Talk:Timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom

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This is just a start - should include appropriate legislation etc for all countries and UN - please help especially with links etc.

Achaemenid Persia[edit]

I came across this in the Achaemenid Persia article:

"The practice of slavery in Achaemenid Persia was generally banned, although there is evidence that conquered and/or rebellious armies were sold into captivity. Zoroastrianism, the de facto religion of the empire, explicitly forbids slavery, and the kings of Achaemenid Persia, especially the founder Cyrus the Great, followed this ban to varying degrees, as evidenced by the freeing of the Jews at Babylon, and the construction of Persepolis by paid workers."

This is a significant occurrence for the history of the abolition of slavery. It should be included. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:51, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

         That article is inaccurate, slavery was a legal practice in Achaemenid Persia, we have documents in Achaemenid Babylon or Achaemenid Egypt regarding   regulations of slave ownership.GollumTreasure 11:57, 12 March 2017 (UTC)  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cid Campeador3 (talkcontribs)  


there is an urgent need to define exactly what is meant by 'slavery', and the note about how some countries may have issued proclamations but not followed through for many years afterward. Russia still had a system of Serfdom as of the early 20th century, and Portugal was among the last European nations to let go of its huge colonial empire in Africa..... so it's very ironic that Russia and Portugal should be shown as among the first to abolish slavery. This topic already seems to be one deserving a lot of review and discussion before conclusions are made, and isolated historical proclamations and events need to be put in context. Uranian Institute (talk) 21:29, 10 May 2010 (UTC)


The abolition of slavery in all of the portuguese colonies in africa,was declared in 25th of february of 1869 and not in 1961 as the timeline claims.This should be corrected.XPTO 23:54, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


"The abolition of slavery must rank as one of the greatest achievements of recorded history." What the hell, that's the least encyclopedic thing I have ever read on Wikipedia, including several cases of vandalism. I'm removing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:24, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Slavery, Slave trading, Indenture, Onerous apprenticeship systems etc.[edit]

I think it is important to preserve the type of slavery under discussion. It is also important to preserve the relationship between imperial/"great" powers and states to understand the nature of the problems confronting abolitionists. Robinhw 10:42, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Add dates to when Alexander II abolished serfdom in Russia? -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs 09:27, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

EDIT: Sorry, just noticed already added. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs 09:28, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

What is slavery?[edit]

The timeline is all very well, but without a definition of the word, it isn't as useful as it might be. I dare say that in some of the countries where 'slavery' had been abolished, the practice, as understood by others, actually continued. Some might argue that people trafficking isn't slavery. Is an indentured worker a slave; was a serf who owned a mill a slave; some might say so. If so, what aspect of their life made them slaves.

I think it would be a good idea if someone who has given the subject some very serious thought opened the article with such a definition, sufficiently rigorous to pin the subject down. Just my thought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:55, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Gold Coast[edit]

The article states (unsourced) that the Brits abolished slavery in Ghana/Gold Coast in 1874. Marika Sherwood claims in "After Abolition - Britain and the Slave Trade Since 1807" that "The last Act of Abolition in the British Empire was in 1928, in the Gold Coast". Is there any source for the 1874 date?--Kiffahh (talk) 14:48, 21 June 2010 (UTC)


According to the article, Greece abolished slavery in 1822, but in 1822 there was no Greece, the country was part of the Ottoman Empire. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 10 June 2012 (UTC)


I removed the sentence "U.S. abolishes slavery among Indians in Alaska after purchasing it from Russia in 1867" as it is unsupported and seems to me likely to be false. In In re Sah Quah, 31 F. 327 (D. Alaska 1886), it was held that the Thirteenth Amendment applied ex proprie vigore to Alaska; the case is mentioned in passing in, e.g., Sidney J. Strong, "Federal District Court Has No Jurisdiction over a Lease of Tribal Land to a Non-Indian", 27 Mont. L. Rev. 198 (1965-1966). I left the sentence "1866: Slavery abolished in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)." as it has a source, although it also seems dubious to me. Someone more expert than I on Native American law should look closely at the justification for these claims. — Preceding unsigned comment added by A e blaine cavanaugh (talkcontribs) 00:47, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Slavery in Japan[edit]

I was surprised to find the claim that Japan abolished slavery ahead of the rest of the world, with the possible exception of Iceland. Checking the source, that source mentions slavery as a punishment continuing.

I'm going to check the overall position at Quora, where you get good answers.--GwydionM (talk) 13:05, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
It actually says that slavery 'virtually disappears' not that it is abolished. If you look further down the page it says that slavery was banned in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but still continued as a legal punishment. I don't really know the facts, but it looks like the first date might not be that important (it's also obviously a very approximate date) (talk) 05:50, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
What about the Imperial Japanese regime's enslavement of Koreans, Chinese, and Allied POWs in World War II? Shouldn't that get a mention? – Illegitimate Barrister (talkcontribs), 02:01, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

End of Slavery in the US[edit]

Would anyone be interested in collaborating on a sort of sub-article titled "End of slavery in the United States", or something to that effect? In particular, this article would get into the nitty-gritty of who was freed, where & when, how, and to what degree. This page would include items like the Maryland Constitution of 1864 as well as the chaotic but practical liberation that came to the South with advancing Union armies. groupuscule (talk) 22:05, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

yes, good idea.. It's a long & complex story that gets lost in this current article. Rjensen (talk) 22:07, 21 June 2013 (UTC)


How did spain outlaw slavery in 1542 and again in 1811 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Article name: add "and serfdom"[edit]

This article discusses not only the abolition of slavery, but also of serfdom. I think this should be reflected in the article's name? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 15:08, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Ancient times - the Torah[edit]

5th century BC: Chattel slavery is banned in the Torah. Exodus 21:16 “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death."

is deeply misleading. Reviewing a few different translations of 21:16, I interpret this verse as a law against kidnapping, not slavery. Reading the rest of Exodus 21 does not help either, viz. Exodus 21:20-21 "When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property." (NRSV). Cf. Leviticus 25:45-46, which forbids the enslavement of Israelites but allows for the chattel slavery of anybody else. See also: The Bible and slavery. I don't think is it possible to argue seriously that the Torah forbade chattel slavery in any meaningful way; as such I am removing the above entry.-Ich (talk) 15:46, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps mention should be made of William the Conquerors outlawing of the exportation of slaves in 1102.

William the Conqueror and the abolition of slavery in England[edit]

After his victory against Harold, William the Conqueror outlawed slavery within England. The penalty for slave ownership was a fine payable to the new King of England. Subsequent legal cases (in the 1700s for instance) established that given these laws introduced in the mid to late 1000s, any slave that entered England would be freed.

Perhaps we should add this to the list? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mitchell, Grant (talkcontribs) 07:57, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

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Proposed move[edit]

Given its content, I propose to move this article to Abolition of slavery and serfdom timeline. Alfie Gandon (talk) 14:30, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

@Alfie Gandon: Done, through I chose to reword the title a bit. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:40, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Ancient times[edit]

Nothing significant happenned outside asian word? I dont know much but as far as i remember there was atleast Spartacus rebelion, Cristianism, and severe Greek philosophers observations, so it could be something else. --Neurorebel (talk) 07:10, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

The "Spartacus rebelion" was actually the Third Servile War (73-71 BC), a slave rebellion against the Roman Republic. The rebels apparently attempted to flee to areas of Europe not controlled by the Romans. They were prevented from doing so and eventually defeated in battle by a series of Roman generals. Many died in battle, but about 11,000 of them were captured alive and then crucified for their "crimes".

The war did not end slavery, but is thought to have changed Roman attitudes towards slavery. "The effects of the Third Servile War on Roman attitudes towards slavery, and on the institution of slavery in Rome, are harder to determine. Certainly the revolt had shaken the Roman people, who "out of sheer fear seem to have begun to treat their slaves less harshly than before." The wealthy owners of the latifundia began to reduce the number of agricultural slaves, opting to employ the large pool of formerly dispossessed freemen in sharecropping arrangements. With the end of Augustus' reign (27 BC - 14 AD), the major Roman wars of conquest ceased until the reign of Emperor Trajan (reigned 98–117 AD), and with them ended the supply of plentiful and inexpensive slaves through military conquest. This era of peace further promoted the use of freedmen as laborers in agricultural estates."

Christianism did not end slavery and did not campaign to do so. There is a famous instance of early Christians towards slavery. Onesimus was a runaway slave who escaped a Christian slave-master called Philemon of Colossae. Onesimus sought the protection of Paul the Apostle, who converted the runaway to Christianity. Paul then send Onesimus back to Philemon, asking the master to treat the slave as his brother. That is the subject of the Epistle to Philemon, one of the books of the New Testament.

In comments on the Epistle: "When it comes to Onesimus and his circumstance as a slave, Paul felt that Onesimus should return to Philemon but not as a slave, but under a bond of familial love. Paul also was not suggesting that Onesimus be punished, but Roman law allowed the owner of a runaway slave nearly unlimited privileges of punishment, even execution. This is a concern of Paul and a reason he is writing to Philemon, asking that Philemon accept Onesimus back in a bond of friendship, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Paul is trying to break through the social barriers dividing people."

Christians actually used the Epistle to defend the institution of slavery. "Diarmaid MacCulloch, in his A History of Christianity, described the epistle as "a Christian foundation document in the justification of slavery". "

Greek philosophers typically supported slavery, though there were a few exceptions to the rule. We have a detailed article on Slavery in ancient Greece. Among its descriptions:

"Very few authors of antiquity call slavery into question. To Homer and the pre-classical authors, slavery was an inevitable consequence of war. Heraclitus states that "War is the father of all, the king of all ... he turns some into slaves and sets others free". Aristotle also felt this way, stating "the law by which whatever is taken in war is supposed to belong to the victors." He does also state that it might have a few issues though,”For what if the cause of war be unjust?” If the war was because of an unfair or incorrect reason, should the victors of that war be allowed to take the losers as slaves?"

"During the classical period, the main justification for slavery was economic. From a philosophical point of view, the idea of "natural" slavery emerged at the same time; thus, as Aeschylus states in The Persians, the Greeks "[o]f no man are they called the slaves or vassals", while the Persians, as Euripides states in Helen, "are all slaves, except one" — the Great King. Hippocrates theorizes about this latent idea at the end of the 5th century BC. According to him, the temperate climate of Anatolia produced a placid and submissive people. This explanation is reprised by Plato, then Aristotle in Politics, where he develops the concept of "natural slavery": "for he that can foresee with his mind is naturally ruler and naturally master, and he that can do these things with his body is subject and naturally a slave." As opposed to an animal, a slave can comprehend reason but "…has not got the deliberative part at all." "

"Alcidamas, at the same time as Aristotle, took the opposite view, saying: "nature has made nobody a slave". "

Alcidamas was a bit of an oddball. He advocated that the Messenians, enslaved by the Spartans for several centuries, had to regain their freedom. : "Of other works only fragments and the titles have survived: Messeniakos, advocating the freedom of the Messenians and containing the sentiment that "God has left all men free; nature has made no man a slave" " Dimadick (talk) 07:22, 9 May 2017 (UTC) Dimadick You are amn open... "Wikipedia", I already browsed at the Greek part and also the supposed omission on Jesus Christ preaches but I did not reached to Alcidamas, also there are several observations about your comment that I will resume in "such a democracy" and also "such a dogma".

Wikipedia is crowded with miscellaneous data but may be such an author as Alsidamas should be mentioned on this chronology; what I dont know is weather it should contain or talk about revolutions, not only the servile wars as you well described above but another one relatively more modern that is Haiti and that I can't remember reading about on this article.

This time-line smells like it has one or two inherited biases. Just remember that ancient world was bigger than ancient believed and that though separately they lived people on other three more continents not mentioned on the main article.

Unfortunately i'm being banned from redacting and even writing on the main name-space because of my "very poor English", so there is not much that i can do for now.--Neurorebel (talk) 00:30, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

LBJ, 1966[edit]

It says LBJ abolished involuntary servitude in 1966. What is this referring to? There's no cite. – Illegitimate Barrister (talkcontribs), 02:16, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

smells like sulphur, it seems like a blink to the Church of Satan.--Neurorebel (talk) 03:47, 5 July 2017 (UTC)