5 kinds of slavery that existed in Africa long before the horrific transatlantic slave trade

Ancient Africa practised slavery long before the coming of the Europeans. The practice was not called ‘slavery’ but many people at the time owned people for several reasons. These slaves had to work for a period or until they were old enough to be set free.

Slaves in ancient African societies were the lowest on the social class ladder but had the opportunity to climb up the social ladder and live normal lives. They were allowed to marry from well-to-do families, trade or own property of their own. Slaves also lived very close to their masters or lived with their family and went over to their master’s house to work depending on the agreed arrangement.

The transatlantic slave trade introduced what is known as Chattel Slavery, where slave became full property of the owner who then chooses to treat the slave anyhow they want to. In Chattel Slavery, slaves were not respected as humans but rather as a beneficial property that could be sold for income. It was also mainly based on race, and many accounts show that they were treated worse than even animals.

Here are five kinds of slavery that existed in ancient Africa.

Last Edited by:Farida Dawkins Updated: August 23, 2018


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