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The Scourge of Slavery

While much has been written concerning the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, surprisingly little attention has been given to the Islamic slave trade across the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.  While the European involvement in the Trans Atlantic slave trade to the Americas lasted for just over three centuries, the Arab involvement in the slave trade has lasted fourteen centuries, and in some parts of the Muslim world is still continuing to this day.


A comparison of the Islamic slave trade to the American slave trade reveals some interesting contrasts.  While two out of every three slaves shipped across the Atlantic were men, the proportions were reversed in the Islamic slave trade.  Two women for every man were enslaved by the Muslims.

While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Trans Sahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%!

While almost all the slaves shipped across the Atlantic were for agricultural work, most of the slaves destined for the Muslim Middle East were for sexual exploitation as concubines, in harems, and for military service

While many children were born to slaves in the Americas, and millions of their descendants are citizens in Brazil and the USA to this day, very few descendants of the slaves that ended up in the Middle East survive. 

While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East were castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth.

It is estimated that possibly as many as 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic (95% of which went to South and Central America, mainly to Portuguese, Spanish and French possessions.  Only 5% of the slaves went to the United States). 

However, at least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East.  As at least 80% of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from the 14 centuries of Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been over 112 million.  When added to the number of those sold in the slave markets, the total number of African victims of the Trans Saharan and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 million people

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5 Kommentarer

  1. Interessante bøger. Men DR2 skulle jo absolut sende en udsendelsesrække om Vestindiske slaver. I hh til disse tal var det en dråbe i havet.

  2. Det er en rigtig god side du har fundet der.

    Deres holdning til hekse (også nutidens): “I pointed out that as witches throughout history have engaged in human sacrifices, it should be evident that it is most appropriate to have the death penalty for such murderers” Gad vide hvad Wicca organisationen mener om det?

    Deres syn på inkvisitionen: “Far from The Inquisition being Christians persecuting non-Christians, the reality is that it was the very opposite. The Inquisition was an anti-Christian persecution of Protestant believers.” Gad vide hvad jøderne mener om det?

    Deres syn på godhed: “The whole concept of charity was a Christian innovation. Before Christ, benevolence to strangers was unknown.” Gad vide hvad naturvidenskaben mener om det.

    Og i det hele taget: “The Christian Church has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or movement in history. (…)More importantly, it is easy for opponents of Christianity to criticise, but – what are our critics doing for the lonely, the widows, the orphans, the sick, the aged and the refugees?” Den gider jeg ikke engang kommentere på.

  3. Hej. Kan du ikke oversætte det der plagen af slaveriet på dansk? Jeg er 12 år og vil meget gerne læse det, men fatter det ikke!

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