Sunday, 14 November 2010

CASE 184 - slave trade histories

The history of slavery covers systems throughout human history in which one human being is legally the property of another, can be bought or sold, is not allowed to escape and must work for the owner without any choice involved. A critical element is that children of a slave mother automatically become slaves. It does not include forced labor by prisoners, labor camps, or other forms of unfree labor in which laborers are not considered property. Slavery can be traced back to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1760 BC), through to Africa, Mesopotamian, middle east and Mediterranean areas, Roman empire, Asia, British empire slave trade, the industrial revolution to modern day slavery, which refers to it as an established institution. Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations as slavery depends on a system of social stratification. Slavery typically also requires a shortage of labor and a surplus of land to be viable. There are many forms of slavery too such as economic slavery, which 98% of the worlds people are, trafficking, you then have sex slaves and worker slaves who are forced to or have no choice but work for nothing.

Slavery has existed, in one form or another, throughout the whole of human history. So, too, have movements to free large or distinct groups of slaves. Moses led Israelite slaves from ancient Egypt according to the Biblical Book of Exodus – possibly the first account of a movement to free slaves. {Exodus 5–20} However, abolitionism should be distinguished from efforts to help a particular group of slaves, or to restrict one practice, such as the slave trade. Drescher (2009) provides a model for the history of the abolition of slavery, emphasizing its origins in Western Europe. Around the year 1500, slavery had virtually died out in Western Europe, but was a normal phenomenon practically everywhere else. The imperial powers, France, Spain, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands and a few others, built worldwide empires based primarily on plantation agriculture using slaves imported from Africa. However, the powers took care to minimize the presence of slavery in their homelands. During the “Age of Revolutions” (c. 1770–1815), Britain abolished its international slave trade and imposed similar restrictions upon other western nations; the U.S. followed suit in 1808. Although there were numerous slave revolts in the Caribbean, the only successful uprising came in the French colony of St. Domingue, where the slaves rose up, killed the mulattoes and whites, and established the independent Republic of Haiti. The continuing profitability of slave-based plantations and the threats of race war slowed the development of abolition movements during the first half of the 19th century. These movements were strongest in Britain, and after 1840 in the United States, in both instances they were based on evangelical religious enthusiasm that stressded the horrible impact on the slaves themselves. The Northern states of the United States abolished slavery, partly in response to the Declaration of Independence, between 1777 and 1804. Britain ended slavery in its empire in the 1830s. However the plantation economies of the southern United States, based on cotton, and those in Brazil and Cuba, based on sugar, expanded and grew even more profitable. The bloody American Civil War ended slavery in the United States in the 1860s; the system ended in Cuba and Brazil in the 1880s because it was no longer profitable for the owners. Slavery continued to exist in Africa, where Arab slave traders raided black areas for new captives to be sold in the system. European colonial rule and diplomatic pressure slowly put an end to the trade, and eventually to the practice of slavery itself.

Congress of Vienna

The Declaration of the Powers, on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, of 8 February 1815 (Which also formed ACT, No. XV. of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna of the same year) included in its first sentence the concept of the "principles of humanity and universal morality" as justification for ending a trade that was "odious in its continuance".

Twentieth century worldwide

The 1926 Slavery Convention, an initiative of the League of Nations, was a turning point in banning global slavery. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly, explicitly banned slavery. The United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery was convened to outlaw and ban slavery worldwide, including child slavery. In December 1966, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was developed from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 8 of this international treaty bans slavery. The treaty came into force in March 1976 after it had been ratified by 35 nations. As of November 2003, 104 nations had ratified the treaty. According to the British Anti-Slavery Society, "Although there is no longer any state which recognizes any claim by a person to a right of property over another, there are an estimated 27 million people throughout the world, mainly children, in conditions of slavery.

No comments: