Yoruba people in the Atlantic slave trade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Yoruba people contributed a cultural and economic influence upon the Atlantic slave trade during its run from approximately 1400 until 1900 CE.

Oyo Empire[edit]

From 1400 onward, the Oyo Empire's imperial success made the Yoruba language a lingua franca almost to the shores of the Volta.[1] Toward the end of the 18th century, the Oyo army was neglected as there was less need to conquer.[2] Instead, Oyo directed more effort towards trading and acted as middlemen for both the Trans-Saharan and Trans-Atlantic slave trade.[2] Europeans bringing salt arrived in Oyo during the reign of King Obalokun.[3] Thanks to its domination of the coast, Oyo merchants were able to trade with Europeans at Porto Novo and Whydah.[4] Here the Oyo Empire's captives and criminals were sold to Dutch and Portuguese buyers.[5]

Cultural influence[edit]

In addition to the influence upon slave, and later free Afro-American cuisine and language, the importation of Yoruba culture was most heavily evidenced in such manifestations of Yoruba religion as Santería, Candomblé Ketu, and other traditional spiritualities.


  1. ^ Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 302.
  2. ^ a b Oliver & Atmore 2001, p. 95.
  3. ^ Stride & Ifeka p. 292
  4. ^ Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 293.
  5. ^ Smith 1989, p. 31.