What is the value of a human life?

Years ago, human lives were worth just some few items that are now lying in ruins somewhere.

Slave museums in Badagry, Lagos State, hold these items now as artifacts and they have been there for over 170 years.

The artifacts tell stories of slave trade in Nigeria, but some of the items that were given to slave masters in Nigeria for lives are unimaginable.

Primitive old people saw something they had not imagined and gave in to selling their kinsmen for these items. For items that you kick and throw into fire now, they exchanged souls. 

Here is a list of what we found.

1.       An Umbrella 

umbrella exchanged for slaves

This is the surviving umbrella from the 18th century when Sariki Williams Abass was offered it for 40 slaves to cover himself from sun even when trees were everywhere. 

The huge umbrella (over 4ft) was wide enough to cover over 6 persons comfortably and weighed over 25 kilograms. It was held above the slave master by a slave who must hold the umbrella firm enough to ensure it does not drop on the head of the master. If it dropped on him, the slave would be killed. 

2.       A Bottle Of Whisky 

a bottle of whisky exchanged for slaves

This bottle of whisky was received from white slave masters in exchange for 10 souls.

If you drink any of the gins that are available out there, the next time you hold a bottle, look at it carefully and equate that bottle with 10 persons exchanged for it years ago. Unimaginable! 

Our people had palm wine then but the science students of that time wanted something more and they offered 10 lives for a bottle of whisky. 

3.       Mirror

mirror exchanged for slaves

The desire to see one's face and other parts of the body that the eyes cannot easily reach may have made the mirror a treasure at the time, making many so willing to path with a human life for the reflective object.

Two or three lives were exchanged for a mirror.  

Bargaining power played a role in the number of slaves that were exchanged for a mirror centuries ago, a tour guide, Koffi said.

4.       Ceramic Plate

ceramic plates exchanged for slaves

Some persons now that met parents who treasured ceramic plates to the extent that they only brought them out at Christmas or when a very important guest comes will relate to how much value that was placed on these plates prior to this time. 

When children broke such plates in the past, they often went into hiding for fear of what their parents would do to them.

This gives you an idea of why people were willing enough to part with 10 lives for each ceramic plate at the slave museum. 

Each of these plates were exchanged for 10 persons. 

5.       A Gun

guns exchanged for slaves

Hunting was done with arrows and bows, but the men of old saw the magic the gun could perform and gave 40 lives to get one. 

To make hunting this easy, 40 lives were given in exchange for a gun. 

6.       Cannon 

ceramic plates exchanged for slaves

One cannon was exchanged for 50 persons and now these cannons lie in the rain.

Two of those were handed to persons that could not even make good use of them for 100 souls. 


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