The enrichment of Europe during the slave trade

In this article, we will tell you how Europe went from the status of probably the poorest continent to that of the richest continent in the world, by decimating the black continent.

The world before the European slave trade

Peinture du 18e siècle montrant les relations entre le monde arabo-musulman et l'Afrique Une délégation perse (Iran) est reçue par le roi d'Ethiopie   Source : Runoko Rashidi
18th century painting showing the relationships between the Arab-Muslim world and Africa. A delegation from Persia (Iran) is received by the King of Ethiopia (Source: Runoko Rashidi)

In the 14th century, Arabs politically ran the world. Begun in the 7th century, the domination of Arabs was based on their cultural, political and religious prominence. Their influence stretched from East Asia to Western Europe, passing by the Middle East and North Africa. If the Arabs were the most powerful people in the world, the Africans were seemingly the richest people in the world.

The stories on  the mind blowing state of the material opulence of Africa before the European slave trade abound. Kankan Moussa, emperor of Mali in the 14th century, is, with a fortune invaluable according to Time Magazine, the richest man in the history of humanity. Even the Arabs who had been everywhere, made Africa the reference in terms of wealth, and this through this saying “against the gale of the camel, use tar, and against poverty, make a trip to Sudan “. The Sudan here means Africa. At the same time, China was living the splendor of its imperial era and America that of the Aztec civilization. The Indian Ocean was the trade route between Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. The Africans were certainly making trade with the Native Americans  and  with the Blacks of Australia.  

What was the Europe’s place before the European trade?

Europe was probably the poorest continent in the world. After the fall of the powerful Roman Empire, Europe fell in a semi-state of barbarism. Famine, disease, tribal and religious wars, slavery, dirt, mass illiteracy were evils commonly shared. In Paris the people lived among pigs and were literally defecating in the streets. The stench was untenable. 

Illustration cinématographique du Moyen Âge européen
Gilm illustration of the Middle Age in Europe

The most important civilization in Europe at this time was the Moorish civilization in Spain and Portugal. This was the fact of Black berbers from the Maghreb called Moors or Saracens, and Arabs. It is this civilization that has enabled Europe to get out of its disastrous state by reintroducing the sciences and the arts. The Africans have particularly reintroduced hygiene in Europe. We can do a little bit of parallel with Africa where 20 years ago the whites in South Africa were the largest providers of technical progress in an Africa here voluntarily impoverished by the West. That said the Moors in Europe never were as inhuman as the whites of the apartheid.

In a macabre game of musical chairs therefore, Africa took Europe’s place, Europe (West) took Arabs’ place. And China, soon first world power, would take the place of Africa of then.  

The enrichment of Europe

The African Caribbean Historian -Jean Philippe Omotunde in his book La traite négrière européenne : vérité et mensonges (The European slave trade : truth and lies), pages 64 and 65, takes the particular case of France and England – which entered though secondarily in a traffic granted by the Vatican to only Portugal and Spain – to show how Europe experienced a spectacular economic boom in putting Africans in slavery, and this through different levels:

  • Given the military aspect of the slave trade (terrorist actions on African soil and systematic destruction of African civilizations, war against the African resistants, gifts of weapons to Africans who collaborated, maintenance of the order on the boats), the armaments industry in Europe knew a tremendous growth with the manufacture of rifles, guns, swords, powder.
  • With the raids that required to fund investors, ship owners, slave traders, soldiers and the intermediaries, the banking sector would know an unprecedented boom (Loyds, Barclays Bank, Baring etc…)
  • The damage caused by the revolts in the sea, the attacks of the African resistants and slaves on the plantations, there was a need to ensure against the hazards of the traffic, whence the expansion of insurance companies.
  • The increase in orders of slave boats created the economic development of ports without forgetting the lever effects on the economic activity of the port cities (St Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle, Seville, St Nazaire, Liverpool, Bordeaux). For La Rochelle between 1739 and 1793, 349 galley ships journeyed, distributed between 56 ship owners. The activity begot huge fortunes.
Le port négrier de Nantes qui a beaucoup profité du génocide des Africains
The slave port of Nantes in France which has benefited greatly from the genocide of Africans

The French lawyer Hilliard of Auberteuil (1751-1789) declares that the African slaves are the source of the prosperity of Europe and Voltaire said that “the Caribbean are points on the map, but finally these countries, that can barely glimpse on a world map have produced for France an annual circulation of 60 million merchandise”. 60 million of goods is equivalent today to hundreds of billions of euros, and this for a single year.

One even went to assert that the cessation of the slave trade would result in the unemployment of half of the French workers. The Bank of France is, in its origins, intimately associated to the slave trade. We have the figures of a slave trader which for $ 39 980 investment, has made $ 41 438 of net profits, or more than 100% for a single shipment. 

Le roi et la reine de Hollande dans un carrosse royal doré Remarquez en bas : les peuples des colonies, parmi lesquels des Africains, viennent se prosterner devant une femme blanche qui représente les Pays Bas. L'offense ici n'a pas de limite. Les Pays Bas se sont enrichis grâce aux produits de leurs colonies esclavagistes.
The King and the Queen of Holland in a Royal golden coach. Notice at the bottom: the peoples of the colonies, among which  Africans, come to worship before a white woman who represents the Netherlands. The offense here has no limit. The Netherlands enriched itself thanks to the products of their slave colonies. 
Le marché des esclaves de Wall Street au 18e siècle
The slaves market of Wall Street in New York in the 18th century

According to the BBC, the money derived from the activity of the slave trade is at the origin of modern capitalism according to historians. We know today that it is the money of this criminal trafficking which funded the famous industrial revolution in the west. According to the National Legal Policy Center the USA, the number of hours of forced labor of Africans put in slavery in the United States is equivalent to 97 000 billion U.S. dollars. Wall Street developed because of the traffic of Africans. The famous banks as Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, Rothschild experienced their booming thanks to the destruction of the lives of Africans.                                              

The famous European renaissance is therefore based on two pillars. First, the reintroduction of sciences and arts by Blacks and Arabs of the Moorish civilization. It is the intellectual pillar. Secondly, the annihilation of the America with the extermination of millions of Natives; as well as the 400 to 600 million African lives lost with 12 to 30 million of deportees put to forced labor. It is the economic pillar.

Hotep ! 

By: Lisapo ya Kama ©

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