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Slavery can be credited to many different nations of many different cultures and still exists even today. Sadly so.

Updated on June 2, 2017

Saharan Slaves

Slavery Has Existed For a Longtime

When the word “slavery” is mentioned in conversation, most Americans think of blacks that were enslaved in this country; I went through the public school system and was taught about the African-Americans slave ordeal; no other slavery or other countries was ever mentioned. I was surprised to learn only recently that slavery has existed for thousands of years and has been practiced in many, many countries at one time including Canada, Spain and South America just to name a few.

Sadly, Slavery is a Rather Typical Practice

It seems to be a rather typical habit for countries to use slaves when first inhabiting a country to help settle it. The first slaves in the US were supposedly the local Indians who proved to be not very useful; many would run away and others wouldn’t work. The first African slaves brought to the United States were actually indentured servants.

African slavery started in the United States in about 1750 and ended about 1865. The United States didn’t become a country until 1776. It lasted about 150 years and has been over for about 150 years. No one you meet or know has owned slaves or has been a slave in the United States.

Africans Sold Fellow Africans Into Slavery

The initial African slaves were mostly purchased in Africa from Africans. The reasons that the Africans were selling their fellow Africans were varied. An African was often put into slavery as penance for a crime, he or she was captured when raiding an enemy’s village or a variety of other reasons. “Africans played a key role in the slave trade.”

“The prisoners and captives that were sold were usually from neighbouring or enemy ethnic groups or tribes These captive slaves were not considered as part of the ethnic group or 'tribe' and kings did not have a particular loyalty to them. At times, kings and chiefs would also sell criminals into slavery so that they could no longer commit crimes in that area. Most other slaves were obtained from kidnappings, or through raids that occurred at gunpoint by Africans working together with Europeans or Arabs.”

Slaves on the Sugar Plantation in South America

South American Bought the Largest Amount of Slaves

It was probably pretty terrifying for the Africans as they had never seen a white man before. According to British explorer Mungo Park, they thought that the white man was going to eat them and this was a major source of fear for them.

Slaves were brought to South America (including the Caribbean and Brazil) as early as the 1550 to work the sugar plantations. While the New World got only a fraction of the slaves involved in the Atlantic Slave trade about 5%, South America claimed about 35%, which was more than any other country and slavery was “practiced among all classes” and slaves were owned by “upper and middle classes, by the poor and even by other slaves.”

Great Britain Greatly Contributed to Expanding and Ending Slavery in its Empire

Spain was the first European country to use slaves in the New World. Their labor force had been greatly reduced by the spread of disease and they became involved with the African Slave trade to get labor for islands like Cuba and Hispaniola.

I’ve heard accounts that claim Britain greatly increased the African slave trade. The Africans, according to the source, were eager to get weapons and therefore had to get more and more slaves in order to trade the slaves for the weapons. This viscous circle caused more and more Africans to find ways to enslave more and more Africans to get more weapons. Ironically, Wikipedia also says that in 1807, the British Parliament voted to end slavery in the British Empire. They took a “prominent role in combating the trade.

“Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard.Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade.”

Slavery Has Happened in Many Countries

Slavery hasn’t been nor will it ever be limited to what happened for about 150 years in the United States. It has happened in more countries around the world than I’d like to think both with their own people and other people. Other countries that have had slaves in the past include China, Japan, Korea, Greece, Rome, Venice, Russia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Britain, France, Canada, South America and a whole lot more.

Slavery in Africa Still Exists

Slavery Still Exists in Africa

Slavery is supposedly not legal anywhere in the world, however, “human trafficking” is still a problem. The Global Slavery Index claims that nearly 30 million people are enslaved globally “millions of whom are in Africa.” More than 16% of slaves are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.

"In 2013, modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names," the report said. "Whether it is called human trafficking, forced labor, slavery or slavery-like practices (a category that includes debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, sale or exploitation of children including in armed conflict), victims of modern slavery have their freedom denied, and are used and controlled and exploited by another person for profit, sex or the thrill of domination."

According to Wikipedia, slavery still exists in some Arab and Asian countries in some form today. I’ve heard of a story where a woman was purchased in China and brought to the United States to be a housekeeper. The United States is ranked 134th in terms of prevalence of slavery, with nearly 60,000 estimated to be in modern slavery.

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