Problems Faced In The Long Distance Trade

Problems Faced In The Long Distance Trade

  • First and foremost, the distance covered was too long i.e. the Journey had to be covered by foot yet the goods were to be carried on the head.
  • The heavy taxes imposed on the Arabs and the interior chiefs generated into war hence making the trade unsafe.
  • The Indian banyans also always charged high interest rates on the coastal merchants hence making the trade unprofitable.
  • Tropical diseases e.g. Malaria, sleeping sickness claimed many lives of traders and slaves leading to the decline of the trade.
  • Wild animals e.g. lions used to attack the traders on their way to the coast not until guns were introduced.
  • The introduction of guns increased slave raids, tribal warfare hence making the interior unsafe for many traders.
  • Communication was a big problem because of the language barrier i.e only a few people in the interior knew and understood Kiswahili.
  • Hostile tribes like the Masai and Nandi also made the trade difficult because they always attacked the traders who tried to penetrate into their areas.
  • The Ngoni invasion also disrupted the trade i.e. the Tuta Ngoni disrupted trade between Ujiji and Tabora while the Maseko Ngoni disrupted trade along the southern trade route.
  • The geography of the interior of East Africa was scary and impassible e.g. forests, Mountains, Rift valleys, Lakes and rivers, the Nyika plateau.
  • The climate of E.Africa especially in the rainy season was not favorable because it slowed the movement of slaves and traders.
  • The exhaustion of some goods in the interior also proved to be a problem e.g. the Elephants for Ivory were killed in large numbers.
  • The coming of the missionaries also led to the collapse of the trade i.e. they were against slave trade.
  • The colonization of E.A was what finally led to the eventual collapse of the long distance because slave trade was abolished and legitimate trade was introduced.

Effects Of The Long Distance Trade

  • It led to the formation and expansion of states because they had acquired guns e.g. Nyamwezi, Buganda.
  • L.D.T led to the raise of strong statesmen e.g Mirambo, Nyungu ya mawe, Kabalega, Kivoi, Mpanda and Mataka because they had acquired guns which helped them acquire economic and political power.
  • Many people became rich in the interior especially the chiefs and rulers and it helped them enjoy high standards of living.
  • The rise of some states also led to the decline of some other states especially those that did not have guns e.g the expansion of Buganda led to the decline of Busoga, Toro and Bunyoro.
  • The introduction of guns increased warfare, slave raids and tribal conflicts in the interior that led to a lot of destruction of property.
  • The captured slaves were badly treated during their transportation to the coast e.g they were whipped and not given enough food.
  • L.D.T led to the decline of agriculture because of constant slave raids which made cultivation difficult.
  • Long distance trade led to the spread of Islam in the interior e.g some societies like Nyamwezi, Buganda and Kamba had many Moslems due to their contacts with Arabs.
  • The trade also stimulated the growth and development of towns along the trade routes e.g Tabora, Ujiji and Bagamoyo
  • Long distance trade caravan routes later developed into proper communication lines and this eased the transport system.
  • The massive slave raids in the interior led to heavy depopulation especially in the southern Tanganyika e.g. Yao land.
  • The introduction of guns almost depopulated the wildlife e.g. elephants’ population in Nyamwezi area reduced highly due to the need for Ivory.
  • Long distance trade opened up E.Africa to the outside world and this attracted many Europeans who came as traders, missionaries and explorers.
  • Provided alternative livelihood to societies in dry areas e.g. Nyamwezi and Kamba.
  • It led to the rise of society misfits e.g. Ruga Ruga and Maviti warriors.
  • Led to a decline in local/traditional industry e.g. bark cloth making.