Slavery In Zanzibar

Slavery In Zanzibar : Everything To Know : History of Slavery in Zanzibar: Zanzibar was plagued by the slave trade for more than 200 years, but this dark chapter of the island’s history is now largely forgotten. With its stunning white sand beaches, cozy boutiques, villas, hotels, resorts, and lodge establishments, Zanzibar is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in East Africa.

The island of Zanzibar is now regarded as the “Center of East African Slave Trade” because it is one of the top locations for learning about the real history of slavery in East Africa. Over 200 years have passed since the dark and painful past shaped the present and future of this bright paradise.

Zanzibar was and continues to be known for two things: its assortment of spices and its involvement in the slave trade. Although the trade in African slaves dates back to before the Middle Ages, it only really rose to prominence in the 7th century as Islam gained ground in North Africa. These captured Africans were sold by Arab Muslims in North and East Africa to the Middle East, where they were employed as teachers, laborers in the fields, and harem guards. Because African Muslims were unable to be sold into slavery, male slaves were castrated, a practice that was blatantly discriminatory.

The Island of Zanzibar rose to prominence in the 17th century as a “renowned land of spices,” an unpleasant center of slavery, and the starting point of expeditions into the vast, strange continent until the second half of the 19th century. Zanzibar became a more popular destination for traders from Oman and other Middle Eastern nations, which contributed to the island’s important position in global trade. This is primarily due to the extensive trade along the coast of Swaziland and the subsequent slave trade.

The biggest slave market in East Africa came about in this way. It used to be a route with only estimates, some of which differ greatly, and records on how many Africans were sold from East Africa to North Africa because it was the main slave port of the African Great Lakes region. The majority of the slaves died, which is why this happened. Over 50,000 African slaves are thought to have traveled through Zanzibar annually.

In the 19th century, David Livingstone, a Scottish physician, pioneer of Christian missionaries, and Congregationalist with the London Missionary Society, estimated that more than 80,000 Africans died each year before even reaching Zanzibar Island. It is said that three out of four slaves died before reaching the selling point. Their illnesses, hunger, mistreatment, and exhaustion from long journeys were the main causes of death. Young people were sexually assaulted, forced into slavery, and forced to work.

According to studies, more than 17 million people from East Africa were sold into slavery. Other historians, however, dispute these numbers because Africa as a whole had even fewer people than 40 million at the time. Not every slave who passed through Zanzibar was transported to Saudi Arabia or Egypt, though. To meet the rising demand on the global market, Omani settlers began growing cloves on Zanzibar Island. Huge clove plantations quickly grew, producing slaves that could be purchased for a bargain at the neighborhood slave market.

Slavery In Zanzibar
Slavery In Zanzibar


By the end of 1791, slave trade rebellions had erupted in what are now the Dominican Republic and Haiti, demanding an end to both the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and colonialism in Africa. Zanzibar is reputed to have an exceptional variety of spices that drew ships from as far away as the United States, leading to the establishment of a Consulate in 1837. However, the United Kingdom’s early interest in this island was motivated by both commercial trading and a desire to put an end to the slave trade.

Seyyid Barghash, the then-sultan of Zanzibar, didn’t sign an agreement to abolish slavery in his country until 1873, under pressure from Great Britain. Slave trade in East Africa was completely outlawed in 1909, but the declaration was not immediately put into effect. The end of the slave trade on Zanzibar Island and all of East Africa was signaled by this.