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95 votes
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Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

Yes, murder of a slave was illegal in the antebellum South, and it was a capital offence. An example is the case of John Hoover of North Carolina. He was arrested on 28 March 1839 for the murder of ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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80 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Africa Slavery is an ancient universal institution, which appeared independently in all cultures and societies which reached a certain level of productivity per capita. Early hunter-gatherers did not ...
sds's user avatar
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80 votes
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Is it true that there are more slaves in the world now than ever at one point in history?

Let's start with some basic facts. There are more people in the world today than ever before in human history. Because of 1) there are more poor people in the world than for most of human history, ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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64 votes

Did slaves have slaves?

This happened in Roman Times judging by two notes in Slaves doing business: the role of Roman law in the economy of a Roman household by Richard Gamauf (2009): A Roman slave could hold property which,...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
64 votes
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Did slaves have slaves?

Short Answer Yes. There are examples of slaves owning slaves from different historical periods and in different regions of the world, including: Ancient Near East Early Medieval Sunni Islam Late ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
61 votes

Why were slave owners even offered compensation via the 1837 Act if they'd lost the power in parliament to stop abolition in 1833?

To safeguard legal system and rule of law While it may sound strange to us, slavery was considered as something usual and almost natural for a long time during human history. This is especially true ...
rs.29's user avatar
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58 votes
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In ancient Rome, could free-born Romans become slaves?

That is for sure an overgeneralisation, but so is Wikipedia's. There are some elements of truth in both: Ancient Rome held that freedom could not be sold, and in principle a freeborn person could not ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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58 votes
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Why were slave owners even offered compensation via the 1837 Act if they'd lost the power in parliament to stop abolition in 1833?

Lord Wynford, though speaking in opposition, illustrated the reasons in the House of Lords, on Tuesday, June 25th 1833, why a payment was being considered and what arguments such a payment should be ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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49 votes
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Was it possible for a young Japanese woman to end up enslaved in Great Britain in the mid-1600s?

No. At least, not to any practical intent or purpose. Japanese in Britain Significant numbers of Japanese were actually sold into slavery overseas during the 16th century, mostly through Portuguese ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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48 votes
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Has chattel slavery ever been used as a criminal punishment in the USA since the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment?

Yes, but for fixed periods of (for example) six months or 1 or 2 years rather than for life. This section of the 13th Amendment, ratified on the 6th of December, 1865, was controversial from the ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
46 votes

What did the Emancipation Proclamation exactly do?

Since it only applied to areas that didn't recognize Federal authority, the snarky take on the Emancipation Proclamation has always been that it didn't itself free a single slave. Like a lot of famous ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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45 votes
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Are there records of US slaves who practiced Islam following their import from Africa?

There is some very good evidence for captured Muslims who were sold as slaves, but continued to practice their faith. Perhaps the best known individuals were Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, who was enslaved ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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41 votes

Was Roosevelt the "biggest slave trader in recorded history"?

This relies in willfully mistaking figurative language for non-figurative speech. Roosevelt didn't "trade" those people in the sense that a slave trader traded his captives. He made a political pact ...
Luís Henrique's user avatar
40 votes

Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

No, not even close. Alan T Nolan lists this as one of the components of the Lost Cause Myth in his essay "The Anatomy of the Myth", collected in the book The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil ...
JimZipCode's user avatar
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39 votes

Did enslaved persons take their owner's surnames?

TL;DR is that it looks like that's true. There's an open question about this issue specifically relating to New York on our Genealogy sister site. However, the only answer there (from a moderator, ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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38 votes
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How is serfdom related to slavery?

It seems like you are trying to treat "slavery" and "serfdom" as trans-historical categories, and that is where the confusion lies. To make meaningful definitions and comparisons, ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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35 votes
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Did galley captains put corks in the mouths of slave rowers to keep them quiet?

Yes, this does seem to have happened on some galleys but evidence for the widespread use of this practice is lacking. Concerning conditions in general on galleys (rations, clothing, treatment etc.), ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
35 votes
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Did Catherine the Great really call for the abolition of serfdom?

This answer is based on the assumption that the OP is referring to the HBO miniseries Catherine the Great and, more specifically, the following segment of the script: [Catherine:] But in these more ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

How did slavery become permissible in the French West Indies when it was forbidden in France?

Louis X's decree in 1315 did not abolish slavery. That's a historical myth. First, the ordonnance did not say anything about slaves, and explicitly mentioned that it was applicable to persons "...
Semaphore's user avatar
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33 votes

Why was sugar cultivation more profitable in the Caribbean/Brazil than West Africa?

In short, Brazil and Caribbean Isles were easy to colonize and suited to the culture of the sugar cane. This related question will provide most of the explanation why Africa was harder to colonize, ...
xrorox's user avatar
  • 1,171
29 votes

Did anyone in ancient times want to abolish slavery?

Alcidamas of Asia Minor. He said that God had made no man a slave in the 4th century BC. He was talking about the Spartan enslavement of the Messenians, but it was a universal statement.
Jonah's user avatar
  • 291
28 votes
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Was the Somerset Decision in 1772 in England the real underlying cause of the American Revolutionary war?

He's not 100% wrong that the desire of slaveholders in the States to protect their "property" and the institution itself has been drastically underplayed by Americans in talking about their own ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 117k
28 votes
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What prevented slaves in Classical Greece from running off?

INTRO First, it is important to note that Greek (and other) slaves performed many kinds of jobs and this fact alone could influence the likelihood of a slave running away: The status of slaves, and ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
26 votes

Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

As sempaiscuba has said, it was illegal to kill a slave in the slave-holding states of the United States. Premeditated murder of a slave has always been illegal in the slave-holding states. However, ...
David D's user avatar
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25 votes

What were the ethnic backgrounds of the slaves in Ancient Greece?

SHORT ANSWER For most of the classical period, non-Greek slaves came primarily from Thrace and Anatolia. There is also evidence of slaves from Syria, Illyria, Macedon and Ethiopia. Slaves of Greek ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

How accurate/realistic is the conception of 'the kindly slave owner'?

A few preliminary points: 'New York' was of course 'New Amsterdam' for the larger part of the mid 17th century (until 1664). This is important, as the status and nature of slavery (and of free blacks)...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
24 votes

How is serfdom related to slavery?

Slavery and serfdom are legal terms; every legal framework (roughly every country) will have different definitions. So as you point out Roman slavery is different from French slavery, and both are ...
MCW's user avatar
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23 votes
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Did anyone in ancient times want to abolish slavery?

I don't see Gregory of Nyssa mentioned here. Fourth century Christian bishop, has a couple homilies in which he upbraids slave owners for the presumption that they could own human beings. Excerpt (...
user37609's user avatar
  • 246
23 votes
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Was Plato sold into slavery?

One source of the story of Plato being sold into slavery is Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius. An English translation is available online on Project Perseus. You can find ...
yannis's user avatar
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