CILT-Ghana Holds Public Lecture On Infamous Historical Slave Trade

The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT-Ghana) has presented an extensive, evidence-based study that documents the infamous historical Slave trade to commemorate the 400 years since the arrival of the last slave ship.

In commemoration of the 400th year since the arrival of the last ship to carry about 12 million slaves to the shores of America, the President of Ghana officially declared the year 2019 as the “Year of Return”.

In view of that, CILT -Ghana held a public lecture under the topic, “Ethno-Logistics: Mapping the Supply Chain of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (TAST).”

The National President of CILT Ghana, Mr. Ebo Hammond, FCILT, who had worked on the research for over a year, presented a carefully researched piece at the British Council auditorium; a presentation that left many people in tears over the ills of the slave trade.

According to him, the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade took a lot away from Ghana affecting it’s development process and growth.

He noted that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began around the mid-fifteenth century when Portuguese interests in Africa moved away from the fabled deposits of gold to a much more readily available commodity, slaves.

Ebo Hammond said by the seventeenth century, the slave trade was in full swing, reaching a peak towards the end of the eighteenth century.

He explained that the TAST was especially fruitful since every stage of the journey could be profitable for merchants leading to the establishment of the infamous triangular trade.

According to him, at the time efforts in expanding European empires lacked a workforce because the indigenous peoples had proved unreliable, “And because Africans were excellent workers: they often had experience of agriculture and keeping cattle, they were used to a tropical climate, resistant to tropical diseases, and they could be “worked very hard” on plantations or in mines. So the Europeans came for them.”

He however mentioned that Africans had been traded as slaves for centuries with slaves being bought from the Islamic-run, trans-Saharan, trade routes.

According to him, slaves from the Muslim-dominated North African coast, however, proved to be too well educated to be trusted and had a tendency to rebellion.

He also mentioned that Slavery was a traditional part of African society as various states and kingdoms in Africa operated one or more of the chattel slavery, debt bondage, forced labor, and serfdom and in all these stages, the Triangular Trade proved lucrative for merchants.

“The first stage of the Triangular Trade involved taking manufactured goods from Europe to Africa: cloth, spirit, tobacco, beads, cowrie shells, metal goods, and guns. The guns were used to help expand empires and obtain more slaves until they were finally used against European colonizers. These goods were exchanged for African slaves,” he narrated.

He posited that the second stage of the Triangular Trade involved shipping the slaves to the Americas.

“The third, and final, stage of the Triangular Trade involved the return to Europe with the produce from the slave-labor plantations: cotton, sugar, tobacco, molasses, and rum. Slave for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade were initially sourced in Senegambia and the Windward Coast. Around 1650 the trade moved to west-central Africa, the Kingdom of the Kongo and neighboring Angola.

He said for two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa and has been the last European country to abolish the trade.

Mr. Ebo Hammond also averred that between 1450 and the end of the nineteenth century, slaves were obtained from along the west coast of Africa with the full and active co-operation of African kings and merchants.

Making the correlation between the Slave Trade and Logistics and Transport and Supply Chain management, Ebo Hammond indicated there was no was the over 1.4 million slaves would be transferred haphazardly and that there was a well designed means of carting them, cargoes, from one point to the other.

He however indicated that the slate trade caused serious deprivation of knowledge and decimation of the society.

He said there is the need for Transport and Supply Chain managers to look at the well designed manner in which the slaves were moved from one point to the other and be able to manage the new era of Logistics, Transport and Supply Chain.


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