The Arab enslavement of the Dinka people | Pictures: Wikipedia

Celebrating August 23, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Definition of slavery
• the practice of owning slaves
• work done under harsh conditions for little or no pay
• the state of being under the control of another person

11,000 years ago Neolithic Revolution
There was less slavery in hunter-gatherer population and first traces of slavery can be seen with the Neolithic or Agricultural Revolution

8,000BC – Egypt
Graves found during this time show evidence of enslavement

1754 BC Code of Hammurabi
The Babylonian law code states that anyone who helps a slave escape is punishable by death

1600 -1100BC Ancient Greece
There are records of slavery belonging to this period

6th – 5th centuries
BC – Classical Athens
With 80,000 slaves, Classical Athens had the largest slave population

304 -232BC – India
Emperor Ashoka abolished the slave trade, but not slavery

221- 206BC – China
Qin Dynasty abolished slavery

330-1204 and 1261-1453 Bysantine Empire
Slave trade operated in a large scale

869- 883 – Arab world
Zanj rebellion occurred against African slaves

1086 – England
According to the Domesday Book, 10 percent of the English population was slaves

1189 – Morocco
Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 females and children as slaves

1191- Portugal
Al-Mansur’s Cordoba governor took 3,000 Christian slaves

9 -10th centuries – Iraq
Zanj slaves made up half the population of lower Iraq

1102 – England
Slave trade was made illegal

11-19th centuries-North Africa
North African Barbary Pirates captured Christian slaves

1365 – Ottoman Empire
Issued the janissary system

Mid -14th century – Scandinavia
Thralldoms were abolished

1452 – Europe
Pope Nicholas the Fifth issued the papal bull Dum Diversas which legitimized slavery of Muslims, pagans and other unbelievers

1441- Portugal
First slaves brought to the country from northern Mauritania

15th century – Poland
Slavery was forbidden

15th century – Constantinople
One fifth of the population was slaves

1537- Europe
Pope Paul the Third issued the papal bull Sublimus Dei which forbade enslavement of Native Americans

Following the Battle of Lepanto, 12,000 Christian galley slaves were recaptured and freed from the Ottoman fleet

1519 – Mexico
Country’s first Afro-Mexican slaves were brought this year

1588 – Lithuania
Slavery was abolished

1673 – Russia
Agricultural slaves became serfs

1688 – Pennsylvania
First protest against slavery by Germans and Dutch

1723 – Russia
Peter the Great converted household slaves to house serfs

17-19th centuries – England
England had a lucrative Atlantic slave trade

1807- Britain
Slave Trade Act was passed

1808 – USA
Import of slaves was prohibited

1816 – Europe
Bombardment of Algiers to end slavery under the Dey of Algiers

1826 – Ottoman Empire
With over 135,000 janissaries, the system was ended

1841- India
There were eight-nine million slaves

1843 – India
Through the Indian Slavery Act, slavery in British India was abolished

1861- Britain
Emancipation Reforms were passed

1863 – USA
Slaves were legally emancipated with the Emancipation Proclamation

1866 – Russia
State-owned serfs were emancipated

1873 – Puerto Rico
Abolished slavery of Africans

1894 – Korea
Through the Gabo Reform, slavery was abolished

1906 – China
Law abolishing slavery was passed

1908 – Ottoman Empire
Female slaves were sold

1910 – China
Law abolishing slavery was put into use

1930 – Korea
Despite the Gabo Reform, slavery continued

1939 -1945 – Europe
During the Second World War, Nazi Germany enslaved 12 million people

1948 – United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stated that freedom from slavery is a human right

1960s – Saudi Arabia
The slave population was estimated at 300,000

1962- Saudi Arabia
Slavery was abolished

19th century – Nigeria
Half the population  of Sokoto, Nigeria were slaves
2014 – Religious leaders signed a commitment against modern-day slavery


Virginia plantations, 1790
Virginia plantations, 1790
Slave traders in Gorée, Senegal, 18th century
Slave traders in Gorée, Senegal, 18th century
England, 1086
England, 1086
Egypt, 8000 BC
Egypt, 8000 BC