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Enslaving Africans

Topic Sections: [ Topic 1 ] [ Resource 1A ] [ Resource 1B ] [ Resource 1C ]


Resource 1A Trade goods used to buy slaves

 

Trade Beads
Trade beads - © Aberdeenshire Council
Slave traders shipped thousands of barrels of glass, crystal and coral beads from Venice in Italy to West and Central Africa. The beads were sold by the pound in exchange for African captives.

Madras Cloth
Madras cotton square - © Aberdeenshire Council
The English East India Company imported checked and printed cotton cloths from south India to be sold in Africa by slave traders. Other foreign cloths exchanged for slaves included silks and velvets from India and cotton prints from Indonesia.

Cowry shells
Cowry shells - © Aberdeenshire Council
Cowry shells come from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The English East India Company imported millions of cowry shells to Europe to be sold in Africa by slave traders. In Africa the shells were used for decorating clothing, utensils and weapons. They were also a form of currency and were often used for measuring the value of other trade goods and also slaves.

Trade manilla
Trade manilla - © Aberdeenshire Council
British slave traders sold many metal goods in Africa, especially iron, brass, copper and pewter wares. Brass bracelets called manillas were one of the biggest exports; most of them were made in Birmingham. The manillas served as a currency in much of West Africa and were used for measuring the value of slaves and trade goods.