Differences between the Types of Slavery Traditionally Practiced In Africa and the Slavery That Developed In the New World

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Differences between the Types of Slavery Traditionally Practiced In Africa and the Slavery That Developed In the New World

Slavery in many African societies existed during the slave trade of Trans-Atlantic. Slave trade in Africa was very different compared to the slavery introduced by the Europeans in the New World. In Africa, individuals were enslaved by powerful empires to expand their kinship group, for labor needs, or a potential trade for economic gain. The slaves were taken into captivity when the kinship groups came into conflict for political or economic reasons. Slaves in Africa lost their identity and a place in society through enslavement (Blackburn, Pg. 1). The slaves were separated from their family members, but eventually, they became part of their master’s family and gained freedom.

In contrast, New World slavery, which was defined as chattel slavery, enslaved Africans for life. It led to the slaves’ children and grandchildren enslaved as well. New World constructed the concept of the white European race as superior to non-Europeans. European legal systems allowed for long term enslavement of the slaves, and they could avoid their slavery by using the myth of white superiority and natural racial hierarchies (Drescher and Stanley, Pg. 2). The freedom of the growing numbers of slaves and their offspring were limited by the slaveholders who influenced political and social systems.

Servitude such as European serfdom and chattel slavery compared to slavery in several ways. European serfdom was a form of debt bondage in which a person became a servant because of enormous debt or because they needed protection from their masters. Serfdom was universal in Europe as a form of paying off debts, and the debts could also be worked off as a way of servitude (Davis, Pg. 4). Chattel slavery was also a form of servitude that allowed people to be treated as personal property. It allowed for people to be bought and sold the same way slaves were being handled.

Work cited

Blackburn, Robin. The making of New World slavery: from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800. Verso, 1998.

Davis, David Brion. Inhuman bondage: The rise and fall of slavery in the New World. Oxford University Press, 2006.

Drescher, Seymour, and Stanley L. Engerman, eds. A historical guide to world slavery. New York:: Oxford University Press, 1998.