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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

The History of Slavery, Part 2: The Medieval Slave Trade to Arabia

00:00 01:02:56
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The term "slave trade" conjures up images of a white slaver capturing African tribesmen, packing them like corkwood into a ship, selling them in the Antebellum South, and having a plantation owner work them to death. in the process, millions were stripped of their most basic rights as humans and suffered the worst form of indignation.



But such massive levels of slavery did not begin with the European discovery of the New World. In the Middle Ages, Vikings went on numerous slave raids of England and Eastern Europe, selling those capture on Volga slave markets. Arab slave traders purchased millions of Africans and sent them to the Middle East to work on cotton and sugar cane plantations in Iraq.

Middle Eastern intellectuals argued that Africans were at a lower mental level than Arabs and thus of a suitable condition to be enslaved (to be fair, they thought the same of Scandinavians). Slaves were humiliated at markets in Cairo where they were stripped naked to be examined by potential buyers. And Africans were taken from their homeland where they would be shipped East to Cairo, Syria, Iraq, India, and even all the way out to Indonesia.

Slavery is much older than we think but sadly universally cruel.
July 24, 2018
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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