Delight click this link to download the chapter.

European sailors first reached sub-Saharan Africa in 1442, when Portuguese ships reached the Senegal river. The Portuguese had been sailing the coasts of Kingdom of morocco and Western Sahara since 1413, when they captured the Moroccan city of Ceuta [yet a Castilian city today]. Between 1413 and the 1440s, the Portuguese established several fortified settlements along the Moroccan declension, especially at Arzila, Mogador (now Essaouira), Safi, and Tangier; they retained a strong presence in Morocco until 1578, when the Portuguese King Sebastião I and much of the Portuguese nobility were killed at the Battle of Alcácer-Quibir. Past 1471, W African leaders between the coasts of Senegal and Ghana had established commercial and diplomatic connections with Portuguese traders [major early sites of trade and settlement were on republic of the gambia river, Bugendo on the São Domingos river in Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone].

For the adjacent 150 years, West African rulers and traders came across the Portuguese more than whatsoever other European nation. [There were also smaller trading missions led by the English language and the French, simply these were less frequent]. In the beginning, the Portuguese main motivations were: i, an interest in the extensive aureate production of Bono-Mansu and the Akan states; 2, competition with the Ottoman Empire to admission this aureate [the Ottomans had captured Constantinople in 1453, prompting a crisis in Christian Europe]; three, the want to notice a trade route to markets in India effectually the Greatcoat of Good Promise; 4, always increasingly, the trade in enslaved persons.

By the 1590s, the Dutch began to rival the Portuguese every bit the major European trading nation in Africa. Their ships were bigger and better, and the appurtenances they traded with African political leaders were of much college quality. The Dutch had captured many of the primary Portuguese trading stations in Due west Africa by 1650, especially at Gorée in Senegal (in 1621), at Elmina in Ghana (in 1637), and at Luanda in Republic of angola (in 1641). Initially the Dutch were mainly interested in textiles, fauna hides [for the leather industry], and ivory, but by the middle of the 17th
century they as well turned to slave trading. The Dutch interest in slave trading dates to the 1620s and the capture of half of the Brazilian colonies from the Portuguese. From 1630 to 1654 the Dutch controlled the northern function of Brazil, and the associated saccharide plantations which used the labour of enslaved persons; their growing colonial interests collection their involvement in slave trading, which took over in the second one-half of the xviiith

In the 2nd half of the 17th
century, other European nations would follow this design. Danish, English language, French, High german, and Swedish traders established factories at diverse points in West Africa, and this pattern of African-European trade and interaction deepened.

This affiliate looks especially at the early on period of African-European interaction, to 1650, earlier the trade in enslaved persons came to predominate in trade. The chapter on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and then looks at that historical aspect in more detail.

I: Firsthand Causes of Portuguese Sailings to Africa

Europe in the fourteenthursday
century was in a bad way. Information technology is estimated that the spread of Plague between 1346 and 1353 led to the deaths of betwixt 30 and l% of the European population. Some archaeologists too believe that this Plague had an impact in Westward African populations [the evidence for this remains challenged, but it is an interesting hypothesis; the archeologist Gérard Chouin has been the strongest proponent of this idea].

With the population plummet, European nations such equally Portugal faced many problems. Their workforce had more than than halved, which meant that much farming land was taken over past forests and plants. Interestingly, one of the start sources available on the Westward African presence in Portugal, from the Portuguese
or parliament at Évora in 1471, says that African labourers were vital for clearing wastelands in the country: this suggests a strong labour shortage in Europe afterwards the Plague, and the role of African labour in addressing this. Many of the nobles had lost their labourers [known equally serfs], and civil wars resulted in Portugal in the 1380s. There was both a shortage of wheat to make bread, and very high aggrandizement of the Portuguese currency [known every bit the
escudo]. Both of these factors prompted the Portuguese interest in Morocco, since, ane, Morocco was a fertile country and a grower of wheat; and ii, the Portuguese hoped that through sailing forth the coast of W Africa, they might observe admission to West African golden supplies and protect their currency.

Past contrast to the situation in Europe, many states in West Africa in the 15th
century were in a procedure of expansion and growth. Mossi was established in the 15th
century in Burkina Faso, Kano became a major power, and Songhay rose to usurp the power of the Mali Empire. Much of this growth came with increased gilt production in the Akan states of Ghana. So much aureate was produced that the trans-Saharan trade did non bring enough goods to substitution at Kano, and many gilt traders left empty-handed [this is co-ordinate to the early on 16th-century Muslim traveller from southern Spain known generally as Leo Africanus].

The Portuguese were enlightened of this growth through a number of channels. The Catalan Atlas of c.1375 was a map drawn by a Majorcan Jew chosen Abraham Cresques, which showed the ability of Mali and its gold production in item.

Attributed to Abraham Cresques, Catalan Atlas, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Eatables

The Atlas showed skillful trade connections between Espana and Westward Africa via the Sahara, often undertaken by Jewish traders. These traders spread news about West Africa in Spain and Portugal. There were Jewish communities in Saharan settlements such as Tuat, and after riots against Castilian Jews in 1391 more settled in Kingdom of morocco and worked in the carpeting and textile trade to and from the Mali Empire.

Knowing something of the conditions in Africa, therefore, Portuguese leaders were keen to brand connections with West African golden producers [Portugal also had a big Jewish population]. They also hoped to come across with a Christian Male monarch who they chosen Prester John, and who they believed lived somewhere in Africa. They wanted a Christian alliance confronting the Islamic Ottoman Empire, which was growing in power; and to divert some of the gold supply. Prester John probably referred to the Christian King of Federal democratic republic of ethiopia, but this was not known at the time.

All of these factors shaped the Portuguese voyages to West Africa, and their arrival at the Senegal river in 1442.

Portuguese voyages: key dates, patterns, and timelines

Afterwards reaching the Senegal river in 1442, the Portuguese voyages connected. Past 1448, some of their people had sailed up the Gambia river equally far as the major trading boondocks of Kantora, not far due east of what is today Basse Santa Su [in the far east of the country; Kantora was and so a major centre for the trans-Saharan trade]. By the mid-1450s, there was merchandise with the Wolof country of Kajoor on the coast, and the Bijagós Islands off the declension of Guinea-Bissau had entered discussions with European traders. The initial language of communication was probably Standard arabic: Standard arabic speakers were many in Portugal in the fifteenth
century, where Granada was still as Islamic kingdom in Spain, and of grade was widely spoken in many parts of West Africa. I sailor described in 1456 how the Bijagós was the last place where the African peoples shared a linguistic communication with the Portuguese sailors, and then this was also probably the southernmost extent of Arab and Trans-Saharan trade at that fourth dimension. The Cape verde Islands were first reached probably in 1456 [a lively discussion exists amidst Capeverdean historians as to whether there was already a population; archaeological testify is inconclusive, merely the islands may have been a salt depot for Saharan states], and the coastline of Ghana followed in effectually 1471.

The coastline of Ghana was different because it was and then close to the gold mines of the Akan forests. Presently Akan traders sold gold informally to the Portuguese. The Portuguese state wanted its share, and so the Portuguese sent a large fleet in 1481 and negotiated with Kwamena Ansa, ruler at Edina [now called Elmina], to build a fortress. When the negotiations were ended [after a highly tense stand up-off, which began when the Portuguese tried to build their fort at the site of a holy shrine], the fortress at Elmina was built, and still remains on what became known every bit the Gold Coast. It would later change hands and become a Dutch fortress in the 17th
century; and in fourth dimension the Dutch and English would be the main European nations trading in Ghana.

Because there was so much commerce on the Aureate Coast, many different Akan rulers were smashing to expand their trading connections. The Portuguese congenital forts in other locations forth the Golden Declension, such as Axim and Komenda, many of which were completed past 1500. In fourth dimension there would be many more than forts, almost every few miles along the Gold Coast; some would be specialists in the gold merchandise, and others, such every bit Anishan, in exporting the corn which was also in high demand from European ships. It would non exist until the xviiith
century that the slave trade would come to predominate on the Gold Coast.

Concurrently, other rulers from West and W-Central Africa were making contact with the Portuguese. Oba Ozolua of Benin received Portuguese visitors in 1485, and the Atlantic trading postal service of Gwatón was founded around 1490. Benin initially sold malaguetta peppers to the Portuguese, but after the sea route to Republic of india was established in 1499, Benin’s peppers became less in need in Europe. The Portuguese tried to establish a trade in enslaved persons from Republic of benin to the gold suppliers in Elmina, but the Oba refused. Over the xvith
century, Benin’south relations with the Portuguese declined, until in the early 17th
century the Obas renewed links with European traders given the Dutch demand for the cloth produced in Republic of benin. Throughout the 17th
century material remained the chief export of Republic of benin, and the
cloths were traded regularly to Elmina, and as far afield as Brazil. Yet need vicious in the late 17thursday
century, every bit imports of luxury cloths from Bharat grew. This meant that by the 18th
century Republic of benin’southward Obas had finally to turn to the trade in enslaved persons to preserve and renew the power of Edo and the Republic of benin country.

The Portuguese continued to voyage south after Benin, reaching the mouth of the Kongo river and establishing relations with the manikongo at Mbanza Kongo [the capital of Kongo], Nzika Nkuwu. The isle of São Tomé was settled by 1485, and many BaKongo peoples were taken in that location as enslaved persons to work on the carbohydrate plantations. In 1491, Nzika Nkuwu converted to Christianity and took the proper noun Joao I. This led too to connections between Kongo and Elmina through São Tomé, which traded with both. Indeed, by the 1510s, traders from Benin were mentioned every bit present at the Kongolese port of Mpinda in a letter written in Portuguese by the new manikongo Afonso I (1509-46).

By the 1510s, therefore, many different peoples of W Africa and their rulers had established connections with the Portuguese. Some, such equally those at Benin and Elmina had connections further due south, to Kongo. African rulers hoped to expand their trading contacts; and at times to obtain military support against rivals, as was the case with both Benin (who fought a major battle with Portuguese support against Nupe, in 1516) and in civil wars in Jolof and Kongo.

Three: Exchanges of ambassadors

Affairs and imperial exchanges characterised the commencement decades of West African relationships with Portugal. It was common for princes of Benin, Jolof and Kongo to spend time studying in Portugal, or to be sent by their royal elders as ambassadors to the Portuguese court. This connected into the 17thursday
century, when Kongo sent ambassadors to the Dutch colonial court in Brazil, to the dwelling house of the Cosmic Church building at the Vatican, besides as to Portugal. In the 1650s, Allada also sent ambassadors to the Spanish court. This blueprint continued later, when Dahomey sent ambassadors 5 times to the Portuguese in Brazil and Portugal between 1755 and the 1810s. Indeed, when Brazil declared independence from Portugal in 1811, it was Dahomey which was the first country to recognise its independence.

The Portuguese also saw these relationships as diplomatic. Under the reign of João II (1481-95), the Portuguese sent ambassadors to many purple courts in Africa: to Republic of benin, Kongo, and to the court of the Mandimansa, the emperor of Mali [one envoy was sent equally far every bit Timbuktu, but it is not certain that he arrived]. Letters sent past the Portuguese kings to Due west African rulers conceived of them as beau monarchs. In both Africa and Portugal, kingship was a divine gift, creating some commonality.

Fortunately some portraits survive of these ambassadors. The well-nigh important were painted in Brazil by a Dutch artist [probably Jasper Beckx], and were of Dom Miguel de Castro. Miguel de Castro was the ambassador of the court of the
manikongo, Garcia Two Ncana a Luquini nzenze atumba, who sent him every bit an envoy to the Dutch court in Brazil, probably in 1643:

Jaspar Beckx, sometimes attributed to Albert Eckhout, Dom Miguel de Castro, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

The aims of these embassies were quite varied. They can be broadly summarised in three categories:

1) The quest for a military brotherhood. Two good examples tin be given of this.

:- The kickoff dates from 1488, when the Jolof prince Bumi Jeléen came to Portugal. He claimed rightful possession of the throne of Jolof, but had been unseated by his brothers/rivals, and had come up to Portugal for assistance. He was received at court by João II, who sent a military machine armada to support Bumi Jeléen on his render to the Senegal river. However, Bumi Jeléen was treacherously murdered by the leader of the fleet when they reached Due west Africa [this individual, Pero Vaz de Cunha, claimed that he suspected Bumi Jeléen of betraying them]. This was an ignominious episode; many of the leaders of this plot against the Jolof prince were put to death by João II, and the followers and relatives of Bumi Jeléen moved to the Greatcoat Verde islands [which past and then were under Portuguese control].

:- The second relates to this expedition by Dom Miguel de Castro. In the 1640s, the Kingdom of Kongo had allied with the Dutch confronting the Portuguese. The Dutch seized Luanda in 1641, so Kongo armies fought confronting Portuguese troops stationed at their forts [Ambaca and Massangano] in the interior of Republic of angola. In this embassy, Dom Miguel de Castro had been sent past the
to discuss armed services strategy and how to throw the Portuguese out for expert from West-Central Africa. Yet this alliance was finally defeated in 1648.

2) Interest in Christianity

Another factor in these embassies was the interest which some African peoples had in Christianity. Princes from Benin studied in Portuguese missions, every bit did those from Kongo. While the involvement in Christianity waned in Benin, in Kongo it did non, and ambassadors were sent to the Vatican repeatedly request for more priests and missionaries, long into the 17th
century. In the 1670s, over a dozen members of the Ndongo royal family spent many years studying in a variety of monasteries and convents in Portugal [as new enquiry by the historian José Lingna Nafafé is showing]. Allada, too, sent requests to Spain for missionaries in the center of the 17thursday
century; by this time the climate was becoming unpredictable, and there were frequent floods, and so the king of Allada hoped that the Christian priests might be able to intercede with divinities and prevent these.

3) Commercial activity

Merchandise was oft a motivation in the despatching of ambassadors past West African kings. Access to Atlantic trade was an important way of expanding supplies of money. Just as today there is the Cedi, Dalasi, Leone, and Naira, so in the past many types of money were in employ in different parts of West Africa, such as cowries, iron bars, and cloth strips. More specifically, these were: 1, gold, particularly on the Niger Bend and in the Akan kingdoms of the Gold Declension; two, cowries, in Benin, Oyò, on the Niger Bend, and subsequently in Hueda and Dahomey; three, copper rods, on the Gilded Coast and in Calabar; four, iron confined, in Senegambia, and on the Gold Declension; 5, strips of cloth, used widely in Senegambia, Sierra Leone, and in parts of the Gold Coast and Oyò. These currencies had all been in use before the inflow of European traders. The Atlantic merchandise then expanded the money supply that was available, and thus also helped to abound market place exchanges. By negotiating with European monarchs, many West African rulers hoped to abound their admission to currency, and thus the size of their tax revenue, and the power of their state. In the 1620s, this saw smaller kingdoms forth the Gold Coast sending embassies to the Dutch; while this was likewise a clear motivation in the embassies sent by Allada in the 1650s. Five embassies sent past Dahomey to Brazil and Portugal in the later eighteenthursday
and early on xixth
century all had commercial aims.

Past this time, the royal family of Dahomey had get experts in fine living in the capitals of Brazil and Portugal. The embassies sent in 1795 are a expert case in bespeak. Ttravelling first to Salvador, in Brazil, the ii ambassadors spent large sums on fine silk and damask clothing and hats all of it paid for past the Portuguese crown. They then moved on to Lisbon late in the year, and when they arrived they visited the theatre and the opera every dark.

The diplomatic element of African-European relations shows that these took identify on a scale of grand politics, as well every bit at a local level. West African rulers’ interests were those of many leaders anywhere: commercial and armed services success, and religious belief. Yet while the Portuguese crown also despatched many embassies initially, past the 1530s the European presence was becoming increasingly “informal”, as minor-scale traders took over.

IV: European Trading Communities in West Africa

There were two main types of European trading community in Westward Africa: 1, informal communities, where Europeans settled, married women from the surface area, and with them formed African families who often became important in local trade networks; 2, more formal communities which grew upwards in the fortified trading posts along the coast, or factories [from the Portuguese word
feitoria] that were especially found along the Gold Coast, in Hueda, and besides in the rivers effectually Gambia and Bissau [specially the Gambia, Casamance, São Domingos, Corubal, Nunez and Pongo rivers].

The fortified factories were often modelled on Elmina, which was the first, oldest, and biggest of these trading posts. This shows the importance of the gold trade to begin with, dating to the 1480s, when Elmina was congenital. However apart from Elmina and other smaller forts on the Gold Coast, in the 1500s the informal model of trade was more than usual. Male Portuguese traders came to areas such equally Senegambia, the rivers of Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Benin. Here they married, and often acted as trading intermediaries with local rulers, equally they, their wives (and their children) were able to speak both African and European languages.

One of these traders became quite famous in Senegambia in the 16th
century. Known every bit “Ganagoga”, this Portuguese man had originally been called João Ferreira. He married the girl of the ruler of Fùùta Tòòro [on the Senegal river]. His name “Ganagoga” meant “he who speaks all the languages” in the Biafada language of Guinea-Bissau, which shows how of import this ability was.

It seems that relations with daughters of the ruling families was not unusual for these traders. In another example in the early 17th
century, one Dutch Jewish trader got into problems after having had an affair with the daughter of the
of Kajoor in Senegal.

Some historians call back that these early traders also often took on religious roles. The Portuguese chosen those of their nation who settled in Africa “tangomãos” in the 1500s. This word derived from the name of a shrine in Sierra Leone,
tunguma. According to one writer in 1506, i of the primeval Portuguese men to settle in Sierra Leone [in the 1480s] had officiated at this shrine at the request of the Temni peoples in that location [though Sierra Leone’southward human communities changed a lot in the sixteenth
century, with the arrival of a wave of Mande-influenced warriors chosen the Manes, who defeated the warriors of existing communities and then intermarried with them by 1600]. “Tangomão” therefore meant a European person who both settled in Due west Africa, and adopted West African beliefs and practices.

In many of these communities, it was the African women married to these male traders who ran the trading networks. Their male European spouses were often ill with malaria and other diseases to which they had no concrete resistance. These men looked awful, and spent much of their time in bed before dying young. Female person traders spoke African languages much better, of course. They could class trading and human networks with their dwelling house communities, and run the day to day aspects of the business concern while their male person spouses fought weakly with disease [some historians think that the strong role of women traders in these areas influenced the powerful place that women took in some independence movements against colonial rule in the twentyth
century, especially in Republic of guinea-Bissau and parts of Nigeria].

A skillful example of one of these cases comes from Republic of guinea-bissau in the middle of the 17th
century. In the factory of Cacheu, the most powerful traders in the 1660, 1670s, and 1680s were two women called Bibiana Vaz and Crispina Peres. Peres was married to a Portuguese trader, but he was so ill that she ran the couple’due south business. She made so many enemies through her concern acumen that she was eventually captured by the Portuguese Inquisition and deported to Lisbon, where she was tried in 1664 for “fetishism” as a crime against Catholic Christianity. Vaz, meanwhile, was so powerful that she kept the Portuguese Governor of Cacheu prisoner in the passageway of her house in Farim for 18 months in the 1690s.

These mixed communities were more than influenced by African than by European practices and behaviour. It was important to be able to speak European languages and to write to get the best trade terms with Europeans, just spousal relationship and inheritance was carried out co-ordinate to the local practice of wherever the European had settled. This encouraged the Portuguese to settle where inheritance passed through the female line [matrilineal societies]. In these places, such as Republic of guinea-Bissau and on the Gilded Coast, the children which a European had with his African wife would inherit rights, social status, and property co-ordinate to the laws of that club. However, where inheritance passed through the male line [patrilineal societies], the children of these marriages would inherit no social or property rights, since their fathers had been born with none, existence Europeans [a good case is in Senegambia, where very few European men settled after the 1550s].

These informal communities concentrated on trade. They helped African rulers to aggrandize their trading connections. They could help to negotiate with European traders and ships who stopped only for a while, and to get the best cost. Some of these families retained the connexion to Europe, sending children to study in European countries into the 18th
century, and becoming rich merchants of the littoral towns. Most more or less shook off their European past, and became fully integrated into the African societies, where their male European forefathers had settled every bit stranger-guests of their African landlord kings.

As noted, these informal settlements were in the majority in the 16th
century. Nevertheless, towards the end of that century and in the early 17th
century fortified European trading posts became common, especially on the Aureate Declension and in Hueda. In Casamance and Guinea-bissau, they were formed in settlements such as Cacheu (1589), Ziguinchor (1645), and Bissau (1687). The 17th
century also saw the establishment of the fort at James Island (1651), at the estuary of the Republic of the gambia river. Along the Gold Coast, the Dutch presence saw increasing number of castles existence established, the most famous being at Cape Corso (Cape Coast, built in 1610 and expanded in 1652) and Sekondi (1642), as well as those already mentioned at Axim and Elmina.

The huge expansion of the Atlantic slave trade in the belatedly 17th
century saw the growth of this model of European settlement. European factories at Offra (1660, the port for Allada) and at Hueda were fortified. By the center of the 18thursday
century, these communities of European settlers had go more of import than the breezy ones noted above; by this time, members of these breezy communities had by and large settled and fully integrated into their host African communities.

Although these communities were protected militarily, they relied very heavily on African intermediaries in their trade. The military captains of these forts besides oft attended and participated in royal ceremonies of the local African state (as oftentimes happened in Dahomey, for instance), and too would send gifts for the funeral rites of any deceased person of importance. In practise, this meant that they had to take and participate in African religious practices, associated with these funerals.

Yet, the communities which grew up around these fortified trading posts were quite unlike to the informal communities noted above. The military machine attribute was vital. Although European traders rented the land for their posts, they were as much occupiers as they were tenants. They had armed militias, and oftentimes allied with one local ruler or some other, which could create bug betwixt them [it is important to recall that by the eighteenth
century, guns were ane of the larges imports from the Atlantic trade to Africa; this had changed a lot from previous centuries, where copper, iron, and material had as well been of import]. They were accepted to slavery, and brought with them the racial counterinsurgency which became specially bad in Europe from around 1650 onwards. They were therefore used to having “castle slaves” [an idea imported from Europe, via the experience in the New world plantation societies], something which influenced practices of service and dependence in local communities.

Many of the European officials in these forts had families with African women, and their children who grew up around these forts often became traders, as their dual heritage gave them access to both the worlds of their African and European parents. Some of these families became important figures in local politics. In this sense there was a continuity from the more than breezy communities discussed above. Yet the military presence and the growth of slavery meant that in many of import respects these communities had become very different by the 18thursday

V: The Nature of Trade

Europeans came to Africa mainly for trade, and this was the nigh exclusive cause of their coming. By and large they arrived hoping for a brusk stay and to become rich. Some and so realised the many riches to exist institute beyond textile wealth, and stayed to form families who became office of their host communities. But fifty-fifty then, the commercial aspect was always important.

For African rulers, merchandise brought many opportunities. In the first two centuries, they demanded particularly currency materials. Material was i of the largest items imported, from India and Europe; some cargoes of Dutch ships in the early 17th
century consisted almost entirely of cloth, shipped to Senegambia and the Gold Coast. Indeed, cloth remained important through the 18th
and 19th
centuries; the so-called
pièce de guinée, an indigo-dyed blueish fabric made near Pondichéry in India, was imported by the French to Senegambia and used equally a currency on the Upper Senegal River throughout this time. Fabric was used equally money in Senegambia, and as well every bit a currency in parts of Republic of angola and the Gold Declension. Copper was also a major import, especially to Benin and the Gold Coast, and fe confined were also significant [in both the Gold Coast and Senegambia, iron bars needed to be branded with the mark of the European trading company, such as the OWIC (Dutch West Indian Company) or RAC (English Royal African Visitor), otherwise African traders would give them less value]. Cowries were imported from the Republic of the maldives to Benin from as early on as 1505.

This period likewise saw the import of jewels, and some manufactured goods like mirrors and basins. But the value of each imported cargo consisted mainly of goods which could be converted into currency. Evidence suggests that the imported metals such as copper and iron were brought in specific dimensions for trade: copper rings (or manillas) and iron bars of a specified length [especially in Senegambia] which were used then as mediums of exchange. The metals were then melted down past smiths for use in agronomical tools, weapons, and artistic works (in the instance of Benin, the Benin bronzes) [at that place was a large increase in production of the bronzes in the sixteenth
century, when copper imports grew; the bronzes had been important from earlier, but their production expanded and so].

Court of Republic of benin, Benin brass plaque 03, CC BY-SA 3.0

It is important to recognise the shift that and then happened in the second half of the 17th
century, when currency imports declined, and were replaced by particularly luxury items of consumption such as alcohol and tobacco (especially from Brazil), and also by guns and gunpowder. The Nigerian historian Joseph Inikori sees this change every bit accompanying a slowing downwardly in African economical growth. The lack of currency imports was symptomatic of a market which had stopped growing, and did not need so much money to function in exchange.

One tin say by contrast that until the second half of the 17th
century, the trade between Africa and Europe was quite balanced. Until then, while African rulers wanted increased supplies of currency, Europeans did not only focus on the slave trade, as later became the example. They also wanted to import gold and ivory. Places such as Allada, Republic of benin, Republic of cape verde, Loango, and the rivers of Cameroon and Gabon all exported cloth, and some of this was sold as far afield every bit Brazil, Curação [a Caribbean island virtually the coast of Venezuela, belonging to the Dutch] and the The states in the 17th
century [indeed Oyò cloth was traded to Yorubà communities in Brazil throughout the 18th
and into the 19th
century, and marketwomen of Yorubà ancestry in Brazil worked as “material sellers” (vendedoras de panos) into the xixth
century in Salvador, Brazil]. When the Dutch invaded Portuguese colonies in Brazil in 1630, the Portuguese colonists formed an army which included many Africans from the Gold Coast and Angola; the Aureate Coast contingent demanded particular cloths as part of their payment and apparel, which was sent peculiarly from the Dutch fortress at Elmina.

It was not just the West African fabric manufacture which found markets overseas in the 16th
and 17thursday
centuries. Basketwork made by Gold Coast communities was highly prized in Holland in the early 17th
century. Ivory carvings fabricated by the Sape peoples of Sierra Leone were establish in different parts of Europe, turned into everyday items such as common salt cellars and candle holders which were part of the consign trade from this part of Westward Africa [in the 20th
century colonial era, some European art historians assumed these ivories came from Republic of benin; however information technology has now been established by the American art historian Peter Marker that they came from Sierra Leone].

Ivory Salt Cellar
Ivory Table salt cellar from Sierra Leone, from the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (Lisbon), public domain

In sum, the Europeans who settled in Africa did then as function of a commercial enterprise. Their trading presence in Westward Africa began every bit one which was more or less between equal trading partners. As the diplomatic embassies show, each party saw the others as kings and rulers of their lands by divine power. Each, too, imported money from the other (the Europeans importing gold, the Africans importing copper, cowries, cloth, and iron). There was an Atlantic slave trade, but it was not equally important as information technology later became [the Atlantic slave trade remained quite minor in Westward Africa until the 1640s; it had expanded a lot in Angola later 1580, with a trade to Brazil and the balance of Latin America, but this is in Westward-Central Africa: information technology was only in Senegambia that the slave merchandise was at all important in Due west Africa until the 1640s, when it began to abound in Allada and Calabar].

However the later 17th
century saw a alter, and with that a different pattern in European settlement and trade in West Africa. By this time, the slave trade was dominating, and Europeans were settling in fortified trading positions, and not informally with their African hosts. The economic terms of trade were in general less equal, and that remained the example through the 18thursday

Half dozen: Environmental Alter, Competition and Changes in the European Presence

The first half of the 17th
century saw many changes in these patterns, equally we are seeing. These changes were vital in West Africa. They were also function of changes that were taking place around the world, which saw wars and revolutions in places as different as China and Europe, likewise as in Africa.

The main causes of these transformations were: (1), Environmental pressures brought on past the “mini ice age” (reaching a tiptop in the 1640s); and (two), Political competition brought on by the emergence of the capitalist world system.

(1), The environmental pressures were part of a big alter in the world’s climate, generally known as the “mini ice age”. From the 1570s onwards, there was a major cooling in the world’southward temperatures. This produced climatic difficulties. In Africa, in that location were droughts in Republic of angola (from around 1600) and Senegambia (from around 1640), and floods in Yorubà-speaking areas of Nigeria and Republic of benin (in the early on 17thursday
century). There were heavy snows in Kingdom of morocco. When the Rex of Allada sent ambassadors to Espana in the 1650s, he said that one of the reasons was an attempt to cease the terrible storms which Allada had been experiencing.

Major problems occurred in other parts of the world. The freezing temperatures made harvests of wheat and other crops much worse than before, and food prices rose. Some of the coolest temperatures of all occurred around 1640. This was also when the biggest revolutions began. In China, a ceremonious war began which saw the overthrow of the Ming dynasty. In Europe, Portugal declared independence from Espana also in 1640 and a civil war began which lasted until 1668; a civil war too began in England in 1641, when the Rex was deposed and executed, and there was as well ceremonious conflict in France.

What caused this fall in temperatures, and the political crises? European historians traditionally pointed to different patterns of the sun. A team of archaeologists based in Colombia have a new caption. The European conquest of the Americas in the sixteenthursday
century is usually thought to have caused a population plummet of indigenous Americans. Latest estimates suggest 90% of the Native American population died from disease and war – perhaps ten-15% of the entire globe population. The fall in the indigenous American population led to, (a), increasing areas of forest taking over settlements and farmland, and (b), less deforestation and burning of fires; the growth of forest absorbed Carbon Dioxide pollution, and there was also less Carbon Dioxide created through the burning of fires [in keeping with today’s assay of causes of  global warming in the 21st
century, which understands this as a relationship of carbon emissions and carbon capture]. Co-ordinate to the Colombian archaeologists, this led to the autumn in temperatures.

(two), Political competition rose with growth in trade and the power of the states that could control information technology. In West Africa, it was becoming of import to develop trading relationships with European partners. Those states which did so prospered, only there could also exist a cost. With larger kingdoms, such as Jolof and Kongo, their coastal provinces [Kajoor in Jolof and Nsoyo in Kongo] became more than powerful and bankrupt away from central control [by the 1550s in Kajoor, and in the early on 17th
century in Nsoyo]. Meantime rival rulers sought to open trading stations, and struggled with i another for best admission to international trade. This created both disharmonize, and increased demand for European trade, and led to the huge number of fortified trading posts built along the Gold Declension, and the coasts of Hueda and Allada in the 2nd half of the 17th

At the same fourth dimension, there was competition amid Europeans, who often struggled with one some other for the best access to African trade. Information technology is worth noting that although there was trigger-happy competition between different European nations to trade, this never led to direct military confrontations between them in Africa in this period. Wars fought past European nations were fought in Europe itself, where in Africa European traders were competing as role of a shared cooperative agenda and structure of trade. By the 2d one-half of the 17th
century, Danish, Dutch, English, French and German language trading companies were all seeking to establish a foothold in West Africa, bringing the all-time and about fashionable trading commodities and negotiating with one another to exchange what they had to make up the best “assortment”.

The competition amidst European traders meant that African rulers could often strike amend bargains. They could play off ane against another to go the all-time price. Simply information technology as well meant that they had to come across the demands of traders if these were not to move on elsewhere in search of captives, ivory and golden. Common dependence of African rulers and European traders grew; and the increasingly delicate environs, in Africa as elsewhere in the world, created frequent problems of food and resources which could oftentimes lead to conflict.


In sum, factors of environmental alter and economic competition created a difficult situation in many parts of West Africa past the later 17th
century. The terms of the European presence changed decisively towards one of slave trading based from fortified castles and trading posts, and abroad from common coexistence within African social structures. This was part of the shift towards the rapid growth in the trans-Atlantic slave merchandise, which will exist dealt with in the next chapter.


1413: Portuguese troops capture Ceuta in Kingdom of morocco; their sailors brainstorm to sail down the W African coast.

1442: Portuguese sailors beginning reach sub-Saharan Africa

1471: Portuguese reach the Gold Coast

1482: Elmina castle founded on the Aureate Coast past the Portuguese

1485: Oba Ozolua of Republic of benin received Portuguese visitors; the Portuguese trading post at Gwatón is founded in the kingdom of Benin in 1490

1488: Bumi Jeléen, a Jolof prince, comes to Lisbon in search of a armed services alliance from the Portuguese against his rivals to the Jolof crown

1491: Nzika Nkuwu,
(ruler of Kongo) converts to Christianity

1589: Cacheu founded past the Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau, a fortified postal service; followed by Ziguinchor (1645) and Bissau (1687).

1621: Gorée (Senegal/Dakar) captured from the Portuguese by the Dutch

1637: Elmina captured by the Dutch from the Portuguese

1641: Luanda and São Tomé captured by the Dutch from the Portuguese; re-taken by a Brazilian regular army in 1648

1642: Sekondi castle founded by the English language

1651: English constitute a fort at James Island, at the mouth of the gambia river

1652: Cape Coast castle on the Gilded Declension expanded past the English

Toby Light-green