Before colonialism in africa many small powerful empire existed with stong armies and organized leadership. Aside for the far north little contact was limited to land based routes
Hail, might king!
A rich new land to conquer for the king!
T his all changed with the arival of Vascas da Gama in africa creating new conact and changing the balance of power. As well as opening new paths of trade and means to conquer.
The Portuguese and others built trading forts or factoriesto ensure trade with the African nations. They soon found that one of the most profitable goods that could be traded was African slaves.
Europeans began trading for slaves specifically with guns. 12 million Africans were shipped out of Africa and into the Americas. The guns that were shipped in strengthened the empires that actively supported and participated the slave trade changing the entire balance of power.
Guns for Slaves?
Slaves for Guns?
The demand for slavery caused powerful nations who now had guns to expand and raid for slaves to sell, throwing Africa into a almost perpetual state of war.
After the end of the slave trade in the mid to late 19th century Africa begin trading peanuts, cotton and palm oil. For a short time they were not the focus of European imperialism until they were the focus of colonization in the 20th century.