Talk:Slavery/Archive 1

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Uncategorized Comments

All the comments listed at the top of this page find themselves under this new heading. I did this in response to a comment at the end of this section. Hellsjester 20:02, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

KUDOS! A while ago several comments were made under the "overemphasis on the USA" section about how much of slaver was left out of this article.

Several people have been trying hard to fix that! MUCH better than it was! 18:17, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


UNFREE LABOUR : must define itself and stand alone. The call to merge the Slavery article in its traditional sense, should be removed. There is strong risk of diluting the term.

Comment: In relation to the comments above, the references I have offered for slavery in South America (see sections below under Brazil) have not been included. The references still make slvery in the USA a major thrust here and needs to be amended. Oh, and could Laura please use the accepted format for her signature. Probably just an oversight.

Malangthon 06:13, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I removed a bit of what I believe is graffiti. The opening paragraph used to say this:

Slavery is the social or de-facto status of specific persons, usually captives or prisoners (or their descendants) or shaun giitens, who are considered as property or chattel, for the purpose of providing labour and services for the owner or state without the right of the slave to refuse, leave or gain compensation beyond room, board and clothing.

And I removed the bit about Shaun Giitens [sic]. To my knowledge, Gittens is an athlete having nothing to do with the topic of slavery. If I am wrong and this is some kind of technical term, I have reproduced the original entry above, replace if it you like. Andrewdoane 21:36, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

This ought to be merged with slavery. Because this article focuses primarily on one kind of slavery and then goes through the basic history of slavery in general, it would be a wise idea to simply put this article into its own section or at least subsection in slavery.

Should this page also include a reference to gender/sexual slavery? -- Cayzle

see sexual slavery

EDIT: This article now seems to be exclusively about sexual slavery.

Please Place Comments Where They Can Be Coherent

Would it be too much trouble for folks to categorise their comments under the appropriate heading? Following the conversation below is not unlike listening in on schizophrenics at Truman Hospital Psychiatric Clinic.

I think from the comments below we are seeing some refinments in the conversation that hopefully will be reflected in the article. Hope you don't mind but I inserted some headers where they seemed appropriate which may lead us to making some adjustments to the article outline. It also makes the conversation here a little easier to follow.

Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ Malangthon July 11, 2005

Does anyone know whether there were more humane approaches taken towards slaves in ancient Rome between 2 BC and 2 AD?

The following has been reinstated in the section entitled Potential for Abolition:

Since capitalist enterprises are unlikely to accept such an arrangement, circumvent it in the unlikely event of it being accepted, or seek to disguise employment arrangements that are de facto unfree, any attempt at abolition that does not also address the systemic roots of unfreedom is not likely to succeed.

It was deleted on the specious grounds that it was an unwarranted POV. Like everything else that appears in this section of the entry, it is the expression of an opinion. To delete it is itself the exercise of a POV. It remains, therefore, and readers can make up their own minds, which they are entitled to do without the imposition by anyone of a blue pencil. 31/12/06

Specious?! anyways, I totally disagree with you. The section in question is not clearly identified as presenting one point of view; instead, it seems to be another neutral section of the article. In that case, the comment is quite POV. there is no other side of the coin presented in that paragraph. The "fact" that "capitalist enterprises are unlikely to accept such an arrangement" is presented as fact, without supporting evidence, and no opinion to the contrary. How is this NOT anything but blatant POV? -- Dullfig 17:12, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Oh dear, someone who uses capitals, thinking this amounts to making an argument. By your own admission, you are a person who thinks capitalism 'a good thing' ('This user is a capitalist'). Anything that runs counter to this - in other words, a critique of the assumption that capitalists are benign, kind-hearted people for whom the employment of bonded labour constituted an affront - is of course in your eyes something that amounts to a POV. What the latter is code for is 'a view with which I do not agree'. In my eyes, you have a POV, in that I do not agree with you. Unlike you, however, I am not attempting to prevent you from expressing an opinion. Perhaps one should not be surprised at a self-proclaimed supporter of capitalism trying to prevent those with a different politics from expressing an opinion; historically, this is par for the course. Contrary to what you claim, there is in fact another side of the coin in that paragraph: the assumption that benign capitalists will voluntarily eschew the kind of relational forms - including unfree working arrangments - that give them a competitive edge in market competition where labour costs are an important component of profitability. This is not only a POV, but one that is innocent of contemporary economic reality. 31/12/06

The comments about "capitalist enterprises" is certainly POV. And your comments here only reinforce that.
If he is trying to express an opinion in the article, you should certain attempt to prevent him. Goldfritha 18:22, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
To user User: writing a neutral article does not mean that each side tries to insert their POV into the article, and may the best editor win. Each side should atempt to write the article in a neutral way. Neutrality does not come from me endlessly editing your edits. Neutrality comes from you editing your own edits! Write about what other people say about the issue, not what you personaly think about it. That is POV pushing. There is no sources cited for your comment, and with good reason, because the comment is your own personal oppinion. As you can tell, I made no attempt to push my oppinion, I merely deleted a blatantly POV statement. How is that POV on my part?
This is tipical from the left: freedom of expression means your freedom to express yourself, and your freedom to suppress my speech. nice. Dullfig 19:55, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this guy for real? Not only can he (I assume it is a he) not spell, but he doesn't understand the nature of debate, which entails precisely having a view about (and then taking a stand on) a particular issue. For him everything is to be rendered neutral, whatever that might mean...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, the difficulties of having to deal with cheer-leaders for capitalism for whom logic is a foreign country, and who are, it seems, also obtuse (yes, go and look it up). The claim that you 'made no attempt to push [your] oppinion' (sic) is then immediately contradicted by the following claim that you 'merely deleted a… statement' with which you did not agree. Whether you choose to recognize it or not, what you are doing is precisely what you object to in others: pushing your own opinion. If you can’t understand this, then I feel sorry for you. Similarly bereft of logic is the claim that 'freedom of expression means your freedom to express yourself, and your freedom to suppress my speech'. This overlooks that fact that I have not prevented you from expressing anything: it is you who wants to deprive me of freedom of speech, by preventing me from saying anything. Moving on, let’s have a look at the original text for this section, and evaluate in terms of the criterion insisted on by the cheerleader for capitalism (‘There is no sources cited for your comment’). How many sources are there cited for other comments in the same section? The latter reads as follows:

'Those 27 million people produce a gross economic product of US$13 billion annually (who says this - evidence? No evidence, thus POV). This is also a smaller percentage of the world economy than slavery has produced at any prior point in human history (again, evidence? No evidence, thus POV). That, plus the universal criminal status of slavery, the lack of moral arguments for it in modern discourse, and the many conventions and agreements to abolish it worldwide, make it likely that it can be eliminated in this generation, according to Free The Slaves (unsubstantiated assertion, no evidence, thus POV)…A first step towards this objective is the Cocoa Protocol, by which the entire cocoa industry worldwide has accepted full moral and legal responsibility for the entire comprehensive outcome of their production processes (unsubstantiated assertion, no evidence, thus POV). Negotiations for this protocol were initiated for cotton, sugar and other commodity items in the 19th century — taking about 140 years to complete (evidence? Again, no evidence). Thus, it seems that this is also a turning point in history, where all commodity markets can slowly lever licensing and other requirements to ensure that slavery is eliminated from production, one industry at a time, as a sectoral simultaneous policy that does not cause disadvantages for any one market player (unsubstantiated assertion, thus POV).'

The answer is rather obviously none. This underlines the fact that you are operating double standards: demanding proofs of views with which you disagree, and accepting without proofs those statements with which you agree. Rather than bluster on endlessly about how nice and kind capitalists are, you should examine some of the huge literature supporting the view that unfree labour is perfectly acceptable to capitalist enterprises. I would suggest you begin by acquainting yourself with the following. On the US in the 20th century, the books by Lichtenstein (Twice the Work of Free Labor) and Shapiro (A New South Rebellion). On Germany in the same period, the books by Herbert (A History of Foreign Labor in Germany, 1880-1980), Hayes (Industry and Ideology: I.G. Farben in the Nazi Era) and Ferencz (Less Than Slaves). On South Africa, virtually anything written about the labour regime under the apartheid system. On Latin America and India, you could look at the contributions to van der Linden and Brass (Free and Unfree Labor) and Brass (Political Economy of Unfree Labor). 1/1/2007

Blah blah blah. Good articles are NOT those whith heated debates between editors. That is what the talk page is for. The article itself is supposed to be a neutral, balanced presentation of facts, not the oppinion of the editor. I could write, for example, "since socialists do not recognize individual rights, eliminating slavery is not high on their list of priorities". But I don't, do I? I try to keep my edits neutral. You should too! Dullfig 19:46, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear. I can tell I'll have a hard time convincing any of you that employees are slaves, & that corporations are slave plantations. Do books like "The Grapes of Wrath" & "The Jungle" qualify as evidence that the wage is slavery? And that debt is slavery? And that renting is slavery? And that insurance is slavery (since most people can't afford any)? Because it's almost impossible to prove it's more than just my POV with "evidence" since few think it's all real slavery. The true definition says nothing about paid or unpaid equals slavery; but the definitions do show that employees are slaves, who have no control over their lives. Don't dictionary definitions prove the wage is slavery, employees are slaves, debt is slavery, etc? If not, then how can we ever end world poverty which is caused by the wage (headed by USA & UK in ignorance)? How can I prove that it's all slavery? Sundiiiaaa 04:10, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

External Links

Additions for 19 October, 2006 For anyone wondering the web site logged me out while the page I was reading showed I was logged in. So the extensive external links I added were not added under my name. They are specifically the links to the BBC and Anti-slavery International

I have added these links since there is an apparent problem with balance (I am not saying it is intentional) but there seems to be a bias of an anti-American and anti-Christian nature. Nevertheless, without pointing fingers, I have added these links to show: A. Prevalence in the world today; B. Widespread incidence of the problem; C. Variations in the defintion of "slavery.

Apologies for any inconvenience. Malangthon 04:05, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

With regard to this statement at the head of the article section in question: "Please do not link to news articles, as that is what Wikinews or a Portal are for. Citing such articles in the text is also good to do, but examples shouldn't be given here."

I have to disagree. Many of these sources are primary sources, i.e. first hand, even eye witness reports which makes them essential regardless of any bias. They do in fact often constitute a major source for historians and archivists have no problem including them as well. Much of Bix's work on Hirohito was from Japanese newspapers.

One very important purpose Wikipedia serves is to provide a focal point for further investigation and locating and linking news sources is very much a part of the piece. The external links section serves as footnoting and background information both, allowing the reader to pursue the topic further than the article takes them and possibly lead them to other sources. The news articles are definitely doing that.

Malangthon 02:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Here are the best websites I've found about child slavery (or labor). Do you want to add them to the article? And another: If so, could you add it, because I don't know how or where to add it. Thanks. Also, please read the second one closely about USA child labor. Notice the ages, working hours, hands cut off, etc, & don't you think we should call it "child slavery in USA in 20th century?" Sundiiiaaa 18:57, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you need to talk to your doctor about increasing your meds. To keep insisting that there is child slavery in the US, and to talk about "hands cut off", is fringe stuff, right up there with Elvis sightings. You know, Tin foil hats do wonders for the mind control rays. You should look into them. -- Dullfig 21:47, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok, this website does call it slavery of children in the USA in 1906 & 1908. See # (4) & # (12). Look how hard it was to "end child labor/slavery" too. Now don't you think we could change the heading to "Child slavery in USA in 20th century?" Maybe that will help end the capitalist wage system worldwide, starting in USA, since all work is slavery & employees are slaves. Or am I in big trouble again? Sundiiiaaa 18:20, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Wiki Policies

I find that many sections of this article run afoul of Wikipedia's policies of Neutral Point of View and Verifiability, particularly the sections on Chattel Slavery, Most common types of work, and Punishments. I don't doubt the claims made in this section, but I find them poorly referenced and heavily opinionated. I have a deep hatred of slavery, but I think that presenting the topic from such a biased point of view can only hurt the argument against it. I believe in a person's basic ability to recognize injustice when it is reported in a factual way. I think, as an encyclopedia, Wikipedia should be above making a judgement call on a topic like this, and simply supply as much verifiable information as possible. -Hellsjester 20:26, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

ETYMOLOGY of slave slavery

can anyone provide the greek word in Greek SLAVES WERE BOUGHT AND SOLD in exchange FOR SALT eg: "BOUGHT in exchange for salt" sal....=[latin] salt

SALARIUM [latin] = payment


hal....[greek]=salt -- 21:14, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC) which is the result of a monopoly

Added the e at the end of the oe word. Could some please put in the greek letters for the greek origin of the word Seniorsag 15:57, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Medieval and Premodern Slavery

This series has a gaping hole; only slavery of antiquity and the early modern period are discussed, leaving out a good 1000 years of slavery. Kemet 14:17, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Slavery in Asia

Was there any Asian slavery historically?

In China, slavery did exist but take a much milder form. One of my aunt (age 75 as of 2001) is not related to us by blood. She was sold to my grandma when she was a few years old. Her mother couldn't afford to raise her, so the deal worked like a paid adoption with the understanding that the child would work like a slave instead of part of the family. She was a servant to my mom's family. My grandma didn't treat her like a slave though she had to do all the dirty work in the house. She grew up with my mother and they treat each other like sisters. Milage varies. Some child slaves did get abuse in inhumane way. But as soon as the Communist government took over, no one dared to admit to be a slave owner. So there was not real legal binding. But throughout Chinese history, rich people bought servants, they didn't just hire them. However, the slaves could buy back their freedom according to the original sales contract.
There were eunuchs a plenty in China. These were often boys who had been sold into slavery by their parents. There was also sexual slavery of women in China and Japan. Farmers would sell their daughters to innkeepers to be prostitutes. Stargoat 22:00, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Before the turn of the century, the poor people in the area of Taisan (southern China) sold themselves as slaves. The money went to their family in Taisan while the men were shipped to the America to build railroads, do laundry, dig gold mine etc. Nowadays, most Chinatowns in the US are populated by Taisan people. Many are descendents of slaves.
I believe that about 1/3 of the Korean population was enslaved at one point. And slavery was rampant in India. Can anyone check on this?

I honestly don't know, so I didn't bother to put it in. Thanks for adding 'Africa', by the way. There's something approximating western serfdom in China in some periods, but serfdom has to be distinguished from chattel slavery, too. --MichaelTinkler

Arguably, there is plenty of slave labor going on right now in labor camps in China staffed by political dissidents...of course, the Chinese would disagree with the description, though. --LMS

Yep. I guess we need a division for 'state socialism.' The broad definitions of slavery around lately all concentrate on the loss of control over work rather than chattel, and China would certainly qualify under that heading. --MichaelTinkler

How are we going to differentiate African Islamic slavery from African slavery. Currently there is nothing under Islamic slavery heading but under African slavery there is a lot about Islamic slavery. ---rmhermen

so far it doesn't seem out of line to me with an Africa entry - it's mainly sub-Saharan (Egypt the only exception) or treating Africa as a source for slaves. I for one know just enough about slavery in Islam and the nasty controversies it brings up to stay away from writing that part of the entry!

Slavery Trafficking from Africa to Asia

Some years ago I copied a map off the UNESCO website that showed the slave traffik from Africa to China. Further enquiries about the specifics did not lead anywhere including a face-to-face with the UNESCO personell in Bangkok in 1995. They did not want to pursue that line of questioning. A couple of impressions I was able to get was that all African males were castrated upon arrival in China and females were not used for reproduction because the Chinese slave owners found them very unattractive. Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ --Malangthon July 11, 2005

Slavery in Iraq

Found a source at Amazon for an as yet untouched area of this topic:

The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the 3Rd/9th Century (Princeton Series on the Middle East) (Paperback) by Alexandre Popovic, Henry Louis, Jr Gates (Introduction), Leon King (Translator) Paperback: 207 pages. Publisher: Marcus Wiener (August 1, 1998). ISBN: 1558761632

Review: Choice Magazine, July 1999 The Zanj revolt, centering around an uprising of East African slaves in the Tigris-Euphrates delta, lasted from 869 to 883 in and around Basra, and was one of the events that contributed to the late-9th-century crisis of the Abbasid caliphate. [...] But why did the revolt drag on for so long? The government in Baghdad was caught unaware, at a time when the Tulunids in Egypt and the Saffarids in the east were virtually independent, the Shiite Carmathians were threatening Iraq itself, and al-Mutamid, the caliph when the revolt broke out, was a poltroon. Fortunately for Baghdad, his brother al-Muwaffaq and the latter's son, al-Mutadid, worked tirelessly and successfully to crush the uprising. Ali b. Muhammad was killed in the final battle. [..] Basra, however, never recovered its former prosperity.... This is a monograph in the best tradition of French Islamic scholarship.

An older source which is now available on web at


A NEW AND REVISED EDITION BY T. H. WEIR, M.A., D.D. (ABERDEEN) Lecturer in Arabic in the University of Glasgow.



My understanding is that the revolt ended in the annihilation of the entire slave population hence no remaining legacy such as we see in South America or North America.

Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ --Malangthon July 11, 2005

Some Black slaves assimilated into the local population and there are still significant numbers of Iraqis in the south with Black african features as a result of this.

Slavery in China

It is clear, to me anyway, that the article is seriously abbreviated. Updating my own files I found the following:

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2005 People’s Republic of China [ Country-by-CountryReports ]

The Peoples’ Republic of China is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation.

Slave labour on the increase in China 13 August 2001

Young Chinese men are increasingly becoming victims of forced labour as economic necessity forces them to migrate to other provinces in China where they have been promised well paid jobs in brick factories or stone quarries.

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2005 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [ Country-by-Country Reports ] (North Korea)

The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea is a source country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Thousands of North Koreans, pushed by deteriorating conditions in the country, become economic migrants who are subjected to conditions of debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, and/or forced labor upon arrival in a destination country, most often the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.).

Far Eastern Economic Review SLAVERY ON THE RISE IN CHINA

Hong Kong, August 8, 2001--Slavery is on the rise in China as migration flows grow and private business blossoms, but Beijing appears unwilling and unable to prevent it, the Far Eastern Economic Review reports in its August 16 issue, available tomorrow.

Asian Tribune Date : 2005-06-19 Of Slaves and Bonded Labours By Tushar Charan - Syndicate Features

. . . Chinese authorities treat their jails as some sort of correction homes for the ‘bad elements’, especially those who have a ‘mind problem’, and they are turned into ‘new socialist persons’ after some compulsory hard labour in prisons.

This process of ‘re-education’, which can continue out of jail too, requires 12 to 14 hours of physical labour, all seven days of the week and recalcitrant prisoners are thrashed into submission. No visitors are allowed to meet the prisoners.

It seems clear to me as well as to many of us here that the article will have to be broken up into many categories if it is to present even a modicum of the evidence and the range of the disussion and not exceed size restrictions.

Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ --Malangthon July 11, 2005

I agree it seems a daunting task but it needs to be done. --Rakista 17:50, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

African Slave Trade in China

I do not have the source on hand but there are numerous references to Eric Wolf's book "Europe and the People Without History," on this topic.

For example an H-Net Archives reference quotes Wolf: ""Chinese sources mention slaves from Zenj (Black Africa) as early as the seventh century, and by 1119 most of the wealthy people of Canton were said to have possessed Black slaves..."

Wolf has an entry here on Wikipedia but there is no detail for this topic.

Another source I located:

Sino-Platonic Papers, 122 (July 2002)

The Magical Kunlun and "Devil Slaves": Chinese Perceptions of Dark-skinned People and Africa before 1500

by Julie Wilensky

Reference to period Tang (618-907) to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) "Beginning in the Tang dynasty, Arab traders brought a number of East African slaves to China. From the eighth to the fourteenth centuries; the Arabs controlled this vast slave trade, which stretched not only along the entire coast of East Africa and throughout the Arab world but as far east as China. Black slaves were just one of many commodities in the Arabs' large-scale maritime trade with China, which peaked during the Tang and Song dynasty (960-1275). The Jiu Tang shu (Former Tang history) mentions that the Arabs sent delegates to the Chinese court in 651, marking the first recorded official contact between the Chinese government and the Arab caliphate. By the ninth century, a sizable community of Arabs lived in Guangzhou, and the local residents could have seen African slaves on trading ships and in Arab homes. Some wealthy Chinese people even owned African slaves, whom they used as doorkeepers."

Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ --Malangthon July 11, 2005

Islamic slave trade in South Asia

The South Asia section does not indicate the extent to which the larger network of Islamic slave traders was present in South Asia. Given the number of Islamic kingdoms, especially the Mughual Empire, it had to be present to a degree, but what degree? Were Indian slaves circulating throughout the routes, were African slaves coming to India? Jztinfinity 23:43, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Why call it the Islamic slave trade, is the transatlantic slave trade by default called the Christian Slave trade, the geography or the race (culture) of the trade far outweights the fact that some of them were Muslims -- 22:04, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I call it the Islamic slave trade as a matter of slavery as defined in Islamic law, rather than any form of slavery as defined by other laws, Arab slave trade may be apporopriate, though that depends on the role that other peoples involved in the trade routes these slaves traveled in, such as Berbers, Central Asians, Gujaratis, etc. I'd like to point out that this slave trade involved non-Muslims, but the point is that they originated from largely Muslim sources. The problem with labeling this geographically, is that this slave trade was very wide passing throughout the Islamic world and neighboring powers such as the Chinese. I've heard the Atlantic slave trade called the European slave trade, but I see where your coming from and you do have a valid point, but I still think my position is the better one. If I offended you, I am sorry, I hope you understand what I was thinking from what I have written. I actually found some info on this in the US Country Study and will be adding it soon. Jztinfinity 00:10, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

17th c. slavery in South Asia?

Ok, I found some interesting slavery info on the India country study (the Africans section), but it says most slaves were brought in the 17th century... But where do these slaves come from? My instict would say European influences, after all, at that point what did Europeans have to offer Indians except slaves? But that is also the period of final expansion of the Mughal Empire, maybe lots of slave soldiers were imported I dunno, if someone does know it would help build the article.

Slavery In Ancient Mediterranean

From the Mediterranean: Undoubtedly a majority of slaves were condemned to agricultural labor and lived hard lives. This seems to refer to the Roman latifundia, but from what I know, Greek slaves tended to be urban, with poorer citizens tilling the lands themselves outside of Sparta. Being a slave is never fun, especially if you happen to be female, yet again I don't think the treatment was that much worse than slaves received in America (relative to the well-being of the average citizen) and that did not seem to merit a comment. The strong exception to this were those slaves sentenced to work in mines, who in Greece and indeed all the Mediterranean and ancient world pretty much had to be worked to death in order to make mining profitable.

I guess I was inserting the 'hard life' line to avert criticism that by talking about manumission I was glossing over the lot of the slave. Manumission was a promise that never came for a majority. On the subject of Rural slavery, Greek small farming depended on slavery as well, though admittedly on a smaller scale than latifundia. In fact, I shudder to suggest it, but American slaveholding was one of the few that came even close to successful internal re-supply rather than depending on debt-slavery and foreign war to keep restocking the system. Slave smuggling existed in the 1830s-50s, but it was relatively minor, and the number of slaves were not falling. Lots of economic arguments about social change in the ancient world depend on boom&bust cycles of slave supply. --MichaelTinkler

To my knowledge, there really isn't any religious or cultural group that hasn't been slaves to someone at some point, but I'm not too sure. --Jzcool

I notice a link to "psychiatric slavery": Hello, central, get me doctor Szasz! The Anome

Are you disputing/can you dispute Szasz' position or do you think this should be explained within the article? --Daniel C. Boyer

This is rather sparse. No mention of the Romans or Greeks who employed slaves or the Egyptians who were a huge slave society, most famously the accounts in the Bible of enslaving the Jews. There should be more empahsis on antiquity in the history section. --deadmissbates 11 Dec 2005

Agreed. Absolutely. And where is discussion of the slavery of both fellow Hebrews and foreign Canaanites in the Israelite legal system? Considering how many of Wiki's users are probably from a Jewish or Christian background, this subject really ought to be given some treatment. I haven't checked other articles today, but don't recall any discussion in Tanakh, Bible, Ancient Israel, or other articles. Anyone with expertise, Please help. 19:50, 4 July 2006 (UTC) Allen Roth

Slavery In South America

Slavery in Brazil

These entries below lack identities in some cases and it is not possible to see who wrote what and when. Who is making statements and who is demanding evidence for example is not at all clear.

Malangthon 04:51, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Let me interject here before the discussion goes off on another tangent that Guy Burton at

has some interesting things to say about the "historical"abolition of slavery in Brazil, "para inglês ver," "for the English to see."

Brazzil - History - May 2004 "Fooling the British, the Brazilian Way"

"While the British wanted slavery abolished in Brazil, Brazilians with an economy dominated by sugar, depended on slave labour. Brazilians knew, however, they would not be left alone if they didn't do something. So was born the image of seeming to do something while not doing very much at all."

Brazil, by a great many accounts, did not successfully abolish slavery, regardless of what the official rhetoric states. But read further. Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ Malangthon July 11, 2005

"Brazil legally abolished slavery in 1888, although the practice somewhat continues there to this day." -- Evidence, please.

Since when did evidence have to be presented for every fact in wikipedia. But since you asked, here you go - Brazil slavery law of 1888:

That only documents the law; I don't think anyone doubts that. If you had merely said "Brazil outlawed slavery in 1888", no one would have asked for evidence because that's a totally plausible, unremarkable fact. More interesting is your claim that it still exists in some degree. That claim is pretty extraordinary, and requires some evidence. Something like an Amnesty International report would be good. --LDC
"That claim is pretty extraordinary" - I find nothing extraordinary regarding that claim. Is there some standard of "extraordinaryness" that should be used to judge which statements of fact require evidence and which statements of fact do not? It seems that the onus of proof should be on the individual who disputes a fact, not the individual who presents it, unless you want wikipedia to devolve into a state where every sentence needs evidence. Nonetheless, here is one (of many) references to modern slavery in Brazil:

Hey, there's nothing wrong with asking for evidence, especially in an encyclopedia. Thank you for providing some. This is interesting.

Saying that a nasty practice ended somewher 120 years ago is relatively non-controversial. Saying that it still goes on in a particular place is bound to raise some questions. If there is slavery in Brazil or Sudan, our readers would probably like to know who says so. --Ed Poor
I think the case of Sudan and elsewhere in North Africa is pretty well-known and uncontroversial. It was only Brazil that surprized me, because one generally thinks of that as a first-world nation.
Calling it a "nasty practice" is making a value judgement. The existence of slavery is an objective fact, the legal status of slavery is an objective fact, but whether slavery is proper or improper is a subjective opinion. Wikipedia should strive to be free of opinion.
Calling slavery a bad thing is pretty uncontroversial, but I agree that it would be better to at least imply an attribution of the opinion; for example, calling it "near-universally condemned practice..." or something.
surely there's something about slavery in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Stating that would effectively be an NPOV way of saying it is a "nasty practice" -- Tarquin 18:16 Sep 25, 2002 (UTC)
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not an arbiter of neutrality, it is a document that was created with political influence. You could state the fact that the UDHR makes statements opposed to slavery, but you could just as well state the fact that historical documents from 3,000 BCE to ~1800 CE made statements in favor of slavery. I suppose the meta question here is this: "Is making a neutral reference to a biased source inherently a neutral act?"

I have added a page on Wikipedia about an African Slave [SEE: George John Scipio Africanus], If you would like to can you add a link to my page? [23/8/2004].

This reference [1] speaks of a kind of debt-bondage akin to slavery, reminiscent of the situation in Robert Heinlein's short novel Logic of Empire. --Ed Poor

Stating that there is debt bondage in Brazil is not vandalism but is something that is an objective fact. See for yourself; [2]. --mav

To (I think):

Okay, I thought I was writing good material that addressed the issues you raised, and personally, I find this kind of talk-page discussion unproductive (you see the mish-mosh of post/counterpost that's appearing here now), but here goes:

"Slavery was legally ended ... although the practice has continued illegally to this day." - You produced evidence that slavery existed in the early 1990s, and I thanked you for doing so. Do you have any evidence that slavery exists now, that the government initiatives have not been effective?

"although it is not clear that these steps will be sufficient" - This is superfluous, isn't it? When is it "clear" that any government activities will be sufficient? We always have to wait and see, no?

Respectfully awaiting your reply.

We have freedom of speech on the talk pages, although we generally try to focus on the matter of improving the article. I can call slavery "nasty" here; in an article I would not: we were discussing when and why to provide references. Something that is common knowledge such as the earth goes around the sun every 365 1/4 days needs no reference. That a particular government permits slavery within its territory probably does need one (many black US politicians deny that Sudan has slavery, so you see that there is some controversy). Anyway, thank you for contributing, and keep up the good work! --Ed Poor
Ed Poor wrote Do you have any evidence that slavery exists now?
Are you now attempting to impose some standard for the temporality of evidence? Nobody can prove that slavery exists *now*, for it is possible that slavery spontaneously ended five minutes ago. You may follow this link for evidence that slavery existed in Brazil as of May of 2002:
Also of note in the above source is this tidbit "three landowners from the south of Pará state, including one who has been denounced for using slave labour, signed an agreement (Termo de compromisso) with the Labour Prosecution Service and the Regional Labour Delegation of Pará. The agreement means that the federal police no longer have the authority to investigate cases of slave labour in this region. "

Hey, lighten up. I'm not trying to impose anything. I'm not talking about a proof that defeats solipsism or even holds up in a court of law. I've just spent the better part of the last 2 hours digging up reports about debt bondage and starting an article on it.

Apparently debt bondage is a form of slavery even if it's not the same as chattel slavery where human beings are bought and sold as "property" and kept in chains or hamstrung for trying to escape.

I can quit my job any time I want, and simply walk out of my office building, and no one will try to stop me. In Brazil, can laborers in "debt bondage" simply walk away from the land they're working on? Will police (or others) force them back, using weapons?

I'm not doubting. I'm on your side, man!! Please don't confuse requests for solid scholarship with debate tactics: I H A T E slavery, okay? --Ed Poor

You are free to "HATE" slavery. I am neutral on the topic, caring not whether it is legal or illegal, nor whether it exists or has been extinguished. I came to this entry with the section regarding Brazil being blank, and fleshed it out with the two germane, neutral, and factual points that slavery was legally abolished in 1888 yet persists to this day. Debating the nature of slavery in Brazil perhaps belongs in the entry on Brazil instead of within slavery.
It's amazing to read what you're all saying. That there is no slavery, or questioning if there is. We are all slaves today, every person, because the wage system is slavery: work or starve. Notice the definition/s of slavery: Something &/or someone controls our lives in every way & that's slavery. Now ask yourself why did we assume that we "ended slavery" & that "slaves didn't get paid" & that "employees are not slaves"? And all work is slavery; all debt is slavery; owning your own business is slavery (too much hard work); farming is hard slavery; paying bills is slavery; moving house to house is hard work so it's slavery; forced to need a car is slavery, & all work. All I've done is discovered the many "forms" of slavery, & now we have to teach people worldwide so they can end their own slavery & that of all people. Let's think what freedom would be like: all people could work 10 hrs a week. We need to eliminate most work because it's harmful to people & the earth: cars, houses, carpets, fireplaces, keys (get lost/stolen), loans, credit cards, every sickness is slavery, Retirements are slavery: Work 50-100 hrs a week for too long (40 yrs+)& then retire with nothing to do is slavery. Being unable to afford their own washer/dryer (like renters) is slavery. Renting is slavery of renters & landlords. Prisons are slave plantations. Corporations are slave plantations. Governments are slave plantations. Religions have fewer paid slaves but they're slave plantations too. Having insurance (of all kinds) is slavery, but so is not being able to afford it. Freedom would mean every person on earth has a Guaranteed Income RFID & work 10 hrs a week. Freedom would mean all nations eliminate the work by working part-time building massive 100-story live/work/play Tower cities connected to maglev Trains. Freedom would mean all things we need would be made to last forever to stop wasteful products going to dumps (millions of refrigerators, stoves, mattresses, furniture, microwaves, etc which get discarded because it's cheaper to buy a new one than to repair one that's broken because the WAGE system means slaves demand to be paid (enough to live on, for some). If all people had a GI RFID then no one would be forced to charge a huge amount to fix a microwave or something that breaks. Then food & medicine would be free. All things would be free (even building T&T) if all people owned all things, because no one would be forced to BUY food from himself since he & all people own all food & it's production. Farms could be automated if we end the wage. You need to read "The End of Work" to see how we could & should eliminate all the work. I've known all this since 1992, but it's all new info to you, & I can just pray that all of you will understand the true meaning of slavery, & that USA built everything wrong (USA is now a Ghetto 100%) & should have ended the wage & built Towers & Trains. Not cars or houses which are unsafe. Living in houses is just like the early settlers who found free land & started farms, & then wondered "oh why do the indians & bandits come & shoot & kill our families??" It's because they, & we, are still stealing land from someone, & now we need to see that all people should own all things to be free, & all nations need to build Towers & Trains to eliminate the work to end all forms of slavery. Sundiiiaaa 05:00, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Evidence for Slavery in Brazil

World Vision has a website that includes this topic

BBC has quite a bit (as you can see it is an old issue so asking for evidence now seems a bit trite): Monday, 19 July, 2004, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK Brazil 'slavery' damned by report By Steve Kingstone BBC correspondent in Sao Paulo

At least 25,000 people are working as slave labourers in Brazil, according to a new report obtained by the BBC. Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 11:47 GMT Brazil slave inspectors shot dead Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 10:54 GMT Brazil unveils anti-slavery plan -Slavery still exists in remote areas-

Brazil's newly installed President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has unveiled a plan to wipe out slavery, a practice which still persists in some remote areas of South America's largest country. Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 02:15 GMT 03:15 UK Hundreds of slaves freed in Brazil By Jan Rocha BBC, Sao Paulo

In Brazil, government inspectors from the Ministry of Labour have freed 849 workers being held in conditions of slavery on a coffee farm near Barreiras in the state of Bahia. So far this year inspectors have freed more than 2,000 workers from forced labour, mostly in the Amazon region.

Impact outside of Brazil Products of Brazil's slavery find way to U.S. markets Knight Ridder Newspapers September 5, 2004 By Kevin G. Hall

BETHESDA, Md. - Products tainted by Brazilian slavery are finding their way into U.S. stores and homes more often despite the efforts of concerned trade groups, activists and consumers.

[Note: Pulling all of this out of my own archives and rereading it . . . I feel sick.]

However there are still some who deny there is slavery United States and Brazil: Palmares and Slave Resistance Slavery was gradually curtailed in Brazil in the late nineteenth century and was completely abolished in 1888.

And to finish, I have spent some time with Brazilian consulate and embassy officials here in NZ. They are unwilling to provide much in the way of detail nor will they agree with sources like BBC, saying that there are different situations that have different interpretations etc. Clarity and candor ain't in it.

Thom Simmons, Kapiti Coast, NZ--Malangthon July 11, 2005

Slavery in England

I have read that slavery was abolished in England in 1772, but I don't remember where I read that. I am surprised at how little information on this is available on the web. Can anyone confirm that date? I also read that in a lawsuit in Scotland shortly after that, a court decided that that statute was applicable in Scotland as well as England, and the consequence was that the plaintiff, David Knight, was freed. Michael Hardy 00:51 Feb 11, 2003 (UTC)

Here is an article from the BBC on the topic of slavery in Britian, 1772 isn't one of the dates it gives (though other sites seem to do this):

I'm really not certian myself.

This is a website about the routes of slavery very interesting

The August 23, 1833 date looks suspicious. Web sites which quote Aug 23 usually do not expand on details and look like they quote from Wikipedia. I'm afraid an inaccurate Wikipedia publication of this date ( may have been propogated to elsewhere on the Web.

Searching on the Web, I come up with the Aug 28 date of the Act for the Abolition of Slavery (,, royal consent on Aug 29 (becomes law, and Aug 1 following year (1834) for taking effect.

I'm no trained historian. Can someone clarify this, and if necessary, change the entry?

Slavery in USA

In 1806 the United States passed legislation that banned the importation of slaves ... The importation of slaves into the United States was banned on January 1, 1808.

So which is it? Was it banned in 1806 or in 1808? Somebody needs to make up their mind.... --Michael 21:15 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

The bill was introduced in 1805, debated through 1806 and signed into law March 2, 1807. It could not go into effect because of restrictions in the Constitution until Jan 1 1808. Rmhermen 21:42 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I am now watching a show, "Globe Trekker," which says that "the slave trade was abolished in 1865." I think this is a gross error, confusing the end of the U.S. Civil War with the end of the importation of slaves into the U.S. which (IIRC was in 1808, but I do not guarantee this. I think that this needs to be pinned down, not only for the date for importation of slaves into the U.S., but also because the slave trade was abolished in British law also about the same date (may be later or earlier, I don't know). There is nothing in this article that really addresses the issue of when the slave trade ended, versus when slavery was officially abolished in various jurisdictions.

So my suggestions are: There needs to be a section that addresses the abolition of the slave trade, (legally, of course, since it still continues in fact in the world), and (in reference to the Globe Trotter episode I am watching), what this really means. Bill Jefferys 03:49, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Blacks living in America

I read somewhere that slaves in the US South lived better than (free black?) industrial workers in the North. Can somebody deal with it? -- Error

And I've heard that blacks are better off in the US after being forcibly enslaved from their homeland. But so help me, if someone is willing to put that in there a few hundred people here will line up to kick their butts.

Sorry Error, that's my sarcastic way of saying: No. Not only is that unqualifiable by reliable sources it is often a point of emotional contention between revisionists and historians. --Duemellon 14:55, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Wait a minute - are you seriously suggesting that the descendants of 19th Century US slaves are, in general, not materially better off than their cousins, the descendants of 19th C Africans now living in Africa?

Exile 14:59, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I believe this may come from the fact that Southern slaves had a longer life expectancy than Irish peasants (18 years, I believe at the worst point in their history).

Exile 14:59, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

The theory is, I believe, that slave owners, once the African trade was abolished, had to look after their "property" and, to put it crudely, ensure a continuous supply of future slaves. Also, during the Industrial revolution, rural dwellers tended to live longer than those in the crowded and polluted cities.

Nevertheless, despite what I said above, it's a poor defence of the institution of slavery, and particularly the notion that members of certain races or ethnic groups are suited to slavery.

Slave Economy

Something should be said on how the economic structure makes slavery acceptable or not. -- Error 06:44, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I tried, was edited out. Not acceptable, but better than starving.

I'm astonished that no one bothered to challenge 142.177's large additions of POV junk. I don't think he/she/it used any actual authorities. Even the Oxford Classical Dictionary has multiple pages on this subject, and it's clear that what was added here is totally amateur where it's not outright wrong. I don't have the time or references to fix this up right now though. Stan 17:45, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I've set the year of slavery abolition in Mauritania to 1981 as this is the year that an actual law abolishing slavery was introduced. This is also the year used by Amnesty. In 1980 the government stated that slavery was unwanted (or something).

Problem with definition

This article defines "slavery" more broadly than some (yes,including me) are comfortable.De facto slavery is said outright to be slavery,but I think it is better distinguished from the legal status of being a slave.I dare say that to most people "slavery" means only the latter.--L.E./

Please elaborate. I understand that you think the definition is broad and I agree that it might be broader than some (including me) think of it. But please come with some kind of specific alternative. Here it is defined as involuntary servitude, what would your definition be? This is the definition from the 1926 slavery convention: status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers of the right of ownership are exercised. Maybe we could find some more definitons from the UN and Amnesty f. ex.? -- Dittaeva 11:49, 18 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I think that modern de facto slavery is best described specifically as "involuntary servitude" (the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits both,not using one as a catchall for the other,though the latter is legal as a form of sentence for a crime).Not sure whether it should be a heading in this article or a separate article.But those who are treated as slaves without legally being slaves are in a different condition legally if not practically.--L.E./
The "involuntary servitude" definition doesn't make sense to me, as it includes convicts in work camps. Then again, this article should probably at least link to disambiguation vis-a-vis different forms of slavery (sweatshops, citizens of oppressive regimes, prisoners, serfs, chattel slaves, victims of Israeli sex-slave rings, etc.). Really, a slave is not a slave if he cannot be sold or bought, which removes most of those categories from consideration.
"Involuntary servitude" includes most people today who hate their jobs at 30,000 McDonalds & all fast food restaurants, Wal-Marts for too small wages, etc. They're unhappy that they couldn't become doctors because it was too expensive, or other reasons out of their control. They'd rather be home caring for their children but they can't because they're "forced" to work, & they can't afford child care, rent, car & gas, health care, or the healthiest food etc. In the wage system we're forced to sell ourselves for whatever job they can find, no matter how horrible or deadly it is, & that's slavery too. It's amazing how most people can describe the worst forms of slavery (even child slavery) & they still only call it "virtual slavery." Admit that it's slavery when people have to work or starve, & work at any job, & they are unhappy. Why would anyone want people to have such unhappy lives? It causes crime. Sundiiiaaa 06:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Israeli sex-slave rings ?!?!? What on Earth are you talking about? Wait......Ahhhhh, you're an anti-semite!!! Tell me, do you believe that certain races are inferior to others? Do you consider yourself to be a member of a superior race? Maybe even a member of the Aryan race? Can you please explain yourself? -- Dullfig 17:35, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Predates every institution of ownership

I removed this sentence from the first paragraph:

It predates every institution of ownership and authority, and its definition has changed over time to reflect those institutions in every society.

How is it that slavery predates the institution of property? This does not seem provable one way or the other, and to me seems unlikely at best. Tempshill 18:56, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)

What you removed is incorrect and Slavery DOES predate most if not all institutions of ownership. The first recorded enslavement of any man and or woman began in Sumer almost seven thousand years ago. Slavery was also most common in ancient Babylon, Persia, Egypt, and Akkad yet I see no references made to any of these nations in the article. Slavery was first founded in Africa--THEN transfered onto other nations as can be found in ANY World History textbook. --DaBiggman 20:54, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Nomadic tribes had slaves. Nomads did not have property per se--DaBiggman 00:12, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Unfree labour

I added this term (removed by someone else) because it is a collective/generic term for chattel slavery, indenture, debt bondage, peonage, etc. As a practising labour historian, I can assure you that there is now a large body of academic/scholarly literature devoted to it; a simple Google search for "unfree labor OR unfree labour" will produce nearly 3,000 hits.[3]

I think the etymology is clear if you think about it; it is "un-free" in the sense of being the opposite of "free people", not in the sense of free goods or services. I will write a page on unfree labour shortly. I also think it needs to be mentioned on the slavery page.Grant65 (Talk) 03:32, Mar 20, 2004 (UTC)

Fine, no probs. The someone else is me. I removed it because the intro to the article was suddenly bisected by the words "a form of unfree labour" containing a dead link which did not expain what unfree is. Your point/s are obviously taken and accepted. But could I suggest the current three-sentence intro paragraph remain, followed by a second paragraph containing a mention and basic explanation of "unfree"? Cheers Grant 65/ Moriori 07:36, Mar 20, 2004 (UTC)

Spliting the page up

I wanted to add some stuff but I'm thinking the majority of this page needs to be put in separate articles. In particular I think there needs to be full article on the slavery of blacks in the U.S. pointing out the difference between it and the other kinds of slavery discussed in this article. Gbleem 19:07, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I sincerely agree. The history of slavery in the US is quite extensive & the differences between what the Civil war was about is disputable. I think the lengthy article of US slavery needs to be included in the US Slavery page, making this a more concise summary with the invitation to visit the US slavery page. This should also be done because of the direct relation between "Slavery in Colonial America" & "Slavery in North America". They are directly related topics. Also, note how little attention the comments about slavery in Mexico & Canada received. The extensive piece needs to be moved. --Duemellon 15:23, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Nazi Germany

What about slavery of Jews and Slavs by Nazi Germany? Weren't the workers of Oskar Schindler slaves?

Slavery in Australia

There's nothing on the page so far about slavery in Australia. In what could be a controversial subject, I thought that rather than add a section to the page, I would raise the issue here first. Mainly, the issue here is whether people would consider what happened to the New Caledonian Kanakas in the Queensland cane fields as slavery or not.

From the site "Between 1863 and 1904, more than 60,000 Kanakas (as they were called) were brought to Queensland to work on sugar plantations, some illegally through a process known as "blackbirding". This involved Europeans luring islanders onto ships by pretending they wanted to trade with them. Instead, they would kidnap the Kanakas and ship them to Australia where they were forced to work on the sugar cane plantations and live under very poor conditions."

Considering that Queensland Sugar is the descendant company of the 19th century plantation owners & therefore possibly adding some sugar to its past (so to speak), kidnapping people & forcing them to work in cane fields for what appears to be little or no money, sounds like slavery to me.

Additionally, the treatment of indigenous Australians, whereby many were restricted to settlements and made to work for usually no more than food and shelter, could also be seen as slavery. Thoughts, anyone? --Roisterer 02:18, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It depends what you mean by "slavery", a term which these days is usually only applied to chattel slavery. Unfree labour is the generic term for slave-like conditions. As it happens, I'm working at the moment on a thesis relating to Aboriginal labour in the 19th Century. It seems there were some instances of chattel slavery involving both indigenous Australians and Kanakas.
However, the typical systems of unfree labour in each case was different and neither involved the legal ownership of individuals for life, which defines chattel slavery. In the case of Aborigines in the sheep and cattle industries, up to the 1960s in many cases, they were often effectively confined to stations (i.e. "ranches") on or nearby their traditional/ancestral land. As you say they were "paid" with food, shelter and clothing. There was freedom of movement, especially in quiet seasons, and small cash wages were introduced, in more and more cases, over the years. This, it seems to me, had more in common with serfdom than with chattel slavery, although it was different to both. The system, in most cases, ended between 1947, the beginning of a major strike in the Pilbara region, and 1968, when the award (minimum) wage was introduced. In almost all cases, station owners chose to employ a few staff, using technology like 4x4 vehicles to do the bare minimum of work necessary to make a profit.
In the case of the Kanakas in Queensland, as far as I'm aware, they were generally part of indentured labour systems rather than chattel slavery, although there were instances of the latter. For an excellent, interesting and often-cited article on this, see: Adrian Graves, 1983, "Truck and Gifts: Melanesian Immigrants and the Trade Box System in Colonial Queensland", in: Past & Present (no.101, 1983). Cheers,Grant65 (Talk) 02:15, Jul 9, 2004 (UTC)

Why I reverted

I deleted the following because of its POV-ness: RickK 05:21, Jul 26, 2004 (UTC)

Some of it may be added in a more NPOV way, at least if some reference is given, but I'm not shure the heading is appropriate since there are other "modern instances of slavery" mentioned elsewhere in the text, such as in Brazil and Africa. --Dittaeva 07:45, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Modern Instances of Slavery

Modern Slavery does not officially exist in traditional sense. However it continues indirectly by legal justification through rigid and even longer prison sentences, wherein prisoners are used as cheap labour across the world. The abolishing of the term slavery and its denouncement in official declaration has created an idea that slavery is an idea of the past. However despite linguistic masking the use of man power as free or cheap labour is the principle aspect of slavery under servitude.

In the United States there are around 2 million people serving sentence in prisons. This is a large man power for cheap work for industries. Prison industrial complex is a thriving business in the U.S. In fact the largest prison operator in the U.S. is called the Correction Corporations of America. Many large corporations use cheap labour form these prisons and thus boost the economy. It is therefore not coincidental that with the rise of corporate economy, people all over the world have inclined towards more rigid and very long prison sentences for those who previously would have returned much earlier to the society as free citizens. In India the official minimum daily wage for a free citizen is around Rs 50 a day. This was constituted for a working day of 8 man hours. In prisons however the inmates have to work from morning 6 a.m. to evening 7 p.m. and the daily wage for 13 hours of labour is Rs 5 per day. (which is one tenth of a U.S. dollar).

In practice, there is not much difference between the ancient Romans using slaves and convicted prisoners as galley slaves in ancient warships called as Trireme, and modern nations using prison labour as cheap industrial resource. Therefore, it could be argued that in modern times since the end of British colonialism, slavery has become a legalized activity, legitimized by the governments and public through prison system.

But Roman galleys were rowed by free paid labor. Ben Hur got it wrong.Septentrionalis 18:35, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Nonsense. For one thing, in the UK at least prisoners are not obliged to work. Secondly, the cost of keeping a prisoner far exceeds the value of the work they do.

Exile 22:50, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

modern instances of slavery

Deleting a section of writing or passage, and calling it a rant on the basis of the opinion of a single person is definitely POV. The wikipedia policy is to delete written material only after much discussion, not having a discussion after a writing has been deleted.

The wikipedia article on NPOV states: "The neutral point of view policy states that one should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly.

The neutral point of view policy is easily misunderstood. The policy doesn't assume that it's possible to write an article from just a single unbiased, "objective" point of view. The policy says that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct."

Anyway that does not mean I intend to revert the article to what had been written under Modern instances of slavery, because I do not believe in edit wars. But non consensual editing is categorically most damaging, and against the very spirit of the wikipedia. --Robin klein 10:29, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

What are you going to do then? There's content there I'd like included. I recommend you either change the heading, integrate it somewhere else in the text, or try to put all modern instances of slavery under the header. When you write "However it continues indirectly by legal justification through rigid and

even longer prison sentences, wherein prisoners are used as cheap labour across the world. The abolishing of the term slavery and its denouncement in official declaration has created an idea that slavery is an idea of the past. However despite linguistic masking the use of man power as free or cheap labour is the principle aspect of slavery under servitude" you most certainly "state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct."

Some parts of the passages in this section may be POV, however there are sections that holds water. At least that is what even you seem to agree on. If you do not mind, please incorporate the valid points into the article leaving out the opinionated bits of the passages. Or else maybe one could include the passages under the heading 'modern prison systems and slavery', and leave out the opinionated passages from it. After all collaborative writing is what the wikipedia is all about. --Robin klein 18:17, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I know, will try to find some time, but there is so much in this article that needs working...I am afraid of starting. --Dittaeva 19:39, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

My feeling is that the section on US prisons etc is not really POV, but -- like a lot of other stuff on the present slavery page -- it would be better placed on the unfree labour page. I believe one of the reasons why unfree labour has emerged as a term among labour historians in recent years was that no two people agreed exactly on what "slavery" was. These days historians usually only use the word "slavery" in relation to chattel slavery, which clearly does still exist, rather than bonded/indentured labour, convict labour, etc.Grant65 (Talk) 10:05, Jul 27, 2004 (UTC)

There should be a numerical dominance of content referring to the present. Sarcelles 22:50, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Why? Grant65 (Talk) 00:22, May 5, 2005 (UTC)
It is normal for a topic, which applies for about 27 million people today to have an article that is covering the present state mainly. Sarcelles 05:17, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Free the Slaves claim there are that many. A lot of things that get called "slavery" by popular culture, the media, advocacy groups (etc), do not meet generally accepted definitions. That is to say, they are really forms of indenture, debt bondage, etc. Even if "27 million" were correct, it is relatively few compared to the total number of slaves in history. But feel free to add more material about the present. Other Wikipedians may feel that it belongs on other pages. Grant65 (Talk) 08:17, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

I think the History of slavery should become its own article.

Sarcelles 04:57, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Prisons and forced Slave labour

Hi Pir,

You left a message on my user talk. Thanks for your words. The passage dealing with prison and slavery for the article on slavery was written based on a very strong movement across countries which most people call as prison slavery.

The movement is strong in Britain and other parts of the world. So one cannot state that it is nonsense to say that prisons use slave labour, regardless of whether it is called as that. Besides the argument that the cost of prisons is higher than the work they do, implies that the public at large approves it.

Here are a few links, some of which are more neutral than others. However you can go through all of them, to get a complete view of the validity of the term and its current social context. (prison slavery in the United States) (maoists international movement against prison slavery) (campaign against prison slavery in Britain) (essay on prison slavery by Julie Brown) (prison slave labour factories) (slave labour on increase in China) (slave labour in china's forced labour camps) ( forced slave labour in Britain)

Deleting a text because it could be controversial is but the greatest threat to the very idea of a wikipedia. There are several other high quality encyclopedias in the world that are well researched and well written. However these hard copies being official versions leave out a lot of controversial topics and also have to take a lot of permissions from several sovereign states for official approval. The wikipedia is meant to be a repository of knowledge which otherwise would never have been expressed or known, without of course being compromised on authenticity. Else the wikipedia would turn out to be just another official version, and that would be a classic example of the waste of time of literally millions of people around the world.

Deleting a passage because it is not conforming to the official view is the worst form of POV and vandalism. In that several wikipedians engage in, without being realized and ironically even commended for it instead of being condemned for it. The issue here is pervasive and far reaching, and therefore such deleting should be stopped.

Since you stated that in your opinion my passage was a worthy contribution to the article. I would please implore you to add whatever you feel is relevant and of NPOV. You can go through whatever had been written and the links that have been posted here, and maybe write an even better passage on the relevant topic and with a more NPOV content.

Are the arguments that we do not want POV statements concerning the definition of slavery so that modern (e.g. CCA) practices fall under this definition? Or is it desired the (non-neutral) POV be balanced by an a;termative NNPOV that shows how CCA helps the prisons, prisoners, society, and the economy (in addition to aiding the democratic political process through massive contributions to candidates) - I'm sure CCA could provide material supporting that viewpoint. Alternatively, that portion of the article could be salted with lots of weasle words.Leonard G. 21:11, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Middle Passage

Added a reference to the Middle Passage in the Slavery in Africa. --Duemellon 14:08, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Goverment Slavery

Err... whatever heading would befit this. It'd be a new heading that would contain the establishment of slavery for individuals as determined by the needs or desires of the government from local to national needs. This would include conscription/drafts, socialism, communism, sefdom, prison labor, civil service, and things along those lines. With the initial definition of slavery so broad (which I think is appropriate, actually) that would include these situations. However, I find the distinction between private &/r business-owned slaves versus Government Slaves important. If the concept of socialism &/r communism being viewed as slaves sounds POV, then include that it is a POV.

Anyway, that's what I think is a good option to discuss current situations of force servitude. --Duemellon 15:30, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

See the unfree labour article. IMO referring to all socialist/communist governments as slave-drivers definitely is way too POV.Grant65 (Talk) 00:55, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

Slavery in North America

The fiercest combatants were abolitionists and the slaves themselves against an array of planters in the South and pro-slavery shipping interests in the East,

The abolitionists weren't all fighters. Most were pacifists. The war was between the Union & Secessionists, not abolitionists & slaveholders. That 2nd set of titles was secondary & not always true. Perhaps I'm misreading this sentence, and if so, please add additional clarity. --Duemellon 12:19, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

List of Famous People in Slavery

I wanted to include a list of famous people who were enslaved at some point. I really like those being included in articles as it gives an opportunity to understand what happened in their time

Frederick Douglas, African-American slave turned abolishinist
Spartacus, Roman slaves who led the Servile Revolt?
Harriet Tubman,
Nat Turner, escaped and led revolt

etc. etc... Such would be apprapo right? --Duemellon 13:37, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

-- Error 01:24, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

List began today. --Duemellon 20:10, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

All the material here should be incorporated (where accurate) into Wikipedia's List of famous slaves. There's no need to duplicate that information here in this already bloated article. I'll move it soon if there's no objection. Slavery is a huge issue and could not possibly be done justice in a single article. Myron 14:48, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


I just think it's amusing that the article both propounds and repudiates the theory of an etymological connection between "slave" and "Slav'. DS 17:54, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • I agree; I was about to comment on that myself. --Bletch 16:21, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Why did Caribbean Slaves...

On top of being abysmally written the section, Why Did Caribbean Slaves produce so few Children? Is more an essay than encyclopaedia material. I've cleaned up some of the more egregious spelling and grammar errors. Dhodges 13:57, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think it was more a question of "how did any of their children survive to produce more children?" There was a prodigious death rate in the Caribbean, which is probably why the slaves there rebelled more often and more successfully than those on the mainland Americas. Grant65 (Talk) 02:37, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)

Positive Aspects?

Why aren't there any positive aspects of slavery discussed?

Such as? Profits for their owners? Grant65 (Talk) 02:37, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)
They may not be as prominent today, but slavery has had its apologists. There is the white man's burdern argument that about lifting the backwards tribemen into civilization, and how they are better off in civilization then as savages. You can also argue American slavery successfully converted people to Christianity, if you assume that is a good thing. You can also argue that they would've died without help, and the humble slave owner took them in, and gave them a place in life. Slaves are able to part of something bigger than themselves.
Also, I think you can argue that, slaves are only replaced by mindless machines. If you agree with Ted Kazynski, I suppose you could argue slavery would be a better alternative. (from
POWs were not converted to another 'useable form', food for example, but sold instead to slave traders, so some lucky laiter regained freedom.

Riiiiiight. Mr. Billion 18:10, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

To move away from the politically correct view— Slavery is what allowed classical and Helenistic Greek society to function, basically by allowing slave owners to focus on civil matters instead of domestic ones. The unfortunate fact is that slavery in America so taints the discussion of slavery that it will never again be handled dispassionately.

Marx, not that I agree with him, would say that the slavery system had more sentiment in its master-slave relations than the capitalist system. Some US historians, I think one big industrialist too, I'm thinking Vanderbuilt but I may be wrong, said that America's later economic growth depended on earlier slavery-dependent economic growth. Slavery was an economic asset to many cultures, including Rome, but it should be noted that cheap slave labor undercut hired labor, and the growth of large slave-worked estates helped the demise of the small farm in the Roman Republic and Empire, and some say that was critical to the fall of the Republic. To summarize slavery meant cheap labor meaning cheap food and resources that fueled the growth of many societies. However large or small that growth might be, it's not a justification for slavery, but it is true. And while slavery in the Americas (was Zanzibar's plantation slavery system as bad?) was where the worst abuses of slavery occured, slavery often had horrific dimensions elsewhere. This was particularly true when slavery was used industrially instead of personally. A slave in the mines was treated awfully and often lacked the opportunity to earn side-cash. Slavery helped ancient cultures economic growth and that helped their cultural growth, but it wasn't pretty and it still deserves to be condemned.Jztinfinity 23:15, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the idea of positive aspects of slavery--or probably "pros" versus "cons," as I don't know if even the pros could be considered positive--is completely unreasonable. For instance, there was an argument made--and I don't have a citation for this so I'll apologize now--that slavery actually began as a relatively humanitarian gesture; before, any members of a defeated enemy group would have to be killed, as there were no institutions established that could offer another alternative. (This is touched upon above, I realize.) From there, then, an examination of what it became, specifically slavery as the goal rather than the byproduct of conflict, could be offered as a con. This is of course a very sensitive topic (what an understatement), so of course any suggestion of a pro-slavery argument is, well, rather difficult to approach, but I feel that the inclusion of pros could enhance the article considerably, and through contrast might make the negative aspects seem all the more negative.-- 22:45, 16 November 2006 (UTC)


I'm a bit confused by the latest edit - why is it only mention of bad working conditions in the USA that need to be cited? Don't the other countries needed need citations if one does? sheridan 15:39, 2005 Jan 7 (UTC)

One would also be needed for Canada, and there is a link there. Also, it isn't just bad working conditions, there must also be a lack of rights and effective recourse to enforce them. I can't question the other countries, because I am unfamiliar with them, although I've heard they have these problems, I don't recall the details. I assume good faith on those that added them. I question the USA addition because I don't know what was meant by it. They may not have had something specific in mind. Since I am familiar with the USA and Canada, I question these without documentation. Documentation also lessens generizations with specifics, a form of qualifying. Also, I was monitoring the page when the USA was added, and not when the others were. Since they have been on the page for awhile, they may already have gone through a vetting process, that I have not familiarized myself with, since I haven't reviewed the archives.--Silverback 15:54, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Who was the first writer to call for the abolition of slavery? There's been a recent edit that some Christian writers in Late Antiquity e.g. John Chrysostom called for the aboliton of slavery. However the page for Saint Patrick claims that he was the first. This is actually a fairly important historical issue, it should be resolved. PatGallacher 02:02, 2005 Feb 2 (UTC)

I find both of these doubtful; but I have not read all of Chrysostom - few have. There is a strong tendency for modern Christian biographers to read any saint who pleads for decent conduct within a system as intending its abolition. Septentrionalis 02:38, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Given that Patrick was an escaped slave, I wonder why his opposition to the practice is doubted. As to whether he was the first - I just don't know. --ClemMcGann 09:36, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Because his writings (in Wikisource) show that he was opposed to the slave trade, especially the enslavement of free Christians - but this is not abolition of slavery. Septentrionalis 02:30, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Celtic Christians did not own slaves. Within a generation, slavery, in Ireland, ceased. If they didn't get that idea from Patrick, where did it come from? --ClemMcGann 08:41, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Slavery in Rome and Greece

A big chunk of this appears to be from the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

§ 48. Christianity and Slavery.. Public domain, apparently. --Dhodges 06:10, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Those who cite a text should read it first. The Old Oligarch expressly says that the slaves at Athens did not have to fear someone other than their master. The claim that the andrapoda who deserted to Decelea were mineslaves exclusively is contrary to Thucydides 7.27.5, which says most of them were cheirotechnai, handicraftsmen. Septentrionalis 02:32, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

The extensively original research just reverted does pique my interest. Are the anonymous editors reading akolasia, "intemperance", as a claim of right?16:42, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

For more discussion on the Slavery in Greece section, please see Talk:Douloi. A sock puppetteer there has been pushing the POV that the people called in Ancient Greek δούλοι (douloi) were not really slaves, although they were not free to resign, could be bought and sold, and their children inherited the condition. Modern scholarship is unanimous in calling them slaves. All the other editors agree that this is an untenable and tendentious position, and believe that douloi should redirect to slavery, as it currently does, despite his insistent reversions. Now the sock puppeteer has begun injecting his position into the slavery article. I ask that editors here be vigilant. --Macrakis 22:48, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Serfdom in Russia

AFAIK it was widely possible in Russian to trade 'serfs' with no relation to land. Hystorcally it was serfdom but gradually (beginning in the last quarter of XVII) the 'serfdom' evolutioned to something pretty close to slavery. How that correction could be accomodated to the structure of the article? --GS 14:37, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Second edition of serfdom

AFAIK (I am not an historian) the reintroduction of serfdom in Eastern Europe was caused by some economical reasons, the same reasons which caused existence of slavery in both Americas. I am not quite sure that was the reasons, something like presence of world wide (?) market for some agricultural products. At least I'd like to see better explanation of slavery as economical phenomenon. --GS 16:45, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Gigantic section headings

Why are the section headings in this article bigger than what it conventional in Wikipedia? Michael Hardy 21:41, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Possibly because it is a long article, there are a lot of subsections, and it can get quite difficult to distinguish between them.Grant65 (Talk) 23:58, May 11, 2005 (UTC)

New discussions

free speech right? and other Greek questions

"slaves in Athenian Democracy had the free speech right,"

The text of pseudo-Xenophon cannot be construed so as to support this statement. Is it original research or is it simply a misunderstanding of the force of English right? Septentrionalis 19:43, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

[slaves] even had the right of an advocate Fascinating; is this reading pronous as 'advocate'? Septentrionalis 16:11, 27 May 2005 (UTC)


The section on Japan is grossly inadequate at present; in fact it's almost a whitewash. It stops with the supposed "abolition" of slavery in Manchuko, which is bit like finishing a history of Nazi Germany with the building of the autobahns! Hundreds of thousands of people were used as slave labour by the Empire of Japan in 1937-45, if not earlier. I intend to mention this. Grant65 (Talk) 00:32, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

I have made this an own article. Now there is a link to it, not a developed section.

Sarcelles 09:06, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The status of African slaves compared to Caribbean slaves

This section is both POV, and misspelled with bad grammar. For example this section is POV:

Caribbean slavery granted the masters complete freedom over the control of their slaves. Caribbean slaves often worked on cane estates suffering hardship in harsh conditions and supervised under demanding masters. The sugar industry caused the need for the complete control the master needed over the slaves in order to meet demands and control the harvest. Caribbean sugar plantations resembled factories in a modern capitalist society..

So what it is saying is that conditions in factories in the western world is equal to that of slaves in the Caribbean?

--Konstantin 08:28, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

I suggest removal of this section to a separate article. Sarcelles 12:26, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I see no use of the entire section and consider if it maybe should be deleted. It seems to be more personal opinions and feelings of an individual than facts... --Konstantin 07:41, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There is some scholarly opinion that the Caribbean slave system was used as a model for factories, without necessarily saying the abuses were the same. The way the slaves worked, regimented, divided by task, and working with heavy machinery are the main points of this argument. Also, they would say that the mass production of a good, in this case sugar, for a lower class market was novel and laid the foundation for factories. I encountered it in David Ringrose's "Expansion and Global Interaction 1200-1700" Jztinfinity 23:20, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

The Definition

It seems to me that slavery is an institution or an idea whereby one person owns another. That the first thing said about slavery in this article is that it can be "enforced by violence or other forms of coercion" is like saying "marriage can mean one or more related conditions which involve two people in a committed relationship, often kept in such a condition for disfunctional reasons such as spousal abuse" at the top of the article on marriage. While that is true and marriages that stay together because of disfunctional reasons and it could be mentioned, it shouldn't be the first thing mentioned. The perspective on slavery from the perspectives of the authors of wikipedia (predominantly americans), are highly influenced by emotionally-charged instances of extreme abuse associated with the atlantic slave trade and souther plantations, whereas such abuse isn't inherent in the ownership of another person. Slave abuse must be mentioned but it should not be implied that abuse is definitive or necessary in slavery. Johnathlon 08:12, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

Since no one responded, let me try another approach. What slavery is there besides chattel slavery?

Also, even with the current rhetoric in place, I personally would think this might be a more concise first sentance: Slavery is a condition where a person is coerced to act against their will. Johnathlon 02:50, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

The prevalence of sexual slavery (usually, but not always commercial) is comparable with the incidence of slavery to compel labor. It is not usually chattel slavery. Perhaps the definition in the introductory paragraph should be changed from "Slavery almost always occurs for the purpose of securing the labor of the slave." to read "...the labor or sexual availability of the slave". But there must be a more elegant way to put this than "sexual availability". Myron 12:35:31, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

Since no one ever objected to either Johnathlon's or Myron's comments, I'm going to change the introduction to reflect them. Binabik80 14:13, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

There are many situations where a person may be forced to act against their will. Conscription (the draft), imprisonment, payment of taxes, payment of debts, obedience to laws we would rather ignore, the obligation to fulfil a contract, social obligations (the responsibility we have to look after our children or other relatives etc), the requirement to work if we have no independent income, and so on. Some of these are hyperbolically DESCRIBED as slavery ("wage slavery" etc) but are not.

Slavery does involve the idea that one person is the legal property of another, and that the contract implied by that relationship cannot be terminated by the slave without the consent of the owner.

Even a slave who is well treated is still a slave, whereas a badly paid worker working in terrible conditions is not.

Discussion point - is "Slave labour" in the context of prisoners of war, or those directed to work in certain jobs in wartime or by totalitarian regimes, or as punishment for crimes - are these slavery? In these cases the state could be said to act as slave owner. Or is the personal relationship of owner and slave the thing that defines slavery? Exile 15:26, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

The term "chattel slavery" addresses slavery involving "ownership" of a person in accordance with law or prevailing custom. This leaves room for a definition of non-chattel "slavery" that includes what might reasonably be regarded as otherwise equivalent for most purposes. For example, many women accept phony employment invitations from a different country, such as Jordan, only to have their passports immediately confiscated with themselves being placed involuntarily into a household where they are permanently locked in, not permitted to communicate with anyone outside, threatened, beaten, sometimes raped, forced to work long hard hours without pay under very poor working conditions, indefinitely without access to any source of justice or rescue. The women are not normally bought or sold and are locally considered domestic servants. Most people would call this slavery. It is not "involuntary servitude". Absent some other appropriate term for such women, the definition of slavery in this article should be expanded to include them. Myron 23:23, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Slavery in Islam

Michael White's website makes a point about the current entry being much worse than the previous one.[4] Is there a reason not to revert to the original text? Was something inaccurate? "The Muslim Arab World also traded in slavery, especially with the Byzantine Empire. These consisted of Turkic and Circassian males from northern Black Sea regions who were enlisted into the army. This soldier class was named Mamelukes and were mainly responsible for the expulsion of the Crusaders from Palestine. Officially, Islam dislikes the idea of slavery and had set rules for dealing with slaves, such as mandated liberation on conversion to Islam, an insistence that slaves be clothed and fed in the same manner as is their master, and that they not be forced into marriage, among other prohibitons. Slavery was abolished in Saudi Arabia in 1962, making it one of the last countries to ban this practice."

--Goodoldpolonius2 22:28, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
See whether the hadiths cited do not include such a point, and then be bold. Septentrionalis 23:10, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

legal abolishion is nice but slavery still goes on even in America, so we must be clear about the "legal" and the "reality"-- 22:07, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Fragmentation/reduction/spinning-off of article

I'm not happy about the way this has been done, as a lot of sections are essentially now just stubs (or worse). I note that also the explanation given for one of the new articles: "section of minor importance". By whose definition? Grant65 (Talk) 10:07, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

I moved Slavery in antiquity purely to reduce the article length, which was approaching 60K. I do not think much more than a paragraph per section will fit. Please write any non-controversial summary paragraph you wish. (I cannot speak for others, but it looks to me like their moves were mostly similar.) Septentrionalis 01:55, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
There had to be done something on the article's length. 20 pages are enough. The article was to heavily biased on history.

Sarcelles 08:18, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC) I still see this article as to long. The history section should have a clear focus on the U. S., as most of us are Americans. Sarcelles 20:46, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Is this a joke? Grant65 (Talk) 22:12, Jun 13, 2005 (UTC)
I consider it to be desirable to have a focus on the present situation, as slavery is the state about 27 million people of the present live in. Sarcelles 22:33, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree that there should be more about the present. But there is no reason why this article should concentrate on Slavery in the United States, especially as there are already several other articles that deal with it. (cf slavery in Colonial America, etc.) If you want to reduce this article, I suggest you move some of this material to those pages. Unless of course, it is already there. Grant65 (Talk) 12:22, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)


I'm going to remove the reference to marriage in the first paragraph. Marriage is not associated with slavery in any conventional way. If someone has an axe to grind by comparing the two I'm not going to complain about an entry in the body of the page, but trying to link the two in the first paragraph which should define what slavery is is not appropriate. PeteVerdon 22:43, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Slavery under Islam

There seems to be two different versions of this article, both equally biased. I have tried to combine the one anti-Islamic one with the pro-Islamic one. First of all, I think there needs to be sources for the 12 million slaves traded by Muslims, as that seems a ridiculous claim (but it may possibly be true). Furthermore, that picture does not seem relevant. It looks to me that it is just a caravan.Heraclius 7 July 2005 15:50 (UTC)

Looks to me like you've broken the Wikipedia:Three revert rule, which generally leads to being blocked from editing. I strongly recommend you avoid doing this in the future. Jayjg (talk) 7 July 2005 17:03 (UTC)
There is an article for slavery in abrahamic religions , where slavery in all abrahamic religions is dealt with . There is no point of introducing unverifiable information about islam in slavery page . If thats so important , add in slavery in sub-saharan africa & americas sections that how it was done by christians, & how many people were killed by tham .Farhansher 7 July 2005 18:04 (UTC)

The article on slavery in Abrahamic religions was originally in this article. It was then moved into a separate article, probably to minimize the likelihood of it being edited to reduce its anti-religion bias. Robert McClenon 8 July 2005 11:52 (UTC)

Slavery at the North

the use of slave labor was important in the developement of the infrastructure in the so-called "Free States." Whatever can this be thinking of? The North had abolished slavery (immediately or gradually) by 1808 because it had no economic importance there; the infrastructure was still dirt roads by then. Septentrionalis 8 July 2005 17:56 (UTC)

(All Northern states abolished slavery. Some declared that all slaves born after a certain date would be free, so slavery took some time to die out.) Septentrionalis

Overemphasis on the USA

We now have a situation where the section on the USA represents about 25% of the article. Considering that chattel slavery in North America lasted from 1619[5] until the end of the Civil War, we are spending a lot of space on 250 years of human history, when slavery is thousands of years old and is still going on. I feel that most of the North American content could be moved to Slavery in Colonial America and History of slavery in the United States, in the same way that other sectiosn have been hived off. Any objections? Grant65 (Talk) 13:15, August 9, 2005 (UTC)

Sounds good to me, but I'm an outside observer. - RoyBoy 800 15:05, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I'd object. There is no overemphasis on the U.S. Modern history generally gets, as well it should, more attention than ancient history. History isn't studied for its interesting trivia, but for a better understanding of the realities of the present. If anything, chattel slavery in general and U.S. slavery in particular are underemphasized in this article, especially given the role of bonded labor in the primitive accumulation of capital, which was essential in laying the groundwork for today's global economy. 172 | Talk 08:13, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

IMHO, this article has several SERIOUS problems: 1) The is an extreme overemphasis on western and specifically north american enslavement of blacks. That is a tiny portion of the subject. 2) You need a definition of slavery FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE. "Slavery" is a generic term that almost requires a modifier to be specific enough for discussion. 3) This article has missed major portions of history, cultures, the world. ex. At the time of this writing, I found 4 lines on slavery in pre columbian America and that was ONE mesoamerican culture. Nothing is even implied about the slavery practiced by the indigenous north american cultures. China, Mongolia, most of central asia, the pacificulture, the pre columbian caribs (is holding someone in a cage so they can be fattened up for the feast slavery? Or something worse?).

I suggest simplifying by breaking this into carefully defined sections w links. It's a good attempt, but the subject is HUGE. 03:57, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

The other sections on slavery need to have more information. Unlike other societies, the US has well documented slavery. That gives US slavery more attention than any other society. There has been nothing mentioned about Mexico which had the largest slave population in the Western Hemisphere.

I agree with others that this entire section of Effects of Slavery is not good. I made a couple of minor changes to it, but this section needs a lot of work. The over-emphasis on a 250-year period of slavery in the U.S. is inappropriate for this article. As Grant65 stated, those who want to know the particulars of slavery in the U.S. can go to Slavery in Colonial America and History of slavery in the United States Hildenja 05:33, 20 October 2006 (UTC)


There were no good apects of slavery,regardless of how long slavery was around before america is a moot point, if slavery were a good thing then you wouldnt have too kidnap ,people would be in line to sign up,they would voulenteer.and u wouldnt need violence too enforce it,it is a natural human state not too be in servitude,and america was well aware of that at the time,all of those innocent people women,childeren who caused noone any harm millions of people human beings dead for no reason,and yes still today, all that human potential reduced to just physical labor,it makes me sick thinking about it, i think its time for america too face the facts we werent a democracy until 1964(civil rights movement).


We were a democracy, we were just a limited one.

Someone w some historical experience w the subject of slavery needs to do some research. I am personally aware (only from general reading) that there were several cultures where it was possible (common?) to sell yourself into slavery. The advantages might be a big chunk of money to get out of debtor's prison or get off of death row. It might make it possible for your children to eat for the next 10 years. In addition, in some cultures the slave of a smart generous businesslike master was better off than the free man w no land and no prospects.

Comments please ???????? 23:28, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

In the U.S. and England, historically, people would sign on willingly for indentured servitude, not slavery (although in some points in history, slavery may have been chosen as an option to being killed). But indentured servitude was finite, and a chance to learn a trade. Many people, some of my white ancestors included, came to the U.S. as indentured servants, after which they became prosperous in their trades. Make no mistake: The slavery of Africans, as practiced in the Western Hemisphere, was generally a brutal enterprise. Particularly in the Caribbean, as previously noted, slaves would often choose death.Carlaclaws 23:16, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Janissaries were slaves?

There are only two kinds of soldiers: mercenaries (aka as volunteers) and slaves (aka conscripts), janissaries were special because they were very young slaves trained from a very early age to form an elite fightingh unit.

Since when soldiers are considered as slaves? There are many soldiers around the world that are drafted without wanting to go there, lives under quite hard conditions and truly war is quite bad. Yet, are they slaves ?

Then most of the soldiers of this world are slaves. Such as American soldiers in Iraq that supports troups to go back home are slaves as well. Or even all countries that obliges their citizens (including women in some cases) to serve in the army treats them as slaves.

Sure, the draft is slavery. How can you even doubt it? Surely you don't think when it is done by Ugandan rebels to 13 year olds it is kidnapping and slavery, but if it is done by Napoleon (or whomever you find more respectable...) then it's something else.--Flix2000 17:28, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

There are links in Wikipedia; those who consider "Janissaries" as slaves also has to change the Jannisary document.

Of course they were: property of the Caliph himself. Mamelukes were also slaves. Septentrionalis 16:25, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
Not all soldiers are slaves, but some slaves, like the Mamluk and the Janissaries, made very good soldiers. Bill 17:45, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Direction of slave traffic

(In response to a recent edit, that I reverted.) It was not Europeans who took slaves from North Africa, but North Africans who took slaves from Europe, thru various means, usually by piracy on the high seas The North Africans spent several centuries taking Christian slaves from Europe, and 17‑19c literature is replete with references to it, of which maybe the most famous is Molière's "Que diable est‑il allé faire dans cette galère ?". It's what the Barbary Pirates Wars were fought about; and, far earlier, was a contributing factor to the Crusades. Bill 17:45, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Featured Article Status

Hi, I came here looking for an article related to Abolitionist movement. I think this article is good enough to be a featured article or nearly good enough with bit of photo there and bit of copy editing. At least, it has a right structure. Why hasn't anyone nominated this page? FWBOarticle10100 10001011010 010100011111010101000100110011 100100100111010101010101010101 0 01101 01 1001 01 10 m1 1010101010101 01 01 10 011 10 10 101010

I disagree. This article has some serious problems. Check out the section Effects of Slavery. Some of the typos and problems have been fixed, but others persist. This section has an over-emphasis on slavery in the U.S. Nobody seriously doubts that slavery has existed for thousands of years and still exists today, yet this section focuses on a 250-year period of slavery in the U.S. Does that answer your question of why this article has not been nominated to be a Featured Article? Hildenja 05:44, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Slavery in Philosophy

The issue of slavery is recurrent from Plato on (though there's obviously some thoughts on it before Plato, just few preserved). It becomes a major theme in Aristotle's work (where slavery is justified through teleology, though there's quite a bit of hand-waiving about it), through Augustine and Aurelius. It becomes a major issue again during the Enlightenment, and Hegel's treatment of slavery becomes one of the canonical philosophical arguments of the last two hundred years, with responses from Heidegger and Sartre (among others). I'd like to see this all discussed, though I wouldn't have time to write anything on it for quite some time. Any philosophy/polisci majors/grad students wanna take a swing at it? It would add a lot to the page, even if I don't have time to write it. -- 06:20, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Etymology, again

I am a bit confused about the etymology of the word slave. Though most articles rely on the standard theory that "slave" derives from "Slav", there seem to be different interpretations why. The OED cites the reputable scholar Richard Klein: "This sense development arose in the consequence of the wars waged by Otto the Great and his successors against the Slavs, a great number of whom they took captive and sold into slavery." The French Wikipedia article claims that the word originates in Venice during the High Middle Ages because of enslaved Slavs from the Balcans (une région qui s'est longtemps appelée « Esclavonie » et qui est récemment devenue indépendante, sous le nom de « Slovénie »), whereas Slavery in medieval Europe declares that Slavs being offered on Crimean slave markets from the 6th Century onwards are the reason for the (alleged) connotation. That’s all historically correct and fascinating, but none of this really explains the semantic shift from M.L. sclavus>Slav to sclavus>slave. At the same time False etymology suggests: "A more malicious example was the derivation of Slav from slave, which was used by the Nazis as a pseudo-linguistic justification for some of their atrocities against Slavs" and "slave goes back via *scylavus to Greek skyleúo, skyláo "I plunder" (related to Greek skylon, spoils of war)." This article’s counterpart on the German Wikipedia states that the connection Slav/slave can’t have oringinated in Central Europe since the medieval Germans knew nothing of Slavs: They called their Eastern neighbors Wenden (Latin: Venedae) and except for Russian (slaviane) all the other Slavic languages of Eastern Europe are written with an O (sloveni, slowianie, slovjany), not an A. It's thus rather unlikely that those Germans linked "Sklave" to Slavic people. Any experts around? Is the slave/Slav theory obsolete? Teodorico 15:26, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

It was my impression that the slave-slav naming came from Viking enslaving of Slavs and then selling them to Europe and elsewhere. My professor, Samantha Kelly, faculty at Rutgers University, said something to that effect. I don't have any text support on hand though. Jztinfinity 23:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)


whats the word for a loyal slave. or willing slave. MegaloManiac 09:08, 16 April 2006 (UTC)


Is it me, or are the comments about slaves belonging to the state and being sent to war a way of dragging in the draft as a type of slavery? Goldfritha 03:48, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Animal Rights

I don't want to start an edit war but I strongly object to the second paragraph, the one regarding animal rights, on the following grounds:

The word slavery, in ANY dictionary, clearly refers only to people and perhaps machines or devices, but never animals. The paragraph redefines "slavery" to fit the views of a narrow group.

The second sentence: “In this light, the present legal status of non-human animals throughout the world and the way they are treated in farms and slauhterhouses makes them slaves.” is not only POV, it's POV on a different subject than the one under discussion. It is not an encyclopedic statement.

It certainly should not be the second paragraph in the article. If it must stay (and I feel it shouldn't) it must be placed somewhere near the end of the article (and without that second sentence in any case). Readers come to this page to learn about people being held in bondage. They shouldn't have to read a special interest screed to get to the good stuff.

I am a new contributor to Wikipedia, I am not an expert on it's policies, but I'm trying to use common sense and be fair. I'd like the opinions of other users on this. Thanks.Armandtanzarian 22:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

You say: the second paragraph redefines "slavery" to fit the views of a narrow group.
It does not redefine slavery. It talks about how some people define slavery. It does not say that that is the definition accepted by everyone.
The fact is that AR people exist. There are many of them - tens of millions. They are not the "mainstream", and that second paragraph does not attempt to make believe they are.
I don't know about "ANY dictionary". I don't own all dictionaries in the world. Do you? Dictionaries change. Wikipedia is an original, modern medium. It reflects changing beliefs.
You say: "Readers come to this page to learn about people being held in bondage." I don't know about what readers come to this page for. Some probably come because they want to see their own opinions in print. Others instead come with an open mind. Some may never thought of sexual slavery before, and be happy to learn about it. Many will never have thought about the status of non-human animals, and may be happy to learn that some people have argued that that status is that of slaves.
About the second sentence ("In this light, the present legal status of non-human animals throughout the world and the way they are treated in farms and slauhterhouses makes them slaves."): True, it is more affirmative than the first. Perhaps it should say "in this view", instead of "in this light". OK. But it is no more affirmative than the opening paragraph, which says, among other things: "Critics have called it a crime against humanity, something which has been officially recognized by a French 2001 law." To say that something has been *recognized* is to endorse it. Not all critics of slavery believe it to be a crime against humanity; one can oppose slavery without believing that there is such a thing as a "crime against humanity". So if things are to be made more NPOV, it should go for that kind of assertion too. However, the part about the farms and slaughterhouses should stay. It gives the scope of the issue. 60 billion animals (ten times the human population) are slaughtered each year. That represents one of the most brutal and vast forms of slavery that ever existed. That IS relevant. That SHOULD be mentioned in the introduction. As an existing opinion that DOES exist.
You deleted the paragraph about non-human slavery calling it POV. The way you express yourself strongly suggests that your own motivations are highly POV. "ANY dictionary" - "the views of a narrow group" - "a special interest screed" vs "the good stuff". You have your opinions. That doesn't mean that only they are "the good stuff".
A book you might want to read: Spiegel, Marjorie. The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, New York: Mirror Books, 1996. (Cited on the Wikipedia animal rights page.)
David Olivier 23:51, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I've added that book as a reference. There are many references that could be added of people recognizing non-human animal slavery. For example, the beginning of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. Peter Singer is often described - not only by those who agree with him - as the most influential philosopher in the world today. Ah yes, animal rightists are only a small fringe group! David Olivier 00:17, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Macrakis displaced the reference to animal slavery into the "definition" section, and deleted almost all substance from it. I have reverted. If animal slavery is to go into "definition" section, along with the idea of wage slavery, then there is a lot of other stuff to delete or displace as well from the introduction.
Specifically, I would agree to displace the paragraph about animal slavery to the "definition" section if the introduction is brought down to something like:
Slavery is a condition in which one being, known as a slave, is under the control of a person, group, organization, or state. A specific form, known as chattel slavery, is defined by the absolute legal ownership of a being by a person or state.
David Olivier 18:38, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
But animal rights, even for those who believe their violation to be slavery, are a different, although linked, article. Septentrionalis 20:41, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the "crime against humanity" part isn't widely enough recognized to be in the first paragraph, though there should probably be a mention that almost all countries subscribe to international treaties banning it. That doesn't change the issue about animal rights. That is an extension of the concept of slavery, and belongs in the same section as other extensions of the concept of slavery. Also, I see no evidence that animal rights activists universally compare agricultural animals to slaves, but I do see clear evidence that some do. Hence the word "some". --Macrakis 20:57, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Aotearoa / New Zealand

Under this section is says: In traditional Maori society, prisoners of war became slaves, (unless released, ransomed or eaten). Emphasis mine. Is their any evidence for the eating of slaves? I ask since overinflated accusations of cannibalism are very common, especially during the Age of Discovery/Colonialism. See cannibalism. Ashmoo 02:54, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Overinflated? Who knows? My guess is that there would not be a lot of evidence for a conviction nor many witnesses who would be willing to testify to these events. I work with a predominantly Maori crew at a warehouse here and they are happy with the state of the current beliefs, sort of revel in it actually (Have a rather earthy sense of humour to say the least.) No one here, especially the everyday Maori, seems to feel this was over done. Exaggerated numbers? What are the current stats? We should start there and work backward to see if they are exagerated. I mean, at the very least a person can only eat so much.

Malangthon 02:06, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Force to fight

The opening paragraph says "A specific form, known as chattel slavery, is defined by the absolute legal ownership of a person or persons by another person or state, including the legal right to buy and sell them just as one would any common object, or the legal right to force the slave to fight in a war." Actually, the "chattel" part doesn't 'include' the legal right to buy and sell, it means the right to buy and sell ('chattel' is a synonym for 'property'). Also, what does forcing to fight in a war have to do with chattel slavery in particular? In general, slaves (chattel or not) can be legally forced to perform whatever work or service their master/owner demands. If no rebuttal, I will rephrase. --Macrakis 00:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I suspect that "force to fight a war" is put in to call conscription a form of slavery. It definitely should go. Goldfritha 00:50, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

More of the Portuguese, Spaniards?

There is not enough of the Portuguese and the Spaniards and if you ask me, they were perhaps the most brutal of the bunch. They're focusing far too much on the USA and not enough on the other slave trading countries.

Also, what does this mean? "At the same time the British, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese delegations blocked an EU apology for slavery." Does this mean they refused to give an apology or what? At least the US gave theirs, but where is the apology from these countries? Or does it mean something else? Can someone please elaborate?

I removed the Punishments section

I removed the Punishments section entirely, as it was crap. It wasn't up to the standards of the rest of the article, it didn't mention what part of the world these punishments were from. Furthermore, it ended with material about a classroom in Colorado trying to raise money to buy the freedom for slaves, which has nothing whatsoever to do with punishments. I am not necessarily opposed to there being a Punishments section in this article, but this particular section has to go. --Xyzzyplugh 15:58, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


The more popular notion of slavery originates from the collectivist identity that identifies a certain race of people as inferior merely because of their skin colour or ethnicity.

More popular when, where, and in whose thoughts? Clearly not universally. Racially based slavery is rather less common than this makes out. Goldfritha 02:22, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

slavery blacks

Do you people think if there was no slavery in America the African-Americans would be a bit nicer i mean that happened like 50 60 years ago my grand parent's where not slaves and there grand parent's did not have slaves .... or is it just the place i live in Charlotte NC ..85% African-Americans in the prisons here explain that to me and i am black so it is fine for me to say this—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 19:04, 9 August 2006.

Your question makes me wonder if European-Americans would be nicer if they weren't the descendants of slave-owners. See how silly that question is when turned around? It's just as silly when you ask it. -- 03:12, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

ok that makes no sense


The following section was removed from the chattel section:

In the United States, the Emancipation Proclamation was written in 1862 to outlaw slavery in what was to become the Confederate States of America, an area over which Union-allied forces exercised no control. The proclamation did not free slaves in the Union-allied slaves states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, however. Four years later, following the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution which banned all forms of slavery.

Is that particularly relevant to the history of chattel slavery in the world, e.g. the first time it was abolished in the west, or some other significance? It seems out of place. 02:28, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

History of Slavery

When this article was cleaned up and reduced in size, most of the material on the history of slavery was dumped without being distributed into other articles. There's some very good material here, including information I was looking for earlier today and not finding. I resurrected this material from version "22:23, 11 July 2006;", the last revision of this material before it was dumped, and put it in its own article, history of slavery. I have also changed several redirects from "slavery" to "history of slavery". Peter G Werner 03:45, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

conscription as slavery

However, it can also be argued that conscripts are not "slaves", as they have substantial legal rights, and any government which took it upon itself to implement conscription, outside a time of extreme national emergency, would eventually face a backlash at an election.

The above paragraph was in the section discussing conscription as slavery. The first part is unnuanced. The amount of legal rights that conscripts have of course depends on the country, and in a system of slavery there may be legal limits to what the slavemaster can do to the slave, thus giving the slaves some legal rights (though perhaps not substantial). The second part about conscription outside of national emergencies is false (to say nothing of non-democracies). Israel has had conscription since its inception, and not only have governments not faced backlash, but at present a party that proposed to end mandatory conscription would almost certainly be defeated at the polls. If someone wants to add this paragraph in again, please rework it. Rusco 06:56, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't almost every nation in democratic Europe have some form of conscription (under what's called National Service or a similar phrase)? And you're right about non-democracies; it's easy to forget that a large percentage of the world's population lives in places where democracy is either strictly controlled or doesn't exist at all. -- 03:15, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Ethics of slavery

I found this quote today, and it sparked a thought.

  • Most books on the history of African slavery blame the trade on maritime trading countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands, and the countries where the human cargo was sold, such as the United States, Britain and Brazil. The idea that some Africans sold their own people into slavery is mostly ignored. Ghana, however, has never shied away from it. [6]

Should the article touch on the ethics of slavery, an institution which the English-speaking West now universally condemns? If we wish to blame anyone, shall we blame only whites who owned black slaves, or also blacks who kidnapped and sold black slaves?

I'm not "pushing" any particular POV on this, but merely observing that in history there were both sellers and buyers. And I'm wondering what the judgment of historians, philosophers, politicians, religious leaders, etc., has been on this. I don't want Wikipedia to condemn or exonerate any group. I do want the article to report what the judgements of various advocates is on the topic. --Uncle Ed 13:13, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I think it should at least be mentioned, without exonerating the Western nations, individuals and communities who benefited from the trade. I've been reading Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, and he gives a very good overview of the trade, and how it developed from its origins in west Africa. – Agendum 14:25, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Slavery occurred in many places in Africa prior to European contact, see e.g. information in History of slavery article for a start, though it needs work. But Africans did not on the whole enslave "their own people"; they enslaved war captives of other peoples. The idea that all Africans were the same people because of having dark skin derives from the hostile ideologies and defensive pan-Africanism created by slavery in the captitalist era, European racialism, and European colonialism. When the light skinned Viking Rus were enslaving light-skinned Slavs and selling them to Byzantium and the Muslim world, were they enslaving "their own people"? No more was enslavement between two African communities "their own people." In most parts of Africa slavery was not primarily commercial, but used to mark status or to bring labor into largely subsistence production. In most African slavery systems after 2 or 3 generations the descendants of slaves were incorporated into local kinship systems (marriages) and while often still low status were no longer slaves.
The commercial slavery in which enslavement was a permanently inherited legal status introduced by Europeans was qualitatively different. So too in many places (though not all, given longstanding export slavery to the Mediterranean and Middle East) was the connection of slavery to an organized international system of slave labor.
The Atlantic slave trade originated with the spread of residual European slavery from plantations in the Mediterranean (see Charles Verlinden & Philip Curtin) combined with the persistence of slavery as a legal status in Iberian law (in contrast to England or France where it had to be re-invented following medieval conversion of Latin servii to serfs (see the etymology?). When the Spanish and Portuguese originally tried to enslave Native Americans in the Caribbean they mostly failed due to deaths from disease and overwork; on the continent intervention by the Church in the 1570s or 1580s put Indians off-limits for enlavement (though not enserfment). Nothing Africans did caused the Iberians to make those attempts at enslavement in the Americas.
In a market, presumably both buyers and sellers have ethical responsibilities for what is bought and sold. In considering such responsibilities about Africans, one needs to distinguish among different classes of Africans (rulers, merchants, soldiers, peasants) just as among Europeans. Nonetheless it is the case that the massive European demand for enslaved workers for plantations in the Americas massively expanded the demand and market for slaves in Africa, to which some African rulers responded. There is thus an ethical question involving specific individual actors, and another one involving the creation of the system.
Beyond the horrific effects on slaves themselves, the long-term effects in terms of militarization, expanded warfare, loss of persons in both an economic and human sense to African communities are too extensive to go into. In particular though, the specification of Africans as uniquely enslaveable on the demand side is specifically a European choice and responsibility.
Ngwe 21:12, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for this essay-length answer to my question. Key points seem to be:

  • Africans did indeed enslave other Africans
  • They did not enslave "their own people" (but enemy war captives)
  • Massive demand for slaves came from Europeans.
  • Some African rulers responded to this demand.
  • The "response" raises ethical questions.

There are still arguments made by opponents of American slavery that white Americans were the "worst" slaveowners; or that they "bought the most" or "owned the most" slaves. These arguments are balanced by other arguments that Middle-eastern Arabs have been the "worst": that they bought and/or owned 4 or 5 times as many black Africans as the European/Americans; and that they continue to hold tens of thousands in Sudan (see slavery in Sudan).

Of course I don't want Wikipedia to say that whites should "get a pass" because "Arabs were worse". I just want us to report whatever the historians are saying. Readers can draw their own ethical conclusions, based on the numbers of slaves bought, owned, etc. by the various parties. --Uncle Ed 18:40, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

A philosophical essay

Cut lengthy passage:

Organized slavery has 2 elements:

Purpose for slavery 
Prior to the development of agriculture 10,000 years ago, there was no advantage from retaining captive slaves.[citation needed] Agriculture lifted humans out of subsistence living, delivering higher rates of productivity.
Justification for slavery 
Farming provided the master with an opportunity to put their prisoners of war (POW) to work for them. It's contentious whether this constitutes slavery since the POWs might in fact have initiated the war. Other slaves were criminals or people who could not pay their debts

The more popular notion of slavery originates from the collectivist identity that identifies a certain race of people as inferior merely because of their skin color or ethnicity. [citation needed] This collectivist identity (even in the more individualistic cultures) explains why even after slavery is abolished the indentured serfs and their descendants were still exposed to discrimination and suffered from the misconception that they were intellectually 'less human'. [citation needed] A popular rationalization was that God provided blacks as a source of slave labor.[citation needed]

The origin of slavery was considered by the philosopher Hegel to be an important stage in the development of self-consiouness (see master slave dialectic). In this sense neither a master nor a slave is fully self-conscious.

I can't figure out what this has to do with "How people become slaves".

  • What is a "more popular notion of slavery"? More popular than what? Why call it a "notion"?
  • What does "collectivist identity" have to do with it? Is this a Marxist analysis? If so, which Marxist author's idea is this? (cite needed)
  • What is the relevance of contrasting Collectivist and individualist cultures? I went to that article, but it didn't mention slavery.
  • Did the advent of farming coincide with the advent of slavery? Can we get a source for this, or is this simply "common knowledge"? (I think it's part of Marxist theory; I'd have to check.)
  • When did agriculture start? We mention Joseph being sold into slavery (using the Old Testament book of Genesis as a source), but Genesis mentions Cain as farming too.

Perhaps the information cut and pasted here, can be re-tooled into a sociological analysis - although this risks becoming Original Research. The following points seem valid, even if other editors feel they need citations:

  • A popular rationalization was that God provided blacks as a source of slave labor.[citation needed]
    • This rationalization was held in 18th & 19th century United States. When and where else did slave-owners claim a heavenly mandate? Ancient Greece, maybe? How about the Islamic world?
  • their descendants were still exposed to discrimination and suffered from the misconception that they were intellectually 'less human'. [citation needed]

Anyone want to help with this? --Uncle Ed 13:35, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Corrected date of British abolition in abolition chart

Both the abolition section of this article and the History of slavery article correctly date British abolition to 1834 (law passed 1833, period of "apprenticeship" of ex-slaves until 1838). The chart however gives the date of the end of legal British slave trading, which is different. The comparable date for the U.S. would be 1808, but 1865 is the correct date of slavery abolition. Ngwe 20:34, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Herero and Namaqua Genocide

Hello! Comments from other contributors are welcome on Talk:Herero and Namaqua Genocide, where one user has repeatedly pushed her negationist POV. Thanks, Lapaz 15:56, 20 September 2006 (UTC)


Reverted vandalism by Requesting protection. 14:50, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Effects of Slavery

As mentioned earlier this section is full of grammatical errors. Furthermore it only talks about slavery in the Americas. The section is not written NPOV. It is not written in a tone that should be in an encyclopedia. If this wasn't enough it is evident that the person doesn't have an understanding of what he/she is saying. The article states that: "In the United States, to get agreement of the southern slave owning states to stay in the United states slavery was allowed in the original U.S. Constitution."

 I'm pretty sure that the LEGALITY of slavery was not a big issue during the ratification of the constitution.
 When the Constitution was written slavery was legal in most of the states and indeed most of the founding fathers
 did own slaves.

clean up needed

there is virtually no info in religion and slavery

      The information that was present in "religion and slavery" was actually incorrect. Chattel slavery
      was permitted by the Bible.

Paragraph on Zionism

I removed the paragraph that mentioned the US protest against equating Zionism with racism, as this article is neither about Zionism, nor racism. Slavery is not racism. All throughout history there have been slaves owned by people of their own race. And what does Zionism have to do with any of this ?! Dullfig 19:22, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

That paragraph seemed to equate it for some reason. But without a reference you were certainly correct to remove it.--Caranorn 21:54, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Religion as a justification for slavery

The aristocratic class in England convinced themselves that the African slaves were pagans and practised vulgar rites such as cannibalism and bestiality. They felt that through 'bringing them to civilization', they could Christinize them and save their souls from hell. Yet very rarely was the Gospel truly preached to the slaves. They mostly only observed their owners form of godliness.

But don't forget that you are talking about a very small chapter in slavery. Europe did not invent slavery. It had been going on for thousands of years. Dullfig 21:09, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
And doesn't England get credit for being the first nation to abolish slavery? Dullfig 21:09, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

England didn't do anything, slavery was never legal.

Effects of Slavery

Africa ran dry during the 16th and 17th century. The amount of people kidnapped and stolen from Africa is unknown but some historians estiamte that as many as 20 million Africans were sold into slavery. Reproduction was stunted because all the fit young men and women were gone. Justice systems crumbled because Europeans paid African slave traders to capture their own people. Growing cities emptied of their people resulted in poor economic growth only fueled by trading slaves for cheap guns and second-rate produce. Slavery turned villages against one antoher; made enemies of neighbouring cities; and robbed Africa of their fittest and smartest. Europe and the Americas could concentrate on building their empires while their slaves did all the manual work. The present first world was built on the backs of slaves and Africa is in the stae that its in today because of slavery. --User:Jaedon7 22:44, 5 December 2006 (RSA)

joann Slavery comes to New York

slavery is owning another human being as property. the first slave in new york were not the first slaves in north america. at least one black slave sailed with Christopher Columbus on his voyage in 1492. the first african salves in the colonies arrived in virgina in 1619.

eleven more slaves arrived in new york in 1626. we know the names of four them: paul d'angola, simom congo, anthony portuguese,and john francisco.they were probably named for the spanish or portuguese slave ships on which they came. these first slaves wre brought in to help with farming, building, and the fur trade. the fur trade was owned by the dutch west india company. some helped to build the wall which once stood on what is nowwall street. the number of slaves in the colonies increased dramatically by the revolutionary war. new york would eventually become the largest northern slave state.

in 1644, the dutch west india company granted "condiional freedom"to its slaves.they were freed when they were able to make a yearly payment from the food they had grown. most of the families received grants to the land they had been farming. most of that land was unwanted swamp land. today, much of that area is greenwich village.

Added Sub-sections

I added sub-sections to the "History" portion of this article, for easier readability, and also for readers who are looking for specific information. Feel free to play around with the title names, as I've mainly used the text itself as my guide. If you have questions or concerns, please drop a note on my talk page or here. Thank you. NinaEliza 15:56, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Slavery vs Unfree labor

I see where this is going. Several sections are being slanted to the "left" of the spectrum, and are trying to lump with slavery, employees of places like sweat-shops. This, in my oppinion, is POV, and has nothing to do with slavery. Can we please stick to the traditional interpretation of slavery, as spelled out in the intro? thanks. -- Dullfig 00:10, 31 December 2006 (UTC)