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Slavery

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Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property.[1] A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations.[2] However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Slavery began to exist before written history, in many cultures.[3] A person could become a slave from the time of their birth, capture, or purchase.

While slavery was institutionally recognized by most societies, it has now been outlawed in all recognized countries,[4][5] the last being Mauritania in 2007. Nevertheless, there are still more slaves today than at any previous point in history,[6] with an estimated 45 million people being in slavery worldwide.[7] The most common form of the slave trade is now commonly referred to as human trafficking. Chattel slavery is also still practiced by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In other areas, slavery (or unfree labour) continues through practices such as debt bondage, the most widespread form of slavery today,[2] serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage.[8]

Terminology

The English word slave comes from Old French sclave, from the Medieval Latin sclavus, from the Byzantine Greek σκλάβος, which, in turn, comes from the ethnonym Slav, because in some early Medieval wars many Slavs were captured and enslaved.[9][10] An older interpretation connected it to the Greek verb skyleúo 'to strip a slain enemy'.[11]

There is a dispute among historians about whether terms such as "unfree labourer" or "enslaved person", rather than "slave", should be used when describing the victims of slavery. According to those proposing a change in terminology, "slave" perpetuates the crime of slavery in language, by reducing its victims to a nonhuman noun instead of, according to Andi Cumbo-Floyd, "carry[ing] them forward as people, not the property that they were". Other historians prefer "slave" because the term is familiar and shorter, or because it accurately reflects the inhumanity of slavery, with "person" implying a degree of autonomy that slavery does not allow for.[12]

Types

Bonded labour

Indenture, otherwise known as bonded labour or debt bondage, is a form of unfree labour under which a person pledges himself or herself against a loan.[13] The services required to repay the debt, and their duration, may be undefined.[13] Debt bondage can be passed on from generation to generation, with children required to pay off their progenitors' debt.[13] It is the most widespread form of slavery today.[2] Debt bondage is most prevalent in South Asia.[14]

1840 poster of slaves for sale in New Orleans.

Chattel slavery

Chattel slavery, also called traditional slavery, is so named because people are treated as the chattel (personal property) of the owner and are bought and sold as commodities. Typically, under the chattel slave system, slave status was imposed on children of the enslaved at birth.[15] Although it dominated many societies in the past, this form of slavery has been formally abolished and is very rare today. Even when it can be said to survive, it is not upheld by the legal system of any internationally recognized government.[16]

Forced labour

A Chinese Nationalist soldier, age 10, in 1944.

Forced labour, or unfree labour, is sometimes used to refer to when an individual is forced to work against their own will, under threat of violence or other punishment, but the generic term unfree labour is also used to describe chattel slavery, as well as any other situation in which a person is obliged to work against their own will and a person's ability to work productively is under the complete control of another person.[2] This may also include institutions not commonly classified as slavery, such as serfdom, conscription and penal labour. While some unfree labourers, such as serfs, have substantive, de jure legal or traditional rights, they also have no ability to terminate the arrangements under which they work, and are frequently subject to forms of coercion, violence, and restrictions on their activities and movement outside their place of work.

Human trafficking primarily involves women and children forced into prostitution and is the fastest growing form of forced labour, with Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico having been identified as leading hotspots of commercial sexual exploitation of children.[2][17][18] Examples of sexual slavery, often in military contexts, include detention in "rape camps" or "comfort stations," "comfort women", forced "marriages" to soldiers and other practices involving the treatment of women or men as chattel and, as such, violations of the peremptory norm prohibiting slavery.[19][20][21][22]

In 2007, Human Rights Watch estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 children served as soldiers in current conflicts.[23]

Forced marriage

"The White Slave." Eberle's depiction of child prostitution, 1913

Forced marriages or early marriages are often considered types of slavery. Forced marriage continues to be practiced in parts of the world including some parts of Asia and Africa. Forced marriages may also occur in immigrant communities in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.[24][25][26][27] Ritual servitude where girls and women are pledged to priests or those of higher castes is a practice sometimes found in West Africa.[2] Marriage by abduction occurs in many places in the world today, with a national average of 69% of marriages in Ethiopia being through abduction.[28]

Dependents

"Slavery" has also been used to refer to a legal state of dependency to somebody else.[29][30] For example, in Persia, the situations and lives of such slaves could be better than those of common citizens.[31]

Characteristics

Economics

Economists have attempted to model the circumstances under which slavery (and variants such as serfdom) appear and disappear. One observation is that slavery becomes more desirable for landowners where land is abundant but labour is scarce, such that rent is depressed and paid workers can demand high wages. If the opposite holds true, then it becomes more costly for landowners to have guards for the slaves than to employ paid workers who can only demand low wages due to the amount of competition.[32] Thus, first slavery and then serfdom gradually decreased in Europe as the population grew, but were reintroduced in the Americas and in Russia as large areas of new land with few people became available.[33]

Slavery is more common when the labor done is relatively simple and thus easy to supervise, such as large-scale growing of a single crop, like sugar and cotton, in which output was based on economies of scale. This enables such systems of labor, such as the gang system in The United States, to become prominent on large plantations where field hands were monitored and worked with factory-like precision.

For example, each work gang was based on an internal division of labour that not only assigned every member of the gang to a precise task, but also simultaneously made their own performance dependent on the actions of the others. The hoe hands chopped out the weeds that surrounded the cotton plants as well as excessive sprouts. The plow gangs followed behind, stirring the soil near the rows of cotton plants and tossing it back around the plants. Thus, the gang system worked like an assembly line.[34]

Since the 18th century, critics have argued that slavery tends to retard technological advancement because the focus is on increasing the number of slaves doing simple tasks rather than upgrading the efficiency of labour. For example, it is sometime argued that, because of this narrow focus, theoretical knowledge and learning in Greece – and later in Rome — was not applied to ease physical labour or improve manufacturing.[35]

Adam Smith made the argument that free labour was economically better than slave labour, and that it is nearly impossible to end slavery in a free, democratic, or republican form of government since many of its legislators, or political figures were slave owners, and would not punish themselves. He further argued that slaves would be better able to gain their freedom when there was centralized government, or a central authority like a king or the church.[36] [37]

Similar arguments appear later in the works of Auguste Comte, especially when it comes to Adam Smith's belief in the separation of powers, or what Comte called the "separation of the spiritual and the temporal" during the Middle Ages and the end of slavery, and Smith's criticism of masters, past and present. As Smith stated in the Lectures on Jurisprudence, "The great power of the clergy thus concurring with that of the king set the slaves at liberty. But it was absolutely necessary both that the authority of the king and of the clergy should be great. Where ever any one of these was wanting, slavery still continues..."

Slaves can be an attractive investment because the slave-owner only needs to pay for sustenance and enforcement. This is sometimes lower than the wage-cost of free laborers because free workers earn more than sustenance, resulting in slaves having a positive price. When the cost of sustenance and enforcement exceeds the wage rate, slave-owning would no longer be profitable, and owners would simply release their slaves. Slaves are thus a more attractive investment in high-wage, cheap-enforcement environments, and less attractive in low-wage-rate, expensive-enforcement environments.[38]

Free workers also earn compensating differentials, whereby they are paid more for doing unpleasant work. However, since neither sustenance nor enforcement costs rise with the unpleasantness of the work, the cost of slaves do not rise by the same amount. As such, slaves are more attractive for unpleasant work, and less attractive for pleasant work. Because the unpleasantness of the work is not internalised, being born by the slave rather than the owner, it is a negative externality and leads to over-use of slaves in these situations.[38]

Currently, the weighted average global sales price of a slave is calculated to be approximately $340, with a high of $1,895 for the average trafficked sex slave, and a low of $40 to $50 for debt bondage slaves in part of Asia and Africa.[39]

Worldwide slavery is a criminal offense but slave owners can get very high returns for their risk. According to researcher Siddharth Kara, the profits generated worldwide by all forms of slavery in 2007 were $91.2 billion. That is second only to drug trafficking, in terms of global criminal enterprises. The weighted average annual profits generated by a slave in 2007 was $3,175, with a low of an average $950 for bonded labor and $29,210 for a trafficked sex slave.[39] Approximately 40% of slave profits each year are generated by trafficked sex slaves, representing slightly more than 4% of the world's 29 million slaves.[39]

Robert E. Wright has developed a model, based on economic conditions, that helps to predict when firms (individuals, companies) will be more likely to use slaves rather than wage workers, indentured servants, family members, or other types of labourers.[40]

Identification

Sale and inspection of slave

Throughout history, slaves were clothed in a distinctive fashion, particularly with respect to footwear, or rather the lack thereof. This was due to economic reasons, as well as a distinguishing feature, especially in South Africa and South America. For example, the Cape Town slave code stated that "Slaves must go barefoot and must carry passes."[41]

This was the case in the majority of states that abolished slavery later in history, as most images from the respective historical period suggest that slaves were barefoot.[42] To quote Brother Riemer (1779): "[the slaves] are, even in their most beautiful suit, obliged to go barefoot. Slaves were forbidden to wear shoes. This was a prime mark of distinction between the free and the bonded and no exceptions were permitted."[43]

As shoes have been considered badges of freedom since biblical times "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet (Luke 15:22)" this aspect has been an informal law wherever slavery existed. A barefoot person could therefore be clearly identified as a slave upon first sight.

In certain societies this rule is valid to this day, as with the Tuareg slavery which is still unofficially practiced, and their slaves have to go barefoot.[44]

Early history

Slaves working in a mine, Ancient Greece

Evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures.[3] Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations because it requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. Thus, although it has existed among unusually resource-rich hunter gatherers, such as the American Indian peoples of the salmon-rich rivers of the Pacific Northwest Coast, slavery became widespread only with the invention of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution about 11,000 years ago.[45]

In the earliest known records, slavery is treated as an established institution. The Code of Hammurabi (c. 1760 BC), for example, prescribed death for anyone who helped a slave escape or who sheltered a fugitive.[46] The Bible mentions slavery as an established institution.[3]

Slavery was known in almost every ancient civilization and society including Sumer, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Carolingian Europe, the Roman Empire, the Hebrew kingdoms of the ancient Levant, and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas.[3] Such institutions included debt-slavery, punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war, child abandonment, and the birth of slave children to slaves.[47]

Classical antiquity

Asia

Korea

Slavery in Korea existed since before the Three Kingdoms of Korea period, approximately 2,000 years ago, and has been described as "very important in medieval Korea, probably more important than in any other East Asian country".[48][49] [50] Slavery went into decline around the 10th century, but came back in the late Goryeo period when Korea also experienced a number of slave rebellions.[48]

Europe

Ancient Greece

Slaves in chains, at Smyrna (present day İzmir), 200 AD

Records of slavery in Ancient Greece date as far back as Mycenaean Greece. It is certain that Classical Athens had the largest slave population, with as many as 80,000 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC;[51] two- to four-fifths of the population were slaves.[52] As the Roman Republic expanded outward, entire populations were enslaved, thus creating an ample supply from all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Greeks, Illyrians, Berbers, Germans, Britons, Thracians, Gauls, Jews, Arabs, and many more were slaves used not only for labour, but also for amusement (e.g. gladiators and sex slaves). This oppression, by an elite minority, eventually led to slave revolts (see Roman Servile Wars); the Third Servile War, led by Spartacus, (a Thracian) being the most famous.

By the late Republican era, slavery had become a vital economic pillar in the wealth of Rome, as well as a very significant part of Roman society.[53] It is estimated that 25% or more of the population of Ancient Rome was enslaved, although the actual percentage is debated by scholars, and varied from region to region.[54][55] Slaves represented 15–25% of Italy's population,[56] mostly captives in war,[56] especially from Gaul[57] and Epirus. Estimates of the number of slaves in the Roman Empire suggest that the majority of slaves were scattered throughout the provinces outside of Italy.[56] Generally, slaves in Italy were indigenous Italians,[58] with a minority of foreigners (including both slaves and freedmen) born outside of Italy estimated at 5% of the total in the capital at its peak, where their number was largest. Those from outside of Europe were predominantly of Greek descent, while the Jewish ones never fully assimilated into Roman society, remaining an identifiable minority. These slaves (especially the foreigners) had higher death rates and lower birth rates than natives, and were sometimes even subjected to mass expulsions.[59] The average recorded age at death for the slaves of the city of Rome was extraordinarily low: seventeen and a half years (17.2 for males; 17.9 for females).[60][page needed]

Middle Ages

Africa

Slavery was also widespread in Africa, with both internal and external slave trade.[61]

Arab slave trade

13th century slave market in Yemen.[62]

The Arab slave trade, across the Sahara desert and across the Indian Ocean, began after Muslim Arab and Swahili traders won control of the Swahili Coast and sea routes during the 9th century (see Sultanate of Zanzibar). These traders captured Bantu peoples (Zanj) from the interior in present-day Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania and brought them to the coast.[63][64] There, the slaves gradually assimilated in the rural areas, particularly on the Unguja and Pemba islands.[65]

Americas

Mexico

Slavery in Mexico can be traced back to the Aztecs.[66] Other Amerindians, such as the Inca of the Andes, the Tupinambá of Brazil, the Creek of Georgia, and the Comanche of Texas, also owned slaves.[3]

Asia

China

Many Han Chinese were enslaved in the process of the Mongols invasion of China proper.[67] According to Japanese historian Sugiyama Masaaki (杉山正明) and Funada Yoshiyuki (舩田善之), there were also certain number of Mongolian slaves owned by Han Chinese during the Yuan dynasty. Moreover, there is no evidence that Han Chinese, who were considered people of the bottom of Yuan society by some research, were suffered a particularly cruel abuse.[68][69]

Korea

In the Joseon period of Korea, members of the slave class were known as nobi. The nobi were socially indistinct from freemen other than the ruling yangban class, and some possessed property rights, legal entities and civil rights. Hence, some scholars argue that it's inappropriate to call them "slaves",[70] while some scholars describe them as serfs.[71][72] The nobi population could fluctuate up to about one-third of the population, but on average the nobi made up about 10% of the total population.[73] In 1801, the vast majority of government nobi were emancipated,[74] and by 1858 the nobi population stood at about 1.5 percent of the total population of Korea.[75]

Europe

Adalbert of Prague accuses Jews of the Christian slave trade against Boleslaus II

Large-scale trading in slaves was mainly confined to the South and East of early medieval Europe: the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world were the destinations, while pagan Central and Eastern Europe (along with the Caucasus and Tartary) were important sources. Viking, Arab, Greek, and Radhanite Jewish merchants were all involved in the slave trade during the Early Middle Ages.[76][77][78] The trade in European slaves reached a peak in the 10th century following the Zanj rebellion which dampened the use of African slaves in the Arab world.[79][80]

Slavery in early medieval Europe was so common that the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly prohibited it — or at least the export of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands was prohibited at e.g. the Council of Koblenz (922), the Council of London (1102) aimed mainly at the sale of English slaves to Ireland[81] and having no legal standing), and the Council of Armagh (1171). In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas, granting the kings of Spain and Portugal the right to reduce any "Saracens (antiquated term referring to Muslims), pagans and any other unbelievers" to perpetual slavery, legitimizing the slave trade as a result of war.[82] The approval of slavery under these conditions was reaffirmed and extended in his Romanus Pontifex bull of 1455.

Slavery largely disappeared from Western Europe by the later Middle Ages, but persisted longer in Eastern Europe.[83]

England

Depiction of socage in feudal England, ca. 1310.

In Britain, slavery continued to be practiced following the fall of Rome and sections of Hywel the Good's laws dealt with slaves in medieval Wales. The trade particularly picked up after the Viking invasions, with major markets at Chester[84] and Bristol[85] supplied by Danish, Mercian, and Welsh raiding of one another's borderlands. At the time of the Domesday Book, nearly 10% of the English population were slaves.[86] The slave trade became illegal in England in 1102, but England went on to become very active in the lucrative Atlantic slave trade from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century.[87]

Ottoman Empire

The Byzantine-Ottoman wars and the Ottoman wars in Europe brought large numbers of slaves into the Islamic world.[88]

To staff its bureaucracy, the Ottoman Empire established a janissary system which seized hundreds of thousands of Christian boys through the devşirme system. They were well cared for but were legally slaves owned by the government and were not allowed to marry. They were never bought or sold. The Empire gave them significant administrative and military roles. The system began about 1365; there were 135,000 janissaries in 1826, when the system ended.[89]

After the Battle of Lepanto, 12,000 Christian galley slaves were recaptured and freed from the Ottoman fleet.[90] Eastern Europe suffered a series of Tatar invasions, the goal of which was to loot and capture slaves into jasyr.[91] Seventy-five Crimean Tatar raids were recorded into Poland–Lithuania between 1474 and 1569.[92]

Poland

Slavery in Poland was forbidden in the 15th century; in Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588; they were replaced by the second serfdom.

Portugal

The maritime town of Lagos was the first slave market created in Portugal (one of the earliest colonizers of the Americas) for the sale of imported African slaves—the Mercado de Escravos, opened in 1444.[93][94] In 1441, the first slaves were brought to Portugal from northern Mauritania.[94]

By 1552, black African slaves made up 10% of the population of Lisbon.[95][96] In the second half of the 16th century, the Crown gave up the monopoly on slave trade and the focus of European trade in African slaves shifted from import to Europe to slave transports directly to tropical colonies in the Americas—in the case of Portugal, especially Brazil.[94] In the 15th century one-third of the slaves were resold to the African market in exchange of gold.[97]

Russia

Crimean Tatar raiders enslaved more than 1 million Eastern Europeans.[98]

In Kievan Rus and Muscovy, slaves were usually classified as kholops.

Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, thralldom was abolished in the mid-14th century.[99]

Spain

Medieval Spain and Portugal were the scene of almost constant Muslim invasion of the predominantly Christian area. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Iberian Christian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In a raid against Lisbon, Portugal in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves, Portugal in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.[100] From the 11th to the 19th century, North African Barbary Pirates engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns, to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in places such as Algeria and Morocco.[101][102]

Modern history

Africa (North Africa)

Arab slave traders and their captives on the Ruvuma River.

Some historians assert that as many as 17 million people were sold into slavery on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, and North Africa, and approximately 5 million African slaves were bought by Muslim slave traders and taken from Africa across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert between 1500 and 1900.[103]

The captives were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantations in the region. Eventually, tens of thousands of captives were being taken every year.[65][104][105]

The Indian Ocean slave trade was multi-directional and changed over time. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantu slaves bought by Arab slave traders from southeastern Africa were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Egypt, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, European colonies in the Far East, the Indian Ocean islands, Ethiopia and Somalia.[106]

Slave labor in East Africa was drawn from the Zanj, Bantu peoples that lived along the East African coast.[64][107] The Zanj were for centuries shipped as slaves by Arab traders to all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs recruited many Zanj slaves as soldiers and, as early as 696, there were slave revolts of the Zanj against their Arab enslavers in Iraq.

The Zanj Rebellion, a series of uprisings that took place between 869 and 883 AD near the city of Basra (also known as Basara), situated in present-day Iraq, is believed to have involved enslaved Zanj that had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa.[108] It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over "tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq".[109] The Zanj who were taken as slaves to the Middle East were often used in strenuous agricultural work.[110] As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabs became richer, agriculture and other manual labor work was thought to be demeaning. The resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market.

In Algiers, the capital of Algeria, captured Christians and Europeans were forced into slavery. By one estimate, raids by Barbary pirates on coastal villages and ships extending from Italy to Iceland, enslaved an estimated 1 million to 1¼ million Europeans between the 16th and 19th centuries.[111][112][113] However, to this estimate is extrapolated by assuming the number of European, slaves captured by Barbary pirates, was constant for 250 years period:

"There are no records of how many men, women and children were enslaved, but it is possible to calculate roughly the number of fresh captives that would have been needed to keep populations steady and replace those slaves who died, escaped, were ransomed, or converted to Islam. On this basis it is thought that around 8,500 new slaves were needed annually to replenish numbers - about 850,000 captives over the century from 1580 to 1680. By extension, for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000."[114]

Davis' numbers have been refuted by other historians, such as David Earle, who cautions that true picture of Europeans slaves is clouded by the fact the corsairs also seized non-Christian whites from eastern Europe and black people from west Africa.[114]

In addition, the number of slaves traded was hyperactive, with exaggerated estimates relying on peak years to calculate averages for entire centuries, or millennia. Hence, there were wide fluctuations year-to-year, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, given slave imports, and also given the fact that, prior to the 1840s, there are no consistent records. Middle East expert, John Wright, cautions that modern estimates are based on back-calculations from human observation.[115]

Such observations, across the late 1500s and early 1600s observers, account for around 35,000 European Christian slaves held throughout this period on the Barbary Coast, across Tripoli, Tunis, but mostly in Algiers. The majority were sailors (particularly those who were English), taken with their ships, but others were fishermen and coastal villagers. However, most of these captives were people from lands close to Africa, particularly Spain and Italy.[116]

This eventually led to the bombardment of Algiers by an Anglo-Dutch fleet in 1816.[117][118]

Africa (Sub-Saharan)

Slave traders in Gorée. 18th century

Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In many African societies where slavery was prevalent, the enslaved people were not treated as chattel slaves and were given certain rights in a system similar to indentured servitude elsewhere in the world.

The forms of slavery in Africa were closely related to kinship structures. In many African communities, where land could not be owned, enslavement of individuals was used as a means to increase the influence a person had and expand connections.[119] This made slaves a permanent part of a master's lineage and the children of slaves could become closely connected with the larger family ties.[120] Children of slaves born into families could be integrated into the master's kinship group and rise to prominent positions within society, even to the level of chief in some instances. However, stigma often remained attached and there could be strict separations between slave members of a kinship group and those related to the master.[119]

Slavery, in historical Africa, was practiced in many different forms: Debt slavery, enslavement of war captives, military slavery, and criminal slavery were all practiced in various parts of Africa.[121] Slavery for domestic and court purposes was widespread throughout Africa.

When the Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade began, many of the local slave systems began supplying captives for chattel slave markets outside Africa. However, the Atlantic slave trade was not the only slave trade from Africa, although it was the largest in volume and intensity. As Elikia M’bokolo wrote in Le Monde diplomatique:

The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth).... Four million enslaved people exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean.[122]

The trans-Atlantic slave trade peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa. These expeditions were typically carried out by African kingdoms, such as the Oyo empire (Yoruba), the Ashanti Empire,[123] the kingdom of Dahomey,[124] and the Aro Confederacy.[125] It is estimated that about 15 percent of slaves died during the voyage, with mortality rates considerably higher in Africa itself in the process of capturing and transporting indigenous peoples to the ships.[126][127]

Americas

Slavery in the Americas had a contentious history and played a major role in the history and evolution of some countries, triggering a revolution, a civil war, and numerous rebellions.

The first African slaves arrived in Hispaniola in 1501.[128] In 1518, Charles I of Spain agreed to ship slaves directly from Africa. England played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade. The "slave triangle" was pioneered by Francis Drake and his associates.

Many Europeans who arrived in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries came under contract as indentured servants.[129] The transformation from indentured servitude to slavery was a gradual process in Virginia. The earliest legal documentation of such a shift was in 1640 where a negro, John Punch, was sentenced to lifetime slavery, forcing him to serve his master, Hugh Gwyn, for the remainder of his life, for attempting to run away. This case was significant because it established the disparity between his sentence as a black man, and that of the two white indentured servants who escaped with him (one described as Dutch and one as a Scotchman). It is the first documented case of a black man sentenced to lifetime servitude, and is considered one of the first legal cases to make a racial distinction between black and white indentured servants.[130][131][132][133][134]

After 1640, planters started to ignore the expiration of indentured contracts and kept their servants as slaves for life. This was demonstrated by the 1655 case Johnson v. Parker, where the court ruled that a black man, Anthony Johnson of Virginia, was granted ownership of another black man, John Casor, as the result of a civil case.[135] This was the first instance of a judicial determination in the Thirteen Colonies holding that a person who had committed no crime could be held in servitude for life.[136][137][138][139][140][141][142]

Barbados

Statue of Bussa, who led the largest slave rebellion in Barbadian history.

In the very early years (1620–1640s) the majority of the labour was provided by European indentured servants, mainly English, Irish and Scottish, with enslaved Africans and enslaved Amerindian providing little of the workforce.

The introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil in 1640 completely transformed society and the economy. Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries.[143]

As the effects of the new crop increased, so did the shift in the ethnic composition of Barbados and surrounding islands. The workable sugar plantation required a large investment and a great deal of heavy labour. At first, Dutch traders supplied the equipment, financing, and enslaved Africans, in addition to transporting most of the sugar to Europe. In 1644 the population of Barbados was estimated at 30,000, of which about 800 were of African descent, with the remainder mainly of English descent. These English smallholders were eventually bought out and the island filled up with large sugar plantations worked by enlslaved Africans. By 1660 there was near parity with 27,000 blacks and 26,000 whites. By 1666 at least 12,000 white smallholders had been bought out, died, or left the island. Many of the remaining whites were increasingly poor. By 1680 there were 17 slaves for every indentured servant. By 1700, there were 15,000 free whites and 50,000 enslaved Africans.

Due to the increased implementation of slave codes, which created differential treatment between Africans and the white workers and ruling planter class, the island became increasingly unattractive to poor whites. Black or slave codes were implemented in 1661, 1676, 1682, and 1688. In response to these codes, several slave rebellions were attempted or planned during this time, but none succeeded. Nevertheless, poor whites who had or acquired the means to emigrate often did so. Planters expanded their importation of enslaved Africans to cultivate sugar cane.

Brazil

Slave punishment by Jacques Etienne Arago. 1839.

Slavery in Brazil began long before the first Portuguese settlement was established in 1532, as members of one tribe would enslave captured members of another.[144]

Later, Portuguese colonists were heavily dependent on indigenous labor during the initial phases of settlement to maintain the subsistence economy, and natives were often captured by expeditions called bandeiras. The importation of African slaves began midway through the 16th century, but the enslavement of indigenous peoples continued well into the 17th and 18th centuries.

During the Atlantic slave trade era, Brazil imported more African slaves than any other country. Nearly 5 million slaves were brought from Africa to Brazil during the period from 1501 to 1866.[145] Until the early 1850s, most enslaved Africans who arrived on Brazilian shores were forced to embark at West Central African ports, especially in Luanda (present-day Angola). Today, with the exception of Nigeria, the largest population of people of African descent is in Brazil.[146]

Slave labor was the driving force behind the growth of the sugar economy in Brazil, and sugar was the primary export of the colony from 1600 to 1650. Gold and diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil in 1690, which sparked an increase in the importation of African slaves to power this newly profitable market. Transportation systems were developed for the mining infrastructure, and population boomed from immigrants seeking to take part in gold and diamond mining.

The largest number of slaves were shipped to Brazil.[147]

Demand for African slaves did not wane after the decline of the mining industry in the second half of the 18th century. Cattle ranching and foodstuff production proliferated after the population growth, both of which relied heavily on slave labor. 1.7 million slaves were imported to Brazil from Africa from 1700 to 1800, and the rise of coffee in the 1830s further enticed expansion of the slave trade.

Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery. By the time it was abolished, in 1888, an estimated four million slaves had been imported from Africa to Brazil, 40% of the total number of slaves brought to the Americas. For reference, the United States received 10 percent.

Despite being abolished, there are still people working in slavery-like conditions in Brazil in the 21st century.

Cuba

In 1789 the Spanish Crown led an effort to reform slavery, as the demand for slave labor in Cuba was growing. The Crown issued a decree, Código Negro Español (Spanish Black Codex), that specified food and clothing provisions, put limits on the number of work hours, limited punishments, required religious instruction, and protected marriages, forbidding the sale of young children away from their mothers.[148] The British made other changes to the institution of slavery in Cuba.[148] The British made other changes to the institution of slavery in Cuba.[148] But, planters often flouted the laws and protested against them, considering them a threat to their authority[148] and an intrusion into their personal lives.[148]

The slaveowners did not protest against all the measures of the codex, many of which they argued were already common practices. They objected to efforts to set limits on their ability to apply physical punishment. For instance, the Black Codex limited whippings to 25 and required the whippings "not to cause serious bruises or bleeding".[148] The slave-owners thought that the slaves would interpret these limits as weaknesses, ultimately leading to resistance.[148] Another contested issue was the work hours that were restricted "from sunrise to sunset"; plantation owners responded by explaining that cutting and processing of cane needed 20-hour days during the harvest season.[148]

Those slaves who worked on sugar plantations and in sugar mills were often subject to the harshest of conditions. The field work was rigorous manual labor which the slaves began at an early age. The work days lasted close to 20 hours during harvest and processing, including cultivating and cutting the crops, hauling wagons, and processing sugarcane with dangerous machinery. The slaves were forced to reside in barracoons, where they were crammed in and locked in by a padlock at night, getting about three and four hours of sleep. The conditions of the barracoons were harsh; they were highly unsanitary and extremely hot. Typically there was no ventilation; the only window was a small barred hole in the wall.[149]

Cuba’s slavery system was gendered in a way that some duties were performed only by male slaves, some only by female slaves. Female slaves in the city of Havana, from the sixteenth century onwards, performed duties such as operating the town taverns, eating houses, and lodges, as well as being laundresses and domestic laborers and servants. Female slaves also served as the town prostitutes.

Some Cuban women could gain freedom by having children with white men. As in other Latin cultures, there were looser borders with the mulatto or mixed-race population. Sometimes men who took slaves as wives or concubines freed both them and their children. As in New Orleans and Saint-Domingue, mulattos began to be classified as a third group between the European colonists and African slaves. Freedmen, generally of mixed race, came to represent 20% of the total Cuban population and 41% of the non-white Cuban population.[150]

But, planters encouraged Afro-Cuban slaves to have children in order to reproduce their work force. The masters wanted to pair strong and large-built black men with healthy black women. They were placed in the barracoons and forced to have sex and create offspring of “breed stock” children, who would sell for around 500 pesos. The planters needed children to be born to replace slaves who died under the harsh regime. Sometimes if the overseers did not like the quality of children, they separate the parents and sent the mother back to working in the fields.[151]

Both women and men were subject to the punishments of violence and humiliating abuse. Slaves who misbehaved or disobeyed their masters were often placed in stocks in the depths of the boiler houses where they were abandoned for days at a time, and oftentimes two to three months. These wooden stocks were made in two types: lying-down or stand-up types. women were punished, even when pregnant. They were subjected to whippings: they had to lay "face down over a scooped-out piece of round [earth] to protect their bellies." [152] Some masters reportedly whipped pregnant women in the belly, often causing miscarriages. The wounds were treated with “compresses of tobacco leaves, urine and salt." [153]

Haiti

General arrangements of a slave ship with alignment of captive slaves during the Atlantic slave trade.

Slavery in Haiti started with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island in 1492. The practice was devastating to the native population. Following the indigenous Taino's near decimation from forced labour, disease and war, the Spanish, under advisement of the Catholic priest Bartolomeu de las Casas, and with the blessing of the Catholic church began engaging in earnest in the kidnapped and forced labour of enslaved Africans. During the French colonial period beginning in 1625, the economy of Haiti (then known as Saint-Domingue) was based on slavery, and the practice there was regarded as the most brutal in the world.

Following the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, Hispaniola was divided between France and Spain. France received the western third and subsequently named it Saint-Domingue. To develop it into sugarcane plantations, the French imported thousands of slaves from Africa. Sugar was a lucrative commodity crop throughout the 18th century. By 1789, approximately 40,000 white colonists lived in Saint-Domingue. In contrast, by 1763 the white population of French Canada, a vast territory, had numbered 65,000.[154] The whites were vastly outnumbered by the tens of thousands of African slaves they had imported to work on their plantations, which were primarily devoted to the production of sugarcane. In the north of the island, slaves were able to retain many ties to African cultures, religion and language; these ties were continually being renewed by newly imported Africans. Blacks outnumbered whites by about ten to one.

The French-enacted Code Noir ("Black Code"), prepared by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and ratified by Louis XIV, had established rules on slave treatment and permissible freedoms. Saint-Domingue has been described as one of the most brutally efficient slave colonies; one-third of newly imported Africans died within a few years.[155] Many slaves died from diseases such as smallpox and typhoid fever.[156] They had birth rates around 3 percent, and there is evidence that some women aborted fetuses, or committed infanticide, rather allow their children to live within the bonds of slavery.[citation needed][157]

As in its Louisiana colony, the French colonial government allowed some rights to free people of color: the mixed-race descendants of white male colonists and black female slaves (and later, mixed-race women). Over time, many were released from slavery. They established a separate social class. White French Creole fathers frequently sent their mixed-race sons to France for their education. Some men of color were admitted into the military. More of the free people of color lived in the south of the island, near Port-au-Prince, and many intermarried within their community. They frequently worked as artisans and tradesmen, and began to own some property. Some became slave holders. The free people of color petitioned the colonial government to expand their rights.

Slaves that made it to Haiti from the trans-Atlantic journey and slaves born in Haiti were first documented in Haiti's archives and transferred to France's Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As of 2015, these records are in The National Archives of France. According to the 1788 Census, Haiti's population consisted of nearly 40,000 whites, 30,000 free coloureds and 450,000 slaves.[158]

The Haitian Revolution of 1804, the only successful slave revolt in human history, precipitated the end of slavery in all French colonies.

Jamaica

The Caribbean island of Jamaica was colonized by the Taino tribes prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1494.

The Spanish enslaved many of the Taino; some escaped, but most died from European diseases and overwork. The Spaniards also introduced the first African slaves.[159]

The Spanish colonists did not bring women in the first expeditions and took Taíno women for their common-law wives, resulting in mestizo children.[160] Sexual violence with the Taíno women by the Spanish was also common.[161][162]

Although the African slave population in the 1670s and 1680s never exceeded 10,000, by 1800 it had increased to over 300,000.

Mexico

In 1519, Hernán Cortés brought the first modern slave to the area.[163]

In the mid-16th century, the second viceroy to Mexico, Luis de Velasco, prohibited slavery of the Aztecs. A labor shortage resulted as the Aztecs were either killed or died due to disease. This led to the African slaves being imported, as they were not susceptible to smallpox. In exchange, many Africans were afforded the opportunity to buy their freedom, while eventually, others were granted their freedom by their masters.[163]

Puerto Rico

Slave-branding by George Bourne. 1853

When Ponce de León and the Spaniards arrived on the island of Borikén (Puerto Rico), they Taíno tribes on the island, forcing them to work in the gold mines and in the construction of forts. Many Taíno died, particularly due to smallpox, of which they had no immunity. Other Taínos committed suicide or left the island after the failed Taíno revolt of 1511.[164] The Spanish colonists, fearing the loss of their labor force, complained the courts that they needed manpower to work in the mines, build forts, and work sugar cane plantations. As an alternative, Las Casas suggested the importation and use of African slaves. In 1517, the Spanish Crown permitted its subjects to import twelve slaves each, thereby beginning the slave trade on the colonies.[165]

African slaves were legally branded with a hot iron on the forehead, prevented their "theft" or lawsuits that challenged their captivity.[166] The colonist continued this branding practice for more than 250 years.[167] They were sent to work in the gold mines, or in the island's ginger and sugar fields. They were allowed to live with their families in a hut on the master's land, and given a patch of land where they could farm, but otherwise were subjected to harsh treatment; including sexual abuse as the majority of colonists had arrived without women; many of them intermarried with the Africans or Taínos. Their mixed-race descendants formed the first generations of the early Puerto Rican population.[166]

The slaves faced heavy discrimination, and had no opportunity for advancement, though they were educated by their masters. The Spaniards considered the Africans superior to the Taíno, since the latter were unwilling to assimilate. The slaves, in contrast, had little choice but to adapt. Many converted to Christianity; were baptized by the Catholic Church and were given their masters' surnames.[166]

By 1570, the colonists found that the gold mines were depleted, relegating the island to a garrison for passing ships. The cultivation of crops such as tobacco, cotton, cocoa, and ginger became the cornerstone of the economy.[168] With rising demand for sugar on the international market, major planters increased their labor-intensive cultivation and processing of sugar cane. Sugar plantations supplanted mining as Puerto Rico's main industry and kept demand high for African slavery.[168]

After 1784, Spain provided five ways by which slaves could obtain freedom.[167] Five years later, the Spanish Crown issued the "Royal Decree of Graces of 1789", which set new rules related to the slave trade and added restrictions to the granting of freedman status. The decree granted its subjects the right to purchase slaves and to participate in the flourishing slave trade in the Caribbean. Later that year a new slave code, also known as El Código Negro (The Black Code), was introduced.[169]

Under "El Código Negro," a slave could buy his freedom, in the event that his master was willing to sell, by paying the price sought in installments. Slaves were allowed to earn money during their spare time by working as shoemakers, cleaning clothes, or selling the produce they grew on their own plots of land. For the freedom of their newborn child, not yet baptized, they paid at half the going price for a baptized child.[169] Many of these freedmen started settlements in the areas which became known as Cangrejos (Santurce), Carolina, Canóvanas, Loíza, and Luquillo. Some became slave owners themselves.[166]

Despite these paths to freedom, from 1790 onwards, the number of slaves more than doubled in Puerto Rico as a result of the dramatic expansion of the sugar industry in the island.[168]

On March 22, 1873, slavery was "abolished" in Puerto Rico, with the caveat that slaves were not emancipated; rather, they had to buy their own freedom, at whatever price was set by their last masters. They were also required to work for another three years for their former masters, for other colonists interested in their services, or for the "state" in order to pay some compensation.[170]

Between 1527 and 1873, slaves in Puerto Rico had carried out more than twenty revolts.[171][172]

Suriname

Funeral at slave plantation, Suriname. 1840–1850.

The planters of the Dutch colony relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate, harvest and process the commodity crops of coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Planters' treatment of the slaves was notoriously bad.[173] Historian, C.R. Boxer, wrote that "man's inhumanity to man just about reached its limits in Surinam."[174]

Many slaves escaped the plantations. With the help of the native South Americans living in the adjoining rain forests, these runaway slaves established a new and unique culture in the interior that was highly successful in its own right. They were known collectively in English as Maroons, in French as Nèg'Marrons (literally meaning "brown negroes", that is "pale-skinned negroes"), and in Dutch as Marrons. The Maroons gradually developed several independent tribes through a process of ethnogenesis, as they were made up of slaves from different African ethnicities. These tribes include the Saramaka, Paramaka, Ndyuka or Aukan, Kwinti, Aluku or Boni, and Matawai.

The Maroons often raided plantations to recruit new members from the slaves and capture women, as well as to acquire weapons, food and supplies. They sometimes killed planters and their families in the raids.[175] The colonists also mounted armed campaigns against the Maroons, who generally escaped through the rain forest, which they knew much better than did the colonists.

To end hostilities, in the 18th century the European colonial authorities signed several peace treaties with different tribes. They granted the Maroons sovereign status and trade rights in their inland territories, giving them autonomy.

In 1861-63, President Abraham Lincoln of the United States and his administration looked abroad for places to relocate freed slaves who wanted to leave the United States. It opened negotiations with the Dutch government regarding African-American emigration to and colonization of the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. Nothing came of the idea and, after 1864, the idea was dropped.[176]

The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname, in 1863, under a gradual process that required slaves to work on plantations for 10 transition years for minimal pay, which was considered as partial compensation for their masters. After 1873, most freedmen largely abandoned the plantations where they had worked for several generations in favor of the capital city, Paramaribo.

United States

Whipping scars of escaped slave, Gordon, in 1863. Louisiana[177]

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries after it gained independence and before the end of the American Civil War. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry.[178] The United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, represented by the slave and free states divided by the Mason–Dixon line, which separated free Pennsylvania from slave Maryland and Delaware.

Congress, during the Jefferson administration prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling (illegal importing) was not unusual.[179] Domestic slave trading, however, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labor demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation.

The treatment of slaves in the United States varied widely depending on conditions, times and places. The power relationships of slavery corrupted many whites who had authority over slaves, with children showing their own cruelty. Masters and overseers resorted to physical punishments to impose their wills. Slaves were punished by whipping, shackling, hanging, beating, burning, mutilation, branding and imprisonment. Punishment was most often meted out in response to disobedience or perceived infractions, but sometimes abuse was carried out to re-assert the dominance of the master or overseer of the slave.[180] Treatment was usually harsher on large plantations, which were often managed by overseers and owned by absentee slaveholders, conditions permitting abuses.

William Wells Brown, who escaped to freedom, reported that on one plantation, slave men were required to pick 80 pounds per day of cotton, while women were required to pick 70 pounds; if any slave failed in his or her quota, they were subject to whip lashes for each pound they were short. The whipping post stood next to the cotton scales.[181] A New York man who attended a slave auction in the mid-19th century reported that at least three-quarters of the male slaves he saw at sale had scars on their backs from whipping.[182] By contrast, small slave-owning families had closer relationships between the owners and slaves; this sometimes resulted in a more humane environment but was not a given.[180]

More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, and taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families. New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation.[183][184]

In the 19th century, proponents of slavery often defended the institution as a "necessary evil". White people of that time feared that emancipation of black slaves would have more harmful social and economic consequences than the continuation of slavery. The French writer and traveler Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America (1835), expressed opposition to slavery while observing its effects on American society. He felt that a multiracial society without slavery was untenable, as he believed that prejudice against blacks increased as they were granted more rights. Others, like James Henry Hammond argued that slavery was a "positive good" stating: "Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement."

The Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a political balance of power in Congress. The new territories acquired from Britain, France, and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises. By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise. Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism.[185] The largest denominations, the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South.

When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, according to the 1860 U. S. census, roughly 400,000 individuals, representing 8 percent of all US families, owned nearly 4,000,000 slaves.[186] One-third of Southern families owned slaves.[187] The south was heavily invested in slavery. As such, upon Lincoln's election, seven states broke away to form the Confederacy. The first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South. Shortly after, over the issue of slavery, the United States erupted into an all out Civil War, with slavery not legally ceasing as an institution, until December 1865.

Asia

Slavery has existed all throughout Asia, and forms of slavery still exist today.

China

A contract from the Tang dynasty recording the ogothase of a 15-year-old slave for six bolts of plain silk and five coins.

Slavery has taken various forms throughout China's history. It was reportedly abolished as a legally recognized institution, including in a 1909 law[188][189] fully enacted in 1910,[190] although the practice continued until at least 1949.[191]

The Tang dynasty purchased Western slaves from the Radanite Jews.[192] Tang Chinese soldiers and pirates enslaved Koreans, Turks, Persians, Indonesians, and people from Inner Mongolia, central Asia, and northern India.[193][194][195][196] The greatest source of slaves came from southern tribes, including Thais and aboriginals from the southern provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Guizhou. Malays, Khmers, Indians, and black Africans were also purchased as slaves in the Tang dynasty.[197]

In the 17th century Qing Dynasty, there was a hereditarily servile people called Booi Aha (Manchu:booi niyalma; Chinese transliteration: 包衣阿哈), which is a Manchu word literally translated as "household person" and sometimes rendered as "nucai." The Manchu was establishing close personal and paternalist relationship between masters and their slaves, as Nurhachi said, "The Master should love the slaves and eat the same food as him".[198] However, booi aha "did not correspond exactly to the Chinese category of "bond-servant slave" (Chinese:奴僕); instead, it was a relationship of personal dependency on a master which in theory guaranteed close personal relationships and equal treatment, even though many western scholars would directly translate "booi" as "bond-servant" (some of the "booi" even had their own servant).[199][200]

Chinese Muslim (Tungans) Sufis who were charged with practicing xiejiao (heterodox religion), were punished by exile to Xinjiang and being sold as a slave to other Muslims, such as the Sufi begs.[201]

Han chinese who committed crimes such as those dealing with opium became slaves to the begs, this practice was administered by Qing law.[202] Most Chinese in Altishahr were exile slaves to Turkestani Begs.[203] Ironically, while free Chinese merchants generally did not engage in relationships with East Turkestani women, some of the Chinese slaves belonging to begs, along with Green Standard soldiers, Bannermen, and Manchus, engaged in affairs with the East Turkestani women that were serious in nature.[204]

India

Slavery existed in Portuguese India after the 16th century. The Dutch, too, largely dealt in Abyssian slaves, known in India as Habshis or Sheedes.[205]

Arakan/Bengal, Malabar, and Coromandel remained the most important source of forced labour until the 1660s. Between 1626 and 1662, the Dutch exported on an average 150–400 slaves annually from the Arakan-Bengal coast. During the first thirty years of Batavia's existence, Indian and Arakanese slaves provided the main labour force of the Dutch East India Company, Asian headquarters.

Of the 211 manumitted slaves in Batavia between 1646 and 1649, nearly 60 percent came from South Asia, including over 40 percent from Bengal.

Slave raids into the Bengal estuaries were conducted by joint forces of Magh pirates, and Portuguese traders (chatins) operating from Chittagong outside the jurisdiction and patronage of the Estado da India, using armed vessels (galias). These raids occurred with the active connivance of the Taung-ngu (Toungoo) rulers of Arakan. The eastward expansion of the Mughal Empire, however, completed with the conquest of Chittagong in 1666, cut off the traditional supplies from Arakan and Bengal. Until the Dutch seizure of the Portuguese settlements on the Malabar coast (1658–63), large numbers of slaves were also captured and sent from India's west coast to Batavia, Ceylon, and elsewhere. After 1663, however, the stream of forced labour from Cochin dried up to a trickle of about 50–100 and 80–120 slaves, per year, to Batavia and Ceylon, respectively.

Coromandel remained the centre of a sporadic slave trade throughout the seventeenth century. In various short-lived expansions accompanying natural and human-induced calamities, the Dutch exported thousands of slaves from the east coast of India. A prolonged period of drought followed by famine conditions in 1618–20 saw the first large-scale export of slaves from the Coromandel coast in the seventeenth century. Between 1622 and 1623, 1,900 slaves were shipped from central Coromandel ports, like Pulicat and Devanampattinam. Company officials on the coast declared that 2,000 more could have been bought if they had the funds.

An increase in Coromandel slaves occurred during a famine following the revolt of the Nayaka Indian rulers of South India (Tanjavur, Senji, and Madurai) against Bijapur overlordship (1645) and the subsequent devastation of the Tanjavur countryside by the Bijapur army. Reportedly, more than 150,000 people were taken by the invading Deccani Muslim armies to Bijapur and Golconda. In 1646, 2,118 slaves were exported to Batavia, the overwhelming majority from southern Coromandel. Some slaves were also acquired further south at Tondi, Adirampatnam, and Kayalpatnam.

Another increase in slaving took place between 1659 and 1661 from Tanjavur as a result of a series of successive Bijapuri raids. At Nagapatnam, Pulicat, and elsewhere, the company purchased 8,000–10,000 slaves, the bulk of whom were sent to Ceylon while a small portion were exported to Batavia and Malacca.

Finally, following a long drought in Madurai and southern Coromandel, in 1673, which intensified the prolonged Madurai-Maratha struggle over Tanjavur and punitive fiscal practices, thousands of people from Tanjavur, mostly girls and little boys, were sold into slavery and exported by Asian traders from Nagapattinam to Aceh, Johor, and other slave markets.

In September 1687, 665 slaves were exported by the English from Fort St. George, Madras. And, in 1694–96, when warfare once more ravaged South India, a total of 3,859 slaves were imported from Coromandel by private individuals into Ceylon.[206] [207][208][209]

The volume of the total Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade has been estimated to be about 15–30 percent of the Atlantic slave trade, slightly smaller than the trans-Saharan slave trade, and one-and-a-half to three times the size of the Swahili and Red Sea coast and the Dutch West India Company slave trades.[210] According to Sir Henry Bartle Frere (who sat on the Viceroy's Council), there were an estimated 8 or 9 million slaves in India in 1841. About 15 percent of the population of Malabar were slaves. Slavery was abolished in British India by the Indian Slavery Act V. of 1843.[3]

Indochina

The hill tribe people in Indochina were "hunted incessantly and carried off as slaves by the Siamese (Thai), the Anamites (Vietnamese), and the Cambodians".[211] A Siamese military campaign in Laos in 1876 was described by a British observer as having been "transformed into slave-hunting raids on a large scale".[212] The census, taken in 1879, showed that 6% of the population in the Malay sultanate of Perak were slaves.[213] Enslaved people made up about two-thirds of the population in part of North Borneo in the 1880s.[213]

Japan

After the Portuguese first made contact with Japan in 1543, a large scale slave trade developed in which Portuguese purchased Japanese as slaves in Japan and sold them to various locations overseas, including Portugal itself, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[214][215] Many documents mention the large slave trade along with protests against the enslavement of Japanese. Japanese slaves are believed to be the first of their nation to end up in Europe, and the Portuguese purchased large numbers of Japanese slave girls to bring to Portugal for sexual purposes, as noted by the Church[citation needed]in 1555. Sebastian of Portugal feared that this was having a negative effect on Catholic proselytization since the slave trade in Japanese was growing to massive proportions, so he commanded that it be banned in 1571.[216][217]

Japanese slave women were even sold as concubines to Asian lascar and African crewmembers, along with their European counterparts serving on Portuguese ships trading in Japan, mentioned by Luis Cerqueira, a Portuguese Jesuit, in a 1598 document.[218] Japanese slaves were brought by the Portuguese to Macau, where some of them not only ended up being enslaved to Portuguese, but as slaves to other slaves, with the Portuguese owning Malay and African slaves, who in turn owned Japanese slaves of their own.[219][220]

Hideyoshi was so disgusted that his own Japanese people were being sold en masse into slavery on Kyushu, that he wrote a letter to Jesuit Vice-Provincial Gaspar Coelho on 24 July 1587 to demand the Portuguese, Siamese (Thai), and Cambodians stop purchasing and enslaving Japanese and return Japanese slaves who ended up as far as India.[221][222][223] Hideyoshi blamed the Portuguese and Jesuits for this slave trade and banned Christian proselytizing as a result.[224][225]

Some Korean slaves were bought by the Portuguese and brought back to Portugal from Japan, where they had been among the tens of thousands of Korean prisoners of war transported to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98).[226][227] Historians pointed out that at the same time Hideyoshi expressed his indignation and outrage at the Portuguese trade in Japanese slaves, he himself was engaging in a mass slave trade of Korean prisoners of war in Japan.[228][229]

Fillippo Sassetti saw some Chinese and Japanese slaves in Lisbon among the large slave community in 1578, although most of the slaves were black.[230][231][232][233][234]

The Portuguese "highly regarded" Asian slaves like Chinese and Japanese, much more "than slaves from sub-Saharan Africa".[235][236] The Portuguese attributed qualities like intelligence and industriousness to Chinese and Japanese slaves which is why they favoured them.[237][238][239][240]

In 1595 a law was passed by Portugal banning the selling and buying of Chinese and Japanese slaves.[241]

Korea

Some Korean slaves were bought by the Portuguese and brought back to Portugal from Japan, where they had been among the tens of thousands of Korean prisoners of war transported to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98).[242][243]

The hereditary nobi system was officially abolished around 1886–87 and the rest of the nobi system was abolished with the Gabo Reform of 1894, but traces remained until 1930.[244] Since the outset of the Joseon dynasty and especially beginning in the 17th century, there was harsh criticism among prominent thinkers in Korea about the nobi system. Even within the Joseon government, there were indications of a shift in attitude toward the nobi.[245] King Yeongjo implemented a policy of gradual emancipation in 1775,[50] and he and his successor King Jeongjo made many proposals and developments that lessened the burden on nobi, which led to the emancipation of the vast majority of government nobi in 1801.[245] In addition, population growth,[50] numerous escaped slaves,[48] growing commercialization of agriculture, and the rise of the independent small farmer class contributed to the decline in the number of nobi to about 1.5% of the total population by 1858.[246] The hereditary nobi system was officially abolished around 1886–87,[48][246] and the rest of the nobi system was abolished with the Gabo Reform of 1894.[48][247] However, slavery did not completely disappear in Korea until 1930, during Imperial Japanese rule.

During the Imperial Japanese occupation of Korea around World War II, some Koreans were used in forced labor by the Imperial Japanese, in conditions which have been compared to slavery.[48][248] These included women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II, known as "comfort women".[48][248]

In South Korea, slavery remains such a controversial topic that it is North Korean historians who have accounted for it more fairly. For instance, the Koryo Museum in the North Korean city of Kaesong is the only museum in Korea that covers the topic of medieval slavery.[249]

Europe

An 1852 Wallachian poster advertising an auction of Roma slaves in Bucharest

In Constantinople, about one-fifth of the population consisted of slaves.[250] The city was a major centre of the slave trade in the 15th and later centuries. By 1475 most of the slaves were provided by Tatar raids on Slavic villages.[251] It has been estimated that some 200,000 slaves—mainly Circassians—were imported into the Ottoman Empire between 1800 and 1909.[213] As late as 1908, women slaves were still sold in the Ottoman Empire.[252] A slave market for captured Russian and Persian slaves was centred in the Central Asian khanate of Khiva.[253] In the early 1840s, the population of the Uzbek states of Bukhara and Khiva included about 900,000 slaves.[213] Darrel P. Kaiser wrote, "Kazakh-Kirghiz tribesmen kidnapped 1573 settlers from colonies [German settlements in Russia] in 1774 alone and only half were successfully ransomed. The rest were killed or enslaved."[254]

Until the late 18th century, the Crimean Khanate (a Muslim Tatar state) maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East,[91] exporting about 2 million slaves from Poland-Lithuania and Russia over the period 1500–1700.[255]

During the Second World War (1939–1945) Nazi Germany effectively enslaved about 12 million people, both those considered undesirable and citizens of countries they conquered, with the avowed intention of treating these untermenschen as a permanent slave class of inferior beings who could be worked until they died but who possessed neither the rights nor the legal status of members of the Aryan race.[256]

Ottoman Empire

Persian slave in the Khanate of Khiva, 19th century

The Ottoman Empire owned and traded slaves on a massive scale. Many slaves were taken by conquest and the suppression of rebellions, in the aftermath of which, entire populations were sometimes enslaved and sold across the Empire, reducing the risk of future rebellion. The Ottomans also purchased slaves from traders who brought slaves into the Empire from Europe and Africa.

Spain

In order to establish itself as an American empire, Spain had to fight against the relatively powerful civilizations of the New World. The Spanish conquest of the indigenous peoples in the Americas included using the Natives as forced labour. The Spanish colonies were the first Europeans to use African slaves in the New World on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola (see Atlantic slave trade.)[257]

Bartolomé de las Casas, a 16th-century Dominican friar and Spanish historian, participated in campaigns in Cuba (at Bayamo and Camagüey) and was present at the massacre of Hatuey; his observation of that massacre led him to fight for a social movement away from the use of natives as slaves and towards the importation of African Blacks as slaves. Also, the alarming decline in the native population had spurred the first royal laws protecting the native population (Laws of Burgos, 1512–1513).

Middle East

Ottoman wars in Europe resulted in many captive Europeans being carried deep into Ottoman territory.

There was an extensive trade in Christian slaves in the Black Sea region for several centuries until the Crimean Khanate was destroyed by the Russian Empire in 1783.[258] In the 1570s close to 20,000 slaves a year were being sold in the Crimean port of Kaffa.[259] The slaves were captured in southern Russia, Poland-Lithuania, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Circassia by Tatar horsemen.[260]

North Africa

The Arab slave trade lasted more than a millennium.[261] As recently as the early 1960s, Saudi Arabia's slave population was estimated at 300,000.[262] Along with Yemen, the Saudis abolished slavery only in 1962.[263] Historically, slaves in the Arab World came from many different regions, including Sub-Saharan Africa (mainly Zanj),[264] the Caucasus (mainly Circassians),[265] Central Asia (mainly Tartars), and Central and Eastern Europe (mainly Saqaliba).[266]

Under Omani Arabs, Zanzibar became East Africa's main slave port, with as many as 50,000 enslaved Africans passing through every year during the 19th century.[267][268] Some historians estimate that between 11 and 18 million African slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 to 1900 AD.[3][269] Eduard Rüppell described the losses of Sudanese slaves being transported on foot to Egypt: "after the Daftardar bey's 1822 campaign in the southern Nuba mountains, nearly 40,000 slaves were captured. However, through bad treatment, disease and desert travel barely 5000 made it to Egypt.."[270]

Contemporary slavery

Modern incidence of slavery, as a percentage of the population, by country.

During the Second Libyan Civil War, Libyans started capturing Sub-Saharan African migrants trying to get to Europe through Libya and selling them on slave markets or holding them hostage for ransom [271] Women are often raped, used as sex slaves, or sold to brothels.[272][273][274] Child migrants also suffer from abuse and child rape in Libya.[275][276]

In Mauritania, the last country to abolish slavery (in 1981), it is estimated that or 20 percent of its 3 million population, are enslaved as bonded laborers. [277] [278][279] Slavery in Mauritania was criminalized in August 2007.[280] However, although slavery, as a practice, was legally banned in 1981, it was not a crime to own a slave until 2007.[281] Although many slaves have escaped or have been freed since 2007, as of 2012, only one slave-owner had been sentenced to serve time in prison.[282]

Even though slavery is now outlawed in every country, the number of slaves today is estimated as between 12 million and 29.8 million.[283][284][285] Several estimates of the number of slaves in the world have been provided.[286] According to a broad definition of slavery, there were 27 million people in slavery in 1999, spread all over the world.[287] In 2005, the International Labour Organization provided an estimate of 12.3 million forced labourers.[288] Siddharth Kara has also provided an estimate of 28.4 million slaves at the end of 2006 divided into three categories: bonded labour/debt bondage (18.1 million), forced labour (7.6 million), and trafficked slaves (2.7 million).[39] Kara provides a dynamic model to calculate the number of slaves in the world each year, with an estimated 29.2 million at the end of 2009.

According to a 2003 report by Human Rights Watch, an estimated 15 million children in debt bondage in India work in slavery-like conditions to pay off their family's debts.[289][290]

Distribution

A report by the Walk Free Foundation in 2013,[291] found India had the highest number of slaves, nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh; while the countries with the highest of proportion of slaves were Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India and Nepal.[292]

In June 2013, U.S. State Department released a report on slavery. It placed Russia, China, Uzbekistan in the worst offenders category. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe were also at the lowest level. The list also included Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait among a total of 21 countries.[293][294]

Economics

While American slaves in 1809 were sold for around $40,000 (in inflation adjusted dollars), a slave nowadays can be bought for just $90, making replacement more economical than providing long term care.[295] Slavery is a multibillion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually.[296]

Trafficking

A world map showing countries by prevalence of female trafficking

Trafficking in human beings (also called human trafficking) is one method of obtaining slaves.[297] Victims are typically recruited through deceit or trickery (such as a false job offer, false migration offer, or false marriage offer), sale by family members, recruitment by former slaves, or outright abduction. Victims are forced into a "debt slavery" situation by coercion, deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat, physical force, debt bondage or even force-feeding with drugs of abuse to control their victims.[298] "Annually, according to U.S. government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors, reports the U.S. State Department in a 2008 study.[299]

While the majority of trafficking victims are women, and sometimes children, who are forced into prostitution (in which case the practice is called sex trafficking), victims also include men, women and children who are forced into manual labour.[300] Due to the illegal nature of human trafficking, its exact extent is unknown. A U.S. government report, published in 2005, estimates that about 700,000 people worldwide are trafficked across borders each year. This figure does not include those who are trafficked internally.[300] Another research effort revealed that roughly 1.5 million individuals are trafficked either internally or internationally each year, of which about 500,000 are sex trafficking victims.[39]

Abolitionism

Isaac Crewdson (Beaconite) writer Samuel Jackman Prescod - Barbadian Journalist William Morgan from Birmingham William Forster - Quaker leader George Stacey - Quaker leader William Forster - Anti-Slavery ambassador John Burnet -Abolitionist Speaker William Knibb -Missionary to Jamaica Joseph Ketley from Guyana George Thompson - UK & US abolitionist J. Harfield Tredgold - British South African (secretary) Josiah Forster - Quaker leader Samuel Gurney - the Banker's Banker Sir John Eardley-Wilmot Dr Stephen Lushington - MP and Judge Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton James Gillespie Birney - American John Beaumont George Bradburn - Massachusetts politician George William Alexander - Banker and Treasurer Benjamin Godwin - Baptist activist Vice Admiral Moorson William Taylor William Taylor John Morrison GK Prince Josiah Conder Joseph Soul James Dean (abolitionist) John Keep - Ohio fund raiser Joseph Eaton Joseph Sturge - Organiser from Birmingham James Whitehorne Joseph Marriage George Bennett Richard Allen Stafford Allen William Leatham, banker William Beaumont Sir Edward Baines - Journalist Samuel Lucas Francis August Cox Abraham Beaumont Samuel Fox, Nottingham grocer Louis Celeste Lecesne Jonathan Backhouse Samuel Bowly William Dawes - Ohio fund raiser Robert Kaye Greville - Botanist Joseph Pease, railway pioneer W.T.Blair M.M. Isambert (sic) Mary Clarkson -Thomas Clarkson's daughter in law William Tatum Saxe Bannister - Pamphleteer Richard Davis Webb - Irish Nathaniel Colver - American not known John Cropper - Most generous Liverpudlian Thomas Scales William James William Wilson Thomas Swan Edward Steane from Camberwell William Brock Edward Baldwin Jonathon Miller Capt. Charles Stuart from Jamaica Sir John Jeremie - Judge Charles Stovel - Baptist Richard Peek, ex-Sheriff of London John Sturge Elon Galusha Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor Rev. Isaac Bass Henry Sterry Peter Clare -; sec. of Literary & Phil. Soc. Manchester J.H. Johnson Thomas Price Joseph Reynolds Samuel Wheeler William Boultbee Daniel O'Connell - "The Liberator" William Fairbank John Woodmark William Smeal from Glasgow James Carlile - Irish Minister and educationalist Rev. Dr. Thomas Binney Edward Barrett - Freed slave John Howard Hinton - Baptist minister John Angell James - clergyman Joseph Cooper Dr. Richard Robert Madden - Irish Thomas Bulley Isaac Hodgson Edward Smith Sir John Bowring - diplomat and linguist John Ellis C. Edwards Lester - American writer Tapper Cadbury - Businessman not known Thomas Pinches David Turnbull - Cuban link Edward Adey Richard Barrett John Steer Henry Tuckett James Mott - American on honeymoon Robert Forster (brother of William and Josiah) Richard Rathbone John Birt Wendell Phillips - American M. L'Instant from Haiti Henry Stanton - American Prof William Adam Mrs Elizabeth Tredgold - British South African T.M. McDonnell Mrs John Beaumont Anne Knight - Feminist Elizabeth Pease - Suffragist Jacob Post - Religious writer Anne Isabella, Lady Byron - mathematician and estranged wife Amelia Opie - Novelist and poet Mrs Rawson - Sheffield campaigner Thomas Clarkson's grandson Thomas Clarkson Thomas Morgan Thomas Clarkson - main speaker George Head Head - Banker from Carlisle William Allen John Scoble Henry Beckford - emancipated slave and abolitionist Use your cursor to explore (or Click "i" to enlarge)
The painting of the 1840 Anti-Slavery Society Convention at Exeter Hall.[301]

Slavery has existed, in one form or another, through recorded human history—as have, in various periods, movements to free large or distinct groups of slaves.

Ashoka, who ruled the Maurya Empire from 269–232 BCE, abolished the slave trade but not slavery.[302] The Qin dynasty, which ruled China from 221 to 206 BC, abolished slavery and discouraged serfdom. However, many of its laws were overturned when the dynasty was overthrown.[303] Slavery was again abolished, by Wang Mang, in China in 17 C.E but was reinstituted after his assassination.[304]

The Spanish colonization of the Americas sparked a discussion about the right to enslave Native Americans. A prominent critic of slavery in the Spanish New World colonies was Bartolomé de las Casas, who opposed the enslavement of Native Americans, and later also of Africans in America.

One of the first protests against slavery came from German and Dutch Quakers in Pennsylvania in 1688.[305] One of the most significant milestones in the campaign to abolish slavery throughout the world occurred in England in 1772, with British judge Lord Mansfield, whose opinion in Somersett's Case was widely taken to have held that slavery was illegal in England. This judgement also laid down the principle that slavery contracted in other jurisdictions could not be enforced in England.[306] In 1777, Vermont, at the time an independent nation, became the first portion of what would become the United States to abolish slavery.[305] France abolished slavery in 1794.[305] All the Northern states abolished slavery; New Jersey in 1804 was the last to act. None of the Southern or border states abolished slavery before the American Civil War.[307]

Olaudah Equiano, His autobiography, published in 1789, helped in the creation of the Slave Trade Act 1807 which ended the African slave trade for Britain and its colonies.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts, born in Virginia, was the first president of Liberia, which was founded in 1822 for freed American slaves.

Sons of Africa was a late 18th-century British group that campaigned to end slavery. Its members were Africans in London, freed slaves who included Ottobah Cugoano, Olaudah Equiano and other leading members of London's black community. It was closely connected to the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, a non-denominational group founded in 1787, whose members included Thomas Clarkson.

British Member of Parliament William Wilberforce led the anti-slavery movement in the United Kingdom, although the groundwork was an anti-slavery essay by Thomas Clarkson. Wilberforce was also urged by his close friend, Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, to make the issue his own, and was also given support by reformed Evangelical John Newton. The Slave Trade Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 25, 1807, making the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire,[308] Wilberforce also campaigned for abolition of slavery in the British Empire, which he lived to see in the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. After the 1807 act abolishing the slave trade was passed, these campaigners switched to encouraging other countries to follow suit, notably France and the British colonies. Between 1808 and 1860, the British West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard.[309] Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade, for example against "the usurping King of Lagos", deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers.[310]

In 1839, the world's oldest international human rights organization, Anti-Slavery International, was formed in Britain by Joseph Sturge, which campaigned to outlaw slavery in other countries.[311] There were celebrations in 2007 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the United Kingdom through the work of the British Anti-Slavery Society.

In the United States, abolitionist pressure produced a series of small steps towards emancipation. After the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves went into effect on January 1, 1808, the importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited,[312] but not the internal slave trade, nor involvement in the international slave trade externally. Legal slavery persisted; most of those slaves already in the U.S. were legally emancipated only in 1863. Many American abolitionists took an active role in opposing slavery by supporting the Underground Railroad. Violent clashes between anti-slavery and pro-slavery Americans included Bleeding Kansas, a series of political and armed disputes in 1854–1861 as to whether Kansas would join the United States as a slave or free state. By 1860, the total number of slaves reached almost four million, and the American Civil War, beginning in 1861, led to the end of slavery in the United States.[313] In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves held in the Confederate States; the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution prohibited most forms of slavery throughout the country.

In the case of freed slaves of the United States, many became sharecroppers and indentured servants. In this manner, some became tied to the very parcel of land into which they had been born a slave having little freedom or economic opportunity due to Jim Crow laws which perpetuated discrimination, limited education, promoted persecution without due process and resulted in continued poverty. Fear of reprisals such as unjust incarcerations and lynchings deterred upward mobility further.

In the 1860s, David Livingstone's reports of atrocities within the Arab slave trade in Africa stirred up the interest of the British public, reviving the flagging abolitionist movement. The Royal Navy throughout the 1870s attempted to suppress "this abominable Eastern trade", at Zanzibar in particular. In 1905, the French abolished indigenous slavery in most of French West Africa.[314]

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declared freedom from slavery is an internationally recognized human right. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.[315]

In 2014, for the first time in history, major leaders of many religions, Buddhist, Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim met to sign a shared commitment against modern-day slavery; the declaration they signed calls for the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020.[316] The signatories were: Pope Francis, Mātā Amṛtānandamayī, Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chân Không (representing Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh), Datuk K Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rabbi David Rosen, Abbas Abdalla Abbas Soliman, Undersecretary of State of Al Azhar Alsharif (representing Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar), Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, Sheikh Naziyah Razzaq Jaafar, Special advisor of Grand Ayatollah (representing Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi), Sheikh Omar Abboud, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Metropolitan Emmanuel of France (representing Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.)[316]

Groups such as the American Anti-Slavery Group, Anti-Slavery International, Free the Slaves, the Anti-Slavery Society, and the Norwegian Anti-Slavery Society continue to campaign to eliminate slavery.

Apologies

refer to caption
Monument to slaves in Zanzibar

On May 21, 2001, the National Assembly of France passed the Taubira law, recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity. Apologies on behalf of African nations, for their role in trading their countrymen into slavery, remain an open issue since slavery was practiced in Africa even before the first Europeans arrived and the Atlantic slave trade was performed with a high degree of involvement of several African societies. The black slave market was supplied by well-established slave trade networks controlled by local African societies and individuals.[317] Indeed, as already mentioned in this article, slavery persists in several areas of West Africa until the present day.

There is adequate evidence citing case after case of African control of segments of the trade. Several African nations such as the Calabar and other southern parts of Nigeria had economies depended solely on the trade. African peoples such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania would serve as middlemen or roving bands warring with other African nations to capture Africans for Europeans.[318]

Several historians have made important contributions to the global understanding of the African side of the Atlantic slave trade. By arguing that African merchants determined the assemblage of trade goods accepted in exchange for slaves, many historians argue for African agency and ultimately a shared responsibility for the slave trade.[319]

In 1999, President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin (formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey) issued a national apology for the central role Africans played in the Atlantic slave trade.[320] Luc Gnacadja, minister of environment and housing for Benin, later said: "The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it."[321] Researchers estimate that 3 million slaves were exported out of the Slave Coast bordering the Bight of Benin.[321] President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana also apologized for his country's involvement in the slave trade.[320]

The issue of an apology is linked to reparations for slavery and is still being pursued by a number of entities across the world. For example, the Jamaican Reparations Movement approved its declaration and action Plan.

In September 2006, it was reported that the UK government might issue a "statement of regret" over slavery.[322] This was followed by a "public statement of sorrow" from Tony Blair on November 27, 2006,[323] and a formal apology on March 14, 2007.[324]

On February 25, 2007, the Commonwealth of Virginia resolved to 'profoundly regret' and apologize for its role in the institution of slavery. Unique and the first of its kind in the U. S., the apology was unanimously passed in both Houses as Virginia approached the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, where the first slaves were imported into North America in 1619.[325]

On August 24, 2007, Mayor Ken Livingstone of London, United Kingdom, apologized publicly for Britain's role in colonial slave trade. "You can look across there to see the institutions that still have the benefit of the wealth they created from slavery," he said, pointing towards the financial district. He claimed that London was still tainted by the horrors of slavery. Specifically, London outfitted, financed, and insured many of the ships, which helped fund the building of London's docks. Jesse Jackson praised Livingstone, and added that reparations should be made, one of his common arguments.[326] The City of Liverpool, which was a large slave trading port, apologized in 1999.

On July 30, 2008, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution apologizing for American slavery and subsequent discriminatory laws.[327] In June 2009, the US Senate passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery".[328] The news was welcomed by President Barack Obama, the nation's first President of African descent.[329] Some of President Obama's ancestors may have been slave owners.[330]

In 2010, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi apologized for Arab involvement in the slave trade, saying: "I regret the behavior of the Arabs… They brought African children to North Africa, they made them slaves, they sold them like animals, and they took them as slaves and traded them in a shameful way."[331]

Reparations

There have been movements to achieve reparations for those formerly held as slaves, or sometimes their descendants. Claims for reparations for being held in slavery are handled as a civil law matter in almost every country. This is often decried as a serious problem, since former slaves' relative lack of money means they often have limited access to a potentially expensive and futile legal process. Mandatory systems of fines and reparations paid to an as yet undetermined group of claimants from fines, paid by unspecified parties, and collected by authorities have been proposed by advocates to alleviate this "civil court problem.."Since in almost all cases there are no living ex-slaves or living ex-slave owners these movements have gained little traction. In nearly all cases the judicial system has ruled that the statute of limitations on these possible claims has long since expired.

Other uses of the term

The word slavery is often used as a pejorative to describe any activity in which one is coerced into performing.

Examples

Some argue that military drafts, and other forms of coerced government labour. constitute "state-operated slavery."[332][333] Some libertarians and anarcho-capitalists view government taxation as a form of slavery.[334]

"Slavery" has been used by some anti-psychiatry proponents to define involuntary psychiatric patients due to there are no unbiased physical tests for mental illness, yet the psychiatric patient must follow the orders of his/her psychiatrist. Drapetomania was a psychiatric diagnosis for a slave who did not want to be a slave. Thomas Szasz wrote a book titled "Psychiatric Slavery",[335] published in 1998 and a book titled "Liberation by Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry",[336] published in 2003

Proponents of animal rights apply the term slavery to the condition of some or all human-owned animals, arguing that their status is comparable to that of human slaves.[337]

Wage slavery

The labor market, as institutionalized under today's market economic systems, has been criticized by mainstream socialists and by anarcho-syndicalists, who utilise the term wage slavery as a pejorative or dysphemism for wage labour.[338][339][340][341][342][343] Socialists draw parallels between the trade of labour as a commodity and slavery. Cicero is also known to have suggested such parallels.[344]

In films

Film has been the most influential medium in the presentation of the history of slavery to the general public around the world.[345] The American film industry has had a complex relationship with slavery and until recent decades often avoided the topic. Films such as Birth of a Nation (1915)[346] and Gone with the Wind (1939) became controversial because they gave a favourable depiction. The last favourable treatment was Song of the South from Disney in 1946. In 1940 The Santa Fe Trail gave a liberal but ambiguous interpretation of John Brown's attacks on slavery—the film does not know what to do with slavery.[347] The Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s made defiant slaves into heroes.[348] The question of slavery in American memory necessarily involves its depictions in feature films.[349]

Poster for the film Spartacus

Most Hollywood films used American settings, although Spartacus (1960), dealt with an actual revolt in the Roman Empire known as the Third Servile War. It failed and all the rebels were executed, but their spirit lived on according to the film.[350] The Last Supper (La última cena in Spanish) was a 1976 film directed by Cuban Tomás Gutiérrez Alea about the teaching of Christianity to slaves in Cuba, and emphasizes the role of ritual and revolt. Burn! takes place on the imaginary Portuguese island of Queimada (where the locals speak Spanish) and it merges historical events that took place in Brazil, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Jamaica, and elsewhere. Spartacus stays surprisingly close to the historical record.[351]

Historians agree that films have largely shaped historical memories, but they debate issues of accuracy, plausibility, moralism, sensationalism, how facts are stretched in search of broader truths, and suitability for the classroom.[352][353] Berlin argues that critics complain if the treatment emphasizes historical brutality, or if it glosses over the harshness to highlight the emotional impact of slavery.[354]

Year Title[355] Film genre Director Actor Country Book Author
1960 Spartacus Historical drama / epic Stanley Kubrick Kirk Douglas  United States    
1968 Angélique and the Sultan Drama Bernard Borderie    France Angélique in Barbary Anne Golon
1969 Queimada (Burn!) Drama Gillo Pontecorvo Marlon Brando  Italy    
1975 Mandingo Drama, Exploitation film Richard Fleischer Ken Norton  United States Mandingo Kyle Onstott
1977 Alex Haley's Roots (TV series) Historical drama Chomsky, Erman, Greene and Moses    United States Roots: The Saga of an American Family Alex Haley
1993 Alex Haley's Queen (TV series) Historical drama John Erman Halle Berry  United States Queen: The Story of an American Family Alex Haley
1997 Amistad Drama Steven Spielberg Djimon Hounsou  United States    
1998 Beloved Drama Jonathan Demme Oprah Winfrey  United States   Toni Morrison
2000 Gladiator Historical epic Ridley Scott Russell Crowe  United Kingdom,  United States  
2007 El Cimarrón Historical drama Iván Dariel Ortíz Pedro Telemaco  Puerto Rico  
2013 Belle Period Drama Amma Asante Gugu Mbatha-Raw  United Kingdom  
2012 500 Years Later Documentary Owen 'Alik Shahadah    United Kingdom,  United States    
2006 Amazing Grace Historical drama Michael Apted    United Kingdom,  United States    
2007 Trade Thriller Marco Kreuzpaintner    Germany,  United States    
2010 The Slave Hunters Historical drama Kwak Jung-hwan    South Korea    
2012 Lincoln Historical drama / epic Steven Spielberg Daniel Day-Lewis  United States Doris Kearns Goodwin
2012 Django Unchained Western Quentin Tarantino Jamie Foxx  United States    
2013 12 Years a Slave Historical drama Steve McQueen Chiwetel Ejiofor  United Kingdom,  United States Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup
2016 The Birth of a Nation Historical drama Nate Parker Nate Parker  Canada,  United States

See also

References

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Bibliography and further reading

Surveys and reference

Uncited sources
United States
Slavery in the modern era

External links

Historical

Modern