See also Europeans: Texts and Sources


The Tomba I created in "Ama" is a completely fictional character, though I did base his story in part on that of his illustrious namesake. MH

for nformation about the original CaptainTomba.

Hugh Thomasdescribes Tomba's case as ". . . a rare example of an African ruler seekingto prevent or at least to resist the slave trade;  but the alliance of afew villages formed by this individual - Tomba, a Baga - failed, and he washimself swept into slavery." (The Slave Trade, p. 339)

P. E. H.Hair thinks it unlikely that ". . . slaves ever condemned theinstitutions of enslavement in Africa (without abolitionist prompting); and also[that] the institutions were ever condemned within African communities."(The Atlantic Slave Trade and Black Africa)

PatrickManning writes, " Slaves resisted their degradation not only morally,through religion, but physically. Free persons resisted capture. Those capturedand shipped to the New World revolted with predictable regularity, and revoltsof slaves in Africa took place wherever they were gathered in large numbers: forinstance, a wave of slave revolts rippled along the West African coast in the1850s . . ." and elsewhere, "I have chosen to focus on the negative,narrowing, and discouraging effects which slavery may have had on Africanthought. Perhaps there was another side as well. There must have been, among theslaves, valiant determination to defend their families, struggles to achievesome autonomy, or efforts to overcome on a spiritual plane the hopelessness oftheir material existence.  Still, I am left with the impression that theyhad to live each day as if it were their last."  (Slavery and AfricanLife, Cambridge, 1990, 117, 125)

There seem tobe few records of  slave revolts on African soil. That might be becausethere were few such revolts.  

There is ofcourse, another possibility, that many revolts did occur and were neverrecorded, for oral history records the victories of kings, not the desperateacts of those deprived of their liberty.

There is atleast one relevant piece of circumstantial evidence, the fact that on the way tothe coast, the slaves were hobbled and shackled. The slavers' intention wouldcertainly have been to prevent escape; but it might also have been to preventrevolt.

Paul Lovejoymentions the Asante "government decision to shift slaves away from thecapital territory after 1810 in order to avoid the dangers of slaveuprisings." (Caravans of Kola: Hausa Kola Trade 1700-1900, OUP)

While it seemsunlikely that historians will be able to discover much evidence of slave revolts within Africa,  Resistance slave revolts on board ship are another matter.