Why a need for African slavery developed is answered by not only a consideration of the demand for it but by an analysis its supply. The potential ease, readiness and volume of supply would help create and develop that need. The same wickedness that allowed western traders to buy slaves was matched by the wickedness of the African slave traders prepared to sell their piers. While slavery was inconsistent across Africa as to its existence in all their societies slavery on the continent as a whole is regarded for its widespread nature and establishment.
Its success came down to its excellent ability to generate wealth for a powerful few. African legal systems did not permit the use of land for wealth creation; the only method of profit through agriculture was ownership of the peoples who worked the land. These owners were most likely merchants and state officials, the groups with long distance connections thus ability to trade with Europe. Their willingness to adapt and galvanise their systems to supply colonial powers virtually unlimited volume proved chillingly simple.
The development of an increasingly global economy from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century would do much to develop Colonial power's need for African Slaves still further. The ability to supply their home nations with luxuries such as sugar and tobacco led the birth of consumer society. Surges in demand as imports came to be perceived as a necessity, not a luxury, could only be met by more plantations and hence more slave imports. A virtuous economic circle albeit dependant slavery.
European nation's maritime power and colonies would allow them to skew world markets in their favour. This dynamic of wealth generation would rely increasingly on their control and development of the slave trade to the point that it had to continue perpetually to meet the needs of colonist and consumer. Economic logic dictated that the development of a need for African slaves had a ghastly inevitability. Institutions designed to protect their own citizens such as the Church or the Aristocracy had no power or desire to limit the development of a need for slavery.
Indeed they would be instrumental in bringing about its operation. In an absence of legislation on slavery in the colonies those who required forced labour were also in the position of power to develop and gear a new legal system to the procurement of it. The British Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne opinion encapsulates the elevation of the importance of profit above all else in developing a need for African slavery, "religion, morality, law, eloquence [and] cruisers will all be ineffective when opposed to a profit of a cent per cent and more.
" Slavery would only begin to ebb with the fall of profits associated with the trade. Yet slavery did continue in areas long devoid of its financial benefits for reasons of social prestige or ideological entrenchment. In these cases great shifts in political and intellectual philosophy would bring its downfall. An ideological tradition made the acceptance of slavery possible in the first place. Profit motive would develop that possibility into a desire and consequentially a need for African slavery.
Conniff, Michael L. , Davis, Thomas J. , Africans in the Americas. A history of Black Diaspora, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994. Blackburn, Richard, The making of new world slavery, Introduction, 1997 (Photocopies). Rice, Duncan, The rise and fall of black slavery, Macmillan Press Ltd, 1975. Elkins, Stanley M. , Slavery. A problem in American institution and intellectual life, The University of Chicago Press, 1971. Walvin, J, Black Ivory. Slavery in the British Empire, (second edition). Blackwell Publishers, 2001.