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History of Slavery
Transcript of History of Slavery
The Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1760 BC), for example, stated that death was prescribed for anyone who
helped a slave to escape
, as well as for anyone who sheltered a fugitive.
The Bible refers to slavery as an established institution.
Such institutions were a mixture of
for crime, the enslavement of
prisoners of war
, and the
birth of slave children to slaves
It is certain that Athens (Greece) had the largest slave population, with as many as
in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.
Slavery in early medieval Europe was so common that the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly prohibited it — or at least the export of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands was prohibited.
In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued a decree, granting Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any "Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers" to hereditary slavery which legitimized the slave trade, at least as a result of war.
Pope Paul III forbade enslavement of the Native Americans in 1537. Dominican friars who arrived at the Spanish settlement at Santo Domingo strongly denounced the enslavement of the local native Americans. Along with other priests, they opposed their treatment as unjust and illegal in an audience with the Spanish king and in the subsequent royal commission.
Slavery in the Americas had a contentious history, dating back at least to the
, and played a major role in the history and evolution of some countries, triggering at least one revolution and one civil war, as well as numerous rebellions.
The Spanish conquest of the
in the Americas included using the Natives as forced labor.
colonies were the first Europeans to use African slaves in the New World on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola.
The first African slaves arrived in Hispaniola in
. In 1518, Charles I of Spain agreed to ship slaves directly from Africa. England played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade. The "
" was pioneered by Francis Drake and his associates. By 1750, slavery was a legal institution in all of the 13 American colonies and the profits of the slave trade and of West Indian plantations amounted to 5% of the British economy at the time of the Industrial Revolution.
The Transatlantic slave trade peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa. Europeans rarely entered the interior of Africa, due to fierce African resistance. The slaves were brought to coastal outposts where they were traded for goods.
Africans arrived in the Americas from the 1500's to the 1800's. Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States. The usual estimate is that about 15 per cent of slaves died during the voyage.
Although the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended shortly after the American Revolution (
), slavery remained a central economic institution in the Southern states of the United States, from where slavery expanded with the westward movement of population.
By 1860, 500,000 slaves had grown to 4 million. As long as slavery expanded, it remained profitable and powerful and was unlikely to disappear.
Brief History of Slavery