What do you think of when you hear the words “slave trade”? You probably think of the Atlantic slave trade. While this is one of the most well known, there were (and still are) numerous other trades as well. Today we’re going to take a look at all of the different trades throughout history, with a focus on the Atlantic trade. These are 25 shocking facts about slave trade.
One of the first mentions of slavery was in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BC). It's worth noting that besides not having a written language, slavery wasn't too popular with hunter-gatherers because it required social stratification.
Since the beginning of civilization (post-hunter-gatherers), slavery has played a huge role in society from the building of the pyramids in Egypt to indentured servitude in England. In fact, at the turn of the 19th century, an estimated 3/4 of the world was trapped in bondage against their will (some form of slavery or serfdom).
The first large scale slave trade was the Arab slave trade. It started in the 7th century and primarily involved slaves being taken from western Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Some historians have cited the Arab slave trade as possibly being the initial source of prejudice against darker skinned, sub-Saharan Africans that has unfortunately continued into the 21st century.
When most people consider the phrase "slave trade," they are thinking of the Atlantic slave trade. This slave trade started during the 15th century and continued until the 19th century.
As with the Arab slave trade, the source of slaves was once again sub-Saharan Africa. The Europeans essentially tapped into an already developed slave trade and exploited it for their own purposes.
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Featured Image: wikimedia commons (public domain), 25. wikimedia commons (public domain), 24. pixabay (public domain), 23. derivative work: Hakeem.gadi (talk) Traite_musulmane_medievale.svg: Aliesin, Medieval Arab Slave Trade, CC BY-SA 3.0, 22-19. wikimedia commons (public domain), 18. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, Tropenmuseum Royal Tropical Institute Objectnumber 3444-7 Begrafenis bij plantageslaven2, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. Sémhur, Triangular trade, CC BY-SA 3.0, 16. wikimedia commons (public domain), 15. howard_morland via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14-13. wikimedia commons (public domain), 12. Dave Ley, Elmina slave castle, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11. Jbolden030170, African slave ship diagram, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10-9. wikimedia commons (public domain), 8. pixabay (public domain), 7-4. wikimedia commons (public domain), 3-2. pixabay (public domain), 1. Kwamikagami. Font: Candara., Modern incidence of slavery, CC BY-SA 3.0