Home World Why Africans Became Targets for Slavery Throughout History

Why Africans Became Targets for Slavery Throughout History

by Abbey
Why Africans Became Targets for Slavery Throughout History

Throughout human history, various people groups have engaged in the institution of slavery in different forms and I intend to expand on that. The enslavement of African people, particularly below the Sahara, is a historical phenomenon that stands out, with the demand for enslaved Africans seemingly increasing over time.

This article delves into the complex question of why African people were specifically targeted for enslavement, examining historical processes, societal shifts, and the influence of myths.

Historical Context

Enslavement was not exclusive to Africans, as many societies worldwide participated in various forms of slavery. However, as history progressed, the demand for enslaved Africans grew while enslavement in other regions decreased. Scholars often focus on the dynamics of slavery itself, but few attempt to answer why African people were singled out for this brutal practice.

The Complexity of the Issue

Addressing the question of why Africans were chosen for enslavement is challenging due to its complexity. The historical process involves a series of events, societal shifts, and geopolitical factors. However, I will look at a theory based on years of observation and study, acknowledging the difficulty of providing a conclusive answer.

Enslavement in the Middle East

The historical enslavement of people of African descent began in the Middle East, where Arabs, in particular, played a significant role.

Early Arabs held negative perceptions of skin color, with Abyssinians (modern-day Ethiopians) being among their early targets. However, proximity and geopolitical factors played a crucial role in the enslavement of various groups, including Europeans.

Expansion of Arab Empires

The expansion of Arab empires led to the enslavement of both European and African populations. While North African Muslims enslaved Sub-Saharan and East Africans, competition between Christian and Muslim nations in Europe limited access to enslaved Europeans. Africa’s size and diversity made it easier for enslavers to penetrate and target different regions.

The Curse of Ham Ideology

Underlying the historical events was the Curse of Ham ideology, a belief that provided a psychological anchor for black inferiority. While not an immediate factor, this ideology became a utility later, particularly when Europeans arrived in the Americas.

Enslavement in the Americas

When the Spanish came to the Americas, the native population was initially enslaved due to proximity. However, Africans were later brought in as conscripted conquistadors, known as black conquistadors, who played a crucial role in conquering and pacifying parts of the Caribbean and South America. Africans were chosen for their reputation as strong warriors, despite prevailing racist attitudes.


In summary, the enslavement of Africans was a complex historical process influenced by factors such as proximity, societal shifts, and the Curse of Ham ideology. While Africans were initially enslaved due to geographical and geopolitical factors in the Old World, their selection in the New World was influenced by their perceived capabilities and the prevailing mythologies of the time.

Understanding these historical dynamics provides valuable insights into the tragic history of African enslavement and its enduring impact.



  • Abbey

    Abbey Johnson has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. He is happiest when on a bike and is also interested in electric energy and computer Science.

    View all posts

You may also like

Leave a Comment