A slave is somebody who is forced into servitude, is treated like a property of the owner (Master) or to the entire household. This servitude is achieved after a human being is sold to another human being, which was legal in medieval times. In the contemporary world slavery still exists, though in other forms.


According to the code of Hammurabi, which is dated around 1760, they are records showing evidence of slavery. In his works, Encyclopedia of Human rights, David Forsythe noted that slavery flourished in places with scarcity of labor and availability of land to be utilized for large scale farming. He further noted that at the turn of nineteenth century at least three quarters of the world population were oppressed against their will. They were treated as slaves or forced to some form of serfdom. The Jews had their fair share of being enslaved by Egyptians. Portugal was one of the first European countries to engage in slave trade.

Numerous nations for instance Ashanti, which is the modern day Ghana and Yoruba, the modern day Nigeria, were engaged in trading of slaves. Nyamwezi’ people of Tanzania and Angola’s Imbalanga served as middlemen for the Europeans waging war upon African States in order to apprehend natives and send them overseas as slaves. The Atlantic slave trade occurred across Atlantic Ocean from sixteenth up to nineteenth centuries. Africans were sold to European slave masters, who exported them to South and North American. Slaves were chained and subjected to incalculable brutality. The only way for slaves to escape was by committing suicide by jumping overboard. If the slave owner wanted to kill the slave no one would question them and those who attempted to escape during the trip were killed.

In 1772, at King’s Bench, the court ruled that slavery was unlawful in England in the case of Somerset. William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson efforts influenced the parliament to pass the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in United Kingdom. In 1807, slave trade was abolished in Britain. In the United States slavery was abolished in 1865 when the 13th amendment was effected in the US constitution.


It’s evident that slavery existed for centuries before the very first slaves went to America. According to the article code of Hammurabi, which is dated around 1760, the first slave traders from Europe were Portuguese and most slaves were taken during the first Atlantic slave trade. In Africa most slaves were from West Africa and they were sold by middle men. The Atlantic slave trade also illustrates clearly that some slaves were treated like animals during the trip and most slaves died of diseases, suicide and some thrown overboard. In addition to this, ships were being packed to the fullest and the slaves had to watch others suffocate to death. They were only fed few days before their destination so that they would look healthier during auction.

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