Slavery in Libya

Slavery in Libya

Slavery in Libya has a long history and a lasting impact on the Libyan culture. Slavery in Libya is closely connected with the wider context of slavery in north Africa. Therefore, it is better understood when this wider scope is taken into account. The most pronounced slavery activity envloved the enslavement of black Africans who were brought via trans-Saharan trade routes. For example, in the 1830s -a period of time when slave trade flourished- Ghadamis was handling 2500 slaves a yearK. S. McLachlan, [ "Tripoli and Tripolitania: Conflict and Cohesion during the Period of the Barbary Corsairs (1551-1850)"] , Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 3, No. 3, Settlement and Conflict in the Mediterranean World. (1978), pp. 285-294.] . Even though the slave trade was officially abolished in Tripoli in 1853 it practically continued until 1890sLisa Anderson, [ "Nineteenth-Century Reform in Ottoman Libya"] , International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3. (Aug., 1984), pp. 325-348.] . The British Consul in Benghazi wrote in 1875 to the effect that the slave trade had reached an enormous scale and that the slaves who were sold in Alexandria and Istanbul quadruple in price. This trade he says was encouraged by the local Government. Adolf Vischer, writes in an article published in 1911 that:" has been said that slave traffic is still going on on the Benghazi-Wadai route, but it is difficult to test the truth of such an assertion as, in any case, the traffic is carried on secretly"Adolf Vischer, [ "Tripoli"] , The Geographical Journal, Vol. 38, No. 5. (Nov., 1911), pp. 487-494.] .However, enslavement did not exclusively envolve black Africans. Through raids of corsairs on European vessels ensalvement of white people was also commonplaceRobert C. Davis, [ "Counting European Slaves on the Barbary Coast"] , Past and Present, No. 172. (Aug., 2001), pp. 87-124.] .

ocial impact and relics

As a result of the long history of enslavement of black Africans. The word IPA|/ʕabd/ -meaning slave- is still used pejoratively to refer to black people. The word -pronounced IPA|/wsˤiːf/ in Libyan Arabic- which means servant, is also used in some places, especially by older generations to refer to black ethnicities. On the other hand, the use of the word IPA|/ħur/ -meaning free- is used by many old people to refer to non-blacks.

ee also

*African slave trade
*Slavery in modern Africa
*Islam and slavery
*Afro Arab
*Slavery in the Ottoman Empire


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