Aren't some countries unfairly vilified for their slavery/colonial past?

Oct 2011
417
Croatia
How do you "unfairly" vilify slavers? to return to the thread's question.

It would seem that all who engaged in slaving deserve vilification, whether Euro slavers, Arab slavers, Africans selling slaves to those 2, or anyone buying and using the slaves.

It's a dirty business all around, and squabbling over which perp was the worst is pointless.

Better we should dedicate ourselves to ensuring that it never happens again.
I do agree; you cannot "unfairly villify slavers". However, there are several ways unfair villification can be done in connection with slavery:
1) Focusing on only some of the countries which practiced slavery
2) Focusing on only some of the areas in which slavery was practiced
3) Focusing on only some of the forms of slavery
4) Focusing on only some of periods of slavery

End result, regardless of the causes, is always the same: some are crucified over their slavery past, while others walk away scot-free (e.g. the idea that Europeans were rarely, or never, victims of slavery, and thus always the "bad guys"; which is a consequence of focus on transatlantic slave trade). More problematically, perhaps, is that such selective outrage prevents clear understanding of various causes, and consequences, of slavery. Not all forms of slavery were the same, and slavery in various parts of the world and periods of time took various forms and had various causes.
 
Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
Since I am not sure that you know what I think, besides what I wrote, could you elaborate?
What did you mean by profitable? Where you saying it was profitable to "all" the countries that partake in it? Or generally profitable for individuals? It seemed like you were saying it was "generally" profitable, correct me if I misread you.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,614
Westmorland
I do agree; you cannot "unfairly villify slavers". However, there are several ways unfair villification can be done in connection with slavery:
1) Focusing on only some of the countries which practiced slavery
2) Focusing on only some of the areas in which slavery was practiced
3) Focusing on only some of the forms of slavery
4) Focusing on only some of periods of slavery

End result, regardless of the causes, is always the same: some are crucified over their slavery past, while others walk away scot-free
Whilst I can see your point, the practical reality is that everyone has agendas and perspectives. Those of us on an Anglophone forum such as Historum where many posters are either American or British may wrongly perceive that slavery in Anglophone countries is disproportionately vilified because it features more on Anglophone websites. But that's only to be expected, given that many threads have an Anglophone bent. It's also to be expected given that a) in historical terms, Anglophone organised slavery is relatively recent and b) the global, cultural and political importance of the UK and (especially) the USA makes us easy targets. Historum has a measurable number of posters who appear to be sustained almost solely by their burning hatred of Brits in general and the English in particular. That inevitably riles other posters and it's then too easy for everyone to adopt partisan viewpoints which have little or no bearing on the actual issues and which end up being unedifying slanging matches which can be summarised as 'my country right or wrong' and 'your country always wrong'.

So, whether anyone walks away scot free is very hard to say. But even if they do, that shouldn't shut down debate.

More problematically, perhaps, is that such selective outrage prevents clear understanding of various causes, and consequences, of slavery.
Outrage prevents serious discussion of anything, as my recent attempt on this thread to debate Corvidius has shown.

Not all forms of slavery were the same, and slavery in various parts of the world and periods of time took various forms and had various causes.
What forms of slavery do you say were different to others? Are you suggesting that there is a sliding scale?
 
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Oct 2011
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Croatia
Whilst I can see your point, the practical reality is that everyone has agendas and perspectives. Those of us on an Anglophone forum such as Historum where many posters are either American or British may wrongly perceive that slavery in Anglophone countries is disproportionately vilified because it features more on Anglophone websites. But that's only to be expected, given that many threads have an Anglophone bent. It's also to be expected given that a) in historical terms, Anglophone organised slavery is relatively recent and b) the global, cultural and political importance of the UK and (especially) the USA makes us easy targets. Historum has a measurable number of posters who appear to be sustained almost solely by their burning hatred of Brits in general and the English in particular. That inevitably riles other posters and it's then too easy for everyone to adopt partisan viewpoints which have little or no bearing on the actual issues and which end up being unedifying slanging matches which can be summarised as 'my country right or wrong' and 'your country always wrong'.

So, whether anyone walks away scot free is very hard to say. But even if they do, that shouldn't shut down debate.

Outrage prevents serious discussion of anything, as my recent attempt on this thread to debate Corvidius has shown.
Agreed.

What forms of slavery do you say were different to others? Are you suggesting that there is a sliding scale?
There are many differences; and you could indeed even say that there is a sort-of sliding scale with regards to treatment of slaves. In Rome, household slaves were often treated rather well, in some cases almost as if they were part of family (this of course varied from family to family). Some slaves worked as tutors and teachers in rich families, and their living standard was likely higher than that of many free men. State-owned slaves, meanwhile, were treated as disposable tools. Gladiators, ironically, may have been treated much better than popularly believed: while convicted criminals were often let go to fight to death, as a form of execution, many gladiators were not convicted criminals - some may not even have been slaves, but rather actual professionals. As such, fights were often to the blood, not to the death, and gladiator who performed well could even expect to be freed at the end of career - assuming he was not already a free man to begin with.

There were also different forms of slavery with regards to purpose - not all slaves were exploited for economic purposes. Ottomans had Janissaries, who were basically children of Christian families, enslaved, brainwashed and raised to fight against Christians. Mamluks were another caste of slave soldiers, who eventually became ruling class in Egypt (in fact, "mamluk" is a term for slave).
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,872
Portugal
What did you mean by profitable?
What is usually understood as profitable. Probably the best synonymous is “lucrative”; that makes money; That there exists a positive return of the capital invested.

Definition of PROFITABLE

Where you saying it was profitable to "all" the countries that partake in it?
No. “All” is always a terribly generalization. The countries, or maybe we should say the kingdoms, territories, companies and individuals (investors) that made the slave trade from the African coast to and in America were in a sector that was profitable, as it was already said in this thread. In Africa the situation is much more complex to analyse and difficult to measure since some of the territories that made the slave raids were themselves victims of slave raids. So there the analysis must be made on a different way, since it can’t only be seen in economic terms, of capital invested and its return, but also in social and human terms. And there, as I said, the situation is much more complex. The loss of huge part of the population in vast territories had huge costs.

Or generally profitable for individuals?
Individuals that were investors, companies, and as such to their countries. And to the individuals that directly or indirectly worked with those companies.

It seemed like you were saying it was "generally" profitable, correct me if I misread you.
The sector of buying, selling and reselling slaves was profitable. If it wasn’t profitable there’s wouldn’t be investments in it.

In the work of the historian Eric Williams, “Capitalism and Slavery”, a work of 1944, he established a direct relation between the profits of the slave trade and slave labour and the capital available for the Industrial Revolution in England. But that relation has been downsized in more recent studies. The historian Joseph C. Miller in a work of 1996 reached a somewhat different conclusion, also probably because he analysed the Portuguese case.

The study of Eric Williams, for the XVIII century, pointed for a return bigger than 30%; but today deeper studies show quite smaller numbers, between 5% and 10%. For instance Guillaume Daudin, in 2002, pointed to 6% for France in the same century. As for the Dutch Company of Commerce of Middelburg, 1790-1790, we have records studied by Oliviewr Pétré-Grenouilleau that point to 2,1%.

For instance, a slave in the middle of the XVII century could be bought by 22$000 réis in the harbour of Luanda and sold by 33$970 in Pernambuco. Naturally here we would have to add the other costs. Cases of loss existed (especially when the slaves died) but they didn’t seem to endanger the sector.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,020
Navan, Ireland
So you didn't use the answer to me and basically ,apart from the Mongols,, you are claiming that before European elites all other were benign and wanted power in a selfless drive to improved the lot of everyone, well as I said it shows a rather biased interpretation of history and one that would suggest wider reading.






I have never ignored anything. Saying that they needed the resources of their colonies doesn't deny they used their own resources. I never said that Europeans require colonies now to be industrial either, only in the past (albeit most of the present major European states as well as the US still own colonies, but certainly even if they lose them, their industrial output, even if it could possibly take a severe hit, would not disappear).
Sorry you have completely ignored that anything could actually happen within Europe organically it has to be lead by resources and ideas from outside and you have stated that Europe would not and could not have industrial without colonies. Sort of ignoring the fact that the very reason that they could get colonies is because they were industrialising.



The patio process did not exist thousands of years ago - it was a new process invented by the Spaniards that extracted unprecedented levels of silver and gold that can be described as at least proto-industrial. I didn't say definitively that it also influenced the British, only that there's a possibility given the precedence.
So the Industrial revolution did not start in Spain and you have zero evidence that gold mining in the Americas were vital in the development of mining resources in the UK.



And I've been presenting evidence against your notion.
No you haven't you have just expressed your opinion and quoted resources from different locations and different time periods (you seem to struggle with chronology ) and claim that the Europeans and or the British couldn't have Industrialise ignoring the fact that the reason that Britain and Europe could reach these places and exploit them was because they were industrialising.

The British required the colonial exploitation that started with James VI at the earliest and required further colonies to continue, particularly Australia and India, the biggest colonies the British acquired in the second half of the 18th century and first half of the 19th. Even if we say "the British became industrial with James Watt invention of the steam engine during George III's reign", they still needed their vast colonies in North America, in India and the Indian Ocean, their Caribbean colonies and their African posts to accumulate the wealth enough to develop such technology.
But the technology comes before the wealth (or at least some of it) and they can exploit and accumulate the wealth because they are industrialising, there are plenty of resources in Europe and these were exploited.

As I said in my first post on this subject colonialism was a symptom of industrialisation not the cause.

Despite what you like to think of Europeans being some devilish race who want to spread exploitation around the world that before they came was a place of peace and tranquillity , exploitation, violence, Empire building, slavery etc has existed everywhere but the industrial revolution enabled it to go Global -- and its still happening.
 
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Oct 2011
417
Croatia
Don't forget not all of Europe was originally white
Yeah, there were Ents, Trolls, Gnomes...

The whole concept has caused untold damage, and people looking back at history will take race apply it to the past in era where it didn't exist as is, to push agendas, and not every "race" basically does this now from China to England.

Ethnic group has always been more important and a better indicator of a group of people. It's also much more useful for historical research, especially on where groups settled. It's how we found out about the Bantu migration.
Races always existed - race is actually a "subspecies", a biological category. And Ancient Romans were in fact quite racist (going by modern definitions of racism).

Of course, any sort of categorization - except where strict boundaries are defined - is by nature of questionable provinence. Species is defined by ability to provide viable offspring; no such definition exists for subspieces. Wolves and dogs, for example, are the same species because they can produce viable offspring.