Arab slave trade

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Arab slave trade
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(File:Arabslavers.jpg|thumb|300px|19th-century engraving depicting an Arab slave-trading caravan transporting black African slaves across the Sahara.){{slavery}}The Arab slave trade is a name used to refer to the intersection of slavery and trade surrounding the Arab world and Indian Ocean, mainly in Western and Central Asia, Northern and Eastern Africa, India, and Europe.BOOK, Rodneyʼ, Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, 1972, Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, 97,weblink 29 May 2017, 9781906387945, This barter occurred chiefly between the medieval era and the early 20th century. The trade was conducted through slave markets in these areas, with the slaves captured mostly from Africa's interior, Southern and Eastern Europe,BOOK, Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800,weblink London, Palgrave Macmillan, 45, December 2003, 978-0333719664, 15 May 2015, WEB,weblink When Europeans Were Slaves: Research Suggest White Slavery Was Much More Common Than Previously Believed, Jeff Grabmeier, 8 March 2004,, Columbus, Ohio, OSU News Research Archive, 15 May 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2011, dead, dmy-all, Based on "records for 27,233 voyages that set out to obtain slaves for the Americas". Stephen Behrendt, "Transatlantic Slave Trade", Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999), {{ISBN|0-465-00071-1}}. the Caucasus, and Central Asia.Walter Rodney argues that the term Arab Slave Trade is a historical misnomer since bilateral trade agreements between myriad ethnic groups across the proposed 'Zanj trade network' characterized much of the acquisition process of chattel, and more often than not indentured servants.BOOK, Rodneyʼ, Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, 1972, Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications, 211,weblink 29 May 2017, 9781906387945, He alternatively refers to it as the East African slave trade or the Indian Ocean slave trade. The East African slave trade network was later dominated by European colonial traders by the 18th and 19th centuries, when the destinations of most East African slaves were plantation colonies owned by Europeans.

Scope of the trade

African Zanj slaves

File:Slaves ruvuma.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma River in MozambiqueMozambiqueThe Arab slave trade, across the Sahara desert and across the Indian Ocean, began after Muslim Arab and Swahili traders won control of the Swahili Coast and sea routes during the 9th century (see Sultanate of Zanzibar). These traders captured Bantu peoples (Zanj) from the interior in present-day Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania and brought them to the coast.BOOK, Ochiengʼ, William Robert, Eastern Kenya and Its Invaders, 1975, East African Literature Bureau, 76,weblink 15 May 2015, There, the slaves gradually assimilated in the rural areas, particularly on the Unguja and Pemba islands.Some historians assert that as many as 17 million people were sold into slavery on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, and North Africa, and approximately 5 million African slaves were transported by Muslim slave traders via Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert to other parts of the world between 1500 and 1900.WEB,weblink Focus on the slave trade, BBC, 3 September 2001,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2017, The captives were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantations in the region. Eventually, tens of thousands of captives were being taken every year.BOOK, Lodhi, Abdulaziz, Oriental influences in Swahili: a study in language and culture contacts, 2000, Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 978-9173463775, 17,weblink BOOK, A History of Africa, December 2001, Routledge, 9780415252485, 4, Budapest, 258, John Donnelly Fage and William Tordoff, BOOK, Edward R., Tannenbaum, Guilford, Dudley, A History of World Civilizations, 1973, Wiley, 978-0471844808, 615,weblink The Indian Ocean slave trade was multi-directional and changed over time. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantu slaves bought by Arab slave traders from southeastern Africa were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Egypt, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, European colonies in the Far East, the Indian Ocean islands, Ethiopia and Somalia.Gwyn Campbell, The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia, 1 edition, (Routledge: 2003), p.ixSlave labor in East Africa was drawn from the Zanj, Bantu peoples that lived along the East African coast. The Zanj were for centuries shipped as slaves by Arab traders to all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs recruited many Zanj slaves as soldiers and, as early as 696, there were revolts of Zanj slave soldiers in Iraq. A 7th-century Chinese text mentions ambassadors from Java presenting the Chinese emperor with two Seng Chi (Zanj) slaves as gifts in 614, and 8th- and 9th-century chronicles mention Seng Chi slaves reaching China from the Hindu kingdom of Sri Vijaya in Java.The Zanj Rebellion, a series of uprisings that took place between 869 and 883 AD near the city of Basra (also known as Basara), situated in present-day Iraq, is believed to have involved enslaved Zanj that had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa.BOOK, Rodriguez, Junius P., Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion, Volume 2, 2007, Greenwood Publishing Group, 978-0313332739, 585,weblink It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over "tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq".WEB, Asquith, Christina,weblink Revisiting the Zanj and Re-Visioning Revolt: Complexities of the Zanj Conflict – 868-883 Ad – slave revolt in Iraq,, 2016-03-23, The Zanj who were taken as slaves to the Middle East were often used in strenuous agricultural work.WEB,weblink Islam, From Arab To Islamic Empire: The Early Abbasid Era,, 2016-03-23,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-10-11, dead, As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabs became richer, agriculture and other manual labor work was thought to be demeaning. The resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market.It is certain that large numbers of slaves were exported from eastern Africa; the best evidence for this is the magnitude of the Zanj revolt in Iraq in the 9th century, though not all of the slaves involved were Zanj. There is little evidence of what part of eastern Africa the Zanj came from, for the name is here evidently used in its general sense, rather than to designate the particular stretch of the coast, from about 3°N. to 5°S., to which the name was also applied.JOURNAL, 216737, The Zanj Rebellion Reconsidered, Ghada Hashem, Talhami, 1 January 1977, The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 10, 3, 443–461, 10.2307/216737, The Zanj were needed to take care of:the Tigris-Euphrates delta, which had become abandoned marshland as a result of peasant migration and repeated flooding, could be reclaimed through intensive labor. Wealthy proprietors "had received extensive grants of tidal land on the condition that they would make it arable." Sugar cane was prominent among the products of their plantations, particularly in Khūzestān Province. Zanj also worked the salt mines of Mesopotamia, especially around Basra.WEB,weblink the Zanj: Towards a History of the Zanj Slaves' Rebellion,, 2016-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 27, 2009, Their jobs were to clear away the nitrous topsoil that made the land arable. The working conditions were also considered to be extremely harsh and miserable. Many other people were imported into the region, besides Zanj.WEB,weblink "William Cobb", Hidden Iraq, Historian M. A. Shaban has argued that rebellion was not a slave revolt, but a revolt of blacks (zanj). In his opinion, although a few runaway slaves did join the revolt, the majority of the participants were Arabs and free Zanj. If the revolt had been led by slaves, they would have lacked the necessary resources to combat the Abbasid government for as long as they did.{{sfn|Shaban|1976|pp=101-02}}Ibn Battuta who visited the ancient African kingdom of Mali in the mid-14th century recounts that the local inhabitants vie with each other in the number of slaves and servants they have, and was himself given a slave boy as a "hospitality gift."Noel King (ed.), Ibn Battuta in Black Africa, Princeton 2005, p. 54

European slaves

File:Meccan merchant and his Circassian slave.jpg|thumb|upright|A Hejazi Meccan merchant (right) and his Circassian slave, between 1886 and 1887]]During the Middle Ages, the main regions from where slaves were transported to Muslim lands were Central Europe asides from Central Asia and Bilad as-Sudan. Slaves of Northwestern Europe were also favoured. This slave trade was controlled mostly by Western slave traders. The Slavs captured by Christians were sent to Muslim lands like Spain and Egypt through France and Venice. Prague served as a major centre for castration of Slavic captives.BOOK,weblink Charlemagne, Muhammad, and the Arab Roots of Capitalism by Gene W. Heck, 316, 2009, Walter de Gruyter, Munich, 978-3-406-58450-3, BOOK,weblink Atlas of the Year 1000, 2009, 72, Harvard University Press, Munich, 978-3-406-58450-3, Emirate of Bari also served as an important port for trade of such slaves.BOOK, 12th century Europe: an interpretive essay,weblink 62, After the Byzantine Empire and Venice blocked Arab merchants from European ports, they started importing in slaves from Caucasus and Caspian Sea.BOOK, Critical Readings on Global Slavery (4 vols.),weblink 653, 654,

Arab slaves

Arabs were sometimes made into slaves in the Muslim world.Muhammad A. J. Beg, The "serfs" of Islamic society under the Abbasid regime, Islamic Culture, 49, 2, 1975, p. 108BOOK, Owen Rutter, The pirate wind: tales of the sea-robbers of Malaya,weblink 1986, Oxford University Press, 140, Sometimes castration was done on Arab slaves. In Mecca, Arab women were sold as slaves according to Ibn Butlan, and certain rulers in West Africa had slave girls of Arab origin.BOOK, W. G. Clarence-Smith, Islam and the Abolition of Slavery,weblink 2006, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-522151-0, 70–, BOOK, Humphrey J. Fisher, Slavery in the History of Muslim Black Africa,weblink 1 August 2001, NYU Press, 978-0-8147-2716-4, 182–, According to al-Maqrizi, slave girls with lighter skin were sold to West Africans on hajj.BOOK, Chouki El Hamel, Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam,weblink 27 February 2014, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-139-62004-8, 129–, BOOK, Shirley Guthrie, Arab Women in the Middle Ages: Private Lives and Public Roles,weblink 1 August 2013, Saqi, 978-0-86356-764-3, BOOK, William D. Phillips, Slavery from Roman Times to the Early Transatlantic Trade,weblink 1985, Manchester University Press, 978-0-7190-1825-1, 126–, Ibn Battuta met an Arab slave girl near Timbuktu in Mali in 1353. Battuta wrote that the slave girl was fluent in Arabic, from Damascus, and her master's name was Farbá Sulaymán.BOOK, Ibn Batuta, Said Hamdun, Noel Quinton King, Ibn Battuta in Black Africa,weblink March 2005, Markus Wiener Publishers, 978-1-55876-336-4, 65, BOOK, Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354,weblink 1 September 2004, Psychology Press, 978-0-415-34473-9, 334–, BOOK, Raymond Aaron Silverman, History, art and assimilation: the impact of Islam on Akan material culture,weblink 1983, University of Washington, 51, Besides his Damascus slave girl and a secretary fluent in Arabic, Arabic was also understood by Farbá himself.BOOK, Noel Quinton King, Christian and Muslim in Africa,weblink 1971, Harper & Row, 22,

Islamic and Oriental aspect

Patrick Manning writes that although the "Oriental" or "Arab" slave trade is sometimes called the "Islamic" slave trade, a religious imperative was not the driver of the slavery. He further argues such use of the terms "Islamic trade" or "Islamic world" erroneously treats Africa as being outside Islam, or a negligible portion of the Islamic world.Manning (1990) p.10 According to European historians, propagators of Islam in Africa often revealed a cautious attitude towards proselytizing because of its effect in reducing the potential reservoir of slaves.Murray Gordon, Slavery in the Arab World, New Amsterdam Press, New York, 1989. Originally published in French by Editions Robert Laffont, S.A. Paris, 1987, page 28.The subject merges with the Oriental slave trade, which followed two main routes in the Middle Ages:
  • Overland routes across the Maghreb and Mashriq deserts (Trans-Saharan route)WEB,weblink Battuta's Trip: Journey to West Africa (1351 - 1353),, 2010-06-28, 2016-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 28, 2010,
  • Sea routes to the east of Africa through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean (Oriental route)WEB,weblink The blood of a nation of Slaves in Stone Town, Susi O'Neill,, Globe Trekker, 29 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 25, 2008, NEWS,weblink BBC Remembering East African slave raids, Kevin Mwachiro, 30 March 2007, BBC, Nairobi, 29 April 2015,
The Arab slave trade originated before Islam and lasted more than a millennium."Know about Islamic Slavery in Africa"{{Page needed|date=March 2016}} {{webarchive |url=weblink" title="">weblink |date= October 31, 2007 }}WEB, The Forgotten Holocaust: The Eastern Slave Trade,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2009-10-26, dead, Irfan Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Dumbarton Oaks, 2002, p. 364 documents; Ghassanid Arabs seizing and selling 20,000 Samaritans as slaves in the year 529, before the rise of Islam. To meet the demand for plantation labor, these captured Zanj slaves were shipped to the Arabian peninsula and the Near East, among other areas.BOOK, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Volumes 21-22, 1991, 87,weblink 17 January 2015,

History of the Arab slave trade

{{Further|History of slavery in the Muslim world|Barbary slave trade}}

African Zanj slaves

The Arab trade of Zanj (Bantu) slaves in Southeast Africa is one of the oldest slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years.Bethwell A. Ogot, Zamani: A Survey of East African History, (East African Publishing House: 1974), p.104Mintz, S. Digital History Slavery, Facts & Myths Male slaves were often forced to work as servants, soldiers, or laborers by their owners, while female slaves, including those from Africa, were long traded to the Middle Eastern countries and kingdoms by Arab and Oriental traders as concubines and servants. Arab, African and Oriental{{dubious|Meaning what? Vague!|date=July 2018}} traders were involved in the capture and transport of slaves northward across the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean region into the Middle East, Persia and the Far East.From the 7th century until around the 1960s, the Arab slave trade continued in one form or another. Historical accounts and references to slave-owning nobility in Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere are frequent into the early 1920s.In 641 during the Baqt, a treaty between the Nubian Christian state of Makuria and the new Muslim rulers of Egypt, the Nubians agreed to give Arab traders more privileges of trade in addition to a share in their slave trading.Jay Spaulding. "Medieval Christian Nubia and the Islamic World: A Reconsideration of the Baqt Treaty," International Journal of African Historical Studies XXVIII, 3 (1995)In Somalia, the Bantu minorities are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantus from southeastern Africa captured by Somali slave traders were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Somalia and other areas in Northeast Africa and Asia. People captured locally during wars and raids were also sometimes enslaved by Somalis mostly of Oromo and Nilotic origin.cite book|last=Meinhof|first=Carl|title=Afrika und Übersee: Sprachen, Kulturen, Volumes 62-63|year=1979|publisher=D. Reimer|pages=272|url= Anderson, World Directory of Minorities, (Minority Rights Group International: 1997), p. 456. However, the perception, capture, treatment and duties of both groups of slaves differed markedly.Catherine Lowe Besteman, Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1999), p. 116.WEB, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,weblink Refugees Vol. 3, No. 128, 2002 UNHCR Publication Refugees about the Somali Bantu,, 18 October 2011, From 1800 to 1890, between 25,000–50,000 Bantu slaves are thought to have been sold from the slave market of Zanzibar to the Somali coast.WEB,weblink The Somali Bantu: Their History and Culture, PDF, 18 October 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2011, Most of the slaves were from the Majindo, Makua, Nyasa, Yao, Zalama, Zaramo and Zigua ethnic groups of Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. Collectively, these Bantu groups are known as Mushunguli, which is a term taken from Mzigula, the Zigua tribe's word for "people" (the word holds multiple implied meanings including "worker", "foreigner", and "slave").Refugee Reports, November 2002, Volume 23, Number 8During the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, slaves shipped from Ethiopia had a high demand in the markets of the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere in the Middle East. They were mostly domestic servants, though some served as agricultural labourers, or as water carriers, herdsmen, seamen, camel drivers, porters, washerwomen, masons, shop assistants and cooks. The most fortunate of the men worked as the officials or bodyguards of the ruler and emirs, or as business managers for rich merchants. They enjoyed significant personal freedom and occasionally held slaves of their own. Besides European, Caucasian, Javanese and Chinese girls brought in from the Far East, "red" (non-black) Ethiopian young females were among the most valued concubines. The most beautiful ones often enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle, and became mistresses of the elite or even mothers to rulers.BOOK, Campbell, Gwyn, Abolition and Its Aftermath in the Indian Ocean Africa and Asia, 2004, Psychology Press, 978-0203493021, 121,weblink The principal sources of these slaves, all of whom passed through Matamma, Massawa and Tadjoura on the Red Sea, were the southwestern parts of Ethiopia, in the Oromo and Sidama country.BOOK, Clarence-Smith, edited by William Gervase, The Economics of the Indian Ocean slave trade in the nineteenth century, 1989, Frank Cass, London, England, 978-0714633596, 1. publ. in Great Britain., In the Central African Republic, during the 16th and 17th centuries Muslim slave traders began to raid the region as part of the expansion of the Saharan and Nile River slave routes. Their captives were enslaved and shipped to the Mediterranean coast, Europe, Arabia, the Western Hemisphere, or to the slave ports and factories along the West and North Africa coasts or South along the Ubanqui and Congo rivers.BOOK, International Business Publications, USA, Central African Republic Foreign Policy and Government Guide (World Strategic and Business Information Library), 7 February 2007, Int'l Business Publications, 978-1433006210, 47, 1,weblink 25 May 2015, Alistair Boddy-Evans. Central Africa Republic Timeline – Part 1: From Prehistory to Independence (13 August 1960), A Chronology of Key Events in Central Africa Republic. About.comThe Arab slave trade in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea long predated the arrival of any significant number of Europeans on the African continent south of the Sahara.Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, in Les Collections de l'Histoire (April 2001) says:"la traite vers l'Océan indien et la Méditerranée est bien antérieure à l'irruption des Européens sur le continent"While in Wadi Safra during WWI, T.E. Lawrence wrote, "...these blacks were originally from Africa, brought over as children by their nominal Takruri fathers, and sold during the pilgrimage, in Mecca. Some became house or body servants with their masters; but the majority were sent out to the palm villages...and did all the manual work of the holding."BOOK, Lawrence, T.E., Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1935, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., Garden City, 89,159, File:Purchase of Christian captives from the Barbary States.jpg|thumb|The purchase of Christian captives by Catholic monks in the Barbary statesBarbary statesSome descendants of African slaves brought to the Middle East during the slave-trade still live there today, and are aware of their African origins.NEWS,weblink The Washington Post, A Legacy Hidden in Plain Sight, Theola, Labbe, 2004-01-11, 2015-04-29, NEWS,weblink The Health Promotion Research Unit and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Hidden History, Secret Present: The Origins and Status of African Palestinians, Susan Beckerleg, translated by Salah Al Zaroo, 2015-04-29,

European colonialism

By the 18th and 19th centuries, the East African slave trade network came to be dominated by European colonialists. Most East African slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries ended up in European-owned plantation economies around the Indian Ocean region, such as Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles, and the Cape of Good Hope, in addition to many taken to the Americas. The East African slave trade reached its peak during this period, as a result of the European capitalist plantation slavery system. This in turn increased demand for slave-grown products in some Arab countries which adopted the European capitalist plantation slavery system, such as Zanzibar. Historian Walter Rodney has criticised the "Arab Slave Trade" label as a misnomer, as it obscures the extent to which it was also a European slave trade.

19th century

In the 1800s, the slave trade from Africa to the Islamic countries picked up significantly when the European slave trade ended around the 1850s only to be ended with European colonisation of Africa around 1900.BOOK, Manning, Patrick, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades, 1990, Cambridge University Press, African Studies Series, London, {{Full citation needed|date=September 2015}}In 1814, Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt wrote of his travels in Egypt and Nubia, where he saw the practice of slave trading: "I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state, that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity."WEB,weblink Travels in Nubia, by John Lewis Burckhardt,, 2015-08-25, 2016-03-23, File:Slavezanzibar2.JPG|thumb|upright|A photograph of a slave boy in ZanzibarZanzibarDavid Livingstone wrote of the slave trade in the African Great Lakes region, which he visited in the mid-nineteenth century:BOOK, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience, 5-Volume Set, 2005, Oxford University Press, 978-0195170559, 295,weblink David Livingstone (2006). "The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death". Echo Library. p.46. {{ISBN|1-84637-555-X}}}}}}}}Zanzibar was once East Africa's main slave-trading port, and under Omani Arabs in the 19th century as many as 50,000 slaves were passing through the city each year.WEB,weblink Swahili Coast,, 17 October 2002, 15 May 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 6 December 2007, dead, Livingstone wrote in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald:

20th century

During the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) people were taken into slavery; estimates of abductions range from 14,000 to 200,000.WEB, Slavery, Abduction and Forced Servitude in Sudan,weblink US Department of State, 20 March 2014, 22 May 2002, Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed in 1905, 1961, and 1981.WEB, Reuters Editorial,weblink Slavery still exists in Mauritania,, 2007-03-22, 2016-03-23, It was finally criminalized in August 2007.WEB,weblink Mauritanian MPs pass slavery law, BBC News, 2007-08-09, 2016-03-23, It is estimated that up to 600,000 Mauritanians, or 20% of Mauritania's population, are currently in conditions which some consider to be "slavery", namely, many of them used as bonded labour due to poverty."The Abolition season", BBC World ServiceSlavery was comparatively recently outlawed in Oman (1970),WEB,weblink Slavery in the Twentieth Century: The Evolution of a Global Problem, Suzanne, Miers, 21 March 2018, Rowman Altamira, 21 March 2018, Google Books, Qatar (1952), Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (both in 1962).WEB,weblink BBC – Religions – Islam: Slavery in Islam,, 21 March 2018,

Historical and geographical context

Islamic world

{{further|History of slavery in the Muslim world|Muslim conquests|Islamic views on slavery}}File:Slaves Zadib Yemen 13th century BNF Paris.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A 13th-century slave market in YemenYemenIslamic sharia law allowed slavery but prohibited slavery involving other preexisting Muslims; as a result, the main target for slavery were the people who lived in the frontier areas of the Muslim world. Slaves initially came from various regions, including Central Asia (such as mamluks) and Europe (such as saqaliba), but by the modern period, slaves came mostly from Africa.JOURNAL, Alexander, J., Islam, Archaeology and Slavery in Africa, World Archaeology, 2001, 33, 1, 44–60, 827888, 10.1080/00438240126645, According to the sharia law, slaves were allowed to earn their living if they opted for that, otherwise it is the owner's (master) duty to provide for that. They also could not be forced to earn money for their masters unless with an agreement between the slave and the master.ENCYCLOPEDIA, P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, Clifford Edmund Bosworth, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online, Abd, Brill Academic Publishers, 1573-3912, This concept is called مخارجة (mukhārajah) (Lane: "And خَارَجَهُ He made an agreement with him, namely, his slave that he (the latter) should pay him a certain impost at the expiration of every month; the slave being left at liberty to work: in which case the slave is termed عَبْدٌ مُخَارِجٌ") in Islamic law. If slaves agree to that and they would like the money they earn to be counted toward their emancipation, then this has to be written in the form of a contract between the slave and the master. This is called مكاتبة (mukātaba) in Islamic jurisprudence which is only, by consensus, a recommendation, and accepting a request for a mukātaba from slaves is thus not obligatory for masters.BOOK, Bernard Lewis, Lewis, Bernard, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, New York, Oxford University Press, 6, 1990, 978-0195062830, Although the owner did not have to comply with it, it was considered praiseworthy to do soBOOK, Murray Gordon, Slavery in the Arab World,weblink New York, New Amsterdam Books, 41, 1989, 9780941533300, registration, The framework of Islamic civilization was a well-developed network of towns and oasis trading centers with the market (souq, bazaar) at its heart. These towns were inter-connected by a system of roads crossing semi-arid regions or deserts. The routes were traveled by convoys, and slaves formed part of this caravan traffic.In contrast to the Atlantic slave trade, where the male-female ratio was 2:1 or 3:1, the Arab slave trade instead usually had a higher female-to-male ratio. This suggests a general preference for female slaves. Concubinage and reproduction served as incentives for importing female slaves (often Caucasian), though many were also imported mainly for performing household tasks.{{citation|title=Slavery and abolition in the Ottoman Middle East|author=Ehud R. Toledano|publisher=University of Washington Press|year=1998|isbn=978-0-295-97642-6|pages=13–4}}

Arab views on African peoples

{{off topic|date=January 2019}}{{expand section|date=January 2019}}Abdelmajid Hannoum, a professor at Wesleyan University, states that racist attitudes were not prevalent until the 18th and 19th century.JOURNAL, 3590803, Translation and the Colonial Imaginary: Ibn Khaldûn Orientalist, Abdelmajid, Hannoum, 1 January 2003, History and Theory, 42, 1, 61–81, According to Arnold J. Toynbee: "The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue."A. J. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, New York, 1948, p. 205

Africa: 8th through 19th centuries

In April 1998, Elikia M'bokolo, wrote in Le Monde diplomatique. "The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. At least ten centuries of slavery for the benefit of the Muslim countries (from the ninth to the nineteenth)." He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean"Please note : The numbers occurring in the source, and repeated here on Pseudopedia include both Arab and European trade. WEB, M'bokolo, Elikia, A Hundred And Fifty Years After France Abolished Slavery: The impact of the slave trade on Africa,weblink, Le Monde diplomatique, 3 June 2015, April 1998, In the 8th century, Africa was dominated by Arab-Berbers in the north: Islam moved southwards along the Nile and along the desert trails.
  • The Sahara was thinly populated. Nevertheless, since antiquity there had been cities living on a trade in salt, gold, slaves, cloth, and on agriculture enabled by irrigation: Tiaret, Oualata, Sijilmasa, Zaouila, and others.{{Citation needed|date=May 2015}}
  • In the Middle Ages, the general Arabic term bilâd as-sûdân ("Land of the Blacks") was used for the vast Sudan region (an expression denoting West and Central Africa{{citation | author = International Association for the History of Religions | title = Numen | publisher = EJ Brill | place = Leiden | year = 1959 | page = 131 | quote = West Africa may be taken as the country stretching from Senegal in the west, to the Cameroons in the east; sometimes it has been called the central and western Sudan, the Bilad as-SÅ«dan, 'Land of the Blacks', of the Arabs}}), or sometimes extending from the coast of West Africa to Western Sudan.Nehemia Levtzion, Randall Lee Pouwels, The History of Islam in Africa, (Ohio University Press, 2000), p.255. It provided a pool of manual labour for North and Saharan Africa. This region was dominated by certain states and people: the Ghana Empire, the Empire of Mali, the Kanem-Bornu Empire, the Fulani and Hausa.
  • In the Horn of Africa, the coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were controlled by local Somali and other Muslims, and Yemenis and Omanis had merchant posts along the coasts. The Ethiopian coast, particularly the port of Massawa and Dahlak Archipelago, had long been a hub for the exportation of slaves from the interior by the Kingdom of Aksum and earlier polities. The port and most coastal areas were largely Muslim, and the port itself was home to a number of Arab and Indian merchants.Pankhurst, Richard. The Ethiopian Borderlands: Essays in Regional History from Ancient Times to the End of the 18th Century (Asmara, Eritrea: Red Sea Press, 1997), pp.416 The Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia often exported Nilotic slaves from their western borderland provinces, or from newly conquered southern provinces.Pankhurst. Ethiopian Borderlands, pp.432 The Somali and Afar Muslim sultanates, such as the Adal Sultanate, also exported Nilotic slaves that they captured from the interior.Pankhurst. Ethiopian Borderlands, pp.59 & 435
File:Zanzslgwch.jpg|thumb|A Zanj slave gang in Zanzibar (1889)]]
  • In the African Great Lakes region, Omani and Yemeni traders set up slave-trading posts along the southeastern coast of the Indian Ocean; most notably in the archipelago of Zanzibar, along the coast of present-day Tanzania. The Zanj region or Swahili Coast flanking the Indian Ocean continued to be an important area for the Oriental slave trade up until the 19th century. Livingstone and Stanley were then the first Europeans to penetrate to the interior of the Congo Basin and to discover the scale of slavery there. The Arab Tippu Tip extended his influence there and captured many people as slaves. After Europeans had settled in the Gulf of Guinea, the trans-Saharan slave trade became less important. In Zanzibar, slavery was abolished late, in 1897, under Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed.{{Citation needed|date=May 2015}} {{further|Egyptian invasion of Sudan 1820-24Sudanese slaves in Egypt}}

Geography of the slave trade

"Supply" zones

{{refimprove section|date=May 2015}}File:A slave market in Cairo-David Roberts.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A slave market in Cairo. Drawing by David Roberts, circa 1848.]]There is historical evidence of North African Muslim slave raids all along the Mediterranean coasts across Christian Europe.{{Citation |title=The American Past: A Survey of American History |last=Conlin |first=Joseph |year=2009 |publisher=Wadsworth |location=Boston, MA |isbn=978-0-495-57288-6 |page=206 |url= |accessdate=10 October 2010 |quote= }} The majority of slaves traded across the Mediterranean region were predominantly of European origin from the 7th to 15th centuries.{{citation|title=Swing low, sweet chariot: the mortality cost of colonizing Liberia in the nineteenth century|first=Antonio|last=McDaniel|publisher=University of Chicago Press|year=1995|isbn=978-0-226-55724-3|page=11}}Slaves were also brought into the Arab world via Central Asia, mainly of Turkic or Tartar origin. Many of these slaves later went on to serve in the armies forming an elite rank.
  • Nubia and Ethiopia were also "exporting" regions: in the 15th century, Ethiopians sold slaves from western borderland areas (usually just outside the realm of the Emperor of Ethiopia) or Ennarea,Emery Van Donzel, "Primary and Secondary Sources for Ethiopian Historiography. The Case of Slavery and Slave-Trade in Ethiopia," in Claude Lepage, ed., Études éthiopiennes, vol I. France: Société française pour les études éthiopiennes, 1994, pp.187-88. which often ended up in India, where they worked on ships or as soldiers. They eventually rebelled and took power (dynasty of the Habshi Kings).
  • The Sudan region and Saharan Africa formed another "export" area, but it is impossible to estimate the scale, since there is a lack of sources with figures.
  • Finally, the slave traffic affected eastern Africa, but the distance and local hostility slowed down this section of the Oriental trade.


File:African slave trade.png|thumb|upright=2|The main slave routes in Africa during the Middle AgesMiddle AgesAccording to professor Ibrahima Baba Kaké there were four main slavery routes to the Arab world, from east to west of Africa, from the Maghreb to the Sudan, from Tripolitania to central Sudan and from Egypt to the Middle East.BOOK, Doudou Diène, From Chains to Bonds: The Slave Trade Revisited, 2001, Berghahn Books, 978-1571812650, 16,weblink 26 May 2015, Caravan trails, set up in the 9th century, went past the oasis of the Sahara; travel was difficult and uncomfortable for reasons of climate and distance. Since Roman times, long convoys had transported slaves as well as all sorts of products to be used for barter. To protect against attacks from desert nomads, slaves were used as an escort. Any who slowed down the progress of the caravan were killed.File:Boutre indien.jpg|thumb|DhowDhowHistorians know less about the sea routes. From the evidence of illustrated documents, and travellers' tales, it seems that people travelled on dhows or jalbas, Arab ships which were used as transport in the Red Sea. Crossing the Indian Ocean required better organisation and more resources than overland transport. Ships coming from Zanzibar made stops on Socotra or at Aden before heading to the Persian Gulf or to India. Slaves were sold as far away as India, or even China: there was a colony of Arab merchants in Canton. Serge Bilé cites a 12th-century text which tells us that most well-to-do families in Canton had black slaves whom they regarded as savages and demons because of their physical appearance. Although Chinese slave traders bought slaves (Seng Chi i.e. the ZanjBOOK, Roland Oliver, Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD, 192, Cambridge University Press, 1975, reprint, 9780521099004,weblink ) from Arab intermediaries and "stocked up" directly in coastal areas of present-day Somalia, the local Somalis—referred to as Baribah and Barbaroi (Berbers) by medieval Arab and ancient Greek geographers, respectively (see Periplus of the Erythraean Sea),F.R.C. Bagley et al., The Last Great Muslim Empires, (Brill: 1997), p.174Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, (Greenwood Press: 2001), p.13James Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 12: V. 12, (Kessinger Publishing, LLC: 2003), p.490 and no strangers to capturing, owning and trading slaves themselvesHenry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, (Oxford University Press: 1999), p.1746—were not among them:David D. Laitin, Politics, Language, and Thought: The Somali Experience, (University Of Chicago Press: 1977), p.52One important commodity being transported by the Arab dhows to Somalia was slaves from other parts of East Africa. During the nineteenth century, the East African slave trade grew enormously due to demands by Arabs, Portuguese, and French. Slave traders and raiders moved throughout eastern and central Africa to meet the rising demand for enslaved men, women, and children. The Bantus inhabiting Somalia are descended from Bantu groups that had settled in Southeast Africa after the initial expansion from Nigeria/Cameroon, and whose members were later captured and sold into the Arab slave trade.WEB, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,weblink Refugees Vol. 3, No. 128, 2002 UNHCR Publication Refugees about the Somali Bantu,, 18 October 2011, The Bantus are ethnically, physically, and culturally distinct from Somalis, and they have remained marginalized ever since their arrival in Somalia.cite web |url={{Dead link|date=May 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} |title=The Somali Bantu: Their History and Culture – People | |accessdate=21 February 2013 dead link|date=May 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yesL. Randol Barker et al., Principles of Ambulatory Medicine, 7 edition, (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: 2006), p.633


File:Different cowries.jpg|thumb|CowryCowrySlaves were often bartered for objects of various kinds: in the Sudan, they were exchanged for cloth, trinkets and so on. In the Maghreb, slaves were swapped for horses. In the desert cities, lengths of cloth, pottery, Venetian glass slave beads, dyestuffs and jewels were used as payment. The trade in black slaves was part of a diverse commercial network. Alongside gold coins, cowrie shells from the Indian Ocean or the Atlantic (Canaries, Luanda) were used as money throughout sub-saharan Africa (merchandise was paid for with sacks of cowries).BOOK, Jan Hogendorn and Marion Johnson, The Shell Money of the Slave Trade,weblink Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1986, 9780521541107, 29 April 2015,

Slave markets and fairs

File:Slave market Khartoum 19th c.png|thumb|upright=1.25|A slave market in KhartoumKhartoumEnslaved Africans were sold in the towns of the Arab World. In 1416, al-Maqrizi told how pilgrims coming from Takrur (near the Senegal River) brought 1,700 slaves with them to Mecca. In North Africa, the main slave markets were in Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli and Cairo. Sales were held in public places or in souks.Potential buyers made a careful examination of the "merchandise": they checked the state of health of a person who was often standing naked with wrists bound together. In Cairo, transactions involving eunuchs and concubines happened in private houses. Prices varied according to the slave's quality. Thomas Smee, the commander of the British research ship Ternate, visited such a market in Zanzibar in 1811 and gave a detailed description:}}">

Towns and ports involved in the slave trade{|


{{see also|Afro-Arab}}The history of the slave trade has given rise to numerous debates amongst historians. For one thing, specialists are undecided on the number of Africans taken from their homes; this is difficult to resolve because of a lack of reliable statistics: there was no census system in medieval Africa. Archival material for the transatlantic trade in the 16th to 18th centuries may seem useful as a source, yet these record books were often falsified. Historians have to use imprecise narrative documents to make estimates which must be treated with caution: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro states that there were 8 million slaves taken from Africa between the 8th and 19th centuries along the Oriental and the Trans-Saharan routes.Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, "Traite", in Encyclopædia Universalis (2002), corpus 22, page 902.Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau has put forward a figure of 17 million African people enslaved (in the same period and from the same area) on the basis of Ralph Austen's work.Ralph Austen, African Economic History (1987){{Page needed|date=January 2015}} Ronald Segal estimates between 11.5 and 14 million were enslaved by the Arab slave trade.Quoted in Ronald Segal's Islam's Black SlavesNEWS,weblink Human Cargo, Mar 4, 2001, Adam Hochschild, Dec 20, 2012, New York Times, {{Citation|title=Islam's Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora|author=Ronald Segal|year=2002|publisher=Farrar, Straus and Giroux|isbn=978-0374527976}}{{Page needed|date=May 2015}} Other estimates place it around 11.2 million.Maddison, Angus. Contours of the world economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in macro-economic history. Oxford University Press, 2007.There has also been a considerable genetic impact on Arabs throughout the Arab world from pre-modern African and European slaves.WEB, Botelho, Alyssa, Empires and slave-trading left their mark on our genes,weblink New Scientist,

Primary sources

Medieval Arabic sources

File:Captain walter croker horror stricken at algiers 1815.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|An 1816 illustration of Christian slaves in AlgiersAlgiersThese are given in chronological order. Scholars and geographers from the Arab world had been travelling to Africa since the time of Muhammad in the 7th century.
  • Al-Masudi (died 957), Muruj adh-dhahab or The Meadows of Gold, the reference manual for geographers and historians of the Muslim world. The author had travelled widely across the Arab world as well as the Far East.
  • Ya'qubi (9th century), Kitab al-Buldan or Book of Countries
  • Abraham ben Jacob (Ibrahim ibn Jakub) (10th century), Jewish merchant from CórdobaWEB,weblink SLAVE-TRADE –,
  • Al-Bakri, author of Kitāb al-Masālik wa'l-Mamālik or Book of Roads and Kingdoms, published in Córdoba around 1068, gives us information about the Berbers and their activities; he collected eyewitness accounts on Saharan caravan routes.
  • Muhammad al-Idrisi (died circa 1165), Description of Africa and Spain
  • Ibn Battuta (died circa 1377), Moroccan geographer who travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, to Gao and to Timbuktu. His principal work is called A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling.
  • Ibn Khaldun (died in 1406), historian and philosopher from North Africa. Sometimes considered as the historian of Arab, Berber and Persian societies. He is the author of Muqaddimah orHistorical Prolegomena and History of the Berbers.
  • Al-Maqrizi (died in 1442), Egyptian historian. His main contribution is his description of Cairo markets.
  • Leo Africanus (died circa 1548), author of Descrittione dell' Africa or ''Description of Africa, a rare description of Africa.
  • Rifa'a al-Tahtawi (1801–1873), who translated medieval works on geography and history. His work is mostly about Muslim Egypt.
  • Joseph Cuoq, ''Collection of Arabic sources concerning Western Africa between the 8th and 16th centuries (Paris 1975)

European texts (16th–19th centuries)

Other sources

  • Historical manuscripts such as the Tarikh al-Sudan, the Adalite Futuh al-Habash, the Abyssinian Kebra Nagast, and various Arabic and Ajam documents
  • African oral tradition
  • Kilwa Chronicle (16th century fragments)
  • Numismatics: analysis of coins and of their diffusion
  • Archaeology: architecture of trading posts and of towns associated with the slave trade
  • Iconography: Arab and Persian miniatures in major libraries
  • European engravings, contemporary with the slave trade, and some more modern
  • Photographs from the 19th century onward

See also


This article was initially translated from the featured French wiki article "(:fr:Traite musulmane|Traite musulmane)" on 19 May 2006.
  • BOOK, Shaban, M.A., Islamic History: A New Interpretation, Vol 2: A.D. 750-1055 (A.H. 132-448), 1976, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-21198-7,weblink 100 ff., harv,

Further reading

  • Edward A. Alpers, The East African Slave Trade (Berkeley 1967)
  • Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, trans. F. Rosenthal, ed. N. J. Dawood (Princeton 1967)
  • Murray Gordon, Slavery in the Arab World (New York 1989)
  • Habeeb Akande, Illuminating the Darkness: Blacks and North Africans in Islam (Ta Ha 2012)
  • Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (OUP 1990)
  • Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades (Cambridge 1990)
  • Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge 2000)
  • Allan G. B. Fisher, Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa, ed. C. Hurst (London 1970, 2nd edition 2001)
  • The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam (Princeton Series on the Middle East) Eve Troutt Powell (Editor), John O. Hunwick (Editor) (Princeton 2001)
  • Ronald Segal, Islam's Black Slaves (Atlantic Books, London 2002)
  • Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, London 2003) {{ISBN|978-1-4039-4551-8}}
  • BOOK, Doudou Diène, From Chains to Bonds: The Slave Trade Revisited, 2001, Berghahn Books, 978-1571812650,weblink 26 May 2015,

External links

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