- Arab slave trade
Part of a series on Slavery Contemporary slavery Types Unfree labour · Debt bondage
Human trafficking · Peonage
Penal labour · Sexual slavery
History History · Antiquity · Aztec
Ancient Greece · Rome
Thrall · Kholop · Serfdom
Slave ship · Galley slave
Religion The Bible · Judaism
Christianity · Islam
By country or region Africa · Modern Africa
Atlantic · Arab
Barbary Coast · Coastwise
Spanish New World
Angola · Bhutan · Brazil
Britain and Ireland
British Virgin Islands · Canada
China · India · Iran · Japan
Libya · Mauritania · Ottoman empire
Portugal · Romania · Seychelles
Sudan · Sweden · United States
Opposition and resistance Timeline · Abolitionism
Opponents of slavery
Slave rebellion · Slave narrative
The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in the Arab World, mainly Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and certain parts of Europe (such as Iberia and southern Italy) during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade was focused on the slave markets of the Middle East and North Africa. People traded were not limited to a certain color, ethnicity, or religion and included Arabs and Berbers, especially in its early days.
Later, during the 8th and 9th centuries of the Islamic Caliphate, most of the slaves were Slavic Eastern Europeans (called Saqaliba). However, slaves were drawn from a wide variety of regions and included Mediterranean peoples, Persians, Turkic peoples, peoples from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia, English, Dutch and Irish, Berbers from North Africa, and various other peoples of varied origins as well as those of African origins.
- 1 Scope of the trade
- 2 Sources and historiography of the slave trade
- 3 Historical and geographical context of the Arab slave trade
- 4 Geography of the slave trade
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Audio material
- 9 External links
Scope of the trade
Historians estimate that between 10 and 18 million Africans were enslaved by Arab slave traders and taken across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert between 650 and 1900. It should be noted that the term Arab when used in historical documents often represented a cultural term rather than a "racial" term, and many of the "Arab" slave traders such as Tippu Tip and others were indistinguishable from the "Africans" whom they enslaved and sold. Due to the nature of the Arab slave trade it is also impossible to be precise about actual numbers.
Periodic Arab raiding expeditions were sent from Islamic Iberia to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In a raid against Lisbon in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.
Arabs also enslaved substantial numbers of Europeans. According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary corsairs, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages from Italy, Spain, Portugal and also from more distant places like France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Iceland. The impact of these attacks was devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.
The 'Oriental' or 'Arab' slave trade is sometimes called the 'Islamic' slave trade, but a religious imperative was not the driver of the slavery, Patrick Manning, a professor of World History, states. However, if a non-Muslim population refuses to adopt Islam or pay the jizya protection/subjugation tax, that population is considered to be at war with the Muslim "ummah" and therefore it becomes legal under Islamic law to take slaves from that non-Muslim population. Usage of the terms "Islamic trade" or "Islamic world" has been disputed by some Muslims as it treats Africa as outside of Islam, or a negligible portion of the Islamic world. Propagators of Islam in Africa often revealed a cautious attitude towards proselytizing because of its effect in reducing the potential reservoir of slaves.
From a Western point of view, 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)
- Sea routes to the east of Africa through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean (Oriental route)
The Arab slave trade originated before Islam and lasted more than a millennium. It continues today in some places. Arab traders brought Africans across the Indian Ocean from present-day Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and elsewhere in East Africa to present-day Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East  and South Asia (mainly Pakistan and India). Unlike the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the New World, Arabs supplied African slaves to the Muslim world, which at its peak stretched over three continents from the Atlantic (Morocco, Spain) to India and eastern China.
Sources and historiography of the slave trade
A recent and controversial topic
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.
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. Paul Bairoch suggests a figure of 25 million African people subjected to the Arab slave trade, as against 11 million that arrived in the Americas from the transatlantic slave trade. Owen Alik Shahadah, author of the dedicated Arabslavetrade.com and historian on African slavery claims that the Arab slave trade was a "trickle trade" until the 19th century and that the new focus on Arab slave trade has political implications linked to the rise of Islamphobia as well as serving to redistribute blame for the European-run Atlantic slave trade. He also claims that it is impossible to give any definitive number on the toll from this trade and the alarmist numbers are not academically grounded but politically motivated guesswork.
Another obstacle to a history of the Arab slave trade is the limitations of extant sources. There exist documents from non-African cultures, written by educated men in Arabic, but these only offer an incomplete and often condescending look at the phenomenon. For some years there has been a huge amount of effort going into historical research on Africa. Thanks to new methods and new perspectives, historians can interconnect contributions from archaeology, numismatics, anthropology, linguistics and demography to compensate for the inadequacy of the written record.
The Arab slave trade from East Africa is one of the oldest slave trades, predating the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years. Male slaves who were often employed 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 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 Indian subcontinent.
From approximately 650 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 1953, sheikhs from Qatar attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II included slaves in their retinues, and they did so again on another visit five years later.
As recently as the 1950s, Saudi Arabia's slave population was estimated at 450,000 — approximately 20% of the population. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 Sudanese children and women had been taken into slavery in Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War. Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished by laws passed in 1905, 1961, and 1981. It was finally criminalized in August 2007. 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.
Medieval Arabic sources
- 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
- 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 eye-witness 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 el-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)
- João de Castro, Roteiro de Lisboa a Goa (1538)
- James Bruce, (1730–1794), Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (1790)
- René Caillié, (1799–1838), Journal d'un voyage à Tombouctou
- Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, (1784–1817), Travels in Nubia (1819)
- Henry Morton Stanley, (1841–1904), Through the Dark Continent (1878)
- African Arabic and Ajam Manuscripts
- 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
- Ethiopian (Ge'ez and Amharic) historical texts
Historical and geographical context of the Arab slave trade
A brief review of the region and era in which the Oriental and trans-Saharan slave trade took place should be useful here. It is not a detailed study of the Arab world, nor of Africa, but an outline of key points which will help with understanding the slave trade in this part of the world.
The Islamic world
The religion of Islam appeared in the 7th century CE, and in the next hundred years it was quickly diffused throughout the Mediterranean area, spread by Arabs after they conquered the Sassanid Persian Empire and many territories from the Byzantine Empire, including the Levant, Armenia and North Africa; they invaded the Iberian peninsula where they displaced the Visigothic Kingdom. These regions therefore had a diverse range of different peoples. To some extent, these regions were unified by an Islamic culture built on both religious and civic foundations. For example, they used the Arabic language and the dinar (currency) in commercial transactions. Mecca in Arabia, then as now, was the holy city of Islam and center of pilgrimages for all Muslims, whatever their origins.
According to Bernard Lewis, the Arab Empire was the first "truly universal civilization," which brought together for the first time "peoples as diverse as the Chinese, the Indians, the people of the Middle East and North Africa, black Africans, and white Europeans."
The conquests of the Arab armies and the expansion of the Islamic state that followed have always resulted in the capture of war prisoners who were subsequently set free or turned into slaves or Raqeeq (رقيق) and servants rather than taken as prisoners as was the Islamic tradition in wars. Once taken as slaves, they had to be dealt with in accordance with the Islamic law which was the law of the Islamic state, especially during the Umayyad and Abbasid eras. According to that law, slaves are allowed to earn their living if they opted for that, otherwise it is the owner’s (master) duty to provide for that. They also can’t be forced to earn money for their masters unless with an agreement between the slave and the master. This concept is called مخارجة in the Islamic jurisprudence. If the slave agrees to that and he would like the money s/he earns to be counted toward his/her emancipation then this has to be written in the form of a contract between the slave and the master. This is called مكاتبة (mukataba) in the Islamic jurisprudence. Muslims believe that slave owners in Islam are strongly encouraged to perform mukataba with their slaves as directed by the Qur'an:... And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. ...
The framework of Islamic civilisation was a well-developed network of towns and oasis trading centres 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 travelled 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 usually had a higher female:male ratio instead, suggesting 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.
Arabic views on African people
In the Qur'an, the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the overwhelming majority of Islamic jurists and theologians, all stated that humankind has a single origin and rejected the idea of certain ethnic groups being superior to others. According to the hadiths, Muhammad declared:There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for black over the white except in piety.—Amyn B. Sajoo, The Islamic Ethos and the Spirit of Humanism
Despite this, some ethnic prejudices later developed among Arabs due to several reasons: their extensive conquests and slave trade; the influence of Aristotle's idea of certain ethnic groups being slaves by nature, echoed by Muslim philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna, particularly in regards to Turkic and black peoples; and the influence of the early mediaeval Geonic Academies ideas regarding divisions among mankind between the three sons of Noah, with the Babylonian Talmud stating that "the descendants of Ham are cursed by being black, and [it] depicts Ham as a sinful man and his progeny as degenerates." However, ethnic prejudice among some elite Arabs was not limited to darker-skinned black people, but was also directed towards fairer-skinned "ruddy people" (including Persians, Turks and Europeans), while Arabs referred to themselves as "swarthy people". It should also be noted that the concept of an Arab identity itself did not exist until modern times. 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."
The famous 9th century Muslim author Al-Jahiz, an Afro-Arab and the grandson of a Zanj slave, wrote a book entitled Risalat mufakharat al-Sudan 'ala al-bidan (Treatise on the Superiority of Blacks over Whites), in which he stated that Blacks:...have conquered the country of the Arabs as far as Mecca and have governed them. We defeated Dhu Nowas (Jewish King of Yemen) and killed all the Himyarite princes, but you, White people, have never conquered our country. Our people, the Zenghs (Negroes) revolted forty times in the Euphrates, driving the inhabitants from their homes and making Oballah a bath of blood.
And that:Blacks are physically stronger than no matter what other people. A single one of them can lift stones of greater weight and carry burdens such as several Whites could not lift nor carry between them. [...] They are brave, strong, and generous as witness their nobility and general lack of wickedness.
Al-Jahiz also stated in his Kitab al-Bukhala ("Avarice and the Avaricious") that:"We know that the Zanj (blacks) are the least intelligent and the least discerning of mankind, and the least capable of understanding the consequences of their actions."
This sentiment was echoed in the following passage from Kitab al-Bad' wah-tarikh (vol.4) by the medieval Arab writer Al-Muqaddasi:As for the Zanj, they are people of black color, flat noses, kinky hair, and little understanding or intelligence....the moral characteristics found in their mentality are close to the instinctive characteristics found naturally in animals.—Andrew Reid and Paul J. Lane, African Historical Archaeologies
By the 14th century, an overwhelming number of slaves came from sub-Saharan Africa, leading to prejudice against black people in the works of several Arabic historians and geographers. For example, the Egyptian historian Al-Abshibi (1388–1446) wrote: "It is said that when the [black] slave is sated, he fornicates, when he is hungry, he steals."
Mistranslations of Arab scholars and geographers from this time period have lead many to attribute certain racist attitudes that weren't prevalent until the 18th and 19th century to writings made centuries ago. Although bias against those of very black complexion existed in the Arab world in the 15th century it didn't have as much stigma as it later would. Older translations of Ibn Khaldun, for example in The Negroland of the Arabs Examined and Explained which was written in 1841 gives excerpts of older translations that were not part of later colonial propaganda and show black Africans in a generally positive light.
In 14th century North Africa, the Arab sociologist, Ibn Khaldun, wrote in his Muqaddimah:When the conquest of the West (by the Arabs) was completed, and merchants began to penetrate into the interior, they saw no nation of the Blacks so mighty as Ghanah, the dominions of which extended westward as far as the Ocean. The King's court was kept in the city of Ghanah, which, according to the author of the Book of Roger (El Idrisi), and the author of the Book of Roads and Realms (El Bekri), is divided into two parts, standing on both banks of the Nile, and ranks among the largest and most populous cities of the world. The people of Ghanah had for neighbours, on the east, a nation, which, according to historians, was called Susu; after which came another named Mali; and after that another known by the name of Kaukau ; although some people prefer a different orthography, and write this name Kagho. The last-named nation was followed by a people called Tekrur. The people of Ghanah declined in course of time, being overwhelmed or absorbed by the Molaththemun (or muffled people;that is, the Morabites), who, adjoining them on the north towards the Berber country, attacked them, and, taking possession of their territory, compelled them to embrace the Mohammedan religion. The people of Ghanah, being invaded at a later period by the Susu, a nation of Blacks in their neighbourhood, were exterminated, or mixed with other Black nations.—William Desborough Cooley, The Negroland of the Arabs Examined and Explained
Ibn Khaldun suggests a link between the decline of Ghana and rise of the Almoravids. However, there is little evidence of there actually being an Almoravid conquest of Ghana  aside from the parallel conflict with Tekrur, which was allied with the Almoravid and eventually absorbed by them.
Ibn Khaldun attributed the "strange practices and customs" of certain black African tribes to the hot climate of sub-Saharan Africa and made it clear that it was not due to any curse in their lineage, dismissing the Hamitic theory as a myth.
His critical attitude towards Arabs has led the scholar Mohammad A. Enan to suggest that Ibn Khaldun may have been a Berber pretending to be an Arab in order to gain social status, but Muhammad Hozien has responded to this claim stating that Ibn Khaldun or anyone else in his family never claimed to be Berber even when the Berbers were in power.
The 14th-century North African Berber geographer and traveller, Ibn Battuta, on his trip to western Sudan, was impressed with occasional aspects of life.
Battuta later visited the Zanj-inhabited portions of East Africa and held more positive views of its black people.[The people of Mombasa in Kenya] are a religious people, trustworthy and righteous. Their mosques are made of wood, expertly built.
Ibn Battuta was also impressed with aspects of the Mali Empire of West Africa, which he visited in 1352, writing that the people there:...possess some admirable qualities. They are seldom unjust, and have a greater abhorrence of injustice than any other people. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveler nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers or men of violence.—Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354
In addition, he wrote many other positive comments on the people of the Mali Empire, including the following:I met the qadi of Malli... he is a black, has been on a pilgrimage, and is a noble person with good qualities of character... I met the interpreter Dugha, a noble black and a leader of theirs... They performed their duty towards me [as a guest] most perfectly; may God bless and reward them for their good deeds!Another of [the Malli blacks'] good qualities is their concern for learning the sublime Qur'an by heart...One day I passed a handsome youth from them dressed in fine clothes and on his feet was a heavy chain. I said to the man who was with me, 'What has this youth done -- has he killed someone?' The youth heard my remark and laughed. It was told me, 'He has been chained so that he will learn the Qu'ran by heart.'[the people of Iwalatan in West Africa] were generous to me and entertained me...and as for their women -- they are extremely beautiful and are more important than the men...
Ibn Battuta's remarks contrasted greatly to that of many other comments from Arab authors concerning blacks. However, many of the exaggerated accounts are noted to have been based on hearsay and even perpetuated by Africans themselves in an attempt to keep their states and economies isolated, in addition to Ibn Battuta having been the only medieval Muslim scholar referenced here to have actually traveled to both east and west Africa.
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"
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. They were ruled by Arab, Berber, Fulani, Hausa and Tuaregs. Their independence was relative and depended on the power of the Maghrebi and Egyptian states.
- In the Middle Ages, sub-Saharan Africa was called bilad -ul-Sûdân in Arabic, meaning land of the Blacks. It provided a pool of manual labour for North Africa and Saharan Africa. This region was dominated by certain states: the Ghana Empire, the Empire of Mali, the Kanem-Bornu Empire.
- In eastern Africa, the coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were controlled by native Muslims, and Arabs were important as traders along the coasts. Nubia had been a "supply zone" for slaves since antiquity. The Ethiopian coast, particularly the port of Massawa and Dahlak Archipelago, had long been a hub for the exportation of slaves from the interior, even in Aksumite times. The port and most coastal areas were largely Muslim, and the port itself was home to a number of Arab and Indian merchants.
The Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia often exported Nilotic slaves from their western borderland provinces, or from newly conquered or reconquered Muslim provinces. The Somali and Afar Muslim sultanates, such as the Adal Sultanate, exported slaves as well. Arabs also 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. East Africa and the Indian Ocean continued as an important region 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 and made many people 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.
Geography of the slave trade
Merchants of slaves for the Orient stocked up in Europe. Danish merchants had bases in the Volga region and dealt in Slavs with Arab merchants. Circassian slaves were conspicuously present in the harems and there were many odalisques (from the Turkish odalık, meaning "chambermaid") from that region in the paintings of Orientalists. Non-Muslim slaves were valued in the harems, for all roles (gate-keeper, servant, odalisque, musician, dancer, court dwarf, concubine). In the Ottoman Empire, the last black slave sold in Ethiopia named Hayrettin Effendi, was freed in 1918. The slaves of Slavic origin in Al-Andalus came from the Varangians who had captured them. They were put in the Caliph's guard and gradually took up important posts in the army (they became saqaliba), and even went to take back taifas after the civil war had led to an implosion of the Western Caliphate. Columns of slaves feeding the great harems of Córdoba, Seville and Grenada were organised by Jewish merchants (mercaderes) from Germanic countries and parts of Northern Europe not controlled by the Carolingian Empire. These columns crossed the Rhone valley to reach the lands to the south of the Pyrenees.
There are also historical evidence of North African Muslim slave raids all along the Mediterranean coasts across Christian Europe and beyond to even as far north as the British Isles and Iceland (see the book titled White Gold by Giles Milton). The majority of slaves traded across the Mediterranean region were predominantly of European origin from the 7th to 15th centuries. The Barbary pirates continued to capture slaves from Europe and, to an extent, North America, from the 16th to 19th centuries.
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.
- At sea, Barbary pirates joined in this traffic when they could capture people by boarding ships or by incursions into coastal areas, mainly in Southern Europe as well as Western European coasts.
- Nubia and Ethiopia were also "exporting" regions: in the 15th century, Ethiopians sold slaves from western borderland areas (usually just outside of the realm of the Emperor of Ethiopia) or Ennarea, 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 in Bengal 1487-1493).
- 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.
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.
Historians 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 Zanj) 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), and no strangers to capturing, owning and trading slaves themselves -- were not among them:One 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. Somalia did not supply slaves -- as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved -- but Arab dhows loaded with human cargo continually visited Somali ports.—Catherine Lowe Besteman, Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery
Slave labor in East Africa was partly drawn from the Zanj, 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 AD 696, we learn of slave revolts of the Zanj against their Arab enslavers in Iraq (see Zanj Rebellion). Ancient Chinese texts also mention ambassadors from Java presenting the Chinese emperor with two Seng Chi (Zanj) slaves as gifts, and Seng Chi slaves reaching China from the Hindu kingdom of Srivijaya in Java.
Slaves were often bartered for objects of various different kinds: in the Sudan, they were exchanged for cloth, trinkets and so on. In the Maghreb, they 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 black Africa (merchandise was paid for with sacks of cowries).
Slave markets and fairs
Enslaved Africans were sold in the towns of the Muslim world. In 1416, al-Maqrizi told how pilgrims coming from Takrur (near the Sénégal River) had 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.
Towns and ports involved in the slave trade
- North Africa:
- This article was initially translated from the featured French wiki article "Traite musulmane" on 19 May 2006.
- ^ Historical survey > The international slave trade
- ^ Should The Islamic World Apologize For Slavery?
- ^ Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, K. A. Berney, Paul E. Schellinger (1996), International dictionary of historic places, Volume 4: Middle East and Africa, Taylor and Francis, p. 116
- ^ Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History
- ^ Focus on the slave trade
- ^ The Unknown Slavery: In the Muslim world, that is — and it's not over
- ^ "Arab Slave Trade: Nominal Muslims". African Holocaust Society. http://www.arabslavetrade.com. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- ^ "Arab Slave Trade:". African Holocaust Society. http://www.arabslavetrade.com. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=BxXcgGy8gfYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Warriors:+Spiritually+Engaged++By+Queenae+Taylor+Mulvihil&hl=en&ei=l8gOTqLlNc2GsAKv09G9Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
- ^ Warriors: Spiritually Engaged By Queenae Taylor Mulvihil page 253
- ^ Arab versus European: diplomacy and war in nineteenth-century east central Africa
- ^ Ransoming Captives in Crusader Spain: The Order of Merced on the Christian-Islamic Frontier
- ^ When europeans were slaves: Research suggests white slavery was much more common than previously believed
- ^ Davis, Robert. Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800.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.
- ^ BBC - History - British Slaves on the Barbary Coast
- ^ "Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates" by Christopher Hitchens, City Journal Spring 2007
- ^ Supply of Slaves
- ^ Soldier Khan
- ^ The living legacy of jihad slavery
- ^ Manning (1990) p.10
- ^ 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.
- ^ Battuta's Trip: Journey to West Africa (1351 - 1353)
- ^ The blood of a nation of Slaves in Stone Town
- ^ BBC Remembering East African slave raids
- ^ "Know about Islamic Slavery in Africa"
- ^ "The Forgotten Holocaust: The Eastern Slave Trade". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. http://www.webcitation.org/query?id=1256433042200897.
- ^ Irfan Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Dumbarton Oaks, 2002, p. 364 documents; Ghassanid Arabs seizing and selling 20,000 Jewish Samaritans as slaves in the year 529, before the rise of Islam.
- ^ Heart of Africa, vol. ii., chap. xv.
- ^ A Legacy Hidden in Plain Sight
- ^ Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, "Traite", in Encyclopædia Universalis (2002), corpus 22, page 902.
- ^ Ralph Austen, African Economic History (1987)
- ^ Paul Bairoch, Mythes et paradoxes de l'histoire économique, (1994). See also: Economics and World History: Myths and Paradoxes (1993)
- ^ "Arab Slave Trade: Owen Alik Shahadah". African Holocaust Society. http://www.arabslavetrade.com. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- ^ http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/42249 Pambazuka African Agency
- ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/200706290757.html All Africa
- ^ a b c Mintz, S. Digital History Slavery, Facts & Myths
- ^ "The Unknown Slavery: In the Muslim world, that is -- and it's not over" John J. Miller, National Review, May 20, 2002
- ^ £400 for a Slave
- ^ War and Genocide in Sudan
- ^ "The Lost Children of Sudan"
- ^ "Slavery still exists in Mauritania"
- ^ Mauritanian MPs pass slavery law
- ^ The Abolition season on BBC World Service
- ^ 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"
- ^ Labb¿, Theola (2004-01-11). "A Legacy Hidden in Plain Sight". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A6645-2004Jan10. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
- ^ Dr Susan
- ^ a b c d Bernard Lewis (2003), "From Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry", in Kevin Reilly, Stephen Kaufman, Angela Bodino, Racism: A Global Reader, M.E. Sharpe, pp. 52–8, ISBN 0765610604
- ^ Quran 24:33 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
- ^ Ehud R. Toledano (1998), Slavery and abolition in the Ottoman Middle East, University of Washington Press, pp. 13–4, ISBN 029597642X
- ^ Sajoo, Amyn B. (June 1995), "The Islamic Ethos and the Spirit of Humanism", International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society (Springer Netherlands) 8 (4): 579–596 , doi:10.1007/BF02142469
- ^ El Hamel, Chouki (2002), "'Race', slavery and Islam in Maghribi Mediterranean thought: the question of the Haratin in Morocco", The Journal of North African Studies 7 (3): 29–52 [39–40], "Neither in the Qur'an nor in the Hadith is there any indication of racial difference among humankind. But as a consequence of the Arab conquest, a mutual assimilation between Islam and the cultural and the scriptural traditions of Christian and Jewish populations occurred. Racial distinction between humankind with reference to the sons of Noah is found in the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of rabbinic writings that dates back to the sixth century."
- ^ Bernard Lewis (1992), Race and slavery in the Middle East: an historical enquiry, Oxford University Press, pp. 18–9, ISBN 0195053265
- ^ Lindsay, James E. (2005), Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 12–5, ISBN 0313322708
- ^ A. J. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, New York, 1948, p. 205
- ^ a b c F.R.C. Bagley et al., The Last Great Muslim Empires, (Brill: 1997), p.174
- ^ a b Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi, Culture and Customs of Somalia, (Greenwood Press: 2001), p.13
- ^ a b Bethwell A. Ogot, Zamani: A Survey of East African History, (East African Publishing House: 1974), p.104
- ^ Joel Augustus Rogers, John Henrik Clarke, World's Great Men of Color, (Simon & Schuster: 1996), p.166
- ^ Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan (1991), African Origins of Major Western Religions, p. 231, 238. Black Classic Press, ISBN 0-933121-29-6.
- ^ a b c d e f West Asian views on black Africans during the medieval era - ColorQ, Retrieved November 27, 2008
- ^ Andrew Reid, Paul J. Lane, African Historical Archaeologies, (Springer: 2004), p.166
- ^ Lewis, Bernard (2002), Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford University Press, p. 93, ISBN 0195053265
- ^ Translation and the Colonial Imaginary: Ibn Khaldun Orientalist, by Abdelmajid Hannoum 2003 Wesleyan University.
- ^ a b Cooley, William Desborough (1966), The Negroland of the Arabs Examined and Explained, London: Routledge, p. 143 Pages, ISBN 0-71461-799-7, http://books.google.com/?id=6swTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA61
- ^ Not Quite Venus from the Waves: The Almoravid Conquest of Ghana in the Modern Historiography of Western Africa by Pekka Masonen; Humphrey J. Fisher 1996
- ^ The Conquest That Never Was: Ghana and the Almoravids, 1076. I. The External Arabic Sources, by David Conrad and Humphrey Fisher 1982 African Studies Association
- ^ El Hamel, Chouki (2002), "'Race', slavery and Islam in Maghribi Mediterranean thought: the question of the Haratin in Morocco", The Journal of North African Studies 7 (3): 29–52 [41–2]
- ^ "Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Work" by Muhammad Hozien
- ^ Sir Hamilton Gibb (translator, 1929), Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, p. 329, Routledge, ISBN 0-7100-9568-6
- ^ Please note : The numbers occurring in the source, and repeated here on Wikipedia include both Arab and European trade. The impact of the slave trade on Africa
- ^ 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
- ^ Pankhurst. Ethiopian Borderlands, pp.432
- ^ Pankhurst. Ethiopian Borderlands, pp.59
- ^ Conlin, Joseph (2009), The American Past: A Survey of American History, Boston, MA: Wadsworth, p. 206, ISBN 978-0-495-57288-6, http://books.google.com/books?as_isbn=9780495572886, retrieved 10 October 2010
- ^ McDaniel, Antonio (1995), Swing low, sweet chariot: the mortality cost of colonizing Liberia in the nineteenth century, University of Chicago Press, p. 11, ISBN 0226557243
- ^ 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.
- ^ a b Roland Oliver, Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD, (Cambridge University Press: 1975), p.192
- ^ James Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 12: V. 12, (Kessinger Publishing, LLC: 2003), p.490
- ^ Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, (Oxford University Press: 1999), p.1746
- ^ David D. Laitin, Politics, Language, and Thought: The Somali Experience, (University Of Chicago Press: 1977), p.52
- ^ Catherine Lowe Besteman, Unraveling Somalia: Race, Class, and the Legacy of Slavery, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1999), p. 51
- Digital History/Slavery Facts & Myths Mintz, S.
Books in English
- 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)
- Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (OUP 1990)
- 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) by 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
- Owen 'Alik Shahadah, African Holocaust Audio Documentary
Books and articles in French
- Serge Daget, De la traite à l'esclavage, du Ve au XVIIIe siècle, actes du Colloque international sur la traite des noirs (Nantes, Société française d'histoire d'Outre-Mer, 1985)
- Jacques Heers, Les Négriers en terre d'islam (Perrin, Pour l'histoire collection, Paris, 2003) (ISBN 2-262-01850-2)
- Murray Gordon, L'esclavage dans le monde arabe, du VIIe au XXe siècle (Robert Laffont, Paris, 1987)
- Bernard Lewis, Race et esclavage au Proche-Orient, (Editions Gallimard, collection Bibliothèque des histoires, Paris, 1993) (ISBN 2-07-072740-8)
- Olivier Petré-Grenouilleau, Les traites négrières (La Documentation Française, Paris, 2003)
- Jean-Claude Deveau, Esclaves noirs en Méditerranée in Cahiers de la Méditerranée, vol. 65, Sophia-Antipolis
- Olivier Petré-Grenouilleau, La traite oubliée des négriers musulmans in L'Histoire, special number 280 S (October 2003), pages 48–55.
- Tidiane N'Diaye, Le génocide voilé. Enquête historique (Editions Gallimard, Paris, 2008)
- Arab Slave Trade
- BBC - History - British Slaves on the Barbary Coast
- BBC - Islam and Slavery
- Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History
- iAbolish.ORG! American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) - particular focus on North African slaves
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Slave Trade Act 1807 — The Slave Trade Act (citation 47 Geo III Sess. 1 c. 36 ) was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on 25 March, 1807, with the long title An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade . The original act is in the… … Wikipedia
SLAVE TRADE — Jews engaged in the slave trade – although they never played a prominent role in it – from the early Middle Ages to the early modern period. While it was not proscribed to pagans, none of the three monotheistic religions either prohibited slavery … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Slave Trade — For most of the nineteenth century a commerce in human misery was in steady decline among the imperial powers. The Atlantic slave trade during the sixteenth century was initially established by Spain and Portugal for the transport of enslaved… … Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914
slave trade — the business or process of procuring, transporting, and selling slaves, esp. black Africans to the New World prior to the mid 19th century. [1725 35] * * * Capturing, selling, and buying of slaves. Slavery has existed throughout the world from… … Universalium
African slave trade — This article discusses systems of slavery within Africa, the history and effects of the slavery trade upon Africa. And also Maafa. See Atlantic slave trade for the trans Atlantic trade, and Arab slave trade for the Trans Saharan trade. See… … Wikipedia
Atlantic slave trade — The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the transatlantic slave trade, was the trade of African people supplied to the colonies of the New World that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean. It lasted from the 16th century to the 19th century.… … Wikipedia
Barbary Slave Trade — The Barbary Slave Trade refers to the slave markets which flourished on the Barbary Coast, or modern day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Libya between the 16th and 19th centuries. These markets prospered while the states were nominally… … Wikipedia
Swedish slave trade — occurred in the early history of Sweden and resurfaced during the 17th century, around the time Swedish overseas colonies were established in North America (1638) and in Africa (1650). It remained legal until 1813.Sweden had treaties with… … Wikipedia
Coastwise slave trade — Part of a series on Slavery Contemporary slavery … Wikipedia
TRADE AND COMMERCE — In the Bible The geopolitical location of Palestine, set as it is in the heart of the Fertile Crescent, made it a pivotal link in the commercial activities carried on by land and sea between, on the one hand, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula in… … Encyclopedia of Judaism