Toby Green has been fascinated by the history of West Africa for decades after he visited as a student and heard whispers of history that didn’t appear in text books. Years later he wrote ‘Fistful of Shells,’ a survey of West Africa and West-Central Africa before the slave trade, and the effect the arrival of Europeans had on those societies. I asked him about what we know about that history and how integrated this region was into the global economy. We also explored the impact of the slave trade on West Africa itself, how it turned the ruling elites against their populations which they now saw as fodder for slave traders.
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