In this impressively researched and very readable study of the Western Slave Coast
, Silke Strickrodt examines the history of the multi-ethnic communities that came into being in that area of the Atlantic coastline that lay between the more studied polities of Accra and Anlo to the west, and Ouidah to the east.
Between 1710 and 1810, ships carried over a million captured individuals from the 'Slave Coast
' of Africa to Haiti and other sites in the Americas.
"The Slave Trade Remembered on the Former Gold and Slave Coasts
In 1705, the RAC factor at Whydah on the Slave Coast
compiled "A List of Negro Provisions Supposed to be Best to be sent [from England] for 100 negroes." (38) The factor included "Brandy 30 gallons," but added "Rumm better and cheaper." It also included 112 pounds of tobacco and four gross of pipes for the slaves to smoke it.
In Ouidah, a town that had been a significant port on the Slave Coast
, a university student told me that slaves were marched through a grove that induced forgetting, or that they encircled a tree of forgetfulness.
And nowhere was this more prolific than in Benin in West Africa - the so-called Slave Coast
Another major source of slaves in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the Lagos and Niger Delta region of modern Nigeria, known to Europeans as the 'slave coast
African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana once famously called "the Old Slave Coast
" share stories that reveal that Africans were both traders and victims of the trade.
Historian Bailey focuses on an area in Ghana once called the Old Slave Coast
, where she interviewed more than 40 chiefs and other elders, who shared oral histories about the slave trade, acknowledging that black Africans themselves were traders as well as victims.
Bailey, who teaches African history at Spelman College in Atlanta, is herself of Afro-Caribbean extraction and has spent several years doing research along the stretch of southern Ghana once known as the Slave Coast
. According to liberal mythology, what she should have found there was a society still reeling from the trauma of the slave trade or, according to black nationalist mythology, one still seething with resentment over the hurt inflicted by the imperialist West.
The average annual income is currently just Euro 240 in the country, which was once part of the so-called Slave Coast
from where millions of Africans were shipped abroad by Europeans from the 17th century onwards.