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ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 2

ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria Series: Slideshow

  • Mais Of Borno
  • … Idris III Alaoma [1580-1617]
  • Dunama IX Lefiami [1808-1811]
  • Muhammad VIII [1811-1814] [1814-1846]…
  • Rabih Az-Zubayr [1893-1900]

Some political figures had 10,000 slaves.

  • Sultans Of Sokoto
  • Uthman DanFodio [also- Usman], [1804-1817]
  • Muhammad Bello [1817-1837]
  • Abubakar Atiku I [1837-1842]…
  • Muhammad Attahiru I [1902-1903]

In the Khaliphate’s population of 10 million persons, an estimated 1.5 million of whom were slaves, some held powerful positions in the Sultanate. Next time, one watches the Durbar performed during festivities of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Addha, do note the parades of horsemanship and camel chivalry are done predominantly by descendents of slaves.

Uthman DanFodio was recorded to have demanded from the Sarkin Gobir the release of all captives.

However, in the 13 years of his life that witnessed the Jihad, it is fair to expect slaves were taken.

He did engage in a debate on the authority of fighting Muslims with the Shaykh Muhammad Al-Amin Al-Kanemi of Borno.

Muslims did fight – and enslave – other Muslims before and during the Jihad of the Sokoto Khaliphate ~Caliphate.

In his definition of a Muslim, Shaykh Uthman based the status of a people on the religion of their leader. This might help understand the burning alive of Afonja by his Hausa-Fulani allies some two decades later.

  • Ministers Of The Khaliphate
  • Gidado [1817-1842]
  • Muhammad Bukhari [1886-1903]
  • Alhaji Junaid
  • Emir Of Adamawa
  • Adama [1805-1847], Lamido Fombina – Leader of the South. Modibbo Adama rose to power shortly after the Bata-Fulani battle.
  • Emir Of Gombe
  • Buba Yero [c. 1798]
  • Emirs Of Kano
  • …Dambazau Sulaiman ~Suleiman [1805-1819]
  • Ibrahim Dabo [1819-1846]
  • Uthman I ~Usman I [1846-1855]
  • Abdullah [1855-1883]…
  • Aliyu Babba [1894-1903]
  • Emirs Of Kontagora
  • Umaru Nagwamatse [1859-1880] invaded and conquered towns belonging to the Nupe, Gwari ~Gbagyi and Zugru ~Zuru, to name some. That rendered captives slaves.
  • Ibrahim Nagwamatse [1880–1901]
  • Emirs Of Bauchi
  • Yakubu
  • Ibrahim Ibn Yakubu…
  • Emirs Of Wase
  • SarkinDutseAbdu
  • Hamman, Abdu’s son…
  • Madaki Hassan Of Wase, had 5,000 slaves on his demise.
  • Sons of Hassan
  • Emirs, Obas and traditional rulers of various titles across the territory.
  • Queen Amina of Zazzau ~Zaria [c. 1500s] is favoured to execute a male slave of hers immediately after enjoying sexual intercourse with him.

Now, right there was the cost of romance:

Sleep with Her Majesty; lose your head. Enjoy the sexual relationship while it lasts. You are about to lose your head for your troubles!!!!


Besides the aristocrats, the average inhabitant, the oha, talakawa, could own slaves.

In the South-East, for instance, the payment of a slave was the fine for kidnapping, incidentally. Slaves were also a form of dowry.

The ethnicities in the interior occasionally traded slaves directly to European and Arab slave merchants who approached local markets.

These internally generated slaves were recipients of the cultural judicial system.

Women found guilty of adultery or even obstinacy to her spouse suffered slavery.

Enslavement of Muslims by Muslims is prohibited, hence in some places, culprits were sentenced to other penalties, including death.

Slave markets in Ezza, Ezza-South, Ebonyi State and Kano were pivotal in the marketing of slaves.

Slavery was common; slave trade was not.

Badagry: Whence Came The Slaves?

Was there any cultural policy to prevent the ownership, transaction or exportation of Egba – or Yoruba – slaves by Egba – or Yoruba – slave merchants? -Not likely.

The incessant Yoruba Wars ensured a steady supply of Yoruba war prisoners who were readily channelled through harsh treks to Badagry for exportation to Europe and the Americas.


Year Belligerents [Aggressors appear on the left] Remarks
1724-1725 Oyo Empire Versus Dahomey Kingdom Defeat of Oyo
1728-1730 Oyo Empire Versus Dahomey Kingdom Defeat of Oyo
1738 Oyo Empire Versus Dahomey Kingdom Victory for Oyo
Annual raids until 1747 Tribute to Oyo
1786 Oyo Empire Versus Dahomey Kingdom Victory for Oyo
1807 Afonja, Alaafin’s nephew, Ilorin Versus Alaafin Arogangan Suicide of the Alaafin
1807 Oyo Empire Versus Sokoto Khaliphate Defeat of Oyo
1825 Oyo Empire Versus Sokoto Khaliphate
Afonja’s Ilorin Versus Oyo Empire Defeat of Oyo
Several wars between Ilorin and Oyo
1833-1835 Afonja’s Ilorin and the Hausa-Fulani Versus Oyo Empire Destruction of capital Old Oyo and burning alive of Afonja by his Hausa-Fulani army
c. 1833 Efunroye Tinubu married Adele, later Oba of Lagos, moved to Badagry and commenced participating in slave trade Ample supply of Yoruba and Egba slaves
c. 1835-1838 Egba Versus Oyo Empire Sacking of Egba
1836 Kosoko Versus Oluwole, Adele’s son, in Lagos Kosoko banished
Kosoko Versus Akintoye, Efunroye’s brother-in-law Akintoye banished, Lagos burnt
Kosoko Versus Akintoye and British forces Victory for Kosoko, Badagry burnt
Internecine wars between Yoruba
c. 1840 Disintegration of Oyo Empire
Ekiti, Ife, Ijesa Confederation Versus Ilorin Defeat of the Confederates
Ijesha Versus Ibadan Defeat of Ijesha
1851 March 3 Egba Versus Dahomey Victory for Egba
1851 November 25 Kosoko, Lagos Versus Britain Victory for Kosoko
1851 December 26 Kosoko, Lagos Versus Britain Defeat of Kosoko
1856 Efunroye Tinubu was banished from Lagos to Abeokuta
1858 Ibadan Versus Ilorin Victory for Ibadan
c. 1860-1862 Ijaiye and Egba Versus Oyo and Ibadan Defeat of Ijaiye and Egba
1864 March 15 Egba Versus Dahomey Kingdom; [Dahomean War] Victory for Egba
1865 March 29 Egba Versus Ijebu, in Ikorodu, and Britain; [Ikorodu War]
Several years of warfare between Yoruba towns
1882 Ibadan and Modakeke Versus Ife Victory for Ibadan
Ibadan Versus Ilorin
1892 Britain Versus Ijebu Victory for Britain


The wars in the north of Lagos, almost incessant since the rebellion of Afonja about 1807, had resulted in the capture of many thousands of prisoners of war, of both sexes and all ages, and the dregs of these were, in accordance with the usual practice, sold to the slave- traders. They were therefore marched, down there in gangs to await shipment. This traffic in slaves, which brought Lagos into some notoriety commenced about the year 1815, and soon attained very large dimensions.

~>Alfred Burdon Ellis, 1894 ~Describing the conduct of the Yoruba

In addition, Yoruba slave raiders could stock abducted persons from various ethnicities – the Bini, Urhobo and their fellows to the East; the Igala, Ebira, and Nupe and their fellows to the North; the Igbo, Ibibio and Oron further East, to include Umuahia. A number of slaves, however, conveyed through the Vlekete Slave Market, Badagry came from all over Yorubaland, including Egba.

The Egba, a subgroup of the Yoruba were prominent players in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade through the slave port of Badagry, Lagos.

While Oba of Lagos Akintoye, Efunroye’s brother-in-law, on 1852 January 1 signed a slave trade abolition treaty with the British for aiding his restoration to the throne, his close aides, including Efunroye – even after she was exiled to Abeokuta – continued to ply the commerce. Interestingly, Oba Akintoye was poisoned in September of the next year, 1853, by adherents of slave trade. The export of humans from Lagos ports continued well into the reign of Akintoye’s son Dosunmu [1853-1885].

We crossed the Ogun and suddenly encountered a village only a few days before full of life and activity, now entirely depopulated, its inhabitants captured as slaves. The people belonged to Oyo, and were collected there on account of the employment of ferrying passengers over the Ogun during the rainy season. The King of Oyo having a short time before captured a few of the people of Ijaiye, Arey, in retaliation sent an expedition against the place, at midnight, took every individual and burnt the place.

~>Robert Campbell, 1861 ~A freed slave on slave raids between the Yoruba

British occupation of Lagos in 1861 put an end to the friendly feelings of the Egbas, who resented the protection granted by the colonial authorities to fugitive slaves from Abeokuta, and objected to the stoppage of the export slave trade, in which they had been largely engaged.

~>Alfred Burdon Ellis, 1894 ~Describing the conduct of the Egba


ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria Series:

[Series 1] [Series 2] [Series 3] [Series 4] [Series 5] [Series 6] [Series 7]


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6 comments on “ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 2

  1. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 1 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

  2. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 3 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

  3. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 4 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

  4. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 6 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

  5. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 7 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2016 by in Attitude, E-Learning Expert, Education For All and tagged , , .


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