A new trend developed once Europeans were travelling around the world, engaging in what they termed voyages of discovery. In many cases Christianity accompanied trade and conquest. Christianity adapted to local circumstances, in what is known as syncretism, and was backed by military force and commercial development.
European sailors who have long been praised as discovering Africa, extending the scope of the known world, were in fact at the same time engaging in the African slave trade. Africa did not need to be discovered. It housed many mature civilizations, with complex economies and political systems.
In 960, slavery was banned in Venice. On occasion enslavement of Englishmen was prohibited, while the French or Welsh could still be enslaved. In Italy, Spain and France, there came a time when slavery was no longer naturally viable. The change came later in England, after the Norman Conquest, but before 1200. The story was different in Southern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean, with wars between Christians and Muslims routinely accompanied by enslavement. In 1300 there were 30,000 Christian slaves in Granada.
Islamic laws included benign treatment of slaves. ...
There was a busy trade on the southern coast of the Mediterranean. Details are hazy, but Arab slave traders served a global market, with particular tastes such as black eunuchs.
The black slaves were the more preferred ones. The blacks were well built and strong and used to do difficult tasks with ease and most importantly they don't ask questions.
Christians have traditionally believed that their service to God provided the basis for their freedom and citizenship. This has led to a stress on obeying rules, and taking vows of obedience. This approach to service was undertaken by free will, and sometimes discussed in terms of enslavement. It contrasts with the horrors of chattel slavery, which were kept from the attention of the European population.
Slavery and states' rights were divisive issues leading to the American Civil War. Principled positions came later. Pragmatism was dominant. Abraham Lincoln was committed to doing whatever was necessary to save the Union, and concluded that slavery had to be abolished. Following the Civil War, the period of Reconstruction showed that the attitudes, which had underpinned slavery, had not been destroyed through war. Racial prejudice continued.
Britain abolished slavery in 1833, taking effect in 1838, but did not achieve the universal adult franchise until the twentieth century. Access to power was controlled. Social class, less visible than skin colour, remains a determining factor. One legacy of the former British Empire has been the flow of immigrants, descended from former slaves, or from the countries from which the slaves were taken. History is ever present.
After the Second World War, European colonial powers like Britain had a labour shortage. They turned to