10 Differences Between slavery in africa and america

Difference between Slavery in Africa and America

Slavery has been a dark chapter in human history, causing immeasurable suffering and pain. Understanding the differences between slavery in Africa and America is essential to grasp the distinct nuances of this brutal institution on different continents. This article explores the origins, examples, and uses of slavery in Africa and America, highlighting ten key differences between the two.

What is Slavery in Africa?

Slavery in Africa dates back centuries before the transatlantic slave trade. It was an intricate part of African societies, taking various forms such as domestic, chattel, and debt slavery. Slavery in Africa was primarily based on kinship ties, capture in warfare, or as punishment for crimes. It played a multifaceted role in the social, economic, and political structures of many African civilizations.

Examples of Slavery in Africa:

1. The Arab slave trade: Arab merchants engaged in the trans-Saharan trade, resulting in the enslavement of many Africans, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East.

2. The Kingdom of Dahomey: Dahomey, an African kingdom, engaged in large-scale slave raids and sold captives to European traders.

3. Slavery in East Africa: Arab traders exploited existing African slavery networks on the eastern coast, leading to a significant influx of slaves from the interior.

What is Slavery in America?

Slavery in America emerged during the colonization period, primarily driven by the European demand for the labor-intensive cultivation of crops such as tobacco, cotton, and sugar. It was a racialized system, with African slaves brought forcibly from Africa to serve as laborers on plantations. Slavery in America was characterized by systemic violence, enforced separation of families, and profound racial discrimination.

Examples of Slavery in America:

1. Plantation slavery: Slavery was prevalent in the Southern states, where African slaves worked on large plantations, primarily producing cotton and tobacco.

2. Underground Railroad: With the abolitionist movement gaining momentum, the Underground Railroad helped enslaved African-Americans escape to free states or Canada.

3. Slave auctions: Slaves were bought and sold at public auctions, often separated from their families, causing immense emotional trauma.

Differences Table

Difference Area Slavery in Africa Slavery in America
Origins Pre-colonial societal structures, kinship ties, and capture in warfare Emergence during European colonization, driven by demand for labor on plantations
Racialization Not primarily based on race Racialized system, African slaves brought forcibly from Africa
Forms of Slavery Domestic, chattel, and debt slavery Mainly chattel slavery
Role of Religion Religion played a lesser role Christianity used to justify slavery
Abolition Movement No significant abolition movement in Africa during the era Growing abolitionist movement in the 18th and 19th centuries
Legal Status Varied, some societies recognized rights of slaves Legalized institution, protected by laws
Treatment of Slaves Varied treatment, depending on the context Systemic violence, severe brutality, and harsh punishments
Role in Industrial Revolution Did not play a direct role in the Industrial Revolution Provided essential labor for the development of industries
Resistance Movements Resistance movements against slavery were relatively rare African-American communities organized various resistance strategies
Legacy Indigenous African slave trades predated European involvement Significant impact on racism, segregation, and Civil Rights movements


Although both Africa and America had a history of slavery, there were distinct differences in their origins, forms, treatment, and eventual outcomes. Slavery in Africa tended to be more varied, with different forms and legal recognition, while slavery in America was deeply rooted in racial oppression and played a central role in the Industrial Revolution. The legacy of slavery in America continues to shape racial relations and social justice movements even today.

People Also Ask:

1. Was slavery based on race in Africa?

No, slavery in Africa was not primarily based on race. It had various origins such as kinship ties, capture in warfare, or punishment for crimes.

2. Were there any resistance movements against slavery in Africa?

Resistance movements against slavery in Africa were relatively rare when compared to the organized resistance undertaken by African-American communities in America.

3. How did religion play a role in slavery in America?

Christianity was often used to justify slavery in America. Slaveholders used biblical interpretations to assert their right to own and control African slaves.

4. Did slavery in Africa lead to the Industrial Revolution?

No, slavery in Africa did not play a direct role in the Industrial Revolution. It was the slavery system in America that provided essential labor for the rapid industrialization of the nation during the 18th and 19th centuries.

5. What is the lasting legacy of slavery in America?

The legacy of slavery in America remains significant. It has deeply impacted racism, segregation, and the Civil Rights movements, shaping the current social and political landscape.

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