History of Slavery

I really should give this guy some money, but his latest free offering is awesome as ever.

He admits up front that this is a difficult topic, and he jumps around, but so far, I’m really liking it. Tops among my reasons are that he doesn’t take the easy route that Columbus brought slavery to the new world. It existed in many forms throughout the world, coming out of the medieval time, and pre-global trade. Columbus just got lucky and landed in a paradise, instead the well armed and organized Aztecs. All that came together as we entered capitalism before gaining the enlightenment to not include human beings as s commodity.

The history of slavery is ongoing as it still exists today.

He makes that point, and cites the number I’ve heard, something like 40 million slaves. Not sure what falls under that though. There are and have been many forms of slavery.

The type the world has mostly agreed to stop is chattel slavery. The buying of a human as if they are animals. This was international trade for a few hundred years. Probably the worst form today is sex slavery, available to rich and poor alike.

Sex slavery is probably one of the less common types. Forced labor is probably the most common.

International Labor Organization -

  • At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery , including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage .
  • It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
  • 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
  • Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour , 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation , and 4 million persons in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors

Source: Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage , Geneva, September 2017.

Finished this up yesterday. He ends in 1801 when the British made it illegal. It continued of course, but he focused on how quickly things changed from 1790. It started with a petition that got 10,000 signatures and quickly grew to millions.

Interesting also was the debate. Even on the abolition side, there were those who did not believe Africans were equals, but their concerns were for their growing ability to organize. They, former slaves, had created militaries and nations within nations, complete with uniforms and hierarchies. The Haitian revolt was his main source.

The hypocrisy directly maps to today. These revolting slaves were murderous and torturous. Looked at through one lens, that is not to be excused, but when looked at from the lens of those were just torturing those very people just months earlier, it is to be expected.

There were arguments for a “soft landing” of slavery when the winds of change were seen. And this brutal revenge was exactly what they sought to avoid. They didn’t avoid it, not completely, and we still have threats like this over our heads.