What role did Africa play in the colonial empires of the 16th-18th centuries

During the final stages of the Reconquista, the Christian leaders of the Iberian Peninsula, defeating the Muslims, turned their eyes to the opposite side of Gibraltar – the Maghreb countries – one of the main centers of Islamic civilization. The attacks of the Spanish and Portuguese troops in the XV-XVI centuries led to the capture of a number of strongholds in Africa (the Canary Islands, as well as the fortresses of Ceuta, Melilla, Oran, Tunisia and many others).
Italian sailors from Venice and Genoa also engaged in active trade with the region since the 13th century. At the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese actually controlled the west coast of Africa, where they launched an active slave trade. Other Europeans flocked to Africa after them: Dutch, French, British. From the 17th century, Arab trade with sub-Saharan Africa led to the gradual colonization of East Africa, in the Zanzibar region. And although Arab quarters appeared in some cities of West Africa, they did not colonies, and Morocco’s attempts to subjugate the lands of the Sahel failed. Early European expeditions were concentrated on the colonization of uninhabited islands, such as Cape Verde and Sao Tome, as well as on the basis of forts on the coast as trading bases.

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