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History of Slavery in the Caribbean and West Africa - Essay Example

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The 1926 Slavery Convention described slavery as ".the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised." Therefore, a slave is someone who cannot leave an owner or employer without explicit permission, and who will be returned if they escape…
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History of Slavery in the Caribbean and West Africa
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History of Slavery in the Caribbean and West Africa

Download file to see previous pages... In the strictest sense of the word, "slaves" are people who are not only owned, but are also not paid, and who have no rights. The word comes from Latin term sclavus, which is thought, was originally referring to slavs, peoples from Eastern Europe, including parts of the Byzantine Empire. However, the current usage of the word serfdom is not usually synonymous with slavery, because serfs are considered to have had some rights. The International Labor Organization (ILO) considers slavery as a form of forced labor. It defines "forced labor" to be "all work or service which is extracted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily", albeit with certain exceptions: military service, convicts, emergencies and minor community services (Slavery).
Historically, slaves were most of the time humans of a different ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex or race than the dominant or aspiration ally dominant group; typically taken prisoner because of warfare, capture meant death or slavery if no one paid ransom. Societies characterized by poverty, population pressures, and cultural and technological lag are frequently exporters of slaves to more developed nations (Slavery). In ancient times, Greco-Roman slavery may have been related to the practice of infanticide. Unwanted infants were exposed to nature to die; slave traders, who raised them as slaves, then often rescued these. In many cultures, persons convicted of serious crimes could be sold into slavery. The proceeds from this sale were often used to compensate the victims (Slavery).
The Slave life
The daily life of a slave was never easy. Slaves either work on the field or in the house for house slaves, all the cooking and cleaning was done by hand. They were often the ones to take care of any children of their master. Although slaves received better food in few times, their working days were longer because of lights in the house. Slaves who work in the fields work from day until dawn. The work was back breaking, and overseers often did not care if a slave was worked to death (Bushong).

Until the early 1800, slaves were cheap. If one died, they would just go to the slave market and buy another one.If a slave was thought to be disrespectful or did not do their work correctly, punishment was often brutal. Being beaten or whipped becomes a normal experience for most slaves. One slave girl, who eventually escaped slavery, was hit in the head with something heavy that the overseer threw at her. She nearly died, but recovered after several months. She suffered from terrible headaches the rest of her life. Other slaves were punished with starvation, sold to a harder master, or possibly sent to a slave breaker (Bushong).
Conditions aboard the slave ships were even harsher. Slaves were stuck into the hull and chained to one another in order to stop revolts. Only one out of five slaves will survive the journey from Africa to America. Slaves who caught up with incurable diseases such as smallpox will be immediately thrown overboard (Dowling). Those who survived the long harsh journey will face even more pain on the plantations. Many of the plantation owners had returned to Europe, leaving their holdings in America to be managed by overseers who were often unstable or unsavory. Upon arrival, family members are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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