The 500 years of European slavery and colonialism seriously harmed the African economy, damaged the African societal structures and undermined the psychological self-assurance of Africans.
Africa’s per capita income as a percentage of the per capita income of the West declined from 55% in 1500, to 22% in 1913 to 6% today.
• Muslim slave traders “exported” ± 8 million African slaves to southern Europe and to
Asia Minor between 700 – 1400. Little is known about their contribution to the
economy of the Mediterranean world.
• Portugal got permission from the Pope to practice slavery in 1445 on condition that it
should try to convert the slaves to Christianity.
• From 1520 until 1888 European slave-traders transshipped 15 million Africans as slaves to the Americas. Twelve to fifteen generations lived as slaves in the Americas. The total slaves deployed over the 370 years in the Americas may have been considerably more than 100 million at a time when the world population was less than 1 billion.
• The slave trade was cruel and violent. Some African tribes were supplied with the best
weaponry at the disposal of the Europeans. It caused a multitude of “slave wars” between African tribes that lasted for centuries.
• The deployment of the African slaves in the Americas was immoral, inhuman and one
of the worst crimes against humanity.
Britain was the principal slaving nation of the modern world.
Had Britain and the rest of the colonial countries made no apology for African slavery, as it had done for the Irish potato famine? Why was there no substantial public monument of national contrition equivalent to Berlin’s Holocaust Museum? Why, most crucially, was there no recognition of how wealth extracted from Africa and Africans made possible the vigour and prosperity of modern Britain? Was there not a case for Britain to pay reparations to the descendants of African slaves?