Monday, May 09, 2011

David Livingstone, Christian missionary, fought the Arab slave trade in Africa

Galaxy of Images | Smithsonian Institution Libraries

In [David] Livingstone's day Arab and African merchants dominated the slave and ivory trade from the east [African] coast ports, notably Mombassa and Kilwa. From about 1840 the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba became increasingly important in this economy. These islands were under the control of the sultanate of Oman. They were slave-based plantation economies devoted to growing cloves. Many slaves were shipped from this area to the Sakalava chiefdoms of north western Madagascar and to the Persian Gulf. By the time of Livingstone's arrival, trade routes for slaves and ivory extended deep into Africa. Lake Nyassa, from which the Shire emerges, was the epicentre of this trade as slaves from central Africa were transported around or across the lake to reach the east coast. As slaves came east, so Islam spread inland. Between six and twenty million people (estimates vary) were victims of this trade between 1830 and 1873. In this later year, when the trading of slaves in East Africa was at its height, the Anglo-Zanzibar Treaty prohibited the export of slaves from the mainland.

David Livingstone's Africa

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