By James Eden:
The Transatlantic Slave Trade is one of the most discussed topics in British history. It is also a political issue as many blacks believe that whites should pay them financial compensation to make up for the injustice of their ancestors being enslaved by whites.
Although, so far anyway, our government has declined to pay this money, called reparations, there is no doubt that the official line is that we should be deeply ashamed by our part in slavery and that we should do everything we can to acknowledge it and make moral, if not financial, amends for it.
This thinking is demonstrated every year in our schools when British school children learn about the horrors of the slave trade during Black History Month. Every aspect of the trade is dissected and white British children are left in no doubt that slavery was the fault of their ancestors and something to feel deeply ashamed of.
But should we feel guilty about the slave trade? Is the role of our white British ancestors in slavery, and indeed the role of the white race in the trade as a whole, uniquely evil, something without parallel and something that we should atone for in perpetuity?
There Has Always Been Slavery
Slavery is one of the oldest trades known to man. All races and all civilisations have practised it: China, India, Arabia, Africa and in the Americas. All peoples have made slaves of their own and enslaved other peoples. And white Europeans are no exception. Julius Caesar was said to have enslaved 1 million white Gauls for the Roman Empire. Even the word “slave” comes from the word “Slav”, a name that came to be used because the Slavic people were a favourite choice for Mongol, Arab and indeed white slavers.
And we British enslaved our own people too. Many indigenous Britons reading this essay will have had ancestors who were slaves. The Anglo-Saxons made slaves of the Ancient Britons and the Anglo-Saxons were in turn enslaved by the invading Danish Vikings. When Oliver Cromwell conquered Ireland in the middle of the 17th century, he sent over 100,000 men, women and children to the West Indies to be sold into slavery.
The Muslims were perhaps the world’s biggest enslavers, an estimated 19 million people becoming the victims of Islamic slavery. Their slave trade ran for far longer than that of the Europeans. Muslims enslaved both black African and white European alike.
Africa itself also had its own domestic and international slave trade long before the appearance of the Europeans. Most African societies did not recognise private property in land so slaves often acted as one way in which individuals could own means of profitable production. Enslavement was often a by-product of localised warfare where the vanquished became the slaves of the victors.
Africans also sold their own people amongst themselves and to others as well. Caravan routes had long linked sub-Saharan Africa with North African and indeed the wider Mediterranean and the Middle East, so Africans used this route to establish a trans-Saharan slave trade. When the white man came, there was already a large scale African slave trade in existence that was then adapted to the European market. It did not have to be created for him.
The Atlantic Slave Trade
But for some reason, the fact that all races have practised slavery throughout history is never mentioned in our schools or promoted in the media. There are no calls for Muslims to apologise to Europe for their involvement in the much longer and much bigger North African slave trade. No films are made about it in Hollywood. The French do not ask for reparations from Italy for the million of their ancestors sold into slavery by Caesar.
So perhaps the Atlantic slave trade, the enslavement of mainly West African blacks by white Europeans, is a special case. Maybe there is something unique about it that warrants the high profile place that it has in our society. Perhaps we should feel guilty about this particular slave trade after all.
How Did We Get Our Slaves?
To engage in the slave trade, you obviously need slaves. So how did white Europeans acquire their slaves in the first place? The image usually promoted is of ships of white slave traders pulling ashore in Africa, storming a local village and violently kidnapping the inhabitants to sell on as slaves.
The reality, however, is much less dramatic. But what is shocking is how the truth of the matter is never discussed and is airbrushed from the history lessons. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of black African slaves were sold to the white slavers by black Africans themselves.
The notion of white slavers establishing themselves in Africa and carrying out raids on villages is simply not feasible. Europeans were highly prone to the many diseases present along the West African coast such as Malaria, dysentery and yellow fever. Attempts to make a base in Africa for any amount of time would have left them open to severe ill health and seriously threatened their lives. Africa was not known as the “white man’s grave” for nothing.
In this environment, the Europeans were very rarely able to get the upper hand, so they were usually very much junior partners to the African rulers, merchants and middlemen who were already established in the slave trade along the West African coast. African empires that had been established before the coming of the white man, such as Dahomey and Ashanti (located in modern day Benin and Ghana) were able to use the slave ports at Ouidah and Elmina to make massive profits and become extremely powerful thanks to the trade in their fellow Africans.
African slave traders discouraged Europeans from entering into the interior of Africa because they themselves wanted to supply the slaves and thus maximise their profits. The European slavers were happy to go along with this because it was much cheaper, and held less risk of disease, than attempting to find the resources to capture the many slaves they needed themselves. It was much easier to give the Africans guns with which they could fight the wars between themselves that ensured such a rich supply of slaves.
Did We Force Africa to Sell Slaves?
The reason Europeans came to Africa in the first place was because even though it was so far away and, because of the diseases, such a risky venture, the profits to be made were enormous.
But if the Africans involved in the slave trade had truly wanted to stop their brothers being sold as slaves, there wouldn’t have been much the Europeans could have done about it.
A concerted resistance by Africans would most probably have seen off the Europeans. If the African slavers had left their slave ports and gone back into the interior of Africa to defend their people, the cost of trying to tame a hostile population would have seen the profits of the white slavers evaporate and so they would have had to look elsewhere for their cheap labour.
Another myth is that the African elite didn’t resist slavery because they saw it as futile in face of superior European firepower. European military technology wasn’t advanced enough to allow them unlimited access to Africa, at least not until the 19th century, decades after slavery had begun and in the century when it ended. They didn’t resist because they didn’t want to resist. They, like the white Europeans, were driven by greed.
Europe Abolishes Slavery
The European slave trade wasn’t unique. What was unique, however, is that Europeans abolished slavery. The first European country to put an end to their involvement in slavery was Denmark, which outlawed the institution in 1803. Britain herself banned the slave trade, but not actual slavery itself, in 1807. When the Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 came into force on 1 August 1834, slavery was finally abolished throughout the whole of the British Empire.
The focus on Britain’s role in the slave trade is always on how evil we were for being participants. Of course, slavery is abhorrent and the Atlantic slave trade was no different. But what is not usually examined with as much gusto is the massive part Britain played in bringing the slave trade to an end.
The Royal Navy during this period really did rule the waves and from the outset of Britain’s retreat from slavery, were militant in their attempts to shut the trade down. There were heavy fines for any slaves found aboard a British ship and to dissuade other countries from attempting to continue the trade, they declared that slavery was tantamount to piracy and thus carried the death penalty.
British ships set up a naval blockade to stop the transportation of slaves from West Africa to the Americas. Many thousands of slave ships were detained during the decades the blockade was in operation. A Royal Navy Lieutenant called Patrick Forbes estimated in 1849 that during a period of 26 years, 103,000 slaves were set free thanks to the British naval blockade.
Africa Continues the Slave Trade
Some of the biggest opponents of Britain’s break with slavery were the African rulers themselves. Far from being relieved that no more of their countrymen would be taken by British slavers, they were deeply unhappy that they would no longer enjoy the wealth that they had earned from selling slaves and collecting taxes from slaves passing through their domains.
With the passing of the anti-slavery legislation, Britain had effectively ended their livelihood. There were even delegations sent to London by African chiefs to protest about the abolition of the slave trade. One African, outraged that slavery was on the verge of extinction, insisted that his “oracle and priests” had told him that their god totally agreed with slavery. According to his divine sources, so did the Christian and Muslims gods as well.
So the slave trade carried on in many parts of Africa long after the British abolished it. If there was demand for the slaves in the Americas, the supply from Africa would always be there. Although the Royal Navy’s blockade stopped some slave ships, many more slipped through the net and managed to transport their cargo to the Americas. In fact, Britain’s strenuous efforts to suppress the trade pushed up the price of slaves in America, making the trade more profitable than ever.
The Muslim Slave Trade
We have seen how Europeans were far from being the only culprits in international slavery. Perhaps it is the sheer scale and numbers of slaves involved in the Atlantic slave trade that is the reason why we whites are constantly called on to atone for our sins whilst other slaving peoples are overlooked?
Yet again, the truth is distinctly at odds with promoted dogma. The Atlantic slave trade was in operation for around four centuries and involved about 10-12 million black slaves who were brought to the Americas. But the biggest traders in black slaves were not white Europeans but Islamic Arabs.
Between 650AD and 1900AD, Muslims enslaved between 11-18 million Africans, who were sold across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and the Sahara Desert. This figure is far in excess of the numbers of black slaves transported to the Americas by white Europeans.
And it wasn’t just black Africans who were enslaved by the Muslims. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, Muslim pirates called Corsairs from the Barbary Coast in North Africa raided ships and villags in the Mediterranean and Atlantic enslaving the white inhabitants.
Any sailors travelling in the Mediterranean, or villagers living along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and even England and Ireland, faced the real prospect by of being captured and made slaves by the Muslim Corsairs and taken to Barbary Coast cities like Algiers and Tunis and being sold as slaves.
From 1530 and 1780, between 1 million to 1.25 million white Europeans were enslaved in this manner by the Muslims. And their lives were just as pitiful as their African counterparts, being forced to work in quarries and heavy construction but mostly as galley slaves rowing the Corsair crafts themselves.
While we hear countless tales of the woes that befell the black slaves that were brought to America, there is another group of people who were also enslaved in this new country, and indeed in Britain and the West Indies and who, in many respects, suffered more hardship than their black counterparts. Their part in the history of slavery is little known, or perhaps more accurately, conveniently forgotten.
From the start of the 17th century to the early 19th century, between one half and two thirds of all the White colonists who came to the New World came as slaves. They were owned as property, were accorded no rights and had no recourse to the law. Laws relating to fugitive black slaves also applied to them.
Most books on white labour in early American history referrer to these people as “indentured servitude” or “bondservants.” The reality, however, is that the conditions these people lived and worked under should more properly be termed as permanent slavery unto death.
The papers allowing the enslavement, termed indentures, were often forged by kidnappers and press-gangs. The owner of the indentured worker had the right to increase the length of the term of indenture, in reality making it a life sentence, on the flimsiest of excuses. The “indentured worker” had no say in the matter.
Although these people are not called “slaves” today, perhaps for political rather than historical reasons, people at the time had no qualms about using the word to describe these people. In Thomas Burton’s Parliamentary Diary 1656-1659, in 1659 the English parliament debated the practice of selling Britons into slavery in the New World.
In the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies of 1701, there is a passage that tells of a protest over the “encouragement to the spiriting away of Englishmen without their consent and selling them for slaves, which hath been a practice very frequent and known by the name of kidnapping.” In the British West Indies, plantation slavery had begun as early as 1627. In Barbados by the 1640’s there were an estimated 25,000 slaves; 21,700 of these slaves were white.
The word “kidnapping” itself comes from the expression “kid-nabbing”, which referred to the practice of abducting children to be sold in the British factories or into plantation slavery in America. Another phrase that has its roots in white slavery is “spirited away” because white slavers that kidnapped fellow whites were called “spirits.”
The British newspaper, The Argosy, reported in 1893 that “”Few, but readers of old colonial state papers and records, are aware that between the years 1649 to 1690 a lively trade was carried on between England and the plantations, as the colonies were then called, [a trade] in political prisoners… they were sold at auction… for various terms of years, sometimes for life, as slaves.”
The situation of the white slaves in the New World echoed that of the conditions of worker in Britain during this period. Their legal form of contracted indentured servitude was little better than common slavery. British children were routinely taken from orphanages and workhouses to be put in factories for a lifetime of horrors.
They often worked 16-hour days of unceasing toil, without a break. If they dared to fall asleep at their machines, they were whipped awake. For committing crimes such as arriving late or talking during work, they were beaten with a “billy-roller,” an eight feet long by one and a half inch diameter iron bar. The primitive machines in the factories mutilated thousands of children each year. Often disabled for life by these accidents, they were simply turned out onto the street.
What must also be considered is that when these “free” workers didn’t have enough food to eat, they simply starved. Their bosses didn’t care if they lived or died or about the conditions they lived in. There was an endless supply of workers from the local area who could and would replace them.
Black slaves in America, however, were an investment for the slave owner. He had paid for them so it was in his interests to insure that his investment was kept functional. This meant that in terms of diet, health and shelter, black slaves in America were often better off than white “workers” in the north of America and actually far better off than workers in much of industrialised Europe.
The reason, or at least the official reason, that whites today are made to feel such guilt over the Atlantic slave trade is because of the “Sins of the Father” scenario. The thinking behind this mode of thought is that because our forefathers committed such a heinous act, then it is our duty, collectively, to recognise that act and work towards repairing the damage that was caused to the victims of that act.
Yet it is only the sins of white fathers that are recognised when the subject of slavery is examined. And examined it most certainly is. In the annual ritual ceremony of hair-shirt wearing called Black History Month, white British children are made to look at, in front of their black and Muslim classmates, how wicked and evil their white ancestors were and it is explained to them in no uncertain terms that this guilt can never be washed away.
Of course, the sins of the father philosophy is simply a ruse. Our children are being psychologically abused by our education system because it furthers the political ideology of the liberal-left establishment. If one doubts this, then why aren’t black schoolchildren told during Black History Month how their forefathers have equal blood on their hands through their organised trading in their own brothers? Or Islamic children forced to write essays on how their ancestors were the biggest slavers in the history of the world?
Why are white children not taught about the slavery that their ancestors suffered at the hands of other people and at the hands of their own? Why do we not celebrate the fact that ancestors of the white British children abolished the slave trade, while the forebears of their black and Muslim classmates were busy fighting tooth and nail to keep the institution alive? If it had have been Muslims and not Europeans who had abolished the slave trade, this would be the focus of much celebration and fanfare.
It is only white children who are systematically stripped of their dignity and self-worth and made to loathe their history and their people. Only white children are publicly humiliated in such a way. Only white children are brainwashed into becoming cowed and rootless citizens, sculpted whilst young to accept all the dictates of the ideology of mass immigration and multiculturalism when they become adults.
The British people today bear no responsibility, either collectively or individually, for slavery. We should feel no guilt and we have nothing to apologise for. The only people who are owed an apology is the generation of white schoolchildren who have been deliberately taught to hate themselves and their people by sick and twisted individuals in pursuit of an equally sick and twisted ideology.
By James Eden © 2013
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