The Role Of Slavery In The Ottoman Empire

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Slavery in the Americas and the Ottoman Empire Slavery is a system of social relations in which a person (slave) is owned by another person (slave owner). At first, criminals and debtors became slaves, but later, civilians were forced to work for their masters. Slavery became common after the Age of Exploration. A massive transatlantic slave trade flourished because there were not enough people to work on the plantations in the Americas. Europeans learnt that an unlimited number of laborers from Africa could be loaded on ships and turned into slaves in the Americas. However, in another part of the world, everything was quite different. In the Ottoman Empire, slavery was based not on labor on the plantations, but on service in the army and the Sultan’s administration. The system of devshirme was…show more content…
In the Ottoman Empire, becoming a slave of the Sultan was a great opportunity. Boys not of noble births could make a brilliant career. For a huge amount of families, devshirme became a tragedy. However, there were cases when parents were strongly contributing to get their child into the palace because the service was a huge opportunity for a simple peasant boy. Most of the administrators, soldiers, and palace officials were brought as slaves, brought up as Muslims, and then occupied positions in the political elite of the Empire. African slaves had only one “career.” Their holders were “kings”, and they were called “black animals.” They had no choice except working hard on plantations until they died. Even their family lives could be disrupted. However, a French cotton merchant reports on what happened after the marriage, “…the master may sell separately the husband and the wife and the children to another buyer…” (Stearns et al. 96). This statement clearly shows that American slaves did not even have an opportunity for the development of the next
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