Arab Slave Trade: Ethnicity--Arabized Africans

Arab slave trade
Figure 1.--This photograph was taken some where in East Africa, but have not yet found details on who took it and precisely where it was taken. It looks to have been taken in the late-19th or very early-20th century. Arabized Africans played a major role in the Arab slave trade. These African women, especially the one on the right, look to have been recently captured for sale as slaves.

The subject of the Arab slave trade in Africa is riddled with a range of complexities. One of these is just who an Arab is. Here there are both ethnic and linguistic costructs which must be ddressed. The Arabs are a semetic people with largely cacausoid features. Their origins are associated with the Aabian Peninsula. As a result of the Arab outbust (7th century) theArabs conquered many areas throughout the Mddkle East and North Africa. Thuis included mnt non-Arab peoples fom the Ferticle Cressent west to Spain. Egypt was had an especually large popultions. Over time many of these peole were Islamicized, begn speaking Arabic, and inreasingly saw themselves as Arabs. The Arabs who conquered Egypt, for example, added a substantial new population to what is know known as Arabs. +- Thus the Egyptian people tday seem hmselves as Arabs even though the Arab admixture is limited. This is even more the cse a one gie up the Nile. The norhern Sudanese often have African features, but think of themselves as Arabs. There were ethically caucasoid Arabs involved in the African slave trade, but there were also ethnically Egyptian, Berber, and sub-Saharan Africans involved that spoke Arabic, often as a first language. How does one describe these people? There is no probelm calling the Egyptian, Summerian, nd Berber people Arabs. Some are less willing to use the term Arab for sub-Saharn Adricans. bnd of course through inter-marriage there were endless variations of these main groups as well as sub-groups involved. The Arabized/Islamicized Africans played an especially significant role in the Arab African slave trade.


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Created: 8:47 AM 9/29/2012
Last updated: 8:47 AM 9/29/2012