Entraves esclave
Chains such as these were used to stop slaves from escaping

Slavery is an economic system. In it, some people must work for no pay. It is also a system of ownership. Some people from countries around the world used to own slaves. Some of these include the ancient Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and Incas.

There is evidence that even before there was writing, there was slavery. There have been different types of slavery, and they have been in almost all cultures and continents. Some societies had laws about slavery, or they had an economy that was built on it. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had many slaves.

In modern times, the best-known example of slavery in history involves the use of slaves from southern and western Africa to work on export-oriented plantations in the Caribbean, America and Brazil. Slavery was a major cause of the American Civil War, which ended slavery there in 1865. The Reconstruction of the United States made the Freedmen citizens in 1866 and voters in 1867.

During the 20th century almost all countries made laws forbidding slavery. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that slavery is wrong. Slavery is now banned by international law Nevertheless, there are still different forms of slavery in some countries.

The English word "slave" comes from the medieval word for the Slavic peoples of Central Europe and Eastern Europe, because these were the last ethnic group to be captured and enslaved in Central Europe. Slave-holders used to buy slaves at slave auctions. In many cases slaves are not allowed rights.

Famous people who were slaves

Harriet Tubman by Squyer, NPG, c1885
Harriet Tubman, c1885

Related pages


Slavery for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.