The Beginning of the Slavery Supply Chain

 

Don Lemon of CNN recently pontificated on the need for slavery reparations to be paid by the British Royals. He was immediately countered by Hilary Fordwich, who responded that those who want reparations should look to African slavers, who she characterized as “the beginning of the supply chain.”

Ms Fordwich concluded, “I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”

Meet Tippoo Tib. Explorer, entrepreneur, businessman, speculator, warlord, diplomat, and friend and guide to famous explorer Henry Stanley (“Dr. Livingston, I presume?”). Also considered the biggest slave trader in East Africa.

I recently read the memoirs of Hamed bin Muḥammad, widely known as Tippoo Tib, a curious nickname that probably referred to a propensity to blink. He wrote in his native tongue of Swahili and his manuscript was then translated to German and published.

He was born about 1837 on the island of Zanzibar with mixed Arab/African ancestry, although he considered himself an Arab. He operated in what became German East Africa and the Belgian Congo. Today we know those countries as Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Until the European colonization of Africa took hold in the late 19th century, East Africa made the “Wild West” look tame. One could do whatever one was big enough to pull off, and for the fearless there were fortunes to be made. An enterprising man who could scrape together bearers, trade goods, arms, and resolve could explore the interior and hopefully return with enough slaves and ivory to make a fortune.

Tippoo Tib describes trading for staggering amounts of ivory which had little value to the natives. He doesn’t say much about slave trading, understanding clearly that most Europeans who would read his memoirs strongly disapproved. Nonetheless, slave trading is what he was famous for.

The preface to the English edition of Tippoo Tib’s memoirs was written by Sir Charles Eliot, who served as a diplomat and colonial administrator of British East Africa, which included the mainland dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar, 1900-1904. Eliot would probably be held up as an evil colonialist nowadays. In any case, he knew Tippoo Tib and years later wrote the following unflattering comments in the preface:

“The name of Tippoo Tib is familiar to all who took an interest in the affairs of East Africa or the Congo… He was the most remarkable of the band of Arab traders and explorers who, starting from the East Coast, penetrated to the Congo, and were the rulers of whatever country they happened to be in, though they established no states and did not even claim the right of conquest on behalf of their sovereign, the Sultan of Zanzibar. It is curious to notice how much and how little they affected.

The whole history of the Arabs in East Africa shows the same characteristics. They founded their cities on the coast but made little effort to move inland, and in the rare cases where they did so, as at Tabora and Ujiji, the reason was simply that their slave raids had depopulated the region near the sea, and they were forced to move on to distances where the game was not so shy.

The chief objects of these expeditions were slaves and ivory. Ivory was plentiful, and the natives, who had often no notion of its value, were ready to sell it absurdly cheap. If they made difficulties, vigorous measures were adopted without scruple or hesitation.

These pages, based upon his own statements give some inkling of the unscrupulous cruelty with which he dealt with natives, and clearly much remains untold. In excuse, one can only say that the cruelty of the slave-traders was not greater than the cruelty of the natives to one another. One eminent Arab, when criticized by Europeans for his slave-trading propensities, used to relate how he had fallen in with a tribe who were accustomed to eat their prisoners of war. He bought all these prisoners for a small sum, and made them his slaves, which he maintained, with a logic difficult to controvert, was far better for them than the other fate. Still, no doubt Tippoo Tib’s commercial journeys were in the main plundering expeditions…But he was intelligent and not wantonly brutal…

…he was always friendly to Europeans. By the assistance which he rendered to them he indirectly contributed in no small measure to the civilization of Africa, for which the Arabs themselves have done so little.

The island of Zanzibar was the center of East Africa slave trading. It was controlled by the sultan who amassed great wealth taxing the slaves, ivory, and other trade goods that came through the area, until the Europeans put a stop to it. They were determined to stamp out the slave trade but their actions generated conflict with many indigenous chieftains.

I once read an account, which I can no longer find, of an English woman being rowed across the harbor at Zanzibar. The water was clear and she was able to see to the bottom. She remarked that the sea floor was covered with white rocks. She was dismayed to be told that in fact she was looking at the accumulated bones of slaves who had died on the ships and had their bodies thrown overboard.

There is a short but very good article here that provides a photo and information. It records that in 1891-2, Tippo Tib sold “3800 male slaves and 800 women to the Congo free state. They were to be freed but had to work as rail-road labourers and soldiers.” Several internet sources say that by the end of his life, he owned many plantations that were worked by 10,000 slaves.

So that is one, but not the only, beginnings of the slavery supply chain in Africa.

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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Mad Gerald:

    There is a short but very good article here that provides a photo and information. It records that in 1891-2 Tippo Tib sold “3800 male slaves and 800 women to the Congo free state. They were to be  freed but had to work as rail-road labourers and soldiers.” Several internet sources say that by the end of his life he owned many plantations that were worked by 10,000 slaves.

    So that is one, but not the only, beginnings of the slavery supply chain in Africa.

    And it’s worth noting that slavery in Europe and the US had been abolished by then.

    Also worth noting is that slavery still exists in some parts of Asia and Africa, even today.  Especially in Muslim areas, as far as I can tell.

    • #1
  2. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And it’s worth noting that slavery in Europe and the US had been abolished by then.

    That tells us where the market for slaves was in the 1890s.  Hint: It wasn’t in the western hemisphere.

    • #2
  3. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    That clip was posted on Powerline.  Lemon didn’t know what to say.  The thing is, all these progressive faux intellectuals are basically not very bright.  It’s why Hannah Nichole Jones has to block her critics on Twitter and people like  Ibram X Kendi never debate conservative critics (or, for that matter, even unbiased historians).

    • #3
  4. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    I read a biography of Stanley a year or two ago and learned about Tippoo (a name like that sticks with you!) then. This was a wonderful reminder. Thank you.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The story of Tippoo is interesting.

    Responding to a demand for reparations with agreement is a bad idea, I think.  What is the principle here?  We’re going to right all of the wrongs of the past, committed against people long dead, by seizing assets from some of the living and distributing those assets to others?

    This looks like a recipe for endless efforts by members of one group to seek to pick the pockets of members of other groups.

    I think that the answer to a demand for reparations should be a simple “no.”  No, we’re not going there.  Stop it.

    • #5
  6. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    The story of Tippoo is interesting.

    Responding to a demand for reparations with agreement is a bad idea, I think. What is the principle here? We’re going to right all of the wrongs of the past, committed against people long dead, by seizing assets from some of the living and distributing those assets to others?

    This looks like a recipe for endless efforts by members of one group to seek to pick the pockets of members of other groups.

    I think that the answer to a demand for reparations should be a simple “no.” No, we’re not going there. Stop it.

    Just so. 

    Imagine a micro-aggression married to a micro-transaction where your account is debited if you use the wrong pronoun. 

    • #6
  7. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Don Lemon owes his job to reparations in the form of affirmative action. 

    • #7
  8. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    That clip was posted on Powerline. Lemon didn’t know what to say. The thing is, all these progressive faux intellectuals are basically not very bright. It’s why Hannah Nichole Jones has to block her critics on Twitter and people like Ibram X Kendi never debate conservative critics (or, for that matter, even unbiased historians).

    Agreed.  To me the funniest part was that his silence appeared to be a cognitive dissonance that he was unable to process in real time.  It was like he was hearing the words spoken (while holding onto the assumption that she and he agreed on where the reparations would go), only to slowly realize that maybe she had gone somewhere completely different.  One of Don Lemon’s finest moments.

    • #8
  9. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Responding to a demand for reparations with agreement is a bad idea, I think. What is the principle here? We’re going to right all of the wrongs of the past, committed against people long dead, by seizing assets from some of the living and distributing those assets to others?

    I see your point, but I think you’ve missed her point.  If the woman interviewed was actually advocating reparations, I would agree with you.  But I’m pretty sure she was “agreeing” for rhetorical effect, demonstrating, on the one hand, where the reparations calculations would actually wind up, and on the other hand, just how ridiculous the reparations “debate” actually is.

    **Edit:  In other words, you could tell she was ready for the reparation question and I think I detected a mischievous smile as she schooled Mr. Lemon.

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I recall that in one of Basil Davidson’s books on African history, he said that the Mandinka tribe (Alex Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte’s tribe of origin) lost 250,000 people to slavery but that they probably captured and sold over 400,000  — net winners in the endless tribal wars in which the slave markets were usually the ultimate winners.

    Of the estimated 12 million Africans forcibly taken to the Americas, (5 million to Brazil, 4-5 million to the Caribbean, 1-2 million to the rest of Central and South America) only about 2-4% came to North America but you would never know that from current dialog. Slavery was invented in Jamestown by northern bankers.

     

    • #10
  11. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Responding to a demand for reparations with agreement is a bad idea, I think. What is the principle here? We’re going to right all of the wrongs of the past, committed against people long dead, by seizing assets from some of the living and distributing those assets to others?

    I see your point, but I think you’ve missed her point. If the woman interviewed was actually advocating reparations, I would agree with you. But I’m pretty sure she was “agreeing” for rhetorical effect, demonstrating, on the one hand, where the reparations calculations would actually wind up, and on the other hand, just how ridiculous the reparations “debate” actually is.

    I took it the same way. I think there is great value in (rhetorically) turning this sort of thing back onto the lefties.

    • #11
  12. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I recall that in one of Basil Davidson’s books on African history, he said that the Mandinka tribe (Alex Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte’s tribe of origin) lost 250,000 people to slavery but that they probably captured and sold over 400,000 — net winners in the endless tribal wars in which the slave markets were usually the ultimate winners.

    Of the estimated 12 million Africans forcibly taken to the Americas, (5 million to Brazil, 4-5 million to the Caribbean, 1-2 million to the rest of Central and South America) only about 2-4% came to North America but you would never know that from current dialog. Slavery was invented in Jamestown by northern Semitic bankers.

     

    FIFY.

    • #12
  13. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    I am always amused by the historical ignorance of those advocating reparations. Even overlooking that all the slavers & traders have been dead for more than a century and many living in the West had no hand in slavery (how do you blame the descendants of the Irish who came over after the potato famine & signed up for the Union Army on the docks out of desperation)? For bigger laughs, do they believe that the Brits, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese ran thru the jungle with nets to catch the slaves- or did they in fact buy slaves from other Africans? Why are the African slave profiteers never mentioned?

    Peter Robinson & Tom Sowell on reparations:

     

     

    • #13
  14. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    • #14
  15. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The French writer/aviator Antoine de St-Exupery observed slavery in North Africa in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and wrote about it eloquently.

     

     

    • #15
  16. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    I read a biography of Stanley a year or two ago and learned about Tippoo (a name like that sticks with you!) then. This was a wonderful reminder. Thank you.

    I first read of him decades ago through the writing of Peter Hathaway Capstick.  As an ivory trader the 2 largest tusks in recorded history passed through Tippoo Tib’s hands. They weigh 226 and 214 lbs.  Whether they both came from the same animal is an open question.  They currently reside in the British Museum of Natural History although they haven’t been on display since the 1970s.

    • #16
  17. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The French writer/aviator Antoine de St-Exupery observed slavery in North Africa in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and wrote about it eloquently.

     

     

    Quite a story.  I doubt if many slaves had that much good fortune.

    • #17
  18. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    Lemon needs to demand that his guests be more thoroughly vetted. She obviously knew more about the subject than he was prepared to handle.

    • #18
  19. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    Lemon needs to demand that his guests be more thoroughly vetted. She obviously knew more about the subject than he was prepared to handle.

    I guess he’ll be doing man on the street interviews next. Its difficult to imagine how any professional could know less than him.

    • #19
  20. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    MiMac (View Comment):
    Why are the African slave profiteers never mentioned?

    The same reason class is never mentioned.  It’s a way of looking at the world predominantly through the lens of race that obscures all the really substantive things that matter.

    Interesting write up on Zanzibar, and really remarkable video footage of how it ended.

    • #20
  21. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Zafar (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):
    Why are the African slave profiteers never mentioned?

    The same reason class is never mentioned. It’s a way of looking at the world predominantly through the lens of race that obscures all the really substantive things that matter.

    Interesting write up on Zanzibar, and really remarkable video footage of how it ended.

    Grim stuff, but thanks.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    “Reparations” is conceptually simple.  Slavery helped build a society in which modern-day American Blacks — specifically those who are descendants of slaves — are at the bottom of the economic totem pole.  Meanwhile, every other non-black immigrant (other than those blacks who emigrated here directly from Africa) has, from day-1, received the benefit of fitting into a society that rewards their efforts and that immediately encourages and supports them in building generational wealth.  Blacks on the other hand, have been here for generations and — because of their race — have not been in a position to build this generational wealth.

    To satisfy this disparity, we as a country either need to either (1) elevate blacks’ wealth ONCE to achieve parity with whites or else (2) destroy the multi-generational wealth of the whites, primarily the middle class.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    I am always amused by the historical ignorance of those advocating reparations. Even overlooking that all the slavers & traders have been dead for more than a century and many living in the West had no hand in slavery (how do you blame the descendants of the Irish who came over after the potato famine & signed up for the Union Army on the docks out of desperation)? For bigger laughs, do they believe that the Brits, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese ran thru the jungle with nets to catch the slaves- or did they in fact buy slaves from other Africans? Why are the African slave profiteers never mentioned?

    Peter Robinson & Tom Sowell on reparations:

    “Reparations” is conceptually simple. Slavery helped build a society in which modern-day American Blacks — specifically those who are descendants of slaves — are at the bottom of the economic totem pole. Meanwhile, every other non-black immigrant (other than those blacks who emigrated here directly from Africa) has, from day-1, received the benefit of fitting into a society that rewards their efforts and that immediately encourages and supports them in building generational wealth. Blacks on the other hand, have been here for generations and — because of their race — have not been in a position to build this generational wealth.

    To satisfy this disparity, we as a country either need to either (1) elevate blacks’ wealth ONCE to achieve parity with whites or else (2) destroy the multi-generational wealth of the whites, primarily the middle class.

    I seem to remember some fairly recent posts describing the difficulties faced by immigrants from Ireland and other “European” countries.  It wasn’t so great for all “white” immigrants either.

    And then you get to the issue of poor white people paying reparations to the children and grandchildren of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Bill Cosby….  Barack Obama…

    • #23
  24. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    I am always amused by the historical ignorance of those advocating reparations. Even overlooking that all the slavers & traders have been dead for more than a century and many living in the West had no hand in slavery (how do you blame the descendants of the Irish who came over after the potato famine & signed up for the Union Army on the docks out of desperation)? For bigger laughs, do they believe that the Brits, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese ran thru the jungle with nets to catch the slaves- or did they in fact buy slaves from other Africans? Why are the African slave profiteers never mentioned?

    Peter Robinson & Tom Sowell on reparations:

    “Reparations” is conceptually simple. Slavery helped build a society in which modern-day American Blacks — specifically those who are descendants of slaves — are at the bottom of the economic totem pole. Meanwhile, every other non-black immigrant (other than those blacks who emigrated here directly from Africa) has, from day-1, received the benefit of fitting into a society that rewards their efforts and that immediately encourages and supports them in building generational wealth. Blacks on the other hand, have been here for generations and — because of their race — have not been in a position to build this generational wealth.

    To satisfy this disparity, we as a country either need to either (1) elevate blacks’ wealth ONCE to achieve parity with whites or else (2) destroy the multi-generational wealth of the whites, primarily the middle class.

    I seem to remember some fairly recent posts describing the difficulties faced by immigrants from Ireland and other “European” countries. It wasn’t so great for all “white” immigrants either.

    And then you get to the issue of poor white people paying reparations to the children and grandchildren of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Bill Cosby…. Barack Obama…

    I’m not supporting or justify reparations, I’ve just pointing out the rationale.  Which is problematic.  I don’t think anything should be done until we answer the question: Why do African blacks come here and in one generation prosper, while native-born American Blacks do not?

    But it doesn’t really matter any more, because the project has already begun to lower the economic opportunity and wealth of white middle-class Americans, and that takes care of assuring that racial “equity” is achieved.

    • #24
  25. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    Lemon needs to demand that his guests be more thoroughly vetted. She obviously knew more about the subject than he was prepared to handle.

    If that were the practice, then Lemon would not have any guests.  

    • #25
  26. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    Lemon needs to demand that his guests be more thoroughly vetted. She obviously knew more about the subject than he was prepared to handle.

    If that were the practice, then Lemon would not have any guests.

    Oh he could have plenty of guests, they’d just all be other leftists.

    • #26
  27. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Hillary Fordwich interview on NewsMax:

    Lemon needs to demand that his guests be more thoroughly vetted. She obviously knew more about the subject than he was prepared to handle.

    If that were the practice, then Lemon would not have any guests.

    Oh he could have plenty of guests, they’d just all be other leftists.

    You are correct.  

    • #27
  28. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    The whole issue is appropriately insane.  We never really grasped the bottom up business and don’t seem to understand why it worked

    • #28
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