Africa’s Forgotten Empires

David Olusoga at The New Statesman:

The trade in ideas, technologies, art and culture between Africa and her partners flowed both ways, a reality that was accentuated by the slavery trade – something that Green explores in great depth. Not only did African goods and commodities pulse through the arteries of the Atlantic world, cultural knowledge and intellectual capital was taken to the New World in the minds of the millions of human beings who were themselves commodified and exchanged. The Maroons, communities of escaped slaves that emerged in Jamaica, Panama and elsewhere, fought their wars using military theories they had learnt on the continent of their birth. Likewise, the rice plantations of South Carolina were cultivated using not just African labour but also African knowledge. This expertise was intentionally transplanted into American soil by British slave traders who had enslaved thousands of people from the rice-growing regions of Sierra Leone. These Africans were kidnapped to order, their minds as valuable a commodity as their bodies.

more here.