Assignment 2

Gerald Jacobs

The Introduction and Impact of Firearms into Africa by the British Triangle Trade

During the colonial endeavors of Europe in the Americas, Europe was receiving sugar and cotton as commodities (as the diagram above shows), but how did they and their colonies create these crops? They used slaves to work the farms on which cotton and sugar were grown. How did they get these slaves? Through Africa; however, these slaves did not come free. Multiple things were brought to Africa in exchange for slaves, including textiles, rum, manufactured products, and guns.
These guns that came as a result of colonialism and imperialism changed the landscape of Africa permanently in ways that are still seen today. Once guns were introduced into the technological landscape, the groups that had guns could develop into warlords that ruled over people and land with cruel, iron fists, as guns were not only a physical advantage, but a psychological advantage. Many groups sought to go to war with other groups just to gain more people to sell to the slave trade in exchange for more commodities. This created a positive feedback loop-a system in which the agent used to gain success creates more success agent, etc.

These wars changed the political landscape of Africa by creating a correlation between power and guns that had not previously existed. Later, colonialism resulted in the division of Africa by European nations, which caused even more troubles. Besides the political changes, the guns were, by definition, a technological change. When paired with spear-men to protect the gunmen, these warlords and their armies became formidable opponents.

War is still an issue today in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe. European colonialism, slave trade, and gun trade heavily impacted the political and technological landscape of Africa.