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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Black slaves in the Mediterranean world: introduction to a neglected aspect of the African diaspora
Author:Hunwick, J.O.ISNI
Book title:The human commodity: perspectives on the trans-Saharan slave trade
Year:1992
Pages:5-38
Language:English
Geographic term:Middle East
Subjects:diasporas
slavery
abolition of slavery
Abstract:Beginning some eight centuries before the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and not ending until several decades after the latter was halted, the movement of slaves across the Sahara, up the Nile Valley and the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean probably accounted for the uprooting of as many black Africans from their societies as did the trans-Atlantic trade. This chapter focuses on slavery in the Islamic Mediterranean basin. It shows that slavery in the Mediterranean during the Islamic era was a continuing phenomenon. Slaves in Muslim societies were from all races and colours. Their rights, disabilities and exemptions were clearly defined in Islamic law. Plantation slavery, with its concomitant brutality and degradation, was comparatively rare. The major types of occupation to which male slaves were put in the Mediterranean world were domestic and commercial service, unskilled labour (both agricultural and industrial), and soldiering. Female slaves were uniquely reserved for domestic tasks. Emancipation was an implicit assumption of the Islamic system and many avenues were provided for it, although there was never any self-generated movement for the abolition of slavery from within the Muslim world, since slavery was considered an institution sanctioned by Islamic law. Notes, ref.
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