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Nigeria: A Leader in Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade


I would greatly appreciate any source documentation of  the reply credited to Queen Elizabeth II as to African chiefs getting paid for the slaves taken from Africa. I once wrote that I get a lot of schooling from this forum: this would be another instance of such. Please Mr. (I hope I am right calling you Mr.) Uko Okpok, or anybody who has the required data, forward such to me anyway you choose and as soon as possible. Thanks.

Thank you for sharing the snippet of history.
The question I have is: should the African states 
who participated in slavery be responsible for part of
reparation; for instance should the Ibibio, Ibo,
Yoruba Nations etc. be responsible for part of the
reparations or should the specific regions of these
states be responsible since they profited directly
from these immoral trade; that is Aro in Ibo , Efik in
Ibibio ,and Bonny in ijaw etc. etc? 
I am asking this question in light of recent referral
 of descendants of Africans in Jamaica West Indies by
Queen Elizabeth 11  to African Chiefs, when asked by
these descendants of African slaves for compensation
for free labour by their ancestors. Her contention was
that the African Chiefs got paid. 
    Snip:"Nigeria kept its important position in the
slave trade throughout the great expansion of the
transatlantic trade after the middle of the
seventeenth century. Slightly more slaves came from
the Nigerian coast than from Angola in the
eighteenth century, while in the nineteenth century
perhaps 30 percent of all slaves sent across the
Atlantic came from Nigeria". 

Nigeria was once known as the "Giant of Africa". It
is a historically significant that in his verile
years, Nigeria lead, perpetuated and benefited from
the sale and import of their own in a most horrific,
dehumanizing business known as the Transatlantic
Slave Trade. 3.5 million enslaved Africans were
shipped from Nigeria to America.

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In the year 2005, at least, 1of 5 Africans live in
Nigeria. Thousands of others have scattered to other
part of the world. In America, Nigerian immigrants
have found themselves in cities North, South, East
and West along side the descendants of the survivors
of the African Slave Trade, African Americans.  A
great many Nigerians are becoming permanent
residents with no intentions of making a life in
Nigeria again.
Due to the blood, sweat and tears of African
American freedom fighters, Black people are able to
participate in the political and economics of the
United States. Prior to the 1960's, the rights to
vote, live in decent housing, own businesses and be
educated were no rights at all. It is upon the backs
of free Black slave labor, civil rights activists
and blacknationalist that we all enjoy whatever
opportunities and liberties there are in America.
Crucial to the laying of a foundation of
understanding and communication between the
relationships of Africans and African American is to
engage the discussion of slavery, some believe.
Acknowlegement, Accountability, Acceptance and
Closure will aid the efforts of people of African
descent to move forward together.
Calling all to leave youregos at the door, bring
your open mind and let's  talk: Yoruba, Igbo,
Ibibio, Ijaw, and others, people of African descent
from within and without the Continent, scholars,
historians, young and old, male and female.


A desire for glory and profit from trade, missionary
zeal, and considerations of global strategy brought
Portuguese navigators to the West African coast in
the late fifteenth century. Locked in a seemingly
interminable crusading war with Muslim Morocco, the
Portuguese conceived of a plan whereby maritime
expansion might bypass the Islamic world and open
new markets that would result in commercial gain.
They hoped to tap the fabled Saharan gold trade,
establish a sea route around Africa to India, and
link up with the mysterious Christian kingdom of
Prester John. The Portuguese achieved all these
goals. They obtained access to the gold trade by
trading along the Gulf of Guinea, establishing a
base at Elmina ("the mine") on the Gold Coast
(Ghana), and they made their way into the Indian
Ocean, militarily securing a monopoly of the spice
trade. Even the Christian kingdom turned out to be
real; it was Ethiopia, although Portuguese
adventures there turned sour very quickly.
Portugal's  lasting legacy for Nigeria, however, was its
initiation of the transatlantic slave trade. 
By 1471 Portuguese ships had reconnoitered the West
African coast south as far as the Niger Delta,
although they did not know that it was the delta,
and in 1481 emissaries from the king of Portugal
visited the court of the oba of Benin. For a time,
Portugal and Benin maintained close relations.
Portuguese soldiers aided Benin in its wars;
Portuguese even came to be spoken at the oba's
court. Gwatto, the port of Benin, became the depot
to handle the peppers, ivory, and increasing numbers
of slaves offered by the oba in exchange for coral
beads; textile imports from India;
European-manufactured articles, including tools and
weapons; and manillas (brass and bronze bracelets
that were used as currency and also were melted down
for objets d'art). Portugal also may have been the
first European power to import cowrie shells, which
were the currency of the far interior. 
Benin profited from its close ties with the
Portuguese and exploited the firearms bought from
them to tighten its hold on the lower Niger area.
Two factors checked the spread of Portuguese
influence and the continued expansion of Benin,
however. First, Portugal stopped buying pepper
because of the availability of other spices in the
Indian Ocean region. Second, Benin placed an embargo
on the export of slaves, thereby isolating itself
from the growth of what was to become the major
export from the Nigerian coast for 300 years. Benin
continued to capture slaves and to employ them in
its domestic economy, but the Edo state remained
unique among Nigerian polities in refusing to
participate in the transatlantic trade. In the long
run, Benin remained relatively isolated from the
major changes along the Nigerian coast. 
The Portuguese initially bought slaves for resale on
the Gold Coast, where slaves were traded for gold.
For this reason, the southwestern coast of Nigeria
and neighboring parts of the present-day Republic of
Benin (not to be confused with the kingdom of Benin)
became known as the "slave coast." When the African
coast began to supply slaves to the Americas in the
last third of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese
continued to look to the Bight of Benin as one of
its sources of supply. By then they were
concentrating activities on the Angolan coast, which
supplied roughly 40 percent of all slaves shipped to
the Americas throughout the duration of the
transatlantic trade, but they always maintained a
presence on the Nigerian coast.
The Portuguese monopoly on West African trade was
broken at the end of the sixteenth century, when
Portugal's influence was challenged by the rising
naval power of the Netherlands. The Dutch took over
Portuguese trading stations on the coast that were
the source of slaves for the Americas. French and

Nigeria: Atlantic Ocean

English competition later undermined the Dutch
position. Although slave ports from Lagos to Calabar
would see the flags of many other European maritime
countries (including Denmark, Sweden, and
Brandenburg) and the North American colonies,
Britain became the dominant slaving power in the
eighteenth century. Its ships handled two-fifths of
the transatlantic traffic during the century. The
Portuguese and French were responsible for another
Nigeria kept its important position in the slave
trade throughout the great expansion of the
transatlantic trade after the middle of the
seventeenth century. Slightly more slaves came from
the Nigerian coast than from Angola in the
eighteenth century, while in the nineteenth century
perhaps 30 percent of all slaves sent across the
Atlantic came from Nigeria. Over the period of the
whole trade, more than 3.5 million slaves were
shipped from Nigeria to the Americas. Most of these
slaves were Igbo and Yoruba, with significant
concentrations of Hausa, Ibibio, and other ethnic
groups. In the eighteenth century, two polities--Oyo
and the Aro confederacy--were responsible for most
of the slaves exported from Nigeria. The Aro
confederacy continued to export slaves through the
1830s, but most slaves in the nineteenth century
were a product of the Yoruba civil wars that
followed the collapse of Oyo in the 1820s.
The expansion of Oyo after the middle of the
sixteenth century was closely associated with the
growth of slave exports across the Atlantic. Oyo's
cavalry pushed southward along a natural break in
the forests (known as the Benin Gap, i.e., the
opening in the forest where the savanna stretched to
the Bight of Benin), and thereby gained access to
the coastal ports.

Oyo experienced a series of power struggles and
constitutional crises in the eighteenth century that
directly related to its success as a major slave
exporter. The powerful Oyo Mesi, the council of
warlords that checked the king, forced a number of
kings to commit suicide. In 1754 the head of the Oyo
Mesi, basorun Gaha, seized power, retaining a series
of kings as puppets. The rule of this military
oligarchy was overcome in 1789, when King Abiodun
successfully staged a countercoup and forced the
suicide of Gaha. Abiodun and his successors
maintained the supremacy of the monarchy until the
second decade of the nineteenth century, primarily
because of the reliance of the king on a cavalry
force that was independent of the Oyo Mesi. This
force was recruited largely from Muslim slaves,
especially Hausa, from farther north.
The other major slave-exporting state was a loose
confederation under the leadership of the Aro, an
Igbo clan of mixed Igbo and Ibibio origins, whose
home was on the escarpment between the central Igbo
districts and the Cross River. Beginning in the late
seventeenth century, the Aro built a complex network
of alliances and treaties with many of the Igbo