Effects of slave trade on the people of East Africa

Positive effects

New foods were introduced through trade routes like maize, pawpaws, rice, groundnuts both at the coast and in the interior.

Plantation farming increased in some areas, especially the clove plantations were slaves worked.

The interior was opened to the outside world this later encouraged the coming of European missionaries. Many European Christian missionaries came to East Africa to preach against slave trade and to campaign for its abolition.

The trade routes became permanent routes and inland roads which led to growth of communication networks.

Swahili was introduced in land and is now being widely spoken in Tanzania , Kenya ,Uganda and Eastern Congo.

Islam as a religion was introduced by Arabs and it  spread , especially in Yao land and in Buganda land.

A new race called Swahili was formed through intermarriages between Arabs and some Africans.

There was growth of Arab towns such as Tabora and Ujiji inland.

There was emergence of dynamic leaders such as Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Slave trade strengthened the large and powerful states, which could easily get access to guns at the expense of small ones.

Slave trade led to a situation whereby power became centralised and no longer with the small, local authority (segimentary societies) mainly to enable African chiefs directly control slave trade.

Slave trade encouraged large-scale trade whereby contact was established between the trade masters and indigenous/local population.

Africans were dispersed to other parts of the world e.g Arabia, America and West Indies. In Africa, Sierra-Leone and Liberia were founded to accommodate former slaves from Europe and America.

Negative effects

African population was reduced, people who would have been great leaders and empire builders were killed. It is estimated that over 15 to 30 million people were solded in to slavery while other millions died in the process being transported.

Slave trade brought misery, suffering and lowered the quality of people in East Africa this is because they were reduced to ‘commodities’ which could be bought and sold on land.

Villages and families were destroyed and broken up by slave raiders and never to be reunited this later resulted in to loss of identity.

Diseases broke out among the overcrowded slaves for example the Spaniards introduced Syphilis and soon it spread to other traders.

Slave trade led to displacement of people and many became homeless and destitute many and stayed in Europe with no identity.

Economic activities such as farming were disrupted. This is because the young and able craftsmen, traders and farmers were carried off, causing economic stagnation as the economic workforce depleted.

Progress slowed down, which resulted in famine, poverty and destitution and helplessness.

There was a decline in production of traditional goods such as coffee, beans, bark cloth and iron which greatly hindered the cash economy.

There was a decline in African industries which also faced a lot of  competition from imported manufactured goods for example the Bark cloth and iron working industries.

Guns were introduced into the interior which caused a lot of insecurity and increased incidences of wars for territorial expansion.

Clans and tribal units, languages were broken and inter-tribal peace was disturbed for example swahili language replaced the traditional languages in the interior.