Pre Colonial Africa Essay

Pre Colonial Africa: Introduction.

Pre-colonial trade was an economic activity that was taking place before colonialist and missionaries settled in Africa before - Pre Colonial Africa Essay introduction. Before 1900 there were a lot of trade of trade activities such as selling of ivory, grains and internal slavery. This trade had both merits and demerits and one negative effect is that it paved way for the trans Atlantic slave trade but on the other hand its importance were many. My main focus in this essay will be to discuss on, what were the importance of the pre-colonial trade in Africa?

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It led to the growth of the subsistence economy.

            There were many trading activities during the pre-colonial Africa had its own merits for example, trade growth had a link with the subsistence economy. Trade led to the economic development as it created ready market for these products.[1] People became motivated to produce more and more of these products. As time passed it freed itself from the shackles of kinship ties and subsistence economy to other types of economy that generated more wealth such as selling of cattle, wax and ivory thus forming new means of amassing wealth.

Trade led to the spread of Christianity.
As Ethiopian rulers accumulated a lot wealth, they started feeling insecure because of there wealth. Therefore they started looking for ways through which they could protect their wealth and the only solution was to allow Christians whom they believed would provide them with arms for they were often threatened by Mohammed Ali’s military expeditions. The Ethiopian emperors were well aware that if they allowed the western missionaries to come to this country, they would come with the latest technological materials that would be traded with the local products.[2] The Europeans search for raw materials and colonial in Africa led to the introduction of Christianity. It led Africans to be converted in to Christians by the Portuguese and the Europeans.[3] Development of towns:

            Wherever trading activities took place, these areas developed into urban areas and eventually into towns. These areas attracted missionaries from Britain and Portugal who came with the western products.[4] For example, they started their hospitals that had effective western medicines they also brought western clothes and other valuable items.

Change of obsolete cultures:

            As missionaries who were in search of raw materials flooded in Africa, they introduced new cultures that were not known before in Africa. They changed some African cultures and replaced them with theirs’ for example; cultures like ritual murder, cannibalism, female circumcision and human sacrifices were discouraged. They were supposed to denounce those practices before they could be allowed to become Christians. They also introduced hospitals as opposed to visiting magicians to solve their health problems.[5]

Led to the emergence of territorial chiefs:

            Pre- colonial trade led to the emergence of territorial chiefs. As trading activities intensified, people came together to protect their territories there by choosing a chief as their leader. This led to the creation of organized societies where each chief took care of his people. These chiefs became very wealthy as they controlled all the trading activities within their areas of jurisdiction.[6]

Conclusion:

            Indeed the pre-colonial trade had a lot of benefits to the Africans for example we have seen that it to the introduction of new abortion of obsolete cultures, trade also led to the introduction of western technology in Africa. We have also seen that the quest of colonial territories and raw materials attracted the missionaries who helped to spread Christianity.

Bibliography:

Ekechi F. African cultures and societies before 1885; 132-133.

Gray R. and Birmingham D. Pre-Colonial Africa Trade: Essays On Trade In       Central and Eastern Africa Before 1900. Oxford University Press, New York. 1970: 473.

[1] Gray R. and Birmingham D. Pre-Colonial Africa Trade: Essays On Trade In                Central and Eastern Africa Before 1900. Oxford University Press, New York. 1970: 473.

[2] Ekechi F. African cultures and societies before 1885; 132-133.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Gray R. and Birmingham D. Pre-Colonial Africa Trade: Essays On Trade In                Central and Eastern Africa Before 1900. Oxford University Press, New York. 1970: 473

[5] Ekechi F. African cultures and societies before 1885; 132-133.
[6] Gray R. and Birmingham D. Pre-Colonial Africa Trade: Essays On Trade In                Central and Eastern Africa Before 1900. Oxford University Press, New York. 1970: 473

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