SLAVERY AND THE SLAVE TRADE
SLAVERY AND THE SLAVE TRADE. Slavery has existed throughout history. Most societies have made provisions for it within their structure, and most peoples have been sources of slaves at one time or another. The expansion of slavery was often a by-product of empire building as a dominant power turned its prisoners of war into slaves through conquest. However, from empire to empire there was considerable variation in slaves' legal status and prospects for incorporation into the polity; likewise, within a given society or state, there could be a wide range of status, labor, and opportunities among different slaves.
Indeed, a precise definition of slavery that will fit all societies is difficult to present. Most forms of slavery share the following characteristics: (1) slaves are obliged to live their lives in perpetual service to their master, an obligation that only the master (or the state) can dissolve; (2) slaves are under the complete power of their masters, although the state or community may impose certain restrictions upon the master's treatment of the slave; (3) slaves are property, which may be sold or passed along as an inheritance at the master's discretion; and (4) the condition of slavery is transmitted from parent to child.
Historians often distinguish between "slave societies" and "societies with slaves," based upon the centrality of slavery to the economy. Ancient Rome and the plantation colonies of Brazil. the Caribbean, and the American South were "slave societies"; during the early modern period, most European countries and many Latin and North American colonies were merely "societies with slaves."
The question of who can legitimately be enslaved in any society often boils down to a definition of who constitutes an "insider" and who is fundamentally excluded from a society. Over the course of the early modern period, these lines shifted from religious to somatic categories, thus creating the relatively new category of "race." Thus, fifteenth-century Christians justified the enslavement of non-Christians on fundamentally religious grounds. In some contrast to the Russian and Ottoman empires, by the seventeenth century all western European powers defined Africans as peculiarly destined to enslavement, an opinion that was often justified by the biblical account of the curse upon Noah's sons. As Enlightenment secularism and materialism became influential in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a new, biologically justified discourse of racism was buttressed by the pronouncements of science. Some theorists, including those in nations with no direct ties to the slave trade, embraced these attitudes. For example, the German Enlightenment thinker Immanuel Kant cited with approval David Hume's characterization of blacks as highly superstitious, overly talkative, lacking intelligence, and ungifted in the arts. Various forms of racism — scientific, institutional, and cultural — outlived the institution of slavery and persist in Europe today.
ROOTS OF EARLY MODERN SLAVERY
While slavery was a significant feature of ancient Greek and Middle Eastern societies, the direct roots of Europe's early modern traffic in slaves can be traced to ancient Rome and to early Islam. At the height of its power (c. 200 b.c.e. – 200 c.e.), the Roman republic depended upon perhaps 2 million slaves (or about a third of its population) to perform every kind of labor, from agricultural production and domestic service to military command and political advising. Many of these slaves were taken from the communities and cultures at the empire's periphery and pressed into service where, through trade networks, they relocated throughout the lands under Roman imperial control.
With the collapse of the Roman Empire in the late fourth century, slavery became much more marginal in most European regions. While some families continued to maintain small numbers of slaves, often as domestic servants, widespread agricultural slavery generally gave way to serfdom, especially in northern and western Europe (including England. Scandinavia. and France ). The chief difference between serfs and slaves was that serfs were bound to the land — they could not be traded away from the manorial estate to which they were born. Slaves, by contrast, were chattel property that could be bought and sold; their legal existence was mediated through their masters. By 1086, when William the Conqueror ordered the survey of the lands of EnglandcommonlyknownastheDomesday("Doomsday") Book, only about 10 percent of the English population was counted as slaves, and the proportion continued to decline after that. Regions with stronger ties to the Byzantine Empire (for example, Russia) and Muslim northern Africa (for example, Sicily) had greater access to slave markets, and slavery continued as a minor but persistent feature of southern and eastern European medieval societies.
Islam, being religiously and linguistically distinct from Christian Europe, expanded a preexisting slave system in the seventh and eighth centuries during its major conquests from Europe's Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) to the frontier of China. The Islamic empire, like Rome, allowed for the integration of conquered people into its own population through various assimilation mechanisms, including slavery. The Arabic language — the dominant language of the original Muslims — provided bureaucratic and cultural unity to elites while many vernacular languages and customs persisted. Yet the religion of Islam gave legal, cultural, and linguistic unity — at least at the elite administrative level — to a diverse and cosmopolitan empire.
Slavery under Islamic regimes, however, differed from Roman slavery in certain ways. First, it was not a central feature in agricultural production, as slavery had been to the Italian peninsula; most slaves held by Muslims were employed in domestic service. Second, the great majority of slaves in early Islamic states were women and children — male prisoners of war who resisted were more likely killed than enslaved. However, male slaves came to be used by the thousands as soldiers and administrators in later empires, like those of the Mamluks of Egypt and of the Ottomans.
Another important feature of Islamic slavery, from the perspective of early modern Europe, is the development of trans-Saharan slave routes and an emerging discourse associating blackness with slavery. While Muslims enslaved an extremely diverse range of peoples, from the blond and blue-eyed Caucasians to the ebony-skinned Zanj of East Africa, a literary trope emerged around 675 – 725 under the Umayyad dynasty, connoting inferiority to those with dark skin. The Muslim world also supplied the Iberian Peninsula with slaves, so that by completion of the Reconquista in the fifteenth century, there was a stable community of several thousand blacks of sub-Saharan African descent in the major cities of Portugal and Castile.
Constantius II (ruled 337 – 361), the Christian emperor of Rome, had decreed in 339 that Jews were not permitted to hold Christians as slaves. During the Middle Ages a new policy barring the enslavement of fellow Christians — possibly in imitation of similar Muslim prohibitions against the enslavement of coreligionists — served to win pagan converts to the expanding Christian feudal order. Most of the western European languages' words for slave are etymologically related; "slave" (English), Sklave (German), esclave (French), esclavo (Spanish), schiavo (Italian), and even the Arabic saqaliba are all based upon the ethnic term "Slav" and refer to the southern Balkan peoples who were one of the chief sources of slaves during the ancient and medieval periods.
EUROPEANS AS SLAVES
Europeans were not only slaveholders in the early modern period; they were also slaves. From at least the sixteenth century, thousands of Europeans were captured by Muslim privateers in or along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, or North Sea and sold into slave markets from Alexandria, Egypt to Meknes, Morocco. Seamen, fishermen, traders, travelers, and soldiers were the most vulnerable to seaborne raiders. On land, with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, peasant families were just as subject to enslavement as were combatant soldiers. Some Christian captives converted to Islam and made new lives for themselves, others were ransomed by their relatives, escaped, or died in captivity. Some were pressed into service as galley slaves on Muslim ships. Many observers noted that their treatment there was better than on the French, Italian, or Spanish galleys. In general, slavery in the Ottoman Empire was reportedly milder than slavery elsewhere, and manumission (the individual freeing of slaves) was a common, even expected, form of charity for observant Muslims.
In the second half of the seventeenth century, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the chief minister to France's king Louis XIV (ruled 1643 – 1715), expanded a system of galley slaves as punishment for many different kinds of crimes. More than 1,500 Protestant dissenters were condemned to the French galleys. During the same period, the Habsburg emperor Leopold I (ruled 1658 – 1705), in conjunction with Louis XIV, suspended the religious freedom guaranteed by the Hungarian constitution and sent some sixty Protestant ministers to be sold to the Spanish galleys; twenty-six surviving prisoners were released in 1676. The French galley penal system continued until 1748.
In the same period, from the end of the seventeenth century until the end of the eighteenth, the seizure of war captives for ransom or labor became a fixture of warfare between the Russian and Ottoman empires. However, in contrast to the Ottomans, whose slaves were overwhelmingly non-Muslim outsiders, Russia drew most of its slaves from its own domestic population, many of whom sold themselves to escape famine or destitution.
Slavery persisted in Russia until the early eighteenth century, when the tsarist state redefined domestic slaves as serfs so that they might be taxable. The line between serf and slave, however, was often blurred in practice. Slavery in Ottoman Europe continued in reduced form through the nineteenth century until its formal abolition at the end of the century.
EUROPE AND THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
The roots of Europe's slave colonies in America can be found in Portugal's fifteenth-century exploration of the western coast of Africa. Upon conquering the Muslim fortress of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415, Portuguese rulers turned their attention to the trade goods being delivered across the Sahara desert. By skirting the coast, royally sponsored explorers hoped to trace the supplies of gold and other precious goods to their source, thus bypassing the costs of the middlemen traders. By the mid-1450s, the Portuguese had begun to purchase slaves along the West African coast, establishing contracts with Wolof, Mandinga, and Bati rulers to exchange gold, cotton, ivory, and slaves for horses, red cloth, and iron. In the 1480s, the Portuguese established the entrep ô ts of S ã o Tom é and Elmina to serve the regular trade routes from Congo and Benin. At the same time, following the medieval model of sugar production in North Africa and several Mediterranean islands, the Portuguese established plantations on the Atlantic islands of Madeira, the Cape Verde islands, and the Canaries, and they increasingly worked them with slaves imported from Africa.
Though some African slaves arrived in America along with Spanish conquistadors as early as 1502, most early colonial labor needs in the New World were initially met by Amerindians. The Spanish rulers replicated the feudal tribute system of encomienda in their New World colonies, compelling Amerindians to produce staples such as corn, beans, and cotton, as well as luxury products, including gold and silver. Due to this exploitation, susceptibility to Old World diseases, and perhaps, in some regions, an environmental crisis of soil depletion, native populations died at appalling rates: in the highly populated Mexican basin, 90 percent of the population died within a century of conquest. A confluence of this labor shortage with ready supplies of African slaves from the entrep ô ts in the western and central African regions of Senegal, Elmina (along the Gold Coast), Angola, and Congo facilitated Spanish colonies' experimentation with the importation of African slaves to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Peru. By 1580, some 74,000 Africans had been shipped from Africa for the Americas, while some 232,000 Spanish and Portuguese left for the Americas during the same period.
From 1580 until 1700, the relative proportion of emigration from Africa and Europe reversed. Approximately 1,531,000 Africans left Africa for the Americas (though an average of 20 percent perished during the grueling Middle Passage), while during the same time only about 944,000 Europeans ventured out for the New World, primarily to Spanish and British colonies. Key in this transformation was the introduction of sugar cultivation, first in Portuguese Brazil, then in the Caribbean. Unlike tobacco, another exotic product grown in America for export to Europe, sugar required a large labor force to process the ripe sugarcane on site before it rotted. Colonial planters sought economy of scale by consolidating large plantations, with gangs of 20 to 200 slaves staying up through the night to feed the proto-industrial sugar mills and tend the refining vats.
Also in the seventeenth century, the Dutch took over much of the Portuguese empire, conquering trading posts in Africa and Brazil and confiscating the lucrative transatlantic slave trade. Meanwhile, English and French colonists began to encroach on the Iberian colonial monopoly in North America, the Antilles, and coastal Guyana. At first, the favored commodity in Virginia and the Caribbean was tobacco, grown primarily with indentured servants from Europe, but gradually this was overtaken in the tropics by sugar and indigo, and it was supplemented by coffee and cotton. These crops accelerated the colonial demand for slave labor so that from 1700 to 1760, some 2,775,000 Africans were shipped for the New World, while only 891,000 Europeans departed for the same destination.
In this way, a "triangle of trade" emerged, linking the continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Slave traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and France brought raw and manufactured materials (such as iron, glass, guns, cloth, and horses) to African traders. African rulers profited from this trade, waging war on neighbors or requiring tribute in the form of slaves, which they, in turn, bartered to Europeans for the exotic luxury items they supplied. European traders packed slaves into sailing ships for the notorious Middle Passage, which averaged two to three months in the sixteenth century but could be completed in as little as 20 to 40 days by the nineteenth century. Survivors of the transatlantic voyage were sold to slaveholders for sugar, gold, tobacco, and rum, which in turn were sold in Europe.
The royally sponsored Portuguese trade was eclipsed in the seventeenth century by the Dutch, English, and French trading companies, each with exclusive national privileges, or charters, to trade between specific regions. Yet many colonists chafed against these mercantilist restrictions, and smuggling was widespread, especially outside the central commercial hubs. By the mid-eighteenth century, the English and French dominated the Atlantic slave trade.
SLAVERY AND THE ECONOMY OF EUROPE
The effect of Atlantic slavery on Europe's economies has been a matter of considerable debate since the 1944 publication of Eric Williams's Capitalism and Slavery. As part of his argument about the rise and fall of Atlantic slavery, Williams asserted that the Atlantic slave system created the export demand, the trading network, and one of the main streams of capital that fueled England's industrial revolution. Williams's claims have been challenged, however, by a generation of historians, such as Roger Anstey and Seymour Drescher, who have argued that profits from the slave trade were never sufficient to be a significant source of capital for the industrial revolution, and that the slave colonies, rather than generating substantial profits, were actually a net loss for the metropole.
Still, the complex economic relationships established within and between Europe, Africa, and the Americas during the early modern period make it difficult to isolate Europe's economic developments from the American slave complex. Some historians continue to argue that African slaves were responsible for about 75 percent of the American products that fed the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century commercial revolution, which in turn contributed to Britain's urbanization, creation of markets, export manufacture, and shift to industrial production after 1750. Others suggest that the concentration of capital, technological innovation, and organization of labor for efficiency in the colonial sugar plantations were models for the industrialization of the European textile industries.
SLAVERY AND THE LAW
Slave law, as with law more generally, encompasses positive law (statutes), jurisprudence (legal philosophy), and case law. While knowledge of the statutes is necessary to know the prescriptive status of slaves in any given jurisdiction, a better understanding of their actual condition in any community can be found through an examination of the judicial cases concerning slaves, as well as those concerning former slaves or "freedmen."
Roman slave law, codified in Justinian's sixth-century Corpus juris civilis, influenced most continental European legal systems, although as slavery became economically important to American colonies the law was modified to reflect local interests. Several characteristics of Roman law were fundamental to later jurists, including manumission practices, civil status, and criminal law. For some purposes, the law treated slaves as though they were human beings, for others, as things.
Roman law facilitated manumission, or individual freeing of slaves, and slaves' entry into the populace as citizens. Although manumitted slaves did not enjoy all the rights of freeborn Roman citizens, their freeborn children did. Slaves, like freeborn sons or daughters of Roman citizens, could not own property in their own right until the death of the master/patriarch. However, Roman law allowed
for the creation of a savings fund, or peculium, which — though technically the property of the master — was administered by the slave within the constraints dictated by the master. Thus slaves were permitted to purchase their freedom through accumulated savings, with the permission of, and at the price set by, the master.
The emperor Justinian introduced a range of procedures that, if enforced, would moderate the slave system from the point of view of the slave. For example, Justinian's code held that a master could not kill his slave with impunity and, in cases of extreme abuse, a slave could seek the protection of the emperor or the church. And while the late Roman republic (c. 50 b.c.e.) had recognized only three avenues to freedom — manumission by enrollment on the census, manumission by testament, and proceedings whereby liberty was restored to a free person who had been wrongfully held as a slave — under Justinian, additional means of manumission were recognized, including a letter signed by five witnesses, manumission in the Christian church, and official recognition by a master that a slave was his son.
Yet under Roman law, slaves could not be parties to civil lawsuits, nor accusers in criminal cases, nor under Roman law could they marry. Their testimony could, under certain conditions, be accepted, but not against their masters. In those instances where their testimony was authorized, they were required to undergo torture. At the same time, it was perfectly legitimate to try slaves as defendants in criminal cases. Escaped slaves were not punished by the state, but, if caught, were subject to the master's discipline.
Most of the judicial courts of western Europe absorbed Roman law as part of their legal culture, yet innovated according to their own customs and conditions through the medieval and early modern eras. For Castilian Spain, Las siete partidas, a compilation consolidated under Alfonso X (ruled 1252 – 1284) around 1265 (and promulgated in 1348) integrated Roman features with Visigothic codes and medieval practices. The new Spanish law recognized slave marriages, even over a master's opposition, and masters would be penalized for fostering a clandestine marriage between their own slave and that of another. Portugal's Ordena ç oes Filipinas, promulgated by Philip II (ruled 1556 – 1598) and confirmed by the Portuguese king John IV (ruled 1640 – 1656) in 1643, established general slave laws for Portuguese territories past Brazilian independence in 1822, but these were supplemented explicitly by the Corpus juris civilis until 1769, when Roman precedents were discarded for natural law principles of the Enlightenment. In many regards, including manumission, Portugal's laws were therefore identical with Rome's. While France's Code noir of 1685 strongly reflected Louis XIV's desire to make Catholicism the sole religion of the kingdom (an innovation over Roman traditions), many of the French law's provisions mirrored the ancient Justinian code.
Despite these continuities with Roman law, the new Atlantic slave experience generated new legal customs and, eventually, statutes. In French Caribbean colonies, the Code noir contained a provision, apparently following local custom but no doubt sanctioned by the church, to the effect that any master who sired a child with his slave concubine would bear a hefty fine and the slaves would be confiscated for the state, unless the master married the slave in question, whereupon both mother and child would be thereby recognized as free. When the Code noir was reissued for the new colony of Louisiana in 1724, however, this provision was omitted and a new one explicitly forbade marriages between whites and blacks.
The most striking innovations were apparent in England and its colonies, where neither Roman legal traditions, nor the practice of enslavement, carried through the Middle Ages into the early modern period of Atlantic colonization. England's colonial assemblies were authorized to make local law distinct from that of the metropole; hence each colony developed its own unique statutory and case law with regard to the status and treatment of slaves and freedmen. During the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, British American colonies passed increasingly harsh measures regulating slaves and free blacks. For example, a Virginia statute of 1682 held that if a slave died resisting the force of his master, the master would not be liable for felony charges since "it cannot be presumed that [premeditated] malice should induce any man to destroy his own estate [property]."
The written law of Spain mutated further in the colonial settlements of the New World. For example, slaves were sometimes permitted to testify in court and a master's privilege of re-enslaving an ungrateful freedman fell into disuse. One of the most significant customary innovations in slave law was the practice of coartaci ó n, which developed in eighteenth-century Spanish America. On the basis of coartaci ó n, a slave who presented a fair price to his master could achieve his freedom — with or without the master's consent. This factor, along with demographics, economic conditions, and cultural reasons, helps to explain why people of color made up a larger proportion of the free population in many Latin American colonies.
ANTISLAVERY AND ABOLITION
The movement to abolish slavery has roots in European urban culture, elite European religious and intellectual movements, and African-American slave resistance. Yet it was not until the late eighteenth century that all of these forces combined to create a sustained attack on the institution of slavery itself, and not until the nineteenth century that the Atlantic slave trade, and then American slavery, were finally abolished.
Since at least the thirteenth century, urban centers in France, such as Toulouse and Pamiers, became refuges from the most extreme forms of bondage by adopting charters that freed slaves upon entrance to the village. In England, a Russian slave was freed in 1567 on the grounds that "the air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe." In seventeenth-century France, local traditions supporting liberty were extended to the French kingdom in the maxim, "All persons are free in this kingdom; and as soon as a slave had arrived at the borders of this place, being baptized, is freed."
As the Atlantic slave system began to expand, some critics argued for limitations on the excesses of slavery and the slave trade throughout the early modern period. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain and Spanish America, some Catholic clergy voiced their concerns, including Bartolom é de Las Casas (1474 – 1566), who opposed the enslavement of Indians, and Tom á s de Mercado and Alonso de Sandoval, who challenged the most extreme cruelties of the slave trade. In 1646, the Capuchin missionary order was expelled from the French Antillean colony of Saint-Christophe, allegedly because they preached the idea that once baptized, blacks could no longer be held as slaves since "it is an unworthy thing to use one's Christian brother as a slave." In 1688, several Dutch-speaking Quakers of Germantown, Pennsylvania, chastised their coreligionists for owning and trading slaves, for they "have. as much right to fight for their freedom as you have to keep them as slaves." Yet many Christians also stressed the virtue of slaves' obedience to their masters, and the suspension of reward until the hereafter, thus implicitly sanctioning slavery and inequality in the here and now.
In the eighteenth century, more secular voices began to critique slavery on the grounds of natural law and the linkage of personal slavery with political despotism. Scottish Enlightenment writers Francis Hutcheson and George Wallace were among the first to attack both slavery and the slave trade as violations of "natural justice" and "humanity." French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) drew directly from Wallace to challenge the right of slaves to sell themselves into bondage in his On the Social Contract. By 1762, there was a sufficient body of antislavery thought for the Pennsylvania Quaker Anthony Benezet to publish the first title devoted solely to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, a collection he titled A Short Account of That Part of Africa Inhabited by Negroes, which was widely read on both sides of the Atlantic.
The third source of abolitionism was the actions taken by slaves themselves to resist slavery. In the Americas, slaves who ran away, known as "maroons," established independent communities in the regions beyond direct colonial power, such as the canyons of Jamaica, the mountains of Guadeloupe, the sert ã o of Brazil, and the swamps of Florida. Some of the maroon communities were so powerful militarily that they established treaties with the local European colonial powers, as in Surinam.
From as early as 1527 and throughout the expansion of plantation slavery in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, slaves plotted and revolted against masters. Most such revolts were small-scale events, with the aim of seeking local justice. Whether they were enacted on the individual or communal scale by the maroons, or in the wider arena of revolt or revolution, slaves overcame tremendous odds in seeking autonomy for themselves and, when possible, in extending that freedom to others. The 1791 slave revolt in northern Saint Domingue that escalated into the Haitian Revolution articulated a strong antislavery ideology and effected the first universal emancipation (of French colonies, in 1794) and the first independent republic established by former slaves (Haiti, 1804).
The end of the eighteenth century also marks the beginning of the bourgeois Atlantic abolition movements. Granville Sharp, an eccentric and pious Englishman, took up the cause of a slave who had been kidnapped and beaten by his master in England in 1765. Sharp's research into the law convinced him the English constitution was antithetical to slavery. English abolitionists had their first major success when they rallied to the support of the slave Somerset, whose master attempted to expel him from England on a ship bound for Jamaica in 1772. Though the extent of Judge Mansfield's decision in the Somerset case has been debated by historians, it was widely interpreted at the time as effectively abolishing slavery within England, and Scottish courts soon followed suit with an even broader pronouncement against slavery in 1778.
In North America, patriots of the American Revolution equated British political tyranny with slavery and offered proposals to ban the slave trade. Some extended the critique to slavery itself, though antislavery and antiblack sentiments were sometimes intertwined. Vermont prohibited slavery in its 1777 constitution while Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut all adopted emancipation statutes. Judges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire issued decisions similar to England's Somerset decision, thus establishing these territories as free states. In the North, only New York and New Jersey, both with sizable slave populations, maintained a legal apparatus permitting the continuation of slavery, yet these states also generated active, if elitist, abolitionist societies.
Sharp was soon joined by other antislavery activists in England, including the Methodist founder John Wesley, who preached against the evils of slavery on both sides of the Atlantic. Quakers, Methodists, Sharp, and others formed the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787 and set about lobbying the British Parliament for their cause. Thomas Clarkson was the society's full-time organizer and propagandist. Within months, the group had collected more than 10,000 signatures on an antislavery petition from the city of Manchester alone, comprising half of the adult male population. Former slaves, including Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) and Ottobah Cugoano penned their life stories and went on the lecture circuit to rally audiences to the cause. William Wilberforce, an influential member of Parliament, translated the antislavery sentiment into legislative initiatives. The first of these was defeated by pro-slavery opponents in 1791. Petition drives increased, with nearly 400,000 signatories in 1792. At this same time, the Danish government announced that it would abolish its own slave trade within ten years.
In France, the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Saint Domingue slave revolt of 1791 made it expedient for the French antislavery association, the Amis des noirs, to focus on mulatto rights. In 1794, the French Convention ratified the republican commissioners' offer of freedom to slaves who would fight against the royalists in Saint Domingue, and they extended it as a universal emancipation to slaves in all other colonies still under French control. However, Napoleon's forceful reimposition of slavery to the Caribbean colonies in 1802 precipitated Haitian independence and postponed French abolition until 1848.
The French and Haitian revolutions proved a setback to the British abolitionist movement, as conservative forces asserted that the popular classes were incapable of self-rule. It was not until 1808 that the Atlantic slave trade was formally abolished by Britain and the United States, with Britain policing the seas in an attempt to prevent Spanish and Portuguese trade to the Caribbean and Central and South America. It would take another thirty years for Britain's abolitionists to eliminate slavery within its remaining colonies (for example, Jamaica and Barbados), and not until 1888 was slavery abolished within the last American state, Brazil.
Though slavery was officially abolished in the Americas in the nineteenth century, it expanded in some parts of Africa as a direct result of Euro-American abolition. Slavery and related forms of coerced labor still exist today in many countries of the world. Women and children are especially vulnerable.
See also Africa ; Equality and Inequality ; Industry ; Laborers ; Race, Theories of ; Serfdom ; Servants .
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