Similarities Between Slavery And Serfdom

858 Words4 Pages
It is an obvious truth that in order to have a functioning society, there must be workers. In modern, first world countries, labors are paid well and are reasonably treated. However, some third world nations use an economic model harkening back to older times—slavery and serfdom. Between 1450 and 1750, European countries in the Caribbean and in the Old World utilized two forms of cheap labor—slavery and serfdom—to line their coffers and feed their populace. In the Caribbean, slavery was preferred; but in Russia, serfdom ruled. While Caribbean slavery and Russian serfdom are similar in regard to economics costs, they differ in the cultural details and agricultural productions. Both Caribbean slavery and Russian serfdom provided very cheap labor and economically benefited their mother government; however, the two methods came about in different ways. When the Spanish and Portuguese first began colonizing the Caribbean and South America, they stumbled upon a rich supply of native. They soon coerced the natives into working on sugar and tobacco plantations as slaves—the conditions were horrendous and life was short and brutal. Because European explorers brought along their native diseases (such as smallpox and tuberculosis), the native population was soon dramatically diminished. This meant that Caribbean plantation owners had to import in African slaves. This rejuvenated the African slave trade, which became an essential part of the global economy. Russian serfdom, however,
Open Document