Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-8bbf57454-5qtdt Total loading time: 0.437 Render date: 2022-01-21T20:27:45.093Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

2 - On the Frontiers of Islam, 1400–1600

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul E. Lovejoy
Affiliation:
York University, Toronto
Get access

Summary

Slavery was already fundamental to the social, political, and economic order of parts of the northern savanna, Ethiopia, and the East African coast for several centuries before 1600. Enslavement was an organized activity, sanctioned by law and custom. Slaves were a principal commodity in trade, including the export sector, and slaves were important in the domestic sphere, not only as concubines, servants, soldiers, and administrators but also as common laborers. The combination of enslavement, trade, and employment of slaves in the domestic economy indicates that a slave mode of production had developed, although the scarcity of source material limits an analysis of the transformation that resulted in this situation. From 1400 to 1600, the geographical area where slavery was most important included a strip of territory along the southern borders of the Sahara Desert, the Red Sea shores, and the East African coast. For the period as a whole, slavery tended to expand; the use of slaves followed trade routes further into the interior from this narrow strip of territory, and the source of slaves for export tended to be south of the desert edge and inland from the Red Sea.

The dominant influence was Islamic, both because the major external market for slaves was North Africa and the Middle East and because Islam had become a strong influence within many of the states and societies in the northern savanna, the Ethiopian highlands, and the East African coast where slaves were used extensively. The use of slaves in these places was similar to their use elsewhere in the Muslim world, although in sub-Saharan Africa slaves were more often used in production than they were in North Africa and the Middle East. A secondary influence in this period was the introduction of European commerce into the south Atlantic basin and the Indian Ocean. This contributed to the general expansion of slavery within Africa, in part because Europeans distributed slaves between different places on the African coast and in part because Europeans began to buy slaves on an increasingly large scale for their own use.

Type
Chapter
Information
Transformations in Slavery
A History of Slavery in Africa
, pp. 24 - 44
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×