Outline of Logos 3: History of Slavery (lecture by Piero Scaruffi)

Logos 3: 19 April 2006
David Brion Davis: Lecture Series on the History of Slavery
Abdul Sheriff: Slaves, Spices and Ivory (1988)
Hugh Thomas: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade (1997)
Joseph Inikori: Forced Migration (1982)
James Rawley: Transatlantic Slave Trade (1981)
John Thornton: Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 : (1992)
Yohanan Friedmann: Tolerance And Coercion in Islam - Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition (2006)
David Ayalon: Outsiders in the Lands of Islam (1988)
Bernard Lewis: Race and Slavery in the Middle East (1992)
Humphrey Fisher: Slaves and Slavery in Muslim Africa (1986)
Allan Fisher: Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa (1971)
The Origin of Slavery
Farming society
Value of labor
An animal is a good
A woman is a good
A human is a good
Society as a whole is a good
The Origin of Slavery
Different forms of the same concept: ownership
Domestication of animals
The Origin of Slavery
Religion is a unique feature of the human species.
So is slavery (no other animal sells/buys members of its species).
It probably emerged at about the same time as organized religion.
Just like religion implies that a citizen is property of a god, so slavery implies that a slave is property of a citizen.
Are the origins of slavery related to the origins of god, and viceversa?
The Origin of Slavery
Domestication, husbandry, religion and slavery emerge at about the same time
The symmetry between religion and slavery
Cities belong to gods
Slaves belong to cities

The Origin of Slavery
Ancestral symmetries of ownership

The Origin of Slavery
According to the oldest creation myth of the Sumerians, humans were born slaves of the gods.
First came slaves, then freemen
The Origin of Slavery
Slavery is an easier psychological state than freedom
Believers in religion can live unconscious lives and credit the outcome of events to their gods
Slaves can live unconscious lives and credit the outcome of events to their masters
Slaves follow orders that come from conscious masters
Ancient Slavery
All early civilizations were built on slave labor (Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Central America, Africa)
People became slaves by being
born to slave parents
an insolvent debtor
captured in war
sold into slavery by their parents
kidnapped by "pirates"
The slave trade was an accepted way of life, legal, respected, recognized by all societies
Ancient Slavery
Locals, traded at local markets
Captives of the conquered peoples
Mostly belonging to kings and priests
Slaves appointed to positions of prestige
Ancient Slavery
Mesopotamia/ Hammurabi (Babylonia, 18th c BC)
The Amelu: free citizens (government officials, priests, soldiers)
The Mushkinu: the middle class (merchants, shopkeepers, schoolmasters, laborers, farmers, artisans)
The Slave (captured in war, purchased, or born in a household)
allowed to own possessions (including other slaves), do business in their own name and purchase their freedom
Ancient Slavery
Shang dynasty (1766-1122 BC)
Endogenous: only Chinese were slaves (not a racial phenomenon and not an international trade)
Only the government possessed slaves and they were mostly criminals
A rebellious army of slaves dethroned the last Shang emperor
Ancient Slavery
Zhou dynasty (1122 - 403 BC) was still a feudal society based on slavery
K'ung Fu Tzu/ Confucius (6th c BC) defended slavery
Hierarchical stations in human society were natural and symbiotic
The lot of a slave in a good society is preferable to that of a master in a society marked by chaos and immorality
Ancient Slavery
India/ Vedas (1,500 BC)
Mauryan empire: the karmakaras and the bhrtakas were regarded as free laborers (artisans?) working for a regular wage, whereas the dasas were slaves (mostly household servants)
Dasa originally a tribe enemy of the Aryans in the Rig-Veda
How to become a dasa
Still mentioned in Ramayana and Mahabharata
Ancient Slavery
India/ (Manusmrti, 100 BC)
No slavery but caste, which is hereditary
Caste (varna):
Brahmin = Priest Caste;
Ksatriya = Rajanya/Ruler/Warrior Caste;
Vaisya = Commoner Caste;
Sudra = Servant/Slave Caste; and
Avarna = Outcaste/ Untouchable/ Dalit/ Candala/ Dog-eater (basically Dravidians)
" The king should make the Vaisya and the Sudra carry out their own innate activities diligently; for if the two of them should slip from their own innate activities, they would shake this universe into chaos." (Manusmrti 8:410-418)
Ancient Slavery
India/ Manusmrti
There are seven ways that slaves come into being (Manusmrti 8:410-418) :
Taken under a flag (of war)
Becoming a slave in order to eat food
Born in the house
Inherited from ancestors
Enslaved as a punishment
Ancient Slavery
Slavery discouraged by Buddhism and Jainism
Buddha (born into the warrior caste) welcomed people of all castes, including the untouchables.
"Birth does not make one a priest or an untouchable. Behavior makes one either a priest or an untouchable" (Buddha)
Jewish Slavery
Old Testament (950-300 BC)
Slavery is first mentioned in the book of Genesis
Jews were slaves in Egypt
God is presented as the redeemer God, who delivers his people from slavery (e.g. Exodus 6.6)
Jews are forbidden to take their fellow countrymen as slaves
Jewish Slavery
Leviticus: debt slaves
25:39 If your brother becomes impoverished with regard to you so that he sells himself to you, you must not subject him to slave service.
25:40 He must be with you as a hired worker, as a resident foreigner; he must serve with you until the year of jubilee,
25:41 but then he may go free, he and his children with him, and may return to his family and to the property of his ancestors.
25:42 Since they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt, they must not be sold in a slave sale
25:43 You must not rule over him harshly
Jewish Slavery
Leviticus: "bondslaves" (foreigners):
25:44 As for your male and female slaves who may belong to you, you may buy male and female slaves from the nations all around you.
25:45 Also you may buy slaves from the children of the foreigners who reside with you, and from their families that are with you, whom they have fathered in your land, they may become your property.
25:46 You may give them as inheritance to your children after you to possess as property. You may enslave them perpetually. However, as for your brothers the Israelites, no man may rule over his brother harshly.
Greek Slavery
Doulos: "one in subjection"
A free man can be enslaved to pay a debt
A free man can be enslaved for crimes
Aristotle: slavery is a natural phenomenon
Aristotle declared all non Greeks to be slaves by birth
Alcidamas (4th c BC): "God has set everyone free. No one is created doulos by nature"
Greek Slavery
Athenian laws protected slaves
Athenian slaves fought together with Athenian freemen in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), and there is a separate battle-monument for the slaves and allies
Many classes of slaves in Athens:
Domestic slaves
Freelance slaves (apprenticeship)
Public slaves, who worked as police officers, ushers, secretaries, street sweepers, etc.
War captives (andrapoda), mostly kept in chains and used for forced labor (e.g., mines)
Greek Slavery
The most slave-dependent culture in the history of the world (seven slaves for each Spartan citizen, according to Herodotus)
Most helots were descendants of enslaved Messenians (from the war of 640 BC)
Helots lived in their master's household but were owned by the state
The Spartans initiated their young men by having them go out and kill some helots
Roman Slavery
Roman Republic
Mostly prisoners of war
Approximately 1/3 of the population in the 1st century AD
Most of the gladiators were slaves.
Spartacus (a gladiator) formed an army of slaves that battled the Roman army in the Servile War (73BC)
Roman Slavery
Roman Empire
Under the Empire laws restricting the power of masters over their slaves and children came into being and were steadily extended
The Stoics taught that all men were manifestations of the same universal spirit, and thus by nature equal
No abolitionist movement
The Christian Revolution
St Paul: exhortations to Christian slaves to be loyal and obedient to their masters, so they can be won to Christianity with good conduct
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything_ since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Colossians 3:22)
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28)
"Whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free" (Ephesians 6:5-9)
The Christian Revolution
St Peter:
"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." (Peter 2:18)
Most Christians in Rome were slaves
Pope Clement I (term c. 92 - 99), Pope Pius I (term c. 158 - 167) and Pope Callixtus I (term c. 217 - 222) are traditionally described as former slaves
But little ideological opposition to slavery
A good Christian is a slave of Jesus
Christianity proves the political power of masses of slaves
American Slavery
Mayas (1st-10th c) & Aztecs (14th c)
Prisoners of war
Medieval slavery
Slavic pagans 6th-9th centuries AD
Slavic peoples taken prisoner by the Khazars, Kypchaks and other steppe peoples and smuggled to the slave markets in Crimea
During the wars between the pagan Slavic states and Christian states of Europe, many prisoners of war from both sides were sold as slaves
After the conquest of North Africa and Spain by Muslims, the Islamic world became a huge importer of slaves from Eastern Europe
Slave trade routes were established between slave trade centers in the pagan Slavic countries and Arab Spain
Medieval slavery
Slavic pagans 6th-9th centuries AD
Both Christians and Muslims were reluctant to become slave traders
The slave trade was monopolized by Spanish Jews who transferred the slaves from pagan Central Europe through Christian Western Europe to Muslim countries in Spain and Africa
This trade came to an end in the 10th century after the Christianization of Slavic countries.
Medieval slavery
A thriving centre of the slave trade
A commercial empire originally built on timber and slaves
The maritime empire of Venice dominated the Mediterranean slave trade
Only rivals were the Jewish merchants
Slav captives taken from the shores of the Black Sea were sold to Turks and Arabs
Christianity made no difference
The International Slave Trade
Islamic slavery: clemency leads to demand
The sugar economy: mass production leads to demand

Islamic slavery
Slaves in the Quran
"A slave, the property of another, has no power over anything" (Sura 16.75)
"Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority" (Hadith 3.721)
"Slavery is justified... it is not permissible to enslave a free Muslim, but it is lawful to enslave the infidel, and it also makes it lawful to take his offspring into captivity." (Mufti Ibn Timiyya, Vol 31, p 380)
"Muhammad had many male and female slaves. He used to buy and sell them, but he purchased more slaves than he sold, especially after God empowered him by His message_" (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, "Zad al-Ma'ad", Part I, p. 160)
Islamic slavery
Names for slaves
Riqab = someone who is owned/watched
Abad/ibadi = devout servant
Asra = prisoner of war
Ma Malakat Aimanukum = "your right hand's possession"
Islamic slavery
From public to private slavery
Slaves originally used mainly in southern Iraq to clear the salt crust for agriculture and plantation labor.
Following a slave rebellion in Baghdad (9th century), there developed a reluctance to allow large concentrations of slaves for plantation agriculture, and slavery became a domestic phenomenon
Islamic Slavery
Islamic slavery
The founder of Islam and his companions owned slaves
Islam for both freemen and slaves (like Christianity)
A slave can be a Muslim brother (like in Christianity)
The Muslim slave is superior to the free pagan (unlike Christianity)
Degree of respect and protection for the Muslim slave
Slavery was not a hereditary institution

Islamic Slavery
Islamic slavery/ Umayyads
Muslims prompted to free slaves who convert to Islam
Enslaving of Muslim freemen forbidden
Within the Arab empire: slavery maintained, enslavement banned
Continuous re-supply of slaves due to the expansion of the empire
Islamic Slavery
Islamic slavery/ Safavids
When the empire stabilizes...
Dearth of slaves for the growing economy of the empire
Boom in the trade of slaves with the non-Islamic lands
Slaves transported for the first time over long distances
Establishment of trade routes
The source of slaves for the Islamic world became external (unlike Rome)
Islamic Slavery
Recruitment of slaves
Capture (most of the early slaves)
Tribute from vassal states
Offspring (children of slaves)
Islamic Slavery
Abbasids (750-945)
Nubia provided most slaves via state tribute or large network of trading posts to the rest of Africa (exported to North Africa, Arabia and Persia)
Slavs (Saqaliba) either captured in raids or sold by Venezia/Venice (mostly sold to Islamic Spain)
Turks of the Steppes (exported to Persia and Mesopotamia)
Caucasians (exported to Syria)
High death toll
Abbasid rulers (except three) were sons of non-Arab slave women
Islamic Slavery
Slave's bill of rights (males only)
Master must provide health care
Master must provide pension
Master must not abuse the slave
Master must set slave free if he converts
Islamic Slavery
Slave's bill of limitations
Cannot marry at will
Cannot own property

Islamic Slavery
Slave women for harems
(Slave women for prostitution prohibited although widespread)
Slave men for domestic and military use
Both men and women: entertainment (singers, dancers)
Both men and women: members of the domestic household (or of the state administration)

Islamic Slavery
Value of slaves
Females (most valuable)
Young males
Old males (least valuable)
Islamic Slavery
Non-Arab slaves were often more educated than their Arab masters
"Luxury" slave women (e.g., Shaghab, mother of caliph al-Muqtadir) acted as cultural intermediaries between the Abbasids and their non-Arab subjects
Slaves helped the Arab civilization catch up with the manners of the "civilized" world
Islamic Slavery
Slave armies (9th c)
Evolution of the slave palace guard (7th c)
Slaves not influenced by tribal allegiances
Ibn Khaldun: slaves embodying a higher moral standard than the Abbasid court
Mostly white slaves (main exception: Morocco 1672-1757)
Islamic world saved twice by slave armies
Mamluks (Turkish pagans and Christians from the Black Sea) stopped the crusaders
Mamluks stopped the Mongols
Slave kings in Egypt and India (Delhi Sultanate)
Ottoman infantry corps of the Janissaries (Christians from the Balkans)
Islamic Slavery
Mamlukes (9th century)
children of non-Muslim slaves from the steppes (Turks), raised in isolation (Cairo monastic barracks), instructed about Islam and trained as soldiers (mounted warriors)
Sons of Mamlukes were forbidden to become a Mamluke (not hereditary)
Decline caused by gunpowder (16th century, by Ottoman Turks)
Islamic Slavery
African Islam
700: Zanzibar becomes the main Arab slave trading post in Africa
1325: Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, makes his pilgrimage to Mecca carrying 500 slaves and 100 camels

Islamic Slavery
Slave trade
Slavs captured by the Tatar raiders in Crimea (Crimea conquered by Russia in 1783)
Devsirme (rural Christian boys of the Balkans) groomed to serve in the military and in the administration (grand viziers, generals)
Eunuchs from Slav countries and Ethiopia (Habash), Greeks (Rum), West-Africans (Takarina), Indians
Islamic Slavery
Slave trade
The state is both run and protected by slaves (civil administrators and soldiers)
African Slavery
West Africa in the 15th century: well-established states and highly-developed commercial networks
Class, language, religion, gender, and ethnicity divided Africans
Three main cultures in West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai
African Slavery
Mali, Soghai
African Slavery
Most West African societies did not recognize land ownership, thus slaves were among the few valuables that individuals could own and trade
Status and wealth in West African kingdoms was based on the number of dependent people (kin, subjects and slaves)
Slavery (domestic slave ownership as well as international slave trading) was an established institution in West Africa since ancestral times
African Slavery
Trans-Saharan routes for the slave trade
Precolonial empires such as Dahomey and Ashanti (Benin and Ghana) accumulated wealth and power as a result of the slave trade
The West African kingdoms were gradually incorporated into the European capitalist world
The West African kingdoms welcomed the Portuguese traders
African Slavery
Europeans often acted as junior partners to African rulers, merchants, and middlemen in the slave trade
European commerce in West Africa took place most often on ships anchored well away from shore
Diseases (deadly for Europeans)
Language (unknown to Europeans)
Know-how (unknown to Europeans)
The Sugar Economy and Christian Slavery
Sugar consumption in Europe
1400: exotic rarity
1700: a necessity, but an expensive one
1800: 4 kgs/year per person
1900: 50 kgs/year per person
The Sugar Economy
History of Sugar Plantations 1200-1700
Muslims in Lebanon
Italian sea-trading cities
Cyprus, Crete, Sicily
Portuguese possessions
Madeira (1480s): Italian techniques and capital, indigenous labor force
Sao Tome` (1500s): exclusively slave labor, faster-growing operations
Brazil (1540s): Amerindian and African slaves, larger and faster-growing operations
The Atlantic Slave Trade
The Sugar Economy
1482: Portugal founds the first European trading post in Africa (Elmira, Gold Coast)
1500-1600: Portugal enjoys a virtual monopoly in the slave trade to the Americas
1528: Spain issues "asientos" (contracts) to private companies for the trade of African slaves
1650: Holland becomes the dominant slave trading country
1700: Britain becomes the dominant slave trading country
The Sugar Economy
History of Sugar Plantations 1700-1900
Caribbean islands, 1700s
Barbados, Jamaica (English): estates over 200 acres, over 100 slaves
Martinique, Guadelupe , Saint Domingue (French): estates over 1000 acres, over 200 slaves
USA Plantations, 1800s
Population not self-sustaining, required constant inflow of new slaves
Diversification: tobacco, cotton
Cotton fueled industrial revolution
Large-scale, capitalist operations
Specialization and mass production
The Atlantic Slave Trade
The Atlantic Slave Trade
The Atlantic Slave Trade
The Atlantic Slave Trade
By trading country
Portugal/Brazil: 4.6m
Britain: 2.6m
Spain: 1.6m
France: 1.25m
Holland: 0.5m
U.S.A.: 0.3m
The Atlantic Slave Trade
Slavery in Africa: prisoners of war used as domestic servants (humane, not racist)
Slavery in Arabia: African captives used as domestic servants and small-business helpers (humane, racist)
Slavery in America: African captives used for plantation labor (dehumanized, racist)
The lasting effect of the Atlantic slave trade
1787: Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Quakers, Baptists, Methodists
1807: Parliament abolishes slave trading in British ships and by British subjects
1833: "Slavery Abolition Act" outlaws slavery in the British colonies
1838: all slaves in the British Empire are emancipated
Except for Indian indentured labor (one million)
Anthony Benezet (18th c)
1775: Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage
1783: Massachusetts abolishes slavery
Frederick Douglass
John Brown
Abraham Lincoln
1865: 13th amendment
Old slave powers
Portugal: 1761
Spain: 1811
Holland: 1863
China: 1910
But practiced by Germany, Japan and Soviet Union during World War II
Argentina: 1813
Chile: 1823
Mexico: 1829
Peru: 1851
Venezuela: 1854
Brazil: 1888
Ethiopia: 1936, by order of Mussolini
Saudi Arabia: 1962 (but still practiced)
Mauritania: 1980 (but still practiced)
Sudan (still practiced)
China: (still practiced in the countryside)
India: (still practiced)
"India is a source, transit, and destination country for Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Indian women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labor, particularly towards countries in the Middle East" (Amnesty International)
The effect of abolitionism
Multi-ethnic empires
The emphasis shifted towards the exploitation of the proletariat (Marxism)
White society absorbed black values
Origin: human beings are goods
Practiced worldwide
Religion and economics (not politics) drove its evolution
The real news of the Atlantic Slave Trade was not the slavery itself but the fact that, for the first time in history, slavery was abolished
Conclusion: human beings are not just goods