Christianity's TRUE stance on The African Slave Trade: from a historical veiwpoint
by: Rami A.
It is very well known to any well-educated individual that slavery was a big part of the world's history during the Age of Exploration. The Age of Exploration began in Europe about 1450, during this period people began to leave their homes in search of new lands. What motivated the Europeans was the persute of wealth, finding new routes to various known lands, and spreading Christianity. Numerous European explorers were successful in their voyages and discovered lands rich in spices, silver, gold and various goods. The new found wealth in the "newly discovered" lands(mostly the Americas) made Christian Kingdoms extremely wealthy. The boost in wealth prompted Christian Kings and even the pope to encourage colonization of the Americas. The colonization of the Americas brought Christianity to the people dwelling there.
The Spread of Christianity in the Americas was rarely peaceful. Christian missionaries almost always forced their religion upon the inhabitants of the Americas, the Non-Christians, who were taken as slaves by the missionaries, were forced to attend Church, and worship in the manner of a Christian. Forced baptization was also very common in the Christian colonized lands. Besides Christianity, the Christians from Europe brought serious diseases to Non-Christians who lacked immunities. The population of the native people of the Americas (i.e. Indians- who were Non Christian before the arrival of the missionaries) dramatically decreased, due to their lack of immunites:
Figure 1: Population decrease in the Population of Central Mexico 1532-1608(with the arrival of Christians)
The dramatic decrease in population caused a severe labor shortage which led to a fall in sugar production, mining and so on. The shortage of labor negatively effected Europe's economy, to maintain the Christian wealth, Christian leaders of mostly Spain and Portugual imported slaves from Africa. The first shipload of Africans sailed from Western Africa to the West Indies in 1518. Once again the missionaries forced their religion upon the Non-Christians. Whats more, the African slaves were forced to do unbearable work on mostly sugar plantations. King Affonso, who ruled the Kongo about 1505 - 1545, tried to stop the slave trade due to the fact his kingdom was being depopulated. He appealed to the Christian King of Portugual and the Pope in Rome.
In one of his appeals he wrote:
"We cannot reckon how great the damage is, since the slave traders(Christians) are taking every day our natives, sons of the land and the sons of our noblemen and vassals and our relatives. Our country is being completely depopulated. That is why we beg Your Highness to help and assist us in this matter, because it is our will that in these kingdoms there should not be any trade in slaves nor outlet for them."
When he appealed to the Pope, the Pope did nothing to try to end the slave trade. Why would a man of such "moral" values do nothing to stop the injustices of slavery?
Lets take a look at what The Bible has to say about Slavery:
Leviticus 25:46.- "And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever...."
Its no wonder the Pope did nothing to end the slave trade, which was started by devoted Christians.
Spanish Christians justified their actions to enslave the Africans by two arguements:
(1) Africans were not Christians and had already been enslaved in Africa. Being sent to America would not change their status as slaves, and it would give them the chance to convert to Christianity.
(2) Africans were thought to be used to heavy field work in a tropical climate, while Indians were not. African slaves soon did most of the hard labor on plantations throughout tropical regions of the Americas.
With this attitude the Christian kingdoms imported over a period of 350 years 10 to 12 million African slaves into their colonies in the Americas.
In conclusion, if you are an African living in the Americas it is not incorrect to assume someone in your family may have been enslaved by Christians somewhere along the. line of your family's history. Keep in mind, slavery was not the only prosection committed by the Christian Missionaries against Non-Christians, the missionaries believe it is acceptable to use any means neccessary to spread "The Way", take a look at Bosnia(the latest missionary mission), and you will see what I mean.
To find out Islam's position on slavery please click here
For more information pertaining to Christianity, please visit:
- Rami A. (Palestine5@aol.com)