History they say is written by the victors.
Basically meaning that it is not necessarily grounded in fact but the victors interpretations of them.
For instance some years back I just happened to be driving through France to visit the WW1 graves/battlefields when by chance I saw a sign for Agincourt, the site of one of our greatest victory in our history.
I decided we had to make an unplanned detour to see what must be the museum there and I simply couldn't believe my eyes when we found it - it was basically a shed!
Once the shock wore off the penny dropped for me - why should the French celebrate possibly their greatest ever defeat - and to us the English who are their biggest rivals through history?
They would no doubt rather forget it altogether and therefore haven't put any effort into celebrate the
history of the occasion.
It does make perfect sense once you think about it.
Similarly I found the museums around the Somme area completely underwhelming too - again if you think about it, the Germans lost, so they don't 'celebrate' the event, the French lost half their country and millions of dead, so they don't want to celebrate it, just us English who want to go and show our respects to our dead as well as knowing 'we' won!
It sort of made me laugh when someone made a statute of that woman and erected it (without permission remember) where Coulson's statue had stood - another example of the 'victors' writing 'their' 'version' of history.
I found this an interesting read and I quote one or two things from it -'My Nigerian great-grandfather sold slaves'
Nigerian journalist and novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes that one of her ancestors sold slaves, but argues that he should not be judged by today's standards or values.He also sold human beings."He had agents who captured slaves from different places and brought them to him
," my father told me.
Nwaubani Ogogo's slaves were sold through the ports of Calabar and Bonny in the south of what is today known as Nigeria.
They negotiated prices for slaves from the hinterlands, then collected royalties from both the sellers and buyers.The concept of "all men are created equal" was completely alien to traditional religion and law in his society.It would be unfair to judge a 19th Century man by 21st Century principles.
Assessing the people of Africa's past by today's standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villains..
Igbo slave traders like my great-grandfather did not suffer any crisis of social acceptance or legality. They did not need any religious or scientific justifications for their actions. They were simply living the life into which they were raised.
That was all they knew.Buying and selling of human beings among the Igbo had been going on long before the Europeans arrived
. People became slaves as punishment for crime, payment for debts, or prisoners of war.The successful sale of adults was considered an exploit for which a man was hailed
by praise singers, akin to exploits in wrestling, war, or in hunting animals like the lion.
Igbo slaves served as domestic servants and labourers. They were sometimes also sacrificed in religious ceremonies and buried alive with their masters to attend to them in the next world
Slavery was so ingrained in the culture that a number of popular Igbo proverbs make reference to it...
The arrival of European merchants offering guns, mirrors, gin, and other exotic goods in exchange for humans massively increased demand, leading people to kidnap others and sell them.How slaves were traded in Africa
European buyers tended to remain on the coastAfrican sellers brought slaves from the interior on foot
Journeys could be as long as 485km (300 miles)
Two captives were typically chained together at the ankle
Columns of captives were tied together by ropes around their necks10%-15% of captives died on the wayWhen the British extended their rule to south-eastern Nigeria in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, they began to enforce abolition
through military action.
But by using force rather than persuasion, many local people such as my great-grandfather may not have understood that abolition was about the dignity of humankind
and not a mere change in economic policy that affected demand and supply.
"We think this trade must go on
," one local king in Bonny infamously said in the 19th Century.Slave trade in the 20th Century
Acclaimed Igbo historian Adiele Afigbo described the slave trade in south-eastern Nigeria which lasted until the late 1940s and early 1950s
as one of the best kept secrets of the British colonial administration.While the international trade ended, the local trade continued.
"The government was aware of the fact that the coastal chiefs and the major coastal traders had continued to buy slaves from the interior
," wrote Afigbo in The Abolition of the Slave Trade in Southern Nigeria: 1885 to 1950.
Records from the UK's National Archives at Kew Gardens show how desperately the British struggled to end the internal trade in slaves for almost the entire duration of the colonial period.
They promoted legitimate trade, especially in palm produce. They introduced English currency to replace the cumbersome brass rods and cowries that merchants needed slaves to carry. They prosecuted offenders with prison sentences.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53444752
I wonder how many who pulled down Coulson's statue realised that slavery was rife both before and after him and was perpetrated by black people on less fortunate black people, for century's?
Not many I would guess.