slavery began long before the Atlantic slave trade, and its purposes
were largely different. Although some slaves were put to work in the
fields, they were more valued as items of conspicuous consumption.

The Muslim elite wanted them as guards and soldiers, as concubines,
cooks and musicians, simply to show how rich they were. Some
slaves in Islam reached high ranking positions in the army. For
example, a Turkish slave led an army that defeated a Mongol invasion
of Egypt in 1260. An Ethiopian slave became a governor of a province.

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Many of these male slaves were
castrated, otherwise known as eunuchs. The eunuchs were used to guard
female dormitories and private rooms. Many were governors and
generals. One black eunuch was chief administrator of Mecca and
Medina. (Hochschild, 2004).

Roman times, slaves came from internal sources, the slave population
was occasionally recruited from the outside when new territory was
conquered. This was not possible in the Islamic empire because
enslavement of their own people was banned. The result was a massive
importation of slaves from the outside.

(Lewis, 1990). The slave population of
the Islamic world was recruited from various nations including
Central and Eastern Europe where slaves there were generally known as
‘Slavs’. These white slaves were brought to the Crimean Peninsula,
located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson and west of the
Russian region of Kuban, and, then shipped to slave markets in
Istanbul and other Turkish cities. This trade came to an end when the
Russians attained Crimea in 1783. The Islamic empire, deprived of
most of their white slaves, turned more to Africa, which through the
19th century came to provide the majority of slaves used in Muslim
countries. (Lewis, 1992). The
enslavement of Africans for production was tried in Iraq but proved a
disaster. It provoked results which
lasted for 14 years, up until 883, this ended the mass exploitation
of black labour in the Arab world. Not until the 19th century did
slavery for production re-emerge in a Muslim country one black slaves
were used on plantations to produce goods that were exported to
western markets. (M`bokolo, 1998).

1400 to 1600, The geographical area
along the southern borders of the Sahara Desert, the red Sea shores,
and the East African coast, were most important for the dominant
Islamic influence. In sub-Saharan Africa slaves were often used in
production more so than they were in north Africa and the Middle
East. (Lovejoy, 2012). From
the late 1840s onwards, steps were taken by a number of consecutive
British governments to persuade the central government of the Turkish
empire, to impose restrictive measures on the slave trade to the
Arabic empire. Action by the Turks was not taken for over a decade,
into the mid 1850s. A Royal mandate was issued in 1857 which
prohibited the slave trade of Africans throughout the Arabic empire,
except in most of the western part of modern-day Saudi Arabia. In
1890 the Turkish government joined with other European and
non-European powers in signing the Brussels act against the African
slave trade. (Toledano, 1982).


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