Africa 1837 CE

The Zulu conquests are causing turmoil over a large part of south and central Africa.

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What is happening in Africa in 1837CE

South Atlantic slave trade

By now, Western countries have mostly banned the slave trade. A ban is one thing, however; to enforce it is quite another. The slave trade continues to flourish, shifting its centre of gravity further south. Two thirds of the slaves are now taken from central and southern Africa, with most slaves destined for Brazil.

Upheavals in sub-Saharan Africa

In central and southern Africa, the slave trade, and later the ivory trades, and the endemic violence these have fuelled, have led to the wholesale dissolution of traditional tribal structures and ways of life. In many cases, peaceful communities have turned themselves into armed bands. In southern Africa the increasing competition for land, caused by the expansion of European settlement, has intensified these conditions, which see the rise of the highly-militarized Zulu kingdom. The Zulu conquests set off a mass migration of other armed groups, the effects of which are felt a thousand miles and more to the north.

In West Africa, Fulani jihads have led to the rise of large states, most notably the empire founded by Usman dan Fidio which now controls the ancient Hausa city-states and their neighbours.

The Great Trek

The Cape colony in South Africa, founded by Dutch settlers, has now passed from Dutch to British control. This has led to the original settlers (called the Boer) moving into the interior and founding new states (the “Great Trek”), where they can live free from British interference.

Next map, Africa 1871

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The Atlantic Slave Trade

European World Empires


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