The Slave Trade and its Abolition in the Ikale-Yoruba Country, 1650-1890

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Abstract

There is a growing scholarly advocacy for a remarkable focus on the localised impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It has even been strongly suggested that an assessment of the impact of the trade and its abolition can only be realistic after weighing the evidence of detailed local studies. The case of the Ikale-Yoruba in Southwestern Nigeria shows clearly that the impact of the slave trade and its abolition varied fundamentally from one society to another. Apart from the discovery of old slave routes and slave markets, weapons used for slave raiding activities and several European items used in exchange for slaves were highlighted. Even more significant is the fact that the social forces that were set in motion by the slave trade affected Ikale states‟ formation process, its settlement patterns and the economy that evolved after the abolition. Thus, in spite of the fact that it has been widely assumed that the Ikale-Yoruba had nothing to do with the notorious trade in slaves and were, therefore, largely insulated against the socio-economic consequences which the trade and its eventual abolition engendered in Yorubaland, this paper argues that the dynamics of Ikale pre-colonial economy and society cannot be properly understood without adequate reference to the slave trade.
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eISSN: 1596-5031