Kinds of Servitude 06/03/2013 Zahra Haidari
● Vassal – bound by mutual obligation to a member of the upper class – you would provide with
specified services and he would provide you with protection
● Pawn – temporarily enslaved to guarantee an agreement- It means to be temporarily enslaved for a
temporary period of time. For example, a rich person would exchange the other person’s slave until
their agreement had been completed
● Indentured servant – contractually bound to a period of enslavement, but free again at the end of the
contract; received land or money at the end of the contract – Agreed to be enslaved- at the end would
get money or land- EXTREMELY common in Europe and its colonies. – These were 70 percent of all
immigrants – 2/3 became indentured servants. Most people would choose to become one if they were
starving or in the worst possible state. Most people coming in as indentured servants were coming in as
manual workers, with all kinds of skills—fell onto hard times and run out of options therefore were
forced to become to the new world and become an indentured servant – most of these indentured
slaves would last about 7 years.
● Serf – bound to a master; had limited freedoms; could own property; could be members of a church or
village –These members of the community had very little freedom! It never came to an end and your
children would also become serfs. These are listed from least oppressive to most oppressive. Most of
these people were born into specific roles in life. These were hereditary.
● Slaves – bound to their masters; not members of the community in which they lived; varied
conditions. They were not members of the community in which they lived. These were slaves.
● Chattel slavery – most severe form of slavery; could be bought, sold and punished at will; offspring
were also chattel slaves
“Probably there is no group of people whose ancestors were not at one time slaves or slave holders.”
● In western Africa during the 16th century, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the population was enslaved
The nature of slavery varied from place to place- some were treated like humans, even like family.
Some tribes had sooo much labour that they would slaughter the excess slaves.
● Conditions of slavery varied from place to place
– Least severe: slaves treated as family members
– Most severe: excess slaves were killed annually
● Causes: (3 Main Causes)
– Warfare / abduction- In war, any parties that were out alone, or at war- were captured and became
slaves. – Indebtedness – If you were so poor that you could not care for yourself, you would become a slave
– Judicial decision – It arose due to some judicial decision, if you committed a crime, or if your family
member killed someone else’s family member, the leader of the tribe would punish you by enslaving
you and/or your family members.
Over several centuries, about 10 million enslaved Africans were taken across the Sahara Desert, and into
the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia
● Another 10 million were taken across the Atlantic, in a shorter but more intense period of slave
The slaves in Asia stay in the long run?
The Atlantic Slave Trade
● The first African slaves taken by Europeans were used as household servants and as general labourers
● The scale of European slave trading rose dramatically when sugar production rose
● Large capital investment
● Large amount of arduous labour
Sugar was a HUGE commodity to Europeans. When you started producing sugar on plantations, it
required a LARGE amount of capital, and A LOT of labour for a complicated process when pro