Social and economic effects/impact of slave trade on the people of
East Africa.

Positive effects.

Introduction of new foods, the food introduced through trade routes such foods were maize,
pawpaw, rice and groundnuts both at the coast and in the interior.
The increase of farming plantations, in some areas especially the clove plantations were slaves
The interior was opened to the outside world this later encouraged the coming of the European
missionaries. Many European Christian missionaries came to east Africa to preach against slave
trade and to campaign for its abolition.
The trade routes became permanent routes and inland roads which led to growth of
communication network.
Introduction of Swahili language, this was introduced in land and is now being widely spoken in
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and eastern Congo.
Introduction of Islamic religion, Islam as a religion was introduced by the Arabs and it spread,
especially in Yao land and in Buganda land.
Formation of the new race called Swahili; this race was formed through intermarriages between
Arabs and some Africans.
Growth of towns, there was growth of towns such as Tabora and Ujiji.
Slave trade encouraged large scale trade whereby contact was established between the trade
masters and indigenous/local population.
Africans were dispersed to other parts of the world e.g. Arabia, America and West Indies. In
Africa Sierra Leone and Liberia were founded to accommodate former slaves from Europe and

Negative effects.

Depopulation of Africans: The people who would have great leaders and empire builders were
killed. It is estimated that over 15 to 30 millions of people were sold into slavery while millions
died in the process being transported.
Misery, suffering and a lower quality of life for the people in East Africa. This is because they
were reduced to commodities and could be bought and sold.
Destruction of villages and families and broken up by slave raiders and never to be reunited, this
later resulted in to loss of identity.
Diseases broke out among the slaves, for example the Spaniards introduced syphilis which
spread to other traders.
Displacement of people: Many people became homeless and destitute and stayed in Europe with
no identity.
Disruption of economic activities: This is because the young and able craftsmen, traders and
farmers were carried off, causing economic stagnation as the economic workforce depleted.
Progress slowed down which resulted in famine, poverty and destitution and helplessness.
There was a decline in production of traditional goods such as coffee, beans, bark cloth and iron
which greatly hindered the cash economy.
Decline of African industries, which also faced a lot of competition from imported manufactured
goods for example the bark cloth and iron working industries.
Introduced of guns to the interior, which caused a lot of insecurity and increased incidences of
wars for territorial expansion
Clans and tribe units, languages were broken and inter tribal peace was disturbed for example
Swahili language replaced the traditional languages in the interior

The Psychological Effects of Slavery on its Victims.

Slavery reduced Africans to more objects. The Arab slave traders and Caucasian slave owners
looked down upon dark-skinned people. They considered them to be inferior and closer to
animals than other races. Slaves were greatly mistreated. They worked for long hours under
harsh conditions for no pay. They were punished severely for small mistakes and were even
killed at their masters will. All of these resulted in psychological effects some of them being

  • Damage of slave’s self worth
  • Inferiority complex before their masters
  • Sufferings due to difficult work
  • Separation of families and homes
  • Loneliness
  • Stress due to unsure about their future, survival and food.Traumatize due to severe
  • Insecurity
  • Fear and doubts



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