Early forms of slavery
A slave is a disenfranchised person who is held, kidnapped, abused and economically exploited against his will. A slave is a person who is declared the property of another person.
Slavery is an expression of violence between people or human societies. Slavery is an act of submission that goes back to the early days of human cultures.
Instead of killing the defeated enemies after a war, for example, some peoples and groups began to capture them, kidnap and exploit them.
Debt, punishment, discrimination and a craving for profit are the main drivers for people taking possession of other people like goods and enslaving them.
Slavery was widespread in ancient civilizations. The ancient Near Eastern societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Judaism, Greece, Rome – most of these ancient cultures would not have been conceivable without the systematic disenfranchisement and exploitation of the slave class.
In ancient Greece, slavery relieved the burden on Athenian citizens, who were given enough leisure and free time to take care of political issues and participate in democratic society. And the Roman Empire was a tough slave-holding society.
In the heyday of Rome, 20,000 Roman citizens were faced with 400,000 slaves who did work without wages in all areas of life.
Historians estimate that the slave trade in the Arab region between the 7th and the 20th centuries was about the same size as the slave trade in the Atlantic-American region between 1450 and 1860.
But slavery also existed in Black Africa long before America was discovered. Since in Africa traditionally property does not primarily mean control of land but control of people, it made sense to swap or sell people.
Between the 7th and 20th centuries, millions of people were sold into slavery in Africa, both across the North and the Sahara and across the East – via the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Finally, in the era of colonization, the slave trade on the African west coast also began, which in turn sold and abducted millions of Africans to the American continent.
The age of the Enlightenment changed the mood in Europe and the first protests against slavery were heard. The abolition of slavery was finally initiated by several factors: the self-liberation of the slaves, for example during the famous slave uprising on Saint-Domingue (today’s Haiti) 1791-1803, by religiously motivated groups such as the Quakers who opposed the slave trade, and by the Abolitionist movement (abolition = abolition, abolition).
Denmark banned trade in people as early as 1722, England joined in 1807. The abolition of slavery in the southern United States at the end of the American Civil War (1865) marked the end of institutionally legitimate slavery in the industrialized nations.
At the end of the 19th century, the slave trade was finally formally prohibited on the African continent.
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