BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
European contact and slavery (15th century)
- a person in trouble in one kingdom could go to another and place himself under the protection of its king, whereupon he became a "slave" of that king, obliged to provide free labour and liable for sale. (Such a person would likely have retained some rights and had some opportunity to rise in status as time passed.)
- a) Not all war captives offered for sale would have been bought by the Portuguese; e.g., weak or sick looking individuals would not be bought. Their captors would therefore have had to find something else to do with them. Rodney believes that executing them was rare and that usually they would have been used for local labour.
- b) There is a time lag between the time a slave is captured and the time he or she is bought. Thus there would often have been a pool of slaves awaiting sale; and while they waited they would have been put to work.
- The Europeans provided an example for imitation.
- Once slaving in any form is taken up it may smash a moral barrier to exploitation, and make its adoption in other forms seem a relatively minor matter.
- Export slaving entailed the construction of a coercive apparatus which could have been subsequently turned to other ends, such as policing a captive labour force.
- The sale of local produce, e.g. palm kernels, to Europeans opened up a new sphere of economic activity; in particular it created an increased demand for agricultural labour; slavery was a way of mobilising an agricultural work force.
Mane invasions (16th century)
The Province of Freedom 1787-1789
Freetown Colony 1792-1800
- Awake and Sing Of Moses and the Lamb
- Wake! every heart and every tongue'
- To praise the Saviour's name
- The day of Jubilee is come;
- Return ye ransomed sinners home
Colonial era (1800 - 1961)
|Timeline of riot and resistance in the high colonial period|
1885. Carpenters Defensive Union (trade union) formed.
1893. There is a strike of army barracks workers in Freetown. Other workers stage sympathy strike. Governor Fleming swears in 200 citizens as special constables and suppresses it.
1919. Strike and riot. Railway and Public Works department strikes, "inter alia, on account of the nonpayment of War BONUS gratuities to African workers, although these had been paid to other government employees, especially European personnel." Major riots occur in Freetown. The Creole intelligentsia remain neutral.
1920, September. Sierra Leone Railway Skilled Workmen Mutual Aid Union formed.
1923-1924. Moyamba riot.
1925. The 1920 union is renamed the Railway Workers' Union.
1926. Strike and riot. Railway Workers' Union strikes January 13 to February 26. Rioting erupts in Freetown. Creole intelligentsia supports the strikers. According to Wyse this is the first time workers and intelligentsia acted in harmony. The strike was viewed as a threat to stability by the government, and suppressed by troops and police.
1930. Kambia riot.
1930-1931. Haidara Kontorfilli rebellion. Named after its charismatic Moslem leader. Wyse gives the causes as "heavy handedness af chiefly rule and the deteriorating social and economic conditions, as well as the erosive nature of colonial rule." Ended after Kontorfilli was killed by British forces.
1931. Pujehun riot.
1934. Kenema riot.
1939, January. Army mutiny in Freetown over low wages. Led by a Creole gunner, Emmanuel Cole.
1948, November. Riot at Baoma Chiefdom of Bo District. One hundred people committed for trial before supreme court for their part in it.
1950, October. African United Mine Workers' Union (Secretary-General wasSiaka Stevens) strikes in Marampa and Pepel, Northern province. Strikers riot and burn the house of the African personnel officer.
1950, 30 October, Kailahun. 5,000 people riot. Cause was rumour that the Paramount Chief of Luawa Chiefdom would be upheld and reinstated by the government.
1951. Pujehun, South Eastern Province.
3 March: Armed attack at night on Chief's house repelled by police.
15 March: Several villages refuse to pay house tax to government unless chief deposed. Intimidation practised on government sympathisers.
2 June: About 300 "rioters" from outlying villages attack the town of Bandejuma. 101 people committed for Supreme Court trial. Others dealt with summarily.
1955, February. Freetown General Strike over rising cost of living and low pay. Lasted several days: looting, property damage, including residences of government ministers. Leader: Marcus Grant.
1955-56 riots. From the Northern province district of Kambia to the South Eastern Pujehun district. "It involved 'many tens of thousands' of peasants and hinterland town dwellers."