History Notes



Prelude to African interactions

African people had been interacting among themselves for a long time in history.

People from one community got into contact with one another. This way relationships were established relating to the modes of production to which they were tied.

These contacts of people resulted from their struggle to meet the daily requirements and further socio-economic development.


Economic factors for the interactions among people of Africa

  1. Local trade
  2. Long distance trade
  1. Local trade

Refers to the type of trade that took place within one community or society.

For example the Maasai trading amongst themselves.

The main medium of exchange was barter system.

2. Long distance trade

Refers to the type of trade that took place between two or more regions.

It involved traders moving long distance exchanging goods.

The most famous long distance traders in Africa are:

a)Kamba, Nyamwezi, Yao and Buganda in East Africa.

b)Khartoumers and Berbers in N.Africa.

c)Poisa and Dyula in West Africa.

d)Ovimbundu in Central Africa.



This refers to the type of trade that took place between the interior and coastal people of East Africa.

The main paricipants were:

-The Yao, Kamba, Nyamwezi from the interior.

-The Arabs from East African coast.


*The main commodities that were exchanged were slaves, ivory, leopard-skin from the interior.

Guns, clothes, beads and spirits came from the coast.

There were three main routes through which the trade was conducted:

-The Northern trade route.

-The Central trade route.

-The Southern trade route.

  1. The northern route

The main participants in this trade route were the Kamba.

2. The central route

The Nyamwezi dominated this route.

3. The southern route.

The main participants were the Yao.



1.Formation of states

It led to formation of states because it introduced guns used for conquest and

expansions. E.g. Buganda in Uganda and Karagwe in Tanganyika.

2. Developments of towns

It led to development of towns both in the interior and coast of East Africa.

e.g. Bagamoyo and Tabora.

3. Spread of islam

Led to introduction and spread of Islam in the interior of East Africa.

This religion was introduced by the Arabs from the coast.

4. Introduction of European manufactured goods

Manufactured goods such as cloths, spirits, and guns were introduced in East Africa

by the Arabs from the coast but these goods came from.

5. Spread of Kiswahili

It led to the introduction of and spread of Kiswahili in the interior of East Africa.

This was a language for traders but now it’s the official language in Tanzania.

6. Production of Mullatoes

The coming of the Arabs to East Africa led to intermarriage between Africans and

Arabs and led to the production of mullatoes.

7. Increased coming of foreigners

Long distance trade attracted many foreigners to East Africa especially the

Europeans. This later led to the colonisation of Africa by Europe.


The Trans-Saharan trade

The long distance trade in West Africa was called Trans-Saharan trade.

This trade took place between West and North Africa across the Sahara.

The trade developed during the 14th century after the introduction of camels that enabled transportation of large quantities of goods. This trade was controlled by Berber traders who came from Middle East.

They provided capital and organised slave caravans.


The goods that were exchanged included:

  • a) Slaves, ivory, gold, ostrich feathers from West Africa.
  • b) Guns, beads, cloth, spirits such as alcohol, mirrors from North Africa.


Factors that contributed to the rise of Trans Saharan trade.

-Increased the production of goods such as salt and gold goods made trade possible.

-Introduction of camels led to its rise because camels made it possible to transport large quantities of goods across the Saharan desert.

-Conquest of North Africa by Arabs

Arabs provided capital and organised slave caravans. So they gave a big contribution to the rise of this traders therefore leading to the rise of this trade.


Effects of the Trans Saharan trade in West Africa

-Led to formation of states such as Ghana,Mali. These states were formed because of the guns that were used for conquest and expansion.

-Led to development of towns such as Gao and Timbukutu. These towns were first trading centres.

-Introduction and spread of Islam

This religion was introduced by the Arabs from the Middle East.

-The transport system was improved because of the introduction of camels that made it possible to transport large quantities of goods across the desert.

-Those who participated in this trade especially the African chiefs became rich because the exchanged different goods.

-There was introduction of mullatoes because of the intermarriages between Arabs and Africans.



Modes of production

A mode of production refers to combination of productive forces and relations of production. Productive forces include human labour, object of labour and means of labour.

-Human labour

These are the people used in the production process.

-Object of labour

This is where production takes place e.g. land

-Means of labour

These are the instruments of production e.g. hoe


The modes of production in Pre-colonial Africa are

-Communal mode

-Slave mode

-Feudal mode


Communal mode of production

This mode is also called primitive communalism.

It is the oldest mode of production.

It started from the time man changed an ape to modern man.

-The societies in this mode are:

-Hadzabe in Tanganyika

-Tindiga in Tanganika

-Tesa in Uganda

-Doroba in Kenya

-Fulani in West Africa

-Khoikhoi in South Africa

The main economic activities were hunting and gathering.


Characteristics of communal mode

  1. Communal ownership

Is a major means of production. It was owned by the whole society.

  1. Poor tools of production

They were made out of stones, bones, sticks etc.

  1. Low production

Because of the use of poor tools.

  1. No surplus

Because of low levels of production. Whatever was produced was consumed by people.

  1. No exploitation

No exploitation of man because the major means of production were controlled by the whole society.

  1. No states or kingdoms due to low production that could not support high population.


Slave mode of production

This was the first exploitative mode of production where by a person became slave to another man.

Examples of societies that practised slavery are:

-Buganda in Tanganyika

-Haya in Tanganyika

-Societies in Egypt

Note: The slave mode of production went side by side with the feudal mode of production.


Characteristics of slave mode of production

-Existence of classes

There were 2 classes; the slave masters and the slaves.

-The major means of production and slaves were owned by the slave masters.

-Existence of exploitation

The slave masters exploited the slaves by taking the products that they produced. The slave masters never participated in production.

-Better tools of production

Iron tools were better than stone tools that were used during primitive communalism.

-High production because of the use of better tools of production.

-Existence of surplus

There was availability of surplus because of high production that was caused by better tools.

-Existence of large political institutions such as states and kingdoms. The high production led to high population that formed states such as Buganda in Uganda and Korogwe in Tanganyika.


The feudal mode of production

It was based on private ownership of land. The land was controlled by the feudal lords.

It was the second exploitative mode of production.



-Two classes existed i.e. feudal or land lords and the peasants or seifs.

-Better tools of production then those used under both the communal and slave mode of production.

-The major means of production (land) was controlled by the feudal lords.

-High production

There was higher level of production due to use of better tools of production.

-Surplus was realised because of higher production. The surplus was exchanged through trade.

-Formation of large political institutions such as states or kingdoms. The states were formed due to increased production and population. Examples of states are Buganda and Korogwe.


Forms of Feudalism in East Africa


The type of feudalism practised by the Haya in Tanganyika. The major means of production were controlled by feudal lord.


Was practised by the Buganda in Uganda.


Took place along the coast of East Africa and Zanzibar.


Was the form of feudalism among the people of Rwanda and Burundi. The major means of production were owned by the ruling classes. They controlled both land and lievestock.


Was practised among the Chagga in Tanganika. The major means of production were controlled by feudal lords.



There were 3 types:

-Rent in kind

This is where the peasants paid the land lords part of their produce of using the land.

-Rent in labour

The peasants paid the land lord by working on his land for a certain period of time.

-Rent in money

Here the peasants paid money to the land lords after using his land.



Early contacts through the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean coast had trade links with the Greeks and Romans as early as the 2nd century.

The contacts with the Middle East.

Traders from Asia began to visit the East African coast from the 8th century after the decline of Greeks and Romans. The traders came from China, India, Indonesia, Persia, Syria and Egypt.

The goods that were in exchange include:

  1. a) From east Africa


-Gold which came from the empire of Mwenemutape through Sofala



-Rhino horns


  1. b) From Asia



-Glass ware


-Weapons such as spears and swords



The effects of the trade contacts between East Africa and Asia

  1. Spread of Islam

Led to the spread of islam. This religion was spread by Arabs from Asia.

  1. Growth of coastal city states

The trade contacts led to the growth of coast city states such as Lamu, Pate and Kilwa.

  1. Increased slave trade

Increased slave trade because the slaves were needed to work on plantations and to be domestic servants.

  1. Unequal exchange

Led to unequal exchange because the Arabs brought wine and beads and took gold and slaves.

  1. Removal of African labour force

Those Africans who were working on farms handicraft industries were taken as slaves.

  1. Decline of local African handicraft industries

The local African industries declined because of the importation of manufactured of goods and removal of labour force.

  1. Intermarriages

Led to intermarriages between the Africans and Arabs which led to production of mullatoes.



The Portuguese became the first Europeans to come to E.A. Vasco da Gama was the first European to go around the Cape on his mission to India.

Motives of the Portuguese

The Portuguese came to E.A because of various reasons.

-To find a new sea route to India.

-To spread Christianity and stop spread of Islam

-To control the Indian Ocean trade which was rich in gold and ivory.

-To establish a large commercial empire by controlling the coastal cities in East Africa.

-They wanted to know more about the world through exploitation. This is called renaissance.



  1. In 1498 Vasco arrived at the coast. He decided that the coast people should be conquered by force.
  1. In 1502, Vasco captured Kilwa and imprisoned Sultan Ibrahim.
  1. In 1505, Francisco D’Almeida captured Sofala.
  1. In 1509 more islands such as Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia were defeated. By 1510, all coast states had been controlled by the Portuguese.


Why the Portuguese were able to defeat the coastal city states

The factors were many such as:

  1. The Portuguese had powerful weapons as compared to the people along the coast.

They had guns while the Africans had spears and arrows

  1. The Portuguese had powerful were better trained than the Africans.
  1. The Portuguese had more experience than Africans. They had fought many wars that gave them experience.


Effects of the Portuguese in E.Africa

  1. Decline of Indian Ocean trade

The conflicts between the Portuguese and the Africans led to the decline of this trade.

  1. Introduction of Christianity

The Portuguese introduced Christianity in E.Africa to stop the spread of Islam.

  1. Introduction of new crops

Crops like maize and cassava were introduced by the Portuguese.

  1. Building of Fort Jesus

They built it for protection against their enemies. Today Fort Jesus acts as tourist attraction in Kenya.

  1. Improved Kiswahili language

They improved it by introducing new words such as meza that are used today in Kiswahili.

  1. Destruction of African culture

Introduction of Christianity led to destruction of African culture because Christianity claimed that African culture is inferior.

  1. Destruction of towns

The conflict between the Portuguese and the societies along the coast led to destruction of coastal towns.

  1. Increased coming of foreigners

Coming of Portuguese attracted more Europeans such as Dutch and British to come E.Africa.



There are various factors that led to decline of Portuguese rule in E.Africa.

They are:

-Few administration

Portuguese had very few adminstrators therefore it was difficult to control the E.A coast.


They faced various revolts from the societies along the coast that led to fall of Portuguese.

-Coming of European rivals

Coming of Dutch and British who were more powerful led to decline of Portuguese rule.

-External attacks

Faced external attacks from Turkish soldiers.

-Attacks from Arabs

They were from Oman Arabs who came to control Indian ocean trade.

The attacks led to decline of Portuguese rule.

-Attacks from the Zimba

Faced attacks from Zimba. These warriors attacked and controlled Kilwa.



The Ngoni migration was the massive movement of the Ngoni speaking people from S.Africa to E.Africa via Central Africa in 19th C. The Ngoni speaking people include Nguine, Mtethwa, Zulu and Ndandwe.

Their main activities were agriculture and pastoralism

The Ngoni migrated into E.Africa in two main groups:

A )The first group was led by Zwangwendeba and came to settle in Ufipa between Lake Nyasa and Lake Tanganyika. Then after the death of Zwangwendela in 1845, the group broke into small groups such as Mpangala group, Mpenzani group and Zulumbonane group.

One group called Watuta led by Mpangala migrated northward passed Uholoholo.

Ukimbu and settled in Kahama. Another group led Zulumbanane moved back through North side to Lake Nyasa and come to settle in Upangwa in 1850s.

Later in the 1860s they came into conflict with Mputa Maseko Ngoni, then Mputo Maseko was defeated and moved south to Malawi. Hence Mbanane of Ngoni settled in Songea.

The group led by Mputa Maseko ranked second in number. It first moved across River Zambezi and went along east side of lake Nyasa and finally settled at Mgangoma in the present Songea district. It was around 1830s.


The causes of Ngoni migration in the 19th C

  1. Population growth

In South Africa there was rapid increase of number of people due to enough food supply. As a result, shortage of resources occured including land.

  1. Shortage of land

In S.Africa when population increased, the size of land remained fixed hence people began to fight for land to cultivate, graze, hunting and settle. As a result, several clashes emerged among South Africans.

  1. Harsh rule of Shaka

He was strong political leader of Zulu empire. He wanted to conquer all neighboring states and control them. As a result, Mfekane was emerged. The defeated groups decided to run away, like the Ngoni.

  1. Mfekane war

This was a civil war among the Ngoni speakers in S.Africa by the 19th C. Basically they fought for land and to gain political influence.


Reasons for the success of Ngoni migration

The Ngoni migration was among the most successful massive movement of Africa due to the reasons below:

  1. They used different weapons which were now among the people they encountered e.g. clubs, sharp axes, short stabbing spears known as assagai and tough cow hide shields.
  1. They had an outstanding army which was well disciplined trained full time warriors.
  1. They used good methods of fighting inherited from Shaka Zulu and Dingiswaya.

The army divided into fighting units. Hence, it was easy to defeat their enemy along the way.

  1. They used to plunder crops, capture cattle and burn farms to weaken their enemies.

Hence many societies decided to surrender.

  1. They were a large number and used to accumulate were wealth which used to maintain the strong army.
  1. They used the war capture as their soldiers who were well trained. Also the women captures became their wives. As a result of population increased while they were in migration.


Effects of Ngoni migration

-They introduced raw fighting methods which were adopted by E.African societies e.g. pitch battle and Guerrilla war. The Hehe used guerrilla war to fight against Germans for four years effectively.

-Introduced new weapons of war which started to be used by E.African societies.

e.g. The use of short stabbing spears, large hide shields and sharp small axes.

-They created chaos, suffering and destruction in communities where they passed or settled. They set some villagers ablaze and robbed property causing famine and misery.

-They protected some E.African societies from being attacked by slave seekers. For example the Sangu and Ndenduele were protected from Arabs and slave traders. The Ngoni were feared by other people.

-They caused infication of some societies in order to defend themselves against Ngoni attacks. The Bena and Sangu people united to form Hehe. Hence, managed to stop Ngoni migration.



There were many economic factors for interactions among Africans.

The first one is trade. Both long distance trade and the Trans Saharan trade played an important role for interactions among Africans. At first, African people interacted within their regions but later on when trade activities developed, they extended their interactions to neighboring regions.

The Dutch settlement at the Cape

A Portuguese, Vasco da Gama was the first merchant explorer to go round the African cape in 1498. The first whites to settle at the Cape of Good Hope were the Dutch natives of Holland. These had captured much of the East Indian trade from the Portuguese. The Dutch East Indian company was formed in 1602 under the leadership of Dutch settler Jan Van Riebec. Its aim was to organise the East Indian trade. The company decided to set up a calling station at the cape. And by 1652 the Dutch East India company established a Fort at the Table bay. The company continued to control trade and colonise the area on behalf of the government.



-Need to establish stations

Dutch aimed to supply refreshment, fresh food and water to sailors on the way to and from East Indies.

*The company grew crops and traded goods with meat from hottentots and hence supplied sailors with enough food.

-Control of land of agricultural production

Boers were interested to open gardens to increase production of vegetables, fruits and other food stuff.

The Dutch East Indies company realised that they would work better if they owned land.

So they grabbed agricultural land from Xhosa and Khoi.

Also would like the supply of vegetables at large quantities would help them avoid contacting diseases like scurvy.

-Need to refuel ships

Trading ships on the way to India or Europe would stop and refuel. Also the Dutch would provide treatment to sick sailors. The Dutch hoped that this way they would monopolize the trade at the cape and hence maximize profit from selling suppliers to ships belonging to other European countries.

-The direct control of trade

The Boers traded with indigenous inhabits. They offered luxurious goods like beads, copper, tobbaco and alcohol. From the indegeneous people, the Dutch got cattle. This trade was based on barter system.


African resistance to Dutch settlement

The African Indegeneous people faced the problem of the Boer Trek expansion from the Cape into the interiors.


The Hottentots resistance

In the beginning, the Boers traded with the Hottentots. The Hottentots exchanged cattle and sheep for tobacco, brass wires and copper bars from the Boers.

But as the Boers expanded their colony into the interior, wars over land broke out between them and the Hottentots and the Bush men.

By 1713, the Hottentots of South Western Cape had been greatly wiped out by a series of small pox epidemic brought by Europens. The Hottentots were easily infected because they lacked natural immunity.

The Hottentots often sold or gave up their land to the Boers and many Hottentots herbmen became Boers servants.


Bushmen’s resistance against Boer expansion

They resisted through raiding the Boer’s herds killing their herdsmen. Later on Boers gained control and began to kill bushmen in large numbers. Due to the dangerous bushmen attacks, many Boer settlements had become unsafe so the Boers decided to make peace with the bushmen in order to avoid further problems.

Hence, some bushmen became Boer herdsmen on their farms.

The Boers population increase resulted into difficult foe indegeneous groups to resist therefore many bushmen retreated inland.


Xhosa’s resistance against the Boers.

Xhosa were a group of strongly organised bantu people destined along the great fish rivers.

Xhosa were more resistant than Hottentots and bushmen. Clashes between Xhosa and Boers occurred over the frontier problem and cattle. This resulted into wars known as Kaffir wars between Boers and Xhosa which lasted nearly a century.

The Boers named Africans ‘Kaffir’ which means unbelievers.

Finally the Xhosa were defeated and their advance to the west of the fish river was blocked.


The impact of Dutch settlement at the Cape

-Confiscation of African resources

The Dutch grabbed the and Xhosa agricultural land for the purpose of producing crops and keeping livestock. They plundered and looted cattle from Africans hence turning the Africans into slaves in Dutch farms.

-Increasing number of Dutch settlements

The S.African indegenious people faced the problem of white settlement expansion especially after the Khoi-Dutch war.

-Enslavement of African Indegenous people

Boers drove Africans from fertile lands with intension of turning them into slaves who could offer free and cheap labour in Boer farms. Farms had to be attended everyday.

-Introduction of social segragation

The Dutch wanted to be superior to the indegeneous people. So they enslaved the Africans, treated them harshly, turned them into squatters. Boers exploited and subjugated the indegeneous in all aspects of life. Apartheid was announced officially in 1948.

-Introduction of new culture

The Dutch introduced their culture at the cape different from that of indigenous Africans. Boers introduced Afrikaans language which is slightly different from original Dutch language. The Dutch also introduced Christianity at the Cape, a religion which was new to the indigenous people.

-Emergence of wars

Due to increased demand of land as Dutch population increased fast at the cape, Africans were forced to leave their areas for Dutch farms as they resisted wars break out. Peaceful Africans were introduced to frequent wars as they reacted to the effects brought by the Dutch invasion and settlement. The Boers had encounter with Ngoni people who were advancing northwards. Boers also fought Xhosa, Hottentots, Bushmen.


Slave trade in the Indian coastal regions and Trans-Atlantic slave trade

Slave trade in E.Africa.

A slave is a captive held as a property of the owner and has no freedom or rights.

Slavery is the act of owning and using slaves.

Slave trade is the state of buying and selling humans.

Slavery in E.Africa existed for several years since the ancient times. They were sold on small scale and used domestically as servants, guards and farm labourers.

Under slavery, slaves were to some extent treated as humans and had some rights in society as compared to those during slave trade.

Slave trade in E.Africa developed due to development of trade contacts with the Middle East and Far East. This dated back to the century the 2nd century A.D.

From the 7th and 9th centuries slaves were greatly demanded in Southern Iraq in order to reclaim the marshlands for agriculture.

From that period slave trade did not involve a massive proportion until the 18th century.

The Oman central of E.A resulted into development of slave trade at the start of the 18th C. The establishment of plantation economy resulted into development of slave trade in East Africa.


Reasons for expansion of slave trade in East Africa

-Development of plantation economy in the Zanzibar islands.

-During the reign of Sultan Said Sayyed, there was a high demand of cloves in the world market.

This resulted into the expansion of clove plantations during the last quarter of the 18th C and 1st half of the 19th C.

As a result there came an increasing demand of slave labour. The interior of E.Africa had to meet that demand of supplying slaves. Arab slave traders sent the caravans into the interior to obtain slaves and other goods like ivory.

-The French and Dutch sugar and coffee plantations in Mauritius and Reunion islands in the Indian ocean and East Indies. The French and Dutch could not get enough slaves from Mozambique to work in their plantation with the high demand of sugar and coffee.

So they had to meet this demand of slave labour by extending to E.Africa for supply.

Kilwa was the main source especially after 1770.

The French and Dutch played a big role in the development of slave trade in E.Africa in the 18th C. Their activities triggered the involvement of the Oman and Swahili traders.

The French offered high prices for slaves and stimulating the expansion.

-Portuguese slave trade

The Portuguese established plantations in Brazil. They were getting slaves from Mozambique and West Africa. During the first half of the 18th C, the Portuguese expanded their coffee and sugar plantations resulting into increased demand of slave labour.

So the Portuguese focused to E.Africa as an alternative source of abundant and cheap slaves.

-Domestic and agricultural works in Arab countries of Asia.

The early Oman, Indian and Persian traders were interested in the East African coast and interior arrived since the 18th C. They got slaves and other goods needed in Arab countries. So this resulted into increase in demand for E.African slaves to meet the demand of slave labourers from Asian countries.


Slave trade in Zanzibar in the 19th C

The coming of the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1840 and his establishment of coconut and clove plantations there faciliated growth of slave trade in East Africa.

Slave trade in East Africa had started long before the Sultans rule in Zanzibar.

Slave trade started during the Portuguese rule in the 16th C by exporting slaves to Brazil and North America.

Also the Dutch and French participated as slave traders by 1780 because they had established sugar plantations in Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius islands.

High demand of slaves from East African coast and the interior was to meet labour demand in coconut and clove plantations in Zanzibar.

Other slaves were exported outside East Africa while those who remained worked in plantations or served as domestic workers to owners of plantations as well as merchants.


Why did Seyyid said encourage slave trade?


He earned some money through

-Issuing licenses

-Collecting custom duties from slave traders who exported slaves outside Zanzibar or to Zanzibar.

The Indian financers became very rich because they landed money with interest to the slave traders.

The slave traders accumulated by money because they bought slaves very cheaply and sold them at high prices.

The British prohibited the exportation of slaves south of cape Delgada during the 19th C.

This was a blow to the Omanis and Swahili who depended on slave trade.

As a solution, the Arab traders decided to the redundant slaves in the coconut and clove plantations.

This called for the expansion of the plantations by Sultan Seyyid said for the sake of his empires economy and his Arab subjects. So in 1840, cultivation of cloves was extended to Pemba, hence more demand for slaves. Therefore slave trade activities increased in the mainland of E.Africa. The expansion of clove and coconut plantation resulted into intensification of slavery in Zanzibar. The social stratification emerged classes of masters and slaves. The slave master owned the land. This class included the Shiraz and Banyans. All these activities expanded the demand of slaves from the E.African interior and ensnarement of the people in the region for long time.


Organisation of slave trade in E.Africa

Capital as an important factor in the organisation of slave trade activities was supplied by


Lived in Zanzibar islands. They supplied capital to Arabs and Swahili slave traders for buying slaves and ivory.

-Sultan Sayyid Said

He too supplied capital to traders

-Little money landers

Were found in calling stations in Kilwa, Pemba, Bagamoyo and Mombasa.


Note: In 19th C, Banyans stopped giving capital they used the money to buy ivory and cloves. Another factor was concerned with organising slave caravans and other related networks. This involved Arab and African traders.


The most famous and notorious organizers of slave caravans included:


Operated in Belgian Congo.


His real name was Ahmed bin Muhammad el Mujeeb.

He had influence between East coast and Belgian Congo.


Operated in Ujiji Kigoma.


Lived in Urua in North Zambia.


Participation of local rulers in this trade

They participated in slave trade by supplying goods like ivory and slaves.

These are Mtemi, Mirambo, Isike and Nyungu ya Maure of Nyamwezi.

-Mtwa Mkwawa of Hehe

-Machembna of Yao

-Kabaka of Buganda

In turn, the local rulers got cloth, salt, beads, glass, iron, porcelain & silk.


Slave caravans routes

These had normally been traditional routes before the slave trade activities.

In EA, there were 3 major caravan routes.

-Southern routes

It ran from Kilwa and Lindi ports moving in land through Yao, Makua and Makonde, Lake Nyasa and beyond into Malawi and zambia. This route was dominated by Yao. Yao helped the Swahili and Arab slave traders in finding slaves along the southern routes.

-Central routes

Led from Mrima coast opposite Zanzibar. Started from parts of Bagamoyo and Sudan through Zaramo and went further westwards to the Arab strong hold of Tabora. In Tabora, it split into branches. One branch went northwards through Mwanza, Korogwe and North Uganda. The next branch went to Ujiji at Lake Tanganyika and lastly from Ujiji the traders crossed lake Tanganyika into Kafanga in east Zaire.It was controlled by Nyamwezi.

-North route

Ran from Pangani, Tanga and Mombasa inland. It moved west from North east through Mt. Kilimanajaro, mara and West Kenya in the east shores of Lake Victoria. However few slaves were taken because the Maasai resisted against the slave traders passing through their land. It was controlled by Kamba.


Ways of obtaining slaves

  1. Raiding and capturing people

Arabs and Swahili slave traders raided African villages and set houses on fire. The slave seekers used guns to capture people and control them. Those who resisted were shot. All energetic people of required ages were captured.

  1. Selling war captives from local wars

African societies sometimes engaged in the wars. Through these wars, there were captives who were later sold to slaves seekers. Some wars were influenced by Arabs who supplied guns for instigating them in order to get slaves.

  1. Selling criminals

People who were declared criminals were rejected by their societies because of their misbehaviour. They were found guilty of offences such as commiting adultery, theft were disposed by the societies into slavery.

  1. Ambush and way laying

People travelling in small groups were suddenly ambushed and taken as slaves. These people were taken by surprise as they were conducting various functions like marriage and burial ceremony.

  1. Tricks and false pretense

People in remote areas were called in some centres for providing them with some items like clothes, beads, guns, plates etc. But this was a trick of gathering them and capturing them as slaves.

  1. Selling domestic slaves

African chiefs sold off some of their own slaves. They exchanged slaves with items such as guns, clothes, glassware etc. Examples of those chiefs includes Machemba of Yao, Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda, Mkwawa of Hehe, Nyungu ya Mawe of Ukimbu, Mirambo and Isike of Nyamwezi.


Effects of slave trade


-Insecurity and fear

-It is dehumanizing

-Collapse and retardation of economic activities

-Technological stagnation

-Rise of African states

-Conclusion of feudalism in E.Africa


  1. Depopulation

Millions of people were slaves. Most youths necessary for social reproduction were taken as slaves. Therefore, there was a very low population increase.

  1. Insecurity and fear

Many people could not settle down and do productive activities due to frequent wars and raids on their settlements. People hid away from their homes so as to avoid slave seekers.

  1. Collapse and retardation of economic activities

Frequent raids and slaves selling affected economy. People could not engage in their activities such as agriculture, iron smelting etc.

Therefore Africans faced food shortage/famine

  1. Dehumanisation

Africans lost respect and dignity as they were treated like animals.

  1. Technological stagnation

People with different skills were also slaves. e.g. iron smelters, pot makers and baskets. etc were slaves. They marked the technological backwardness in Africa.

  1. Rise and fall of African states

Those states whose chiefs participated fully in slave trade used this opportunity to strengthen their political positions.e.g. Hehe, Yao, Nyamwezi, Buganda. However, the weak societies were totally disrupted by slave trade.

  1. Consolidation of feudalism in E.A

Indian merchants and African traders became rich. They owned large plantations and other properties along the coast.



It can also be called triangular trade. It was an economic system that involved Europe, America and Africa.

Africa provided slaves, America provided raw materials, Europe provided manufactured goods.

Trans-atlantic slave trade started with the discovery of America by Christopher Colombus. Many Europeans went to America for various reasons

-Some went to serve their sentences because they were criminals.

-Some went because of economic reasons.

These started coffee, sugarcane plantations and mining centres.

At first, Europeans used European workers but they were expensive.

So they imported slaves from West Africa which developed triangular trade.


Effects of Trans-Atlantic slave trade in Africa

The effects are divided into political, economic and social.

  1. a) Economic effects

-Removal of labour force

There was removal of labour because many people were taken as slaves to work in America.

-Fall in agricultural production

This was because labourers were taken as slaves (between 15 and 35years).


There was depopulation because many people were taken as slaves.

It believed that 100mil. Africans were taken.

-Fall in African technology

It was because people stopped production to sell slaves in exchange for manufactured goods.

-Fall in African industries

African industries declined because they lost markets due to many goods from Europe.


British occupation of S.Africa through the cape

In 1652,the whites from Holland had made permanent settlement at the Cape before other Europeans. Under Jan Van Riebeck they established the Dutch East India company at the Cape. In 1795, the British invaded the cape following their escape from the Napoleonic wars. The British government seized control of the Cape from the Dutch

East India company.

In 1803, they handed over to the Dutch government but in 1806, they retook it and retained control.

The British did not want the French to take control of the Cape because if they did, then they would prevent the British ships from stopping at the cape on their way to india.

British needed a supply station for their ships to India and naval base from which to turn the Cape into secure and profitable British Colony. Hence established peace and order as necessary conditions for conducting trade at the Cape.


Change brought by British

In 1806, the British tried to win the confidence of the Africaners (Boers)

-They abolished restrictions on internal trade previously imposed by the company officials.

-They maintained a large Garrison at the cape.

-They established schools and forced the Boers to learn english.

-The British settlers were encouraged to come and were given priorities and financial support.

-Boers land was annexed by British government.

-In 1834, the British abolishes slave trade at the cape colony. They emphasized equality between races. Boers were against the ordinance that was set to encipate slaves.



By introducing social and economic changes to the territory the net result was to force a large number of Boers to move north out of the colony in the 1830’s and 1840’s.


The Boer trade

It was northward movement of the Boers from the cape towards the interior of S.Africa in 1835. The Boers moved with their families, property, servants from the cape to the north.

Reasons for the Boer trek

-Need for land

The Boers were farmers and pastoralists. They needed land for their activities and with time, land became scarce when British occupied the Cape.

-Abolition of slavery

It created shortage of labour among Boers. The force of labour policy set the Khoikhoi and other Africans free to provide labour under special contracts rather than being slaves. The Boers didn’t like it.