealthy. Eventually people
began to raid other villages, for example some Balanta’s
would raid another Balanta village and sell the captives to
the port slavers. Many Balanta’s did this to protect their
own villages and bought iron from the port merchants to
forge weapon and tools. All the other groups in Guinea
Bissau were selling each other as well.