Slavery Before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

12 December 2016

What is the difference between slavery prior to the 14th century with that of slavery after the 15th century? Slavery existed long before the original slaves came to America. In fact, slavery prior to the 14th century differed greatly from slavery after the 15th century. Slavery was essential to many economic and social structures. For example, ancient Greece and Rome had many slaves. They differed from the form of slavery after the 15th century, though, due to the background of their slaves.

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Slavery was not necessarily racial or ethnic in origin prior to 15th century slavery. It was often captured enemies of war from many different places. However, when the Trans-Atlantic trade began, the majority of the slaves were African. Another difference is that the Africans were treated as objects, whereas prior to the 14th century, they were not legally the same as objects. Another difference is the jobs that they occupied. For example, the majority of the Athenian slaves were domestic servants, but the majority of African Americans had brutal and tedious jobs such working in fields all day.

Slaves were also used to enforce religions, such as Islam. The Ottoman Empire forcibly converted approximately one million non-Muslims. However, the main purpose of Africans in the Americas was primarily as a work force. A significant difference was that of the Aztec slavery. For them, slavery was not considered hereditary. Therefore, a slave’s child was free. After the 15th century, a slave’s child was still considered a slave: it was hereditary. Slave trade was different before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began.

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