History of Slavery
Slavery has been around since the beginning of man. It took place in the Old Testament and in Babylon in the 18th Century BC. It has not always been the same. It has changed dramatically. All of the slavery around the world in ancient times influenced and became slavery in the United States.
In ancient times slavery was very different. The slaves were treated in a very different manner. They actually had some certain rights . They had a right to engage in business and to acquire property.They could also buy their own freedom if they had the money.
Many different civilizations had slaves. The Summerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Chinese all had slavery.Two well-known civilizations that had slavery were the Greeks and Romans. In Greece, any citizen always had the prospect of becoming a slave.A Greek slave could become free if they did some great service for the state.They had to be elected to citizenship by more than 6,000 people.At any time a Greek person could become a slave of another. It could happen because anything. Greek children were sometimes sold into slavery. They had a lively slave trade.A Greek newborn inherited their status from their mother.Some of these things were bad but Greek slaves did have it better than Egyptian slaves.
They were allowed to collect money so they could buy their freedom.They were also allowed to practice private religious ceremonies and slave marriages were recognized. The Roman Empire took over Greece and got slavery more organized and it also began to decline. Rome also took over Egypt, North Africa, and Gaul.This gave them thousands of slaves. The more territory they acquired, the greater the need for slaves was. There were two types of slaves, public and private. Private slaves had masters, and public slaves were owned by the state. Some private owners turned their slaves into gladiators. This means they would have to fight other men or beasts to the death. This kind of cruelty led to many revolts. These cruel practices continued until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 476 AD.
After the fall of Rome many changes were taking place. Christianity was coming into play. Christianity encouraged the emancipation of slaves. This let slavery turn into serfdom.With serfdom an individual didnt own a person. Serfdom took over slavery in the Middle Ages.Serfs were attached to the land that they worked.The king owned all of the land in the kingdom. The king would let nobles tend to large plots. The noble would allot a small amount to a serf.Slavery as practiced in ancient times was not present in Medieval Europe.
In about 1440, a Portuguese man named Antam Goncalvez, who was a sea captain, captured three Moors off the coast of Africa.In 1442, the Moors got their freedom by handing over ten blacks.Those blacks were taken to Lisbon, Portugal and sold. Antam Goncalvez made a return trip to Africa and picked up more blacks and sold them into slavery.In a year over one thousand blacks were being taken to Portugal and being sold into slavery. Portugal started supplying Spain with slaves. While all of this was going on, Columbus had discovered the New World. Columbus had started a settlement on the island of Hispaniola. The Carib Indians were native on that island.The Spanish enslaved them. Those Indians did not make good slaves for the Spanish. This caused the ruler of Spain to import black slaves onto the island. The source of slaves was very limited and the demand for the slaves was extremely high. The demand was even higher when Spain took over Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.It was good for Spain because there was an unlimited supply of blacks in Africa. By 1518 the Portuguese were selling African slaves right off the coast Africa to New World settlers.This slave trade in the Caribbean was very profitable. The Portuguese started off in charge of everything. This later on changed to the Spanish. From Spanish control it then went to the Dutch, then finally the English.
In 1562, Captain John Hawkins revolutionized the way slaves were captured. He would encourage slave wars, capture slaves by force, and burn down black villages.This resulted in the capturing of a lot of slaves. The male slaves were crammed tightly aboard a ship. They then set off for a voyage across the Atlantic. This was called the Middle Passage.
All of this led to the first American slave trade. In 1619, on the settlement of Jamestown, as many as twenty blacks were traded for supplies.After that a steady supply of slaves and indentured servants arrived on the colonies. They were not only sent to Virginia, but the rest of the expanding settlements. As the colonies developed, there was a great need for slaves because of agriculture. Over the next one hundred and fifty years the slave trade grew rapidly. By 1776, when the colonies became independent, the slave population was 500,000.The invention of the cotton gin changed slavery greatly. This machine let cotton be produced thousands of times more than it had been.This created a huge demand for slaves. This continued for 70 more years and caused many more problems for the union.
Slavery started out very different than it ended up. Slavery started as taking out a couple of blacks from Africa and it turned into a major worldwide business for hundreds of years. Slavery ended and it will never be missed.
Douglass, Frederick Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999
Finkel, Paul. Scott, Dred Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999
Norrell, Robert J., Du Bois, W.E.B Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999
Truth, Sojourner Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999
Tubman, Harriet Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999
Washington, Booker T. Encarta Encyclopedia, NewYork. Microsoft Publishing, 1999