The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean


Director: Diane Seligsohn and Richard Rein
Country: USA
Year: 2007-2008
Running Time: 26 min.
Language: English and French

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka introduces this pilot episode of an educational documentary series aimed at filling in the gaps in the history of the African slave trades. Through a mosaic composed of excerpts from interviews with world-renowned historians, readings from literary sources and archival images, this episode traces the earliest documented history of enslavement and deportation of people from the East Coast of Africa up the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean. The film looks at the economic forces driving the development of this trade in human beings and the racial attitudes that existed in the medieval Arab world towards those of East African origin. Emphasis is put on one of the earliest known revolts of enslaved Africans, the Zanj Rebellion, which took place in what is currently Iraq during the 9th century CE.