Arab slave trade

The Arab slave trade was the intersection of slavery and trade in the Arab Islamic world, mainly in Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and Europe.[1] This barter occurred chiefly between the medieval era and the early 20th century. The trade was conducted through slave markets in these areas, with the slaves captured mostly from Africa's interior[2] and Southern Europe.[3][4][5]

Walter Rodney argues that the term Arab Slave Trade is a historical misnomer since bilateral trade agreements between myriad ethnic groups across the proposed 'Zanj trade network' characterized much of the acquisition process of chattel, and more often than not indentured servants.[6]

Arabslavers
19th-century engraving depicting an Arab slave-trading caravan transporting black African slaves across the Sahara.

Scope of the trade

African Zanj slaves

Slaves ruvuma
Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma River in Mozambique.

The Arab slave trade, across the Sahara desert and across the Indian Ocean, began after Muslim Arab and Swahili traders won control of the Swahili Coast and sea routes during the 9th century (see Sultanate of Zanzibar). These traders captured Bantu peoples (Zanj) from the interior in present-day Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania and brought them to the coast.[2][7] There, the slaves gradually assimilated in the rural areas, particularly on the Unguja and Pemba islands.[8]

Some historians assert that as many as 17 million people were sold into slavery on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, and North Africa, and approximately 5 million African slaves were transported by Muslim slave traders via Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert to other parts of the world between 1500 and 1900.[9]

The captives were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantations in the region. Eventually, tens of thousands of captives were being taken every year.[8][10][11]

The Indian Ocean slave trade was multi-directional and changed over time. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantu slaves bought by Arab slave traders from southeastern Africa were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Egypt, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, European colonies in the Far East, the Indian Ocean islands, Ethiopia and Somalia.[1]

Slave labor in East Africa was drawn from the Zanj, Bantu peoples that lived along the East African coast.[7][12] The Zanj were for centuries shipped as slaves by Arab traders to all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs recruited many Zanj slaves as soldiers and, as early as 696, there were revolts of Zanj slave soldiers in Iraq.[13] A 7th-century Chinese text mentions ambassadors from Java presenting the Chinese emperor with two Seng Chi (Zanj) slaves as gifts in 614, and 8th- and 9th-century chronicles mention Seng Chi slaves reaching China from the Hindu kingdom of Sri Vijaya in Java.[13]

The Zanj Rebellion, a series of uprisings that took place between 869 and 883 AD near the city of Basra (also known as Basara), situated in present-day Iraq, is believed to have involved enslaved Zanj that had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa.[14] It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over "tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq".[15] The Zanj who were taken as slaves to the Middle East were often used in strenuous agricultural work.[16] As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabs became richer, agriculture and other manual labor work was thought to be demeaning. The resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market.

It is certain that large numbers of slaves were exported from eastern Africa; the best evidence for this is the magnitude of the Zanj revolt in Iraq in the 9th century, though not all of the slaves involved were Zanj. There is little evidence of what part of eastern Africa the Zanj came from, for the name is here evidently used in its general sense, rather than to designate the particular stretch of the coast, from about 3°N. to 5°S., to which the name was also applied.[17]

The Zanj were needed to take care of:

the Tigris-Euphrates delta, which had become abandoned marshland as a result of peasant migration and repeated flooding, could be reclaimed through intensive labor. Wealthy proprietors "had received extensive grants of tidal land on the condition that they would make it arable." Sugar cane was prominent among the products of their plantations, particularly in Khūzestān Province. Zanj also worked the salt mines of Mesopotamia, especially around Basra.[18]

Their jobs were to clear away the nitrous topsoil that made the land arable. The working conditions were also considered to be extremely harsh and miserable. Many other people were imported into the region, besides Zanj.[19]

Historian M. A. Shaban has argued that rebellion was not a slave revolt, but a revolt of blacks (zanj). In his opinion, although a few runaway slaves did join the revolt, the majority of the participants were Arabs and free Zanj. If the revolt had been led by slaves, they would have lacked the necessary resources to combat the Abbasid government for as long as they did.[20]

Ibn Battuta who visited the ancient African kingdom of Mali in the mid-14th century recounts that the local inhabitants vie with each other in the number of slaves and servants they have, and was himself given a slave boy as a "hospitality gift."[21]

European slaves

Arabs also enslaved Europeans. According to Robert Davis, between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured between the 16th and 19th centuries by Barbary corsairs, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves.[22][23][24] These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and also from more distant places like France or England, the Netherlands, and even Iceland. They were also taken from ships stopped by the pirates.[25] The most prominent Barbary pirates were European renegades.[26]

The effects of these attacks were devastating: France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships. Long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants, because of frequent pirate attacks. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.[27][28]

Periodic Muslim raiding expeditions were sent from Islamic Iberia to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back slaves. In a raid against Lisbon in 1189, for example, the Almohad Berber Muslim caliph, Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.[29]

Arab slaves

Arabs were sometimes made into slaves in the Muslim world.[30][31] Sometimes castration was done on Arab slaves. In Mecca, Arab women were sold as slaves according to Ibn Butlan, and certain rulers in West Africa had slave girls of Arab origin.[32][33] According to al-Maqrizi, slave girls with lighter skin were sold to West Africans on hajj.[34][35][36] Ibn Battuta met an Arab slave girl near Timbuktu in Mali in 1353. Battuta wrote that the slave girl was fluent in Arabic, from Damascus, and her master's name was Farbá Sulaymán.[37][38][39] Besides his Damascus slave girl and a secretary fluent in Arabic, Arabic was also understood by Farbá himself.[40]

Islamic and Oriental aspect

Patrick Manning writes that although the "Oriental" or "Arab" slave trade is sometimes called the "Islamic" slave trade, a religious imperative was not the driver of the slavery. He further argues such use of the terms "Islamic trade" or "Islamic world" erroneously treats Africa as being outside Islam, or a negligible portion of the Islamic world.[41] According to European historians, propagators of Islam in Africa often revealed a cautious attitude towards proselytizing because of its effect in reducing the potential reservoir of slaves.[42]

The subject merges with the Oriental slave trade, which followed two main routes in the Middle Ages:

The Arab slave trade originated before Islam and lasted more than a millennium.[46][47][48] To meet the demand for plantation labor, these captured Zanj slaves were shipped to the Arabian peninsula and the Near East, among other areas.[49]

History of the Arab slave trade

African Zanj slaves

The Arab trade of Zanj (Bantu) slaves in Southeast Africa is one of the oldest slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years.[7][12][50] Male slaves were often forced to work as servants, soldiers, or laborers by their owners, while female slaves, including those from Africa, were long traded to the Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab and Oriental traders as concubines and servants. Arab, African and Oriental traders were involved in the capture and transport of slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into the Middle East, Persia and the Far East.[7][12]

From the 7th century until around the 1960s, the Arab slave trade continued in one form or another. Historical accounts and references to slave-owning nobility in Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere are frequent into the early 1920s.[50]

In 641 during the Baqt, a treaty between the Nubian Christian state of Makuria and the new Muslim rulers of Egypt, the Nubians agreed to give Arab traders more privileges of trade in addition to a share in their slave trading.[51]

In Somalia, the Bantu minorities are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantus from southeastern Africa captured by Somali slave traders were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Somalia and other areas in Northeast Africa and Asia.[52] People captured locally during wars and raids were also sometimes enslaved by Somalis mostly of Oromo and Nilotic origin. [53] [54][55] However, the perception, capture, treatment and duties of both groups of slaves differed markedly.[55] [56] From 1800 to 1890, between 25,000–50,000 Bantu slaves are thought to have been sold from the slave market of Zanzibar to the Somali coast.[57] Most of the slaves were from the Majindo, Makua, Nyasa, Yao, Zalama, Zaramo and Zigua ethnic groups of Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Collectively, these Bantu groups are known as Mushunguli, which is a term taken from Mzigula, the Zigua tribe's word for "people" (the word holds multiple implied meanings including "worker", "foreigner", and "slave").[58]

During the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, slaves shipped from Ethiopia had a high demand in the markets of the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere in the Middle East. They were mostly domestic servants, though some served as agricultural labourers, or as water carriers, herdsmen, seamen, camel drivers, porters, washerwomen, masons, shop assistants and cooks. The most fortunate of the men worked as the officials or bodyguards of the ruler and emirs, or as business managers for rich merchants.[59] They enjoyed significant personal freedom and occasionally held slaves of their own. Besides European, Caucasian, Javanese and Chinese girls brought in from the Far East, "red" (non-black) Ethiopian young females were among the most valued concubines. The most beautiful ones often enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle, and became mistresses of the elite or even mothers to rulers.[59] The principal sources of these slaves, all of whom passed through Matamma, Massawa and Tadjoura on the Red Sea, were the southwestern parts of Ethiopia, in the Oromo and Sidama country.[60]

In the Central African Republic, during the 16th and 17th centuries Muslim slave traders began to raid the region as part of the expansion of the Saharan and Nile River slave routes. Their captives were enslaved and shipped to the Mediterranean coast, Europe, Arabia, the Western Hemisphere, or to the slave ports and factories along the West and North Africa coasts or South along the Ubanqui and Congo rivers.[61][62]

The Arab slave trade in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea long predated the arrival of any significant number of Europeans on the African continent south of the Sahara.[50][63]

Purchase of Christian captives from the Barbary States
The purchase of Christian captives by Catholic monks in the Barbary states.

Some descendants of African slaves brought to the Middle East during the slave-trade still live there today, and are aware of their African origins.[64][65]

European slaves

The North African slave markets traded also in European slaves. The European slaves were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, and as far afield as Iceland. Men, women, and children were captured to such a devastating extent that vast numbers of sea coast towns were abandoned. Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the white slave trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).[66]

Davis estimates that 1 million to 1.25 million White Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people who were enslaved by Moroccan pirates and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[66] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[67]

16th- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul's additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totaled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700.[68]

19th century

In the 1800s, the slave trade from Africa to the Islamic countries picked up significantly when the European slave trade ended around the 1850s only to be ended with European colonisation of Africa around 1900.[69]

In 1814, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt wrote of his travels in Egypt and Nubia, where he saw the practice of slave trading: "I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state, that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity."[70]

Slavezanzibar2
A photograph of a slave boy in Zanzibar. 'An Arab master's punishment for a slight offence. ' c. 1890.

David Livingstone wrote of the slave trade in the African Great Lakes region, which he visited in the mid-nineteenth century:

To overdraw its evils is a simple impossibility ... We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Onlookers] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer. We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead ... We came upon a man dead from starvation ... The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems real to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves.[71]

[72] Livingstone estimated that 80,000 Africans died each year before ever reaching the slave markets of Zanzibar.[44][45][73][74]

Zanzibar was once East Africa's main slave-trading port, and under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year.[75]

Livingstone wrote in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald:

And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.[76]

20th century

During the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) people were taken into slavery; estimates of abductions range from 14,000 to 200,000.[77]

Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed in 1905, 1961, and 1981.[78] It was finally criminalized in August 2007.[79] It is estimated that up to 600,000 Mauritanians, or 20% of Mauritania's population, are currently in conditions which some consider to be "slavery", namely, many of them used as bonded labour due to poverty.[80]

Slavery was comparatively recently outlawed in Oman (1970)[81], Qatar (1952), Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (both in 1962). [82]

Historical and geographical context

Islamic world

Slaves Zadib Yemen 13th century BNF Paris
A 13th-century slave market in Yemen.

Islamic sharia law allowed slavery but prohibited slavery involving other preexisting Muslims; as a result, the main target for slavery were the people who lived in the frontier areas of the Muslim world. Slaves initially came from various regions, including Central Asia (such as mamluks) and Europe (such as saqaliba), but by the modern period, slaves came mostly from Africa.[83]

According to the sharia law, slaves were allowed to earn their living if they opted for that, otherwise it is the owner's (master) duty to provide for that. They also could not be forced to earn money for their masters unless with an agreement between the slave and the master.[84]

This concept is called مخارجة (mukhārajah) (Lane: "And خَارَجَهُ He made an agreement with him, namely, his slave that he (the latter) should pay him a certain impost at the expiration of every month; the slave being left at liberty to work: in which case the slave is termed عَبْدٌ مُخَارِجٌ") in Islamic law. If slaves agree to that and they would like the money they earn to be counted toward their emancipation, then this has to be written in the form of a contract between the slave and the master. This is called مكاتبة (mukātaba) in Islamic jurisprudence which is only, by consensus, a recommendation,[84] and accepting a request for a mukātaba from slaves is thus not obligatory for masters.[85] Although the owner did not have to comply with it, it was considered praiseworthy to do so[86]

The framework of Islamic civilization was a well-developed network of towns and oasis trading centers with the market (souq, bazaar) at its heart. These towns were inter-connected by a system of roads crossing semi-arid regions or deserts. The routes were traveled by convoys, and slaves formed part of this caravan traffic.

In contrast to the Atlantic slave trade, where the male-female ratio was 2:1 or 3:1, the Arab slave trade instead usually had a higher female-to-male ratio. This suggests a general preference for female slaves. Concubinage and reproduction served as incentives for importing female slaves (often Caucasian), though many were also imported mainly for performing household tasks.[87]

Arab views on African peoples

Abdelmajid Hannoum, a professor at Wesleyan University, states that racist attitudes were not prevalent until the 18th and 19th century.[88] According to Arnold J. Toynbee: "The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue."[89]

Africa: 8th through 19th centuries

In April 1998, Elikia M'bokolo, wrote in Le Monde diplomatique. "The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean"[90]

In the 8th century, Africa was dominated by Arab-Berbers in the north: Islam moved southwards along the Nile and along the desert trails.

  • The Sahara was thinly populated. Nevertheless, since antiquity there had been cities living on a trade in salt, gold, slaves, cloth, and on agriculture enabled by irrigation: Tiaret, Oualata, Sijilmasa, Zaouila, and others.
  • In the Middle Ages, the general Arabic term bilâd as-sûdân ("Land of the Blacks") was used for the vast Sudan region (an expression denoting West and Central Africa[91]), or sometimes extending from the coast of West Africa to Western Sudan.[92]. It provided a pool of manual labour for North and Saharan Africa. This region was dominated by certain states and people: the Ghana Empire, the Empire of Mali, the Kanem-Bornu Empire, the Fulani and Hausa.
  • In the Horn of Africa, the coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were controlled by local Somali and other Muslims, and Yemenis and Omanis had merchant posts along the coasts. The Ethiopian coast, particularly the port of Massawa and Dahlak Archipelago, had long been a hub for the exportation of slaves from the interior by the Kingdom of Aksum and earlier polities. The port and most coastal areas were largely Muslim, and the port itself was home to a number of Arab and Indian merchants.[93] The Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia often exported Nilotic slaves from their western borderland provinces, or from newly conquered southern provinces.[94] The Somali and Afar Muslim sultanates, such as the Adal Sultanate, also exported Nilotic slaves that they captured from the interior.[95]
Zanzslgwch
A Zanj slave gang in Zanzibar (1889)
  • In the African Great Lakes region, Omani and Yemeni traders set up slave-trading posts along the southeastern coast of the Indian Ocean; most notably in the archipelago of Zanzibar, along the coast of present-day Tanzania. The Zanj region or Swahili Coast flanking the Indian Ocean continued to be an important area for the Oriental slave trade up until the 19th century. Livingstone and Stanley were then the first Europeans to penetrate to the interior of the Congo Basin and to discover the scale of slavery there. The Arab Tippu Tip extended his influence there and captured many people as slaves. After Europeans had settled in the Gulf of Guinea, the trans-Saharan slave trade became less important. In Zanzibar, slavery was abolished late, in 1897, under Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed.

Geography of the slave trade

"Supply" zones

A slave market in Cairo-David Roberts
A slave market in Cairo. Drawing by David Roberts, circa 1848.

There is historical evidence of North African Muslim slave raids all along the Mediterranean coasts across Christian Europe.[96] The majority of slaves traded across the Mediterranean region were predominantly of European origin from the 7th to 15th centuries.[97]

Slaves were also brought into the Arab world via Central Asia, mainly of Turkic or Tartar origin. Many of these slaves later went on to serve in the armies forming an elite rank.

  • Nubia and Ethiopia were also "exporting" regions: in the 15th century, Ethiopians sold slaves from western borderland areas (usually just outside the realm of the Emperor of Ethiopia) or Ennarea,[98] which often ended up in India, where they worked on ships or as soldiers. They eventually rebelled and took power (dynasty of the Habshi Kings).
  • The Sudan region and Saharan Africa formed another "export" area, but it is impossible to estimate the scale, since there is a lack of sources with figures.
  • Finally, the slave traffic affected eastern Africa, but the distance and local hostility slowed down this section of the Oriental trade.

Routes

African slave trade
The main slave routes in Africa during the Middle Ages.

According to professor Ibrahima Baba Kaké there were four main slavery routes to the Arab world, from east to west of Africa, from the Maghreb to the Sudan, from Tripolitania to central Sudan and from Egypt to the Middle East.[99] Caravan trails, set up in the 9th century, went past the oasis of the Sahara; travel was difficult and uncomfortable for reasons of climate and distance. Since Roman times, long convoys had transported slaves as well as all sorts of products to be used for barter. To protect against attacks from desert nomads, slaves were used as an escort. Any who slowed down the progress of the caravan were killed.

Boutre indien
Dhows were used to transport goods to Oman.

Historians know less about the sea routes. From the evidence of illustrated documents, and travellers' tales, it seems that people travelled on dhows or jalbas, Arab ships which were used as transport in the Red Sea. Crossing the Indian Ocean required better organisation and more resources than overland transport. Ships coming from Zanzibar made stops on Socotra or at Aden before heading to the Persian Gulf or to India. Slaves were sold as far away as India, or even China: there was a colony of Arab merchants in Canton. Serge Bilé cites a 12th-century text which tells us that most well-to-do families in Canton had black slaves whom they regarded as savages and demons because of their physical appearance. Although Chinese slave traders bought slaves (Seng Chi i.e. the Zanj[13]) from Arab intermediaries and "stocked up" directly in coastal areas of present-day Somalia, the local Somalis—referred to as Baribah and Barbaroi (Berbers) by medieval Arab and ancient Greek geographers, respectively (see Periplus of the Erythraean Sea),[12][100][101] and no strangers to capturing, owning and trading slaves themselves[102]—were not among them:[103]

One important commodity being transported by the Arab dhows to Somalia was slaves from other parts of East Africa. During the nineteenth century, the East African slave trade grew enormously due to demands by Arabs, Portuguese, and French. Slave traders and raiders moved throughout eastern and central Africa to meet the rising demand for enslaved men, women, and children. The Bantus inhabiting Somalia are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon, and whose members were later captured and sold into the Arab slave trade.[104] The Bantus are ethnically, physically, and culturally distinct from Somalis, and they have remained marginalized ever since their arrival in Somalia.[105][106]

Barter

Different cowries
Cowry shells were used as money in the slave trade.

Slaves were often bartered for objects of various kinds: in the Sudan, they were exchanged for cloth, trinkets and so on. In the Maghreb, slaves were swapped for horses. In the desert cities, lengths of cloth, pottery, Venetian glass slave beads, dyestuffs and jewels were used as payment. The trade in black slaves was part of a diverse commercial network. Alongside gold coins, cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean or the Atlantic (Canaries, Luanda) were used as money throughout sub-saharan Africa (merchandise was paid for with sacks of cowries).[107]

Slave markets and fairs

Slave market Khartoum 19th c
A slave market in Khartoum, Sudan, c. 1876.

Enslaved Africans were sold in the towns of the Arab World. In 1416, al-Maqrizi told how pilgrims coming from Takrur (near the Senegal River) brought 1,700 slaves with them to Mecca. In North Africa, the main slave markets were in Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli and Cairo. Sales were held in public places or in souks.

Potential buyers made a careful examination of the "merchandise": they checked the state of health of a person who was often standing naked with wrists bound together. In Cairo, transactions involving eunuchs and concubines happened in private houses. Prices varied according to the slave's quality. Thomas Smee, the commander of the British research ship Ternate, visited such a market in Zanzibar in 1811 and gave a detailed description:

'The show' commences about four o'clock in the afternoon. The slaves, set off to the best advantage by having their skins cleaned and burnished with cocoa-nut oil, their faces painted with red and white stripes and the hands, noses, ears and feet ornamented with a profusion of bracelets of gold and silver and jewels, are ranged in a line, commencing with the youngest, and increasing to the rear according to their size and age. At the head of this file, which is composed of all sexes and ages from 6 to 60, walks the person who owns them; behind and at each side, two or three of his domestic slaves, armed with swords and spears, serve as guard.

Thus ordered the procession begins, and passes through the market-place and the principle streets... when any of them strikes a spectator's fancy the line immediately stops, and a process of examination ensues, which, for minuteness, is unequalled in any cattle market in Europe. The intending purchaser having ascertained there is no defect in the faculties of speech, hearing, etc., that there is no disease present, next proceeds to examine the person; the mouth and the teeth are first inspected and afterwards every part of the body in succession, not even excepting the breasts, etc., of the girls, many of whom I have seen handled in the most indecent manner in the public market by their purchasers; indeed there is every reasons to believe that the slave-dealers almost universally force the young girls to submit to their lust previous to their being disposed of. From such scenes one turns away with pity and indignation.[108]

Towns and ports involved in the slave trade

Legacy

The history of the slave trade has given rise to numerous debates amongst historians. For one thing, specialists are undecided on the number of Africans taken from their homes; this is difficult to resolve because of a lack of reliable statistics: there was no census system in medieval Africa. Archival material for the transatlantic trade in the 16th to 18th centuries may seem useful as a source, yet these record books were often falsified. Historians have to use imprecise narrative documents to make estimates which must be treated with caution: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro states that there were 8 million slaves taken from Africa between the 8th and 19th centuries along the Oriental and the Trans-Saharan routes.[109]

Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau has put forward a figure of 17 million African people enslaved (in the same period and from the same area) on the basis of Ralph Austen's work.[110] Ronald Segal estimates between 11.5 and 14 million were enslaved by the Arab slave trade.[111][112][113] Other estimates place it around 11.2 million.[114]

There has also been a considerable genetic impact on Arabs throughout the Arab world from pre-modern African and European slaves.[115]

Primary sources

Medieval Arabic sources

Captain walter croker horror stricken at algiers 1815
An 1816 illustration of Christian slaves in Algiers.

These are given in chronological order. Scholars and geographers from the Arab world had been travelling to Africa since the time of Muhammad in the 7th century.

  • Al-Masudi (died 957), Muruj adh-dhahab or The Meadows of Gold, the reference manual for geographers and historians of the Muslim world. The author had travelled widely across the Arab world as well as the Far East.
  • Ya'qubi (9th century), Kitab al-Buldan or Book of Countries
  • Abraham ben Jacob (Ibrahim ibn Jakub) (10th century), Jewish merchant from Córdoba[116]
  • Al-Bakri, author of Kitāb al-Masālik wa'l-Mamālik or Book of Roads and Kingdoms, published in Córdoba around 1068, gives us information about the Berbers and their activities; he collected eyewitness accounts on Saharan caravan routes.
  • Muhammad al-Idrisi (died circa 1165), Description of Africa and Spain
  • Ibn Battuta (died circa 1377), Moroccan geographer who travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, to Gao and to Timbuktu. His principal work is called A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling.
  • Ibn Khaldun (died in 1406), historian and philosopher from North Africa. Sometimes considered as the historian of Arab, Berber and Persian societies. He is the author of Muqaddimah orHistorical Prolegomena and History of the Berbers.
  • Al-Maqrizi (died in 1442), Egyptian historian. His main contribution is his description of Cairo markets.
  • Leo Africanus (died circa 1548), author of Descrittione dell' Africa or Description of Africa, a rare description of Africa.
  • Rifa'a al-Tahtawi (1801–1873), who translated medieval works on geography and history. His work is mostly about Muslim Egypt.
  • Joseph Cuoq, Collection of Arabic sources concerning Western Africa between the 8th and 16th centuries (Paris 1975)

European texts (16th–19th centuries)

Other sources

  • Historical manuscripts such as the Tarikh al-Sudan, the Adalite Futuh al-Habash, the Abyssinian Kebra Nagast, and various Arabic and Ajam documents
  • African oral tradition
  • Kilwa Chronicle (16th century fragments)
  • Numismatics: analysis of coins and of their diffusion
  • Archaeology: architecture of trading posts and of towns associated with the slave trade
  • Iconography: Arab and Persian miniatures in major libraries
  • European engravings, contemporary with the slave trade, and some more modern
  • Photographs from the 19th century onward

See also

References

This article was initially translated from the featured French wiki article "Traite musulmane" on 19 May 2006.
  1. ^ a b Gwyn Campbell, The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia, 1 edition, (Routledge: 2003), p.ix
  2. ^ a b Ochiengʼ, William Robert (1975). Eastern Kenya and Its Invaders. East African Literature Bureau. p. 76. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  3. ^ Robert C. Davis (December 2003). Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 45. ISBN 978-0333719664. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  4. ^ Jeff Grabmeier (8 March 2004). "When Europeans Were Slaves: Research Suggest White Slavery Was Much More Common Than Previously Believed". researchnews.osu.edu. Columbus, Ohio: OSU News Research Archive. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  5. ^ Based on "records for 27,233 voyages that set out to obtain slaves for the Americas". Stephen Behrendt, "Transatlantic Slave Trade", Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999), ISBN 0-465-00071-1.
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Further reading

  • Edward A. Alpers, The East African Slave Trade (Berkeley 1967)
  • Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, trans. F. Rosenthal, ed. N. J. Dawood (Princeton 1967)
  • Murray Gordon, Slavery in the Arab World (New York 1989)
  • Habeeb Akande, Illuminating the Darkness: Blacks and North Africans in Islam (Ta Ha 2012)
  • Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (OUP 1990)
  • Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades (Cambridge 1990)
  • Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge 2000)
  • Allan G. B. Fisher, Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa, ed. C. Hurst (London 1970, 2nd edition 2001)
  • The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam (Princeton Series on the Middle East) Eve Troutt Powell (Editor), John O. Hunwick (Editor) (Princeton 2001)
  • Ronald Segal, Islam's Black Slaves (Atlantic Books, London 2002)
  • Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, London 2003) ISBN 978-1-4039-4551-8
  • Doudou Diène (2001). From Chains to Bonds: The Slave Trade Revisited. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1571812650. Retrieved 26 May 2015.

External links

1000

Year 1000 (M) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. In the proleptic Gregorian calendar, it was a non-leap century year starting on Wednesday (like 1800). It was also the last year of the 10th century as well as the last year of the 1st millennium of the Dionysian era ending on December 31st, but the first year of the 1000s decade.

The year falls well into the period of Old World history known as the Middle Ages; in Europe, it is sometimes and by convention considered the boundary date between the Early Middle Ages and the High Middle Ages.

The Muslim world was in its Golden Age.

China was in its Song dynasty, Japan was in its classical Heian period.

India was divided into a number of lesser empires, such as the Rashtrakuta Dynasty, Pala Empire (Kamboja Pala dynasty; Mahipala), Chola dynasty (Raja Raja Chola I), Yadava dynasty, etc.

Sub-Saharan Africa was still in the prehistoric period, although Arab slave trade was beginning to be an important factor in the formation of the Sahelian kingdoms.

The pre-Columbian New World was in a time of general transition in many regions. Wari and Tiwanaku cultures receded in power and influence while Chachapoya and Chimú cultures rose toward florescence in South America. In Mesoamerica, the Maya Terminal Classic period saw the decline of many grand polities of the Petén like Palenque and Tikal yet a renewed vigor and greater construction phases of sites in the Yucatán region like Chichén Itzá and Uxmal. Mitla, with Mixtec influence, became the more important site of the Zapotec, overshadowing the waning Monte Albán. Cholula flourished in central Mexico, as did Tula, the center of Toltec culture.

World population is estimated to have been between c. 250 and 310 million.

1st millennium

The first millennium was a period of time spanning the years AD 1 to AD 1000 (1st to 10th centuries; in astronomy: JD 1721425.5 – 2086667.5).

World population rose more slowly than during the preceding millennium, from about 200 million in AD 1 to about 300 million in AD 1000.In Western Eurasia (Europe and Near East), the first millennium was a time of great transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The 1st century saw the peak of the Roman Empire, followed by its gradual decline during the period of Late Antiquity, the rise of Christianity and the Great Migrations. The second half of the millennium is characterized as the Early Middle Ages in Europe, and marked by the Viking expansion in the west, the rise of the Byzantine Empire in the east.

Early Islam expands rapidly from Arabia to West Asia, North Africa and the Iberian peninsula., culminating in the Islamic Golden Age (700–1200 AD).

In East Asia, the first millennium was also a time of great cultural advances, notably the spread of Buddhism to East Asia. In China, the Han dynasty is replaced by the Jin dynasty and later the Tang dynasty until the 10th century sees renewed fragmentation in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. In Japan, a sharp increase in population followed when farmers' use of iron tools increased their productivity and crop yields. The Yamato court was established.

In South Asia, the Indian subcontinent was divided among numerous kingdoms throughout the first millennium, until the formation of the Gupta Empire.

In Mesoamerica, the first millennium was a period of enormous growth known as the Classic Era (200–900 AD). Teotihuacan grew into a metropolis and its empire dominated Mesoamerica. In South America, pre-Incan, coastal cultures flourished, producing impressive metalwork and some of the finest pottery seen in the ancient world.

In North America, the Mississippian culture rose at the end of the millennium in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. Numerous cities were built; Cahokia, the largest, was based in present-day Illinois. The construction of Monks Mound at Cahokia was begun in 900–950 AD.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Bantu expansion reaches Southern Africa by about the 5th century.

The Arab slave trade spans the Sahara and the Swahili coast by the 9th century.

Afro-Arab

Afro-Arabs are individuals and groups from black Africa who who have adopted Arab culture. Most Afro-Arabs inhabit North Africa and the Swahili Coast in the African Great Lakes region.

Arab Mexicans

Arab Mexicans are Mexican citizens of Arab ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage or identity, who identify themselves as Arab. The vast majority of Mexico's 1,100,000 Arabs are of Lebanese, Saudi Arabian, Syrian, Iraqi, Moroccan, Yemeni and Palestinian descent.The inter-ethnic marriage in the Arab community, regardless of religious affiliation, is very high; most community members have only one parent who has Arab ethnicity. As a result of this, the Arab community in Mexico shows marked language shift away from only Arabic. Only a few speak any mainly Arabic, and such knowledge is often limited to a few basic words. Instead the majority, especially those of younger generations, speak Spanish as a first language. Throughout the Arab slave trade Arabic and Spanish have collided in Mexico as a mixture of languages and put into one which is spoken more than the original Arabic.

Black orientalism

Black orientalism is an intellectual and cultural movement found primarily within African-American circles. While similar to the general movement of Orientalism in its negative outlook upon Western Asian - especially Arab - culture and religion, it differs in both its emphasis upon the role of the Arab slave trade and the Coolie slave trade in the historic dialogue between sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab - and greater Muslim - world, as well as a lack of colonial promotion over the Middle East region as was promoted by European orientalism in the same region. The term "black orientalism" was first used by Kenyan academic Ali Mazrui in his critique of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s documentary Wonders of the African World. Supporters of this movement include writers such as Chinweizu.

History of slavery in the Muslim world

Slavery in the Muslim world first developed out of the slavery practices of pre-Islamic Arabia, and was at times radically different, depending on social-political factors such as the Arab slave trade. Throughout Islamic history, slaves served in various social and economic roles, from powerful emirs to harshly treated manual laborers. Early on in Muslim history they were used in plantation labor similar to that in the Americas, but this was abandoned after harsh treatment led to destructive slave revolts, the most notable being the Zanj Rebellion of 869–883. Slaves were widely employed in irrigation, mining, and animal husbandry, but the most common uses were as soldiers, guards, and domestic workers. Some rulers relied on military and administrative slaves to such a degree that the slaves were sometimes in a position to seize power. Among black slaves, there were roughly two females to every one male. Two rough estimates by scholars of the number of slaves held over twelve centuries in the Muslim world are 11.5 million and 14 million, while other estimates indicate a number between 12 to 15 million slaves prior to the 20th century.Manumission of a slave was encouraged as a way of expiating sins. Many early converts to Islam, such as Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, were former slaves. In theory, slavery in Islamic law does not have a racial or color component, although this has not always been the case in practice. In 1990, the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam declared that "no one has the right to enslave" another human being. Many slaves were often imported from outside the Muslim world. Bernard Lewis maintains that though slaves often suffered on the way before reaching their destination, they received good treatment and some degree of acceptance as members of their owners' households.The Arab slave trade was most active in West Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Africa. In the early 20th century (post-World War I), slavery was gradually outlawed and suppressed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. Slavery in the Ottoman Empire was abolished in 1924 when the new Turkish Constitution disbanded the Imperial Harem and made the last concubines and eunuchs free citizens of the newly proclaimed republic. Slavery in Iran was abolished in 1929. Among the last states to abolish slavery were Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from Britain; Oman in 1970; and Mauritania in 1905, 1981, and again in August 2007. However, slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is documented at present in the predominantly Islamic countries of the Sahel, and is also practiced in territories controlled by Islamist rebel groups, as in Libya.

Islam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Islam is a major religion within the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it is estimated that around 10 percent of the national population identifies as Muslim. In 2012, the Pew Research Center estimated the figure at 12 percent. One 2007 estimate put the figure at just 1.4 percent. Islam is particularly prominent in the east of the country where it has been present since the 18th century. The highest concentration of Muslims is in the Province of Maniema and especially the cities of Kasongo and Kindu where they represent 80–90 percent and 25 percent of the population respectively.Islam was spread to the Congo in the 19th century by "Arab" traders, such as Tippo Tip, from the East African coast as part of the Arab slave trade. Although the Arabs did not expressly intend to spread their religion or culture, many African peoples adopted the ideas they brought. With the expansion of European colonial rule into the eastern Congo under the auspices of the Congo Free State, European colonists came into conflict and defeated the Arabs, largely ending this process. Under Belgian colonial rule (1908–60), Muslims were distrusted and considered a potential source of sedition. The arrival of the Qadiriyya (a branch of Sufism) from Tanganyika in the 1920s was particularly repressed by the colonial government. The independence of the Congo in 1960 brought legal freedom of religion and allowed the Muslim community to organise publicly for the first time. Since the end of the Second Congo War, the Congo's Muslim community has been increasingly united with the emergence of a national leadership.Violence between Muslims and other religious groups in the Congo, especially Congolese Christians, has been attested in North Kivu since 2014 in connection with the Allied Democratic Forces insurgency which originated in neighbouring Uganda. The Allied Democratic Forces, whose political ideology is based on Islamism, is widely suspected of having perpetrated the Beni massacre in August 2016.

The vast majority of Muslims in the country identify themselves as Sunni, following the Maliki school of jurisprudence (fiqh). 10 percent are Shia and six percent are Ahmadi. Congolese Muslims are frequently divided between conservative Sufis and Reformists (Salafists) as well as along local ethnic, geographical, and generational lines.

John the Deacon (Egyptian chronicler)

John the Deacon was a Monophysite Egyptian chronicler whose Life of the Patriarch Michael, finished c.768–70, is the most important source for the Christian Nubia in the first half of the eighth century.The later historian Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffaʿ made heavy use of it, and although John is one of the only sources for the time and place, he is not always reliable. For instance, he records a Nubian invasion of Egypt that reached as far as Fustat in 745, after the Egyptians refused to release Michael, Patriarch of Alexandria. This event appears to be a conflation of a real invasion of Upper Egypt and the imprisonment and liberation of the patriarch, made to coincide with a known period of Coptic uprisings and consequent persecution at the instigation of the Caliph Marwan II. John is the only source to describe the dynastic struggles that followed the death c.730 of Merkurios, whom he refers to as a "new Constantine". He is the earliest source to mention thirteen kings ruling Nubia under the high king Kyriakos at Old Dongola. He is also an early source for the Arab slave trade in Africa.

Maafa

Maafa, African Holocaust, Holocaust of Enslavement, or Black Holocaust are political neologisms popularized from 1998 onwards and used to describe the history and ongoing effects of atrocities inflicted on African people, particularly when committed by non-Africans (Europeans and Arabs to be exact, specifically in the context of the history of slavery, including the Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade) and argued as "continued to the present day" through imperialism, colonialism and other forms of oppression. For example, Maulana Karenga (2001) puts slavery in the broader context of the Maafa, suggesting that its effects exceed mere physical persecution and legal disenfranchisement: the "destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only know us through this stereotyping and thus damaging the truly human relations among peoples".

Penis removal

In ancient civilizations, the removal of the human penis was sometimes used to demonstrate superiority or dominance over an enemy. Armies were sometimes known to sever the penises of their enemies to count the dead, as well as for trophies. The practice of castration (removal of the testicles) sometimes involved the removal of all or part of the penis, generally with a tube inserted to keep the urethra open for urination. Castration has been used to create a class of servants or slaves called eunuchs in many different places and eras.

In Russia, men of a devout group of Spiritual Christians known as the Skoptsy were castrated, either undergoing "greater castration", which entailed removal of the penis, or "lesser castration", in which the penis remained in place, while Skoptsy women underwent mastectomy. These procedures were performed in an effort to eliminate lust and to restore the Christian to a pristine state that existed prior to original sin.

In the modern era, removing the human penis for any such activity is very rare (with some exceptions listed below), and references to removal of the penis are almost always symbolic. Castration is less rare, and is performed as a last resort in the treatment of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer.

Slave market

A slave market is a place where slaves are bought and sold. These markets became a key phenomenon in the history of slavery, particularly in the Arab slave trade and the interregional slave trade of the United States.

Slavery in Africa

This article discusses systems, history, and effects of slavery within Africa. See Arab slave trade, Atlantic slave trade, Maafa, and Slavery in contemporary Africa for other discussions.

Slavery has historically been widespread in Africa, and still continues today in some countries.

Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In many African societies where slavery was prevalent, the enslaved people were not treated as chattel slaves and were given certain rights in a system similar to indentured servitude elsewhere in the world. When the Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade began, many of the local slave systems began supplying captives for slave markets outside Africa.Slavery in historical Africa was practiced in many different forms: Debt slavery, enslavement of war captives, military slavery, and criminal slavery were all practiced in various parts of Africa. Slavery for domestic and court purposes was widespread throughout Africa. Plantation slavery also occurred primarily on the eastern coast of Africa and in parts of West Africa. The importance of domestic plantation slavery increased during the 19th century due to the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. Many African states dependent on the international slave trade reoriented their economies towards legitimate commerce worked by slave labor.

Slavery in Ethiopia

Slavery in Ethiopia existed for centuries. The practice formed an integral part of Ethiopian society, from its earliest days through to the 20th century. Slaves were traditionally drawn from the Nilotic groups inhabiting Ethiopia's southern hinterland as well as Omotic groups. War captives were another source of slaves, though the perception, treatment and duties of these prisoners was markedly different. Slaves were also sold abroad as part of the Arab slave trade, serving as concubines, bodyguards, servants and treasurers. Slavery in Ethiopia was first abolished during the Italian occupation period with the issue of two laws in October 1935 and April 1936. The Italian government used the abolition of slavery as a moral justification to its population and the international community for the forced annexation of Ethiopia to its colonial empire. After the end of the Second World War, following the restoration of the Ethiopian monarchy and in response to pressure by Western Allies of World War II, Ethiopia officially abolished slavery and involuntary servitude on 26 August 1942.

Slavery in Libya

Slavery in Libya has a long history and a lasting impact on the Libyan culture. It is closely connected with the wider context of slavery in North African and Arab slave trade. Therefore, it is better understood when this wider scope is taken into account.

Slavery in Mali

Slavery in Mali exists today, with as many as 200,000 people held in direct servitude to a master. Since 2006, a movement called Temedt has been active in Mali struggling against the persistence of slavery and the discrimination associated with ex-slaves. There were reports that in the Tuareg Rebellion of 2012, ex-slaves were recaptured by their former masters.

Slavery in Mali existed across different ethnic groups of Pre-Imperial Mali before the Muslim conquest. Slavery increased in importance with the Arab slave trade across the Sahara during the Middle Ages. Following the collapse of the Mali Empire (c. 1600 AD), slave raiding increased and the slave trade became a key part of the economy in the Tuareg, Mandé, and Fula communities which would eventually be the major ethnic groups in the country of Mali.

When the area came under French colonial control in 1898, as French Sudan, the French authorities formally abolished slavery in 1905. Despite this declaration, traditional patterns of servitude persisted. Although some slaves left their positions of servitude following the declaration of 1905, many remained and in much of the country, slavery continued more or less unimpeded. With the political opening of the creation of the French Fourth Republic in 1946, large number of slaves left their positions and the slavery issue became a key political issue for the Sudanese Union – African Democratic Rally (US-RDA) party.

When the Republic of Mali achieved independence in 1960, the government tried to further undermine the institution of slavery but efforts were largely stalled when the military dictatorship of Moussa Traoré took over the country from 1968 until 1991.

Slavery in Somalia

Slavery in Somalia existed as a part of the Arab slave trade. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantus from southeastern Africa captured by Somali slave traders were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Somalia and other areas in Northeast Africa and Asia. People captured locally during wars and raids were also sometimes enslaved by Somalis mostly of Oromo and Nilotic origin. However, the perception, capture, treatment and duties of both groups of slaves differed markedly, with Oromo favored because Oromo subjects were not viewed as racially jareer by their Somali captors.

Slavery in contemporary Africa

The continent of Africa is one of the regions most rife with contemporary slavery.

Slavery in Africa has a long history, within Africa since before historical records, but intensifying with the Arab slave trade and again with the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the demand for slaves created an entire series of kingdoms (such as the Ashanti Empire) which existed in a state of perpetual warfare in order to generate the prisoners of war necessary for the lucrative export of slaves. These patterns have persisted into the colonial period during the late 19th and early 20th century. Although the colonial authorities attempted to suppress slavery from about 1900, this had very limited success, and after decolonization, slavery continues in many parts of Africa even though being technically illegal.

Slavery in the Sahel region (and to a lesser extent the Horn of Africa), exist along the racial and cultural boundary of Arabized Berbers in the north and darker Africans in the south.

Slavery in the Sahel states of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan in particular, continues a centuries-old pattern of hereditary servitude.

Other forms of traditional slavery exist in parts of Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria.

There are other, non-traditional forms of slavery in Africa today, mostly involving human trafficking and the enslavement of child soldiers and child labourers, e.g. human trafficking in Angola, and human trafficking of children from Togo, Benin and Nigeria to Gabon and Cameroon.Modern day slavery in Africa according to the Anti-Slavery Society includes exploitation of subjugate populations even when their condition is not technically called "slavery":

Although this exploitation is often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their "employers".

Forced labor in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at 660,000. This includes people involved in the illegal diamond mines of Sierra Leone and Liberia, which is also a direct result of the civil war in these regions.

Somali Bantus

The Bantu (also called Jareer, Gosha, and Mushunguli) are an ethnic minority group in Somalia who primarily reside in the southern part of the country, near the Juba and Shabelle rivers. They are descendants of people from various Bantu ethnic groups, who who were acquisitioned from Southeast Africa and sold into slavery in Somalia and other areas in Northeast Africa and Asia as part of the 19th century Arab slave trade. Bantus are ethnically, physically, and culturally distinct from Somalis, and they have remained marginalized ever since their arrival in Somalia.These Bantu are not to be confused with the members of Swahili society in coastal towns, such as the Bajuni, who speak dialects of the Bantu Swahili language.

All in all, the number of Bantu inhabitants in Somalia before the civil war is thought to have been about 80,000 (1970 estimate), with most concentrated between the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the south. However, recent estimates place the figure as high as 900,000 persons.

Tidiane N'Diaye

Tidiane N'Diaye (born 20 August 1950) is a Franco-Senegalese anthropologist, economist, and writer.

He is the author of a number of publications on the history of Black Africa and the African diaspora, as well as numerous economic studies of the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques on the French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique).

N'Diaye's essays on the Arab slave trade (Le génocide voilé "the veiled genocide", Étude de la traite négrière arabo-musulmane "study of the Arab-Muslim negro slave trade") were nominated for the Prix Renaudot in 2008.

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