african ruler

Someone today tried to tell me that the Songhai Empire (one of the most powerful in African history) shouldn’t count as a historically black kingdom because it was “built and ruled by Arabs”. I had made a comment about historically black kingdoms in response to someone’s “WE WUZ KANGS” joke and this redpilled motherfucker thought he knew better than me.

For those who don’t know, the Songhai are an ethnic group in Western Africa who are, you guessed it, black. Songhai built the empire, Songhai lived in it, Songhai fought for it, and Songhai ruled it. I don’t even know if I’m using the proper grammar for that but at least I fucking know what it means.

And then he had the sheer dumbass gall to call my assessment inaccurate and claim that I’m a dirty SJW historical revisionist. I’m not even an SJW. I usually can’t stand SJWs, to be completely honest. 

I’m just a fucker who likes historical accuracy.

Tell me again how Askia the Great wasn’t black, shithead.

Oh but that wasn’t all, because apparently MALI wasn’t a black empire either.

You may remember Mali. It was the fabulously rich kingdom ruled by black, Muslim Western Africans, most notably Mansa Musa. He was the man who, thanks to his ridiculous wealth and charity during his Hajj to Mecca changed the price of gold throughout the ENTIRE MEDITERRANEAN:

Oh and also Ethiopia didn’t count either because the Jewish kingdoms there were “semites, not blacks” and Haile Selassie was “too modern to count”.

Now first off, the Jews in Ethiopia are like 99% black. They’re called Beta Israel (Beyte Yisreal in Hebrew) and they’ve been black since the beginning. 

Even ignoring that vital fact, that statement forgets about the ENTIRE GIDEON DYNASTY, rulers of the Kingdom of Semien from around 400 AD to 1627 AD, when their Kingdom was absorbed into the Ethiopian Empire ruled by ANOTHER BLACK DYNASTY HOLY HELL WHO’D HAVE THUNK IT, THE SOLOMONIC DYNASTY.

So apparently Haile Selassie (Solomonic Dynasty),

Queen Gudit (or Yodit) of Semien (Gideon Dynasty),

and Menelik II (Solomonic Dynasty, the dude who beat a modernized Italian invasion with guerrilla tactics, spears, and a few muskets), among a hundred other rulelrs,

don’t count as historical black rulers because this anti-SJW son of a bitch couldn’t be bothered to read a goddamn history book and started pulling shit outta his contrarian ass.

And then he tried to pull the whole “oh the Egyptians were BROWN not BLACK lololol you sjw scum” thing.

THE ENTIRE 25TH DYNASTY WAS BLACK. They were ALL from Nubian Kush, and they oversaw some of Egypt’s most prosperous periods, as well as one of the great pyramid-building crazes.

But the best part of this was when he tried to tell me that the capital of the Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe,  pictured below, was nothing more than “a glorified medieval peasant’s hut”. 

(For scale, those big walls are up to five meters (or 16 feet) high and built without mortar. They’re held up by masterful architecture alone.)


Go fuck yourself, whatever your name was. Fuck off back to your echo chamber and leave history to the grownups. 

Queen Nzinga Mbande (1583-1663), sometimes referred to as Anna Nzinga, was ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in what is now Angola.

As the favoured daughter of King Kiluanji of the Ndongo, Nzinga Mbande was brought up witnessing her father’s governance of the kingdom first-hand. He even took her with him when he went to war. Kiluanji made deals with the Portuguese who were expanding their slave trading operations in South West Africa, and this relationship was maintained when her brother Ngola Hari became king. However in 1617 the Portuguese Governor Correia de Sousa launched attacks against the Ndongo kingdom that captured thousands of Mbundu people.

In 1621 when the Portuguese invited the Ndongo king to take part in peace talks, he sent his sister Nzinga Mbande in his place. At her famous first meeting with De Sousa chairs were only provided for the Portuguese, and Mbande was expected to sit on the floor. Instead she commanded one of her servants to go down on all fours and act as her chair. During the negotiations Mbande walked a fine line between preventing the Portuguese from controlling the kingdom as they had done in Kongo, while keeping options open to trade for firearms to strengthen her armies. In this she was successful, although as a condition of the agreement she had to convert to Christianity and was baptised as Anna de Sousa, with the Governor becoming her Godfather.

In 1626 Mbande became Queen of the Ndongo following the death of her brother. Her reign began in peril as the Portuguese went back on their deal with her and declared war, as did other neighbouring tribes. Forced into retreat from her own lands, Mbande led her people south to the kingdom of Matamba, which she attacked, capturing Matamba’s Queen and routing her army. Mbande then installed herself as the new ruler of Matamba, from where she launched a prolonged campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Portuguese which would last for the next 30 years.

Mbande developed a legendary reputation as a warrior, although claims that that she took part in human sacrifice are likely the result of European propaganda and gossip. Accounts that she maintained a personal harem of more than 50 men are also unproven. What is known is that Mbande assembling a diverse army to oppose the Portuguese that included runaway slaves, defecting soldiers, and women. Exploiting European rivalries she made an alliance with the Dutch, which included acquiring her own personal bodyguard of 60 Dutch elite soldiers armed with rifles. Working with the Dutch, Mbande successfully defeated Portuguese armies in 1644, 1646, and 1647. However the Dutch were eventually pushed out of the region in 1648 and Mbanda was forced to carry on the fight alone. While she was never able to completely defeat them, she successfully resisted Portuguese invasion for decades.

Mbande continued personally leading her troops into battle until she was in her sixties, but the long war eventually wore both sides down. In 1657 she finally signed a peace treaty with Portugal. She then spent the rest of her life focused on rebuilding a nation which had been devastated by conflict and over-farming. She died of natural causes in 1663, aged 81. Today Nzinga Mbande is a symbol of Angolan independence, memorialised by numerous statues.

The Rise and Fall of the Wassoulou (Mandinka) Empire, West Africa

The Wassoulou Empire was an African Empire that existed between 1294 and 1315 AH (1878-1898 CE) in modern Mali, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

The story of the rise and fall of the Wassoulou state is also the story of the rise and fall of its first and only ruler, a remarkable man named Samori Touré. Born to a Dyula Mandé family in the town of Mayambaladugu, in the year 1245 AH (1830 CE), he was the son of a fairly well-to-do merchant. Touré grew up in an African world that had long been aware of the European presence. Slave trading on the coasts had been going on for generations, though Europeans were yet to penetrate too far inland, and many still relied on their protectorates for extracting the wealth of Africa. Touré’s father probably had significant relationships with a variety of Europeans, both officials and civilians, as a merchant, and as a result, Touré had a familiarity with their ways of life, and particularly, their ways of bureaucracy, organization, and martial tradition, since many of the outposts and expeditions in the area would have been armed and defended by troops brought in from overseas.

In 1264 AH (1848 CE), an event happened that would change his life forever. At the time, Mayambaladugu and most of the surrounding Mandé and Fulani groups had just been subjugated by the authority of the Tocouleur Empire, often as client chiefdoms or states, and these vassal entities continued to fight intermittent wars with one another, often for loot, including slaves, and access to natural resources that could buy guns and equipment from Europeans, or influence at the new Tocouleur court. When he was eighteen, a man and probably taking some responsibility in his family’s mercantile business, his mother was seized in one of these raids by the powerful Cissé, another Mandé group. Determined to get her back, Samori Touré traveled deep into Cissé territory, to confront a man tradition names Séré-Burlay. In return for his mother’s safety, he struck an agreement with his mother’s captor: he would serve the Cissé as a warrior, so long as she remained safe. It is unkown how long Touré served in this capacity, though some traditions say for more than seven years, but however long he did, he was most likely an experienced veteran by the time he ended his service to the Cissé by escaping with his mother.

Seeking safety from the roused and potentially vengeful Cissé, Touré traveled to the towns of the Bérété Mandé, a group who had been longtime rivals of his former masters. There, again, he became a warrior, though now he began to rise through the ranks, charismatic and brave as he was, and with an extensive knowledge of his enemies and years of combat experience under his belt. By 1280 AH (1864 CE), he had a significant amount of men under his command, and was fighting for the Bérété somewhere along one of the Niger’s tributaries, probably the Milo River.

A final note on Touré’s early life, before the founding of the Wassoulou Empire is discussed: Touré was not born a Muslim, but converted sometime as a young man, possibly during his time with the Cissé, but it is impossible to be sure. Even African sources disagree on the exact dates, or how/why he converted. Regardless, by 1280 AH (1864 CE), he was a devout Sunni Muslim, and possibly a member of a Sufi brotherhood.

In 1280 AH (1864 CE), the Tocouleur Empire, which had conquered and subsumed the Mandé and Fulani states of Touré’s youth the year his mother had been kidnapped, collapsed. El Hadj Omar Tal, the Fulani founder and only ruler of the Tocouleur state, died, and though his heirs managed to hold onto some of the territory, their subjects proved entirely too powerful and eager for the potential spoils left by the great man’s death for their control. Dozens of factions broke off, and the region dissolved into chaos. As mentioned above, Touré was on what was probably the Milo River, and, as the Empire disintegrated around him, Touré took advantage of the situation to accomplish two things. The first was the testing of his warriors in serious battle. Trained with his own version of European military standards, adapted from the experiences and memories of his youth, and armed with firearms and the skill to use them, Touré was eager to see if his own theories about war would hold up in a conflict so much larger and more intense than the small-scale strife of his youth. The second goal was the creation of a new Sunni Muslim state, with Touré as the ruler.

Touré quickly won victories. His men were well-disciplined, and, as the war progressed, more and more heavily armed. In addition to captured weapons and a variety of improvised and locally-manufactured equipment, Touré also began to deal with the British in Sierra Leone, where they refused to offer him status as a full protectorate kingdom, but agreed to supply him with weapons in exchange for a promise not to deal with other colonial powers, particularly the French. Though the British did not supply him with heavy weapons or artillery, they did provide breach-loading weapons, and the know-how to repair them, as well as an enormous supply of ammunition. So armed and now with a veteran army at his back, Touré seized the Buré gold mines, on the Malian border, and with the hard currency and extensive territory his victories had won him, proclaimed himself Faama (Emir, roughly), of a new Wassoulou Empire, named after region on the modern Guinea-Mali border. The capitol was moved to the large town of Bissandugu in 1294 AH (1878 CE).

The next chapter of the Wassoulou Empire was marked by wars of conquest against weaker neighbors, rather than the earlier wars for survival in the cutthroat political climate left behind by the Tocouleur collapse. A major success came in 1297 AH (1881 CE), when Kankan, a major Dyula trading post on the Milo River fell, and the Empire reached its geographical zenith. Smaller states, particularly animist/indigenous African states, fell as well in the same period, and though, like many African rulers, Touré allowed many indigenous civil customs to continue unmolested, he began to style himself with Islamic titles, and likely sought out more formal religious training from Sufi’s and Marabouts, local Sunni leaders, during this period. Finally, he managed to secure alliances, with himself as the power-brokering party, with the Fulani states to the North, where Islam was the state religion.

In 1299 AH (1882 CE), Samori Touré launched a new campaign, this time dispatching his troops South, toward Cote d’Ivoire. There, they besieged the city of Keriera, hoping to use it as the launching point for a campaign as far as the coast. However, another major imperial power was operating to the south, and moving northwards from the Ivory Coast: France. In fact, the first contact between the Wassoulou Empire and the French was a brief engagement outside of Keriera, where a French force drove off Touré’s surprised troops, and then effectively replaced them, occupying the city. Touré, concerned but not desperate, renewed relations with the British and sent new emissaries to Liberia, where he hoped to strike another arms deal. He got what he was looking for in 1300 AH (1882-3 CE), purchasing repeating rifles from the British and Liberians, and setting up a corridor on which to move supplies between the coast and his interior centers of power, should the emerging conflict with the French escalate.

They did escalate. Skirmishes and Wassoulou raiding colored the next few years, and French colonial authorities, disturbed by what they perceived as a grave threat to ventures in the area, dispatched a Colonel Combes with an expeditionary force to take Buré, one of the main sources of cash for Touré and his Empire. However, the force was too small, and Combés was unfamiliar with the terrain and his enemy, and they were soundly defeated by the crack African forces, many of the leaders veterans of decades of campaigning. In Shawwal, 1308 AH (1891 CE), another French force was dispatched, this time to Kankan and lead by Louis Archinárd, another French Colonel. Touré, realizing he could not hold the walls against heavy French artillery, abandoned the city, but took his men into the field, hoping to defeat the French in the open. Though Touré managed to drive a few French columns back in 1308 AH (1891 CE), he was unable to significantly halt their advances, especially as more and more French troops were assigned to the region, transferred for the campaigns organized to destroy Touré and his neighbors. Another blow had come with the signing of the Brussels Conference Act of 1890, in which Europeans agreed to stop selling weapons to African rulers or armies, cutting Touré off from a valuable source of weapons.

In 1309 AH (1892 CE), French Colonel Húmbért attacked, seized and occupied Bissandugu and Buré, though Touré and his troops were, again, in the field, and, though defeated, the Faama was able to keep his troops intact, retreating across the Niger. Along the path of his retreat, Touré burned crops and destroyed as much of the infrastructure as he could, hoping to stall the French and possibly allow African disease to have some weakining effect on the advancing columns, though this strategy only bought a few seasons. The clashes with the French, from the first engagement with Colonel Combés to the seizure of Buré and Touré’s capital at Bissandugu, constitute what is now known as the First and Second Mandingo Wars. The third, and the deciding moment for the Wassoulou Empire, loomed, though it was delayed by the French conflicts with rulers in Mali and back along their tenuous zones of control to the coast.

However, by 1315 AH (1898 CE), Babemba Traoré, the ruler of the collapsing Kénédougou Empire to the North in Mali proper, was defeated by the French, who proceeded to incorporate most of Mali into the expanding territory of French West Africa. Touré, cut off from supplies in Liberia and Sierra Leone, now found himself virtually alone against the French, who moved their victorious armies back toward Wassoulou and the border, preparing for a final offensive, across the Niger and into what had once been the far Eastern edge of Touré’s Empire, now its only remaining area. Within a few months of the outbreak of hostilities in the Third Mandingo War, Touré was captured when a French unit attacked his troops, and was imprisoned. The French quickly moved in to the remaining Wassoulou towns, and formally dissolved the Empire in the ensuing months. Touré remained imprisoned by local French troops until the 23rd of Jumada al-Ula, 1317 CE (29 September 1899), when he was moved to exile in Gabon. He died of pneumonia there, at 70, in Safar, 1318 AH (June 1900 CE), and was buried at the Grand Masjid in Conakry, Guinea. Touré’s great-grandson, Ahmed Sékou Touré, would later become Guinea’s first President, when the country became independent of France more than half a century later.

Robert Tombs:

Many humanitarians, however, were eager to use British power to do good, and they constituted a significant lobby. Anti-slavery was the most urgent cause. When in 1814 Castlereagh successfully pressed the French to agree to abolish their slave trade in five years’ time, this delay was denounced as the “death warrant of a multitude of innocent victims” and a huge national campaign was organized, claiming 750,000 supporters. Wellington tried to renegotiate the treaty, and the government put pressure on its allies Spain and Portugal, the main slave-buying nations, to stop the trade. Castlereagh wrote: “You must really press the Spanish…there is hardly a village that has not met and petitioned.” London even asked the Pope for support. Castlereagh persuaded the reluctant Great Powers to attach to the Treaty of Vienna (1815) a condemnation of the slave trade—the first such “human rights” declaration in a major international treaty. This began a long effort to end slaving, against the resistance of the slave-trading and slave-holding nations and their African suppliers.

Campaigning peaked in 1833 with more than 5,000 petitions, containing nearly 1.5 million signatures. One, more than a mile long, was signed and sewn together by women, who played an unprecedented part in the campaign, among them Elizabeth Heyrick, author of Immediate, Not Gradual Abolition (1824). Parliament responded in 1834 by emancipating 800,000 slaves in the empire, paying a huge £20m in compensation to the owners—equal to a third of the state budget—and requiring a four-year “apprenticeship” by slaves. This was thus a compromise measure, but still its anniversary was publicly celebrated annually by American abolitionists as a great achievement. In 1843 British subjects were forbidden to own slaves anywhere in the world. The abolition of slavery in the empire in practice applied to slave ownership by whites. Greatly affected was the Cape Colony, one of the most rigid and oppressive slave societies in history. The “Boers” (Dutch-speaking settlers) responded by trekking out of British territory, outraged that black people were “placed on an equal footing with Christians, contrary to the laws of God.” Traditional forms of servitude remained endemic in Africa and Asia, however, and in places still remain; and colonial authorities were very cautious about tackling them.

Even when other states agreed to outlaw slave trafficking—sometimes (as with Spain and Portugal) with compensation paid by Britain—they commonly winked at evasion. So the Royal Navy placed a permanent squadron from 1808 to 1870, at times equal to a sixth of its ships, to try to intercept slavers off West Africa. It was based at Freetown, the capital of the colony for freed slaves at Sierra Leone, which had the first African Anglican bishop, Samuel Crowther, rescued as a boy from a slave ship by the Royal Navy. Patrolling was a thankless and gruelling effort, exposing crews to yellow fever, hardship and even personal legal liability for damages; it also cost a large amount of taxpayers’ money. France and the United States refused to allow the Royal Navy to search ships flying their flags. There was continual diplomatic friction with slave-trading states. British officials there were often threatened with violence. During the 1830s and 1840s several American ships forced by bad weather into British colonial territory had the slaves they were carrying released. In 1839 in the famous case of the slave ship Amistad, when captives rebelled and killed the captain, British testimony proving illegal action by American officials helped to secure their freedom. A serious dispute with the United States occurred in 1841 when American slaves on the ship Creole, being taken from Virginia to be sold in New Orleans, seized the ship and killed a slave-trader. They were given asylum in the British-ruled Bahamas, where they were acquitted of any crime and declared free.

Britain signed forty-five treaties with African rulers to stop the traffic at source. They were very reluctant to give it up, even threatening to kill all their slaves if they were prevented from selling them. In several cases, Britain paid them to abandon the traffic. Abolitionists urged that Britain should maintain a territorial presence in West Africa, to combat illegal trafficking and promote legitimate commerce, such as palm oil, to wean African rulers and Liverpool merchants away from slaving and towards soap manufacture—a good example of cleanliness being next to godliness. By 1830 palm oil exports were worth more than the slave trade. But the trade continued, and the Royal Navy adopted more aggressive tactics, including blockading rivers and destroying slave pens on shore, even when these were foreign property. In 1861 it occupied Lagos, deposing the ruler who refused to stop the trade, and thus blocked one of the main slave routes. Over sixty years the navy captured hundreds of slave ships off the African coast and freed some 160,000 captives. As one recalled it:

They took off all the fetters from our feet and threw them into the water, and they gave us clothes that we might cover our nakedness, they opened the water casks, that we might drink water to the full, and we also ate food, till we had enough.

Several hundred thousand more were prevented from being shipped from Africa by naval and diplomatic pressure.

Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary, was prepared to put pressure on slave-buyers too. In 1839 he simply ordered the seizure of Portuguese slave ships, and in 1845 his successor, Lord Aberdeen, declared Brazilian slave ships to be pirates, and 400 were seized in five years. In 1850 the Royal Navy even forcibly entered Brazilian ports to seize or destroy hundreds of slave ships—decisive in forcing Brazil, the biggest slave-buyer of all, to end one of the largest forced emigrations in history. Palmerston said this had given him his “greatest and purest pleasure.” Cuba, supplied by fast United States ships, came under similar pressure. But American ships were treated more cautiously, as searches of suspected slave ships carrying the Stars and Stripes caused threats of war from Washington. As Palmerston expostulated, “every slave trading Pirate” could escape by simply hoisting “a piece of Bunting with the United States emblems.” The American Civil War caused a reversal in American policy in 1862, when Abraham Lincoln’s government signed a secret treaty allowing the Royal Navy to intercept American slavers. The Spanish and Cuban authorities bowed to circumstances, and the Atlantic slave trade was effectively ended. Slavery itself remained legal in the United States until the 1860s, and in much of Latin America until the 1880s. As late as 1881 the Royal Navy arrested an American slave ship off the Gold Coast.

The British campaign against the slave trade has often been debunked. French and American slave-traders accused Britain of using it as a pretext to try to gain control of West Africa, Cuba, even Texas. Some later historians claimed that slavery ended only because it was no longer profitable. But recent research is practically unanimous that slavery was booming, and it would have been in Britain’s economic interests to expand it, as the United States did. But Britain was rich enough to let its powerful humanitarian and religious lobby get its way.

Did Britain—another accusation at the time and since—use the slave trade as a pretext for colonial expansion in Africa? In fact, successive gov-ernments were reluctant to rule inhospitable and relatively profitless territory, and movement inland was negligible until the late-nineteenth-century “scramble for Africa.” The exception, which involved campaigns against the aggressive slaving kingdom of theAsante (Ashanti)—a magnificent and exceptionally cruel warrior society—was done at the request of Africans on the coast, who were subject to repeated attack from the 1820s onwards and requested British protection. Central Africa meanwhile was being devastated by Muslim slavers supplying the Middle East. The Foreign Office estimated that they were taking 25,000–30,000 people per year during the 1860s, and the nineteenth-century total has been estimated at between 4 million and 6 million people, huge numbers dying as they were dragged across the Sahara or to the coast, and many others being killed in the violence of capture. British anti-slavery groups—inspired by the adventures and writings in the 1850s and 1860s of one of the most revered Victorian heroes, the working-class missionary and explorer David Livingstone—demanded government intervention in what Livingstone had rightly called the open sore of the world. He hoped optimistically that a “Christian colony” of “twenty or thirty good Christian Scotch families” would lead to moral and commercial improvement and would put an end to slavery. Instead, a long diplomatic effort was required to throttle the trade, by persuading African rulers to stop supplying and Muslim states to close the great slave markets of Egypt, Persia, Turkey and the Gulf. Britain had far less power to act directly in the Muslim world, where slavery had ancient social and religious sanction, so action had to be discreet. The consul-general at Cairo in the 1860s, Thomas F. Reade, spied out the Egyptian slave markets disguised as an Arab. He estimated that 15,000 Africans were sold in Cairo annually, and reported on “the cruelties and abominations” involved. Other diplomats were active in helping escaped slaves, including by purchasing their freedom with official funds, and the consul in Benghazi maintained a safe house for escapers at his own expense. British interference in the slave trade—however cautious Whitehall tried to be—could cause serious tensions and even led to mass uprisings in Egypt and the Sudan. However, careful but persistent high-level pressure on the Egyptian, Turkish and Persian governments to forbid the trade, backed up by naval patrols, treaties and even bribes to officials to apply the law, eventually had considerable effect. Pressure and financial inducements to the sultan of Zanzibar (a vast slaving entrepôt) shut its slave market in 1873. Pressure on Egypt resulted in an Anglo-Egyptian Convention of 1877 to end the trade, and in 1883 a similar convention was signed with the Ottoman government. Further afield, the navy even patrolled off Australia to stop “blackbirding” (bringing quasi-slaves from Fiji and other Pacific islands) for the sugar plantations of Queensland.

Britain pressed for the insertion of an anti-slavery agreement in the 1885 Berlin Act on the partition of Africa, though it was notoriously unequally applied. As a Foreign Office official noted in 1896, Britain, “with small military means,” could only govern “countries full of Arabs…with the assistance of the Arabs.” Moreover, the partial abolition of slavery was no panacea—indeed, it gave rise to other social and economic problems. There was a huge multiplication of indentured labour, particularly of Indians shipped to theCaribbean and Africa, who were also highly exploited. Suppressing the slave trade meant at first unsaleable slaves being held by African rulers, and treated even more cruelly. Generally, the British stopped slave trading and abolished slavery as a legal status in territories they controlled in Africa and India (often with financial compensation to the slave-owners), so that slaves could free themselves—which many did. The colonial official Frederick Lugard claimed that 55,000 became free without violence in northern Nigeria between 1902 and 1917. Gradual abolition weakened the brutal hierarchies of slave-owning societies, indirectly benefiting women and the young. The fact that emancipation was supervised by “alien and disinterested authorities” smoothed the process.

anonymous asked:

The African kings sold their slaves

Okay, you’re totally right.  Africans themselves were very involved in the slave trade.  You had African rulers selling slaves and African slave traders in cahoots with the European ones.  In fact, the slave trade couldn’t have occurred at the scale it did if it weren’t for Africans involvement in the slave trade.

And honestly, I always knew this.  But I made the excuse that, even though the Africans had slaves, their version of slavery was not the horrifying version we had in America, so they didn’t know the conditions they were selling their people into. However, I was spurred by this comment to read up on the subject, and apparently most of the African monarchs and traders knew how bad the situation was.  Not only that, but the monarchs and their kids would often go to Europe to seek education, getting passage on the same ships containing the same slaves which they had just sold.

However, even though Africans themselves were involved in the trade, they weren’t the major contributors.  White Americans and Europeans were the main people involved.  In fact, Africans weren’t involved in the beginning.  Europeans started raiding to find slaves at first, with no intention of including the Africans, but they soon discovered this was too much effort, and dangerous as well.  So the Europeans started getting involved with the rulers and paying them for slaves. The relationship between Europeans and Africans was unequal, though.  The Africans were at the mercy of the white men, facing the fact that they had better weapons.  This made their trade deals hard, because the white people could screw the africans over any time they wanted to.  

Finally, in the context of the post your talking about, America and European countries should take refugees as a sort of reparation for having slaves.  This comment didn’t deny that Africa was involved in the slave trade, in fact many africans have urged their rulers to apologize for their ancestors involvement in the slave trade.  What it is saying, is that there is a moral wrong in the fact that we were willing to have slaves, but not willing to recognize these people in need now.  Not only that, but the entire reason why Africa is so destabilized to the point that there are refugees, is because the slave trade decimated the population and the progress the continent was making.  We are responsible for the people who are in need now. 

And even if we weren’t, what is so terrible about trying to help people in need out of a desire to make sure no one has to suffer?