Written by Classical Liberal
(Part 1 was published here yesterday)
Turning to my third point, a series of the most well-known historical examples of slavery demonstrate that slavery has occurred in almost every society at one time or another.
Three types of enslavement existed in Pharaonic Egypt: chattel slavery, bonded labour, and forced labour.
Records of slavery in Ancient Greece begin with Mycenaean Greece. Classical Athens had the largest slave population, with as many as 80,000 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The Roman Republic enslaved entire people across Europe and the Mediterranean as it expanded outward. Slaves provided labour and amusement (e.g., gladiators and sex slaves). By the late Republican era, slavery had become an economic pillar of Roman wealth, as well as Roman society. At least 25% of the population of Ancient Rome were slaves.
In Britain, slavery continued following the fall of Rome, and sections of Hywel the Good‘s laws dealt with slaves in medieval Wales. The trade notably picked up after the Viking invasions, with significant markets at Chester and Bristol supplied by Danish, Mercian, and Welsh raiding of one another’s borderlands. At the time of the Domesday Book, nearly 10% of the English population were slaves. William the Conqueror introduced a law preventing the sale of slaves overseas. According to historian John Gillingham, by 1200, Slavery in the British Isles was non-existent.
Slavery also existed throughout Asia in the early modern period. Slavery existed in ancient China as early as the Shang dynasty. Governments primarily employed slavery as a means of maintaining a public labour force. The Mongol invasion of China resulted in the enslavement of many Han Chinese. Later, during the Yuan dynasty, Han Chinese owned Mongolian slaves. The Tang dynasty in China purchased Western slaves from the Radhanite Jews. Tang Chinese soldiers and pirates enslaved Koreans, Turks, Persians, Indonesians, and people from Inner Mongolia, central Asia, and northern India. The most significant source of slaves came from southern tribes, including Thais and aboriginals from the southern provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Guizhou. Malays, Khmers, Indians, and ‘black skinned’ peoples (who were either Austronesian Negritos of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, or Africans, or both) also became slaves in the Tang dynasty.
Slavery in India was widespread by the 6th century BC, and perhaps even as far back as the Vedic period. Slavery intensified during the Muslim domination of northern India after the 11th-century. Slavery existed in Portuguese India after the 16th century. The Dutch, too, primarily dealt in Abyssian slaves, known in India as Habshis or Sheedes. Arakan/Bengal, Malabar, and Coromandel remained the largest sources of forced labour until the 1660s.
The hill tribe people in Indochina were ‘hunted incessantly and carried off as slaves by the Siamese (Thai), the Anamites (Vietnamese), and the Cambodians’. The census, taken in 1879, showed that 6% of the population in the Malay sultanate of Perak were slaves.
After the Portuguese first contacted Japan in 1543, a large-scale slave trade developed. Portuguese purchased Japanese as slaves in Japan and sold them to various locations overseas, including Portugal, throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Some Korean slaves were also bought by the Portuguese and brought back to Portugal from Japan, where they had been among the tens of thousands of Korean prisoners of war transported to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98).
Some of the Pacific Northwest Coast indigenous peoples, in what became Canada, such as the Haida and Tlingit, were traditionally known as fierce warriors and slave traders, raiding as far as California.
It is possible to trace slavery in Mexico back to the Aztecs. Other Amerindians, such as the Inca of the Andes, Tupinambá of Brazil, Creek of Georgia, and Comanche of Texas, also practiced slavery.
Slavery in Brazil began long before the first Portuguese settlement was established in 1532, as members of one tribe would enslave captured members of another. During the Atlantic slave trade era, Brazil imported more African slaves than any other country. Nearly 5 million slaves were brought from Africa to Brazil during the period from 1501 to 1866. Forty percent of the total number of slaves brought to the Americas was sent to Brazil. For reference, the United States received 10 percent. Slavery also existed in Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Suriname.
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, which existed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Following independence from the British and before the end of the American Civil War. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Slavery had become institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry by the American Revolution. The United States became polarized over slavery, represented by the slave and free states divided by the Mason–Dixon Line, which separated free Pennsylvania from slave Maryland and Delaware.
During the Jefferson administration, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling (illegal importing) was not unusual. Domestic slave trading, however, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labour demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation. Such laws proposed to Congress to continue the spread of slavery into newly ratified states include the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labour, and taken to the Deep South in forced migration, splitting up many families. The total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation, as new communities of African-American culture developed in the Deep South.
When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, according to the 1860 US census, roughly 400,000 individuals, representing 8% of all US families, owned nearly 4,000,000 slaves. One-third of Southern families owned slaves. Slavery characterised the South. Upon Lincoln’s election, seven states broke away to form the Confederate States of America. The first six states to secede held the most significant number of slaves in the South. Shortly after, over the issue of slavery, the United States erupted into an all-out Civil War, with slavery legally ceasing as an institution following the war in December 1865.
Slavery also existed in Oceania in the early modern period. Slaves (he mōkai) had a recognised social role in traditional Māori society in New Zealand. Blackbirding occurred in the Pacific, especially in the 19th century. Blackbirding involves the coercion of people through deception or kidnapping to work as slaves or poorly paid labourers in countries distant from their native land. The large-scale enslavement of people indigenous to the numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean during the 19th and 20th centuries is an example of blackbirding.
In conclusion, we are all equally guilty of participating in slavery: black as much as white. And, our ancestors are all equally likely to have been enslaved: white as much as black. To suggest otherwise is either lazy scholarship or just downright disingenuous.
In 2019, approximately 40 million people, of whom 26 percent were children, were enslaved throughout the world despite it being illegal. More than 50 percent of enslaved people provide forced labour in the modern world, usually in the factories and sweatshops of the private sector of a country’s economy. Human trafficking is a modern variety of slavery; in the unindustrialised countries, enslavement by debt bondage is a common form of enslaving a person, such as captive domestic servants, forced marriage, and child soldiers.
BLM is so obsessed with the slavery in the USA that ended over 150 years ago, yet shows very little interest in the plight of black people who are still enslaved in Africa today. This suggests that BLM are cultural Marxists. They are more concerned with using the historical suffering of black people in the USA to beat the white patriarchy than to improve the lives of black people.
My ancestors might have been enslaved by Danish, Mercian, or Welsh raiding parties and sold at slave markets at Chester and Bristol. Yet, I don’t play on this as an excuse to demand preferential treatment. Equally, my ancestors might have been the slavers mentioned above. Nobody knows for sure. In which case, slavery should stay buried deep in the distant past.