White slaves .

Jan 2019
44
Belgium
#1
Hello everybody ,

If it has existed , (i'm not sure) , does anyone have any (serious) information about "white" slaves in the USA .
We speak of transport in the USA "free" in exchange for a period of slavery agreed in advance with a contract .
I’ve seen several books that talk about this, but none of them talked about the exact terms of the contract ...
A forced labour contract "simple" or a contract of slavery "limited in time".
What if it was a slavery contract ... how far did it go? Selling? Family separation? ... and others ....Etc ...

Thank you so much
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,738
Navan, Ireland
#2
1549748452202.jpeg

Is an excellent book on the subject, be careful there are several popular online reviews that claim the British exclusively sent Irish people as 'indentured servants' -- that's not true, only one chapter of the book deals with the Irish -- whose position varied.

Poor people, prisoners, criminals were sentenced to be indentured servants to the 'New World' --- at times they were treated incredibly badly (even worse than slaves in some cases) and their period of 'servitude' could at times be increased almost indefinitely -- so 'white slaves'.

However that's the bad end of the system it was also a way for a person to have their passage paid to 'the New World' in return for an agreed term of service at the end of which the servant received a lump sum and was free to start a new life. A good master would have no problems getting good 'servants'-- like as not from his home area/ family this 'good' system often applied to those better qualified/educated families-- who could read the terms of employment for instance or be able to appeal the abuse to the courts.

Should also like to stress that while Indentured Servants could at times be treated little better or even worse than slaves they were still not slaves.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,888
#3
There were indentured servants who were mostly sentenced to work on plantations for a certain time, similar to galley slaves, Siberia, or chain gangs. There were also native American slaves who were mostly bought from other tribes as with the African slaves, and mostly mixed in with the African slaves. There was a trade of native American slaves to Bermuda and the Bahamas in exchange for African slaves.

Under English laws Christians could not be slaves. There are recent books and videos claiming there were white slaves. I asked about this a few years ago, and the reply was there is nothing in contemporary sources about white slaves.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,905
Portugal
#4
I will talk about legal slavery, not about today’s phenomenon. Probably not what the first poster wanted.

Not necessarily in the USA, but white slaves, or should I say, slaves of any skin colour, were quite common before the generalization of the cheap sub-Saharan slaves in the 15th and 16th centuries when the Portuguese explored and traded in the West Coast of Africa.

White slaves could also exist in America with the miscegenation, but they would be rare, and the concept of white would vary much. There is a Brazilian novel from the late 19th century that fictionalizes that concept: “Escrava Isaura” by Bernardo Guimarães.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,888
#5
Yes, there were slaves who looked white, and were mostly white.

There were also large numbers of European and African slaves in Muslim countries as late as the time of African slavery in North America.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#6
Weren't white slaves very common in Muslim countries for 1000 years, at least ?. I understand slavery-as;chattel still exists..

As I understand it, white slaves were traded by the Vikings, possibly for centuries
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,905
Portugal
#7
Yes, there were slaves who looked white, and were mostly white.

There were also large numbers of European and African slaves in Muslim countries as late as the time of African slavery in North America.
Weren't white slaves very common in Muslim countries for 1000 years, at least ?. I understand slavery-as;chattel still exists..

As I understand it, white slaves were traded by the Vikings, possibly for centuries
Slavery only begun to have skin colour connotations with the availability of huge number of black slaves after the 16th century. Before that and even in that time the slaves could have any skin colour.
 
Likes: Niobe

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,738
Navan, Ireland
#8
Weren't white slaves very common in Muslim countries for 1000 years, at least ?. I understand slavery-as;chattel still exists..

As I understand it, white slaves were traded by the Vikings, possibly for centuries

Slavery has always existed -- Christianity tried to stop it but the free market got around that (indentured servants etc).

Dublin was established around the year 800AD by the 'Vikings' and quickly became a renowned trading post - main trade? slaves from Viking raids.

In recent (ish) times the Corsairs of North Africa were huge slavers of Europeans.

Slavery continued in the Middle East and 'white slaves' were mentioned from places such as Georgia and Eastern Europe well into the last decades of the 19th century.

Of course it effectively still exists today -- to my shock twice in my life (once in Wales and once in Ireland) have people been successfully prosecuted for keeping 'slaves' within a few miles of my home.

Now to be fair it was more like exploitation of vulnerable people (that has gone on for ever but not just noticed) but even so.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#9
@Kevinmeath

That's about what I thought.

Black slaves becoming the norm,, at least in the Southern US, makes sense. Apart from availability, there would have been moral issues with using white slaves. Plus the practical issue of recovering escaped white slaves.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,905
Portugal
#10
@Kevinmeath

That's about what I thought.

Black slaves becoming the norm,, at least in the Southern US, makes sense. Apart from availability, there would have been moral issues with using white slaves. Plus the practical issue of recovering escaped white slaves.
Black slaves became the norm with the Portuguese exploration of the West Coast of Africa. But the Portuguese not only traded and enslaves black people, but also whites, even if the concept of white can vary from today. In the 15th and 16th centuries often the sources considered the Canarians white, the North Africans white, or considered the Chinese white. Japanese and Indians (both from India and America were enslaved). The issue is that the blacks were cheaper due their huge numbers, availability and proximity.

But don’t see the moral issues of having white slaves. The Romans didn’t had that moral issues. The Arabs didn’t had them, the Slavs where among the favourites. The Christian kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula in the middle ages didn’t had those moral issues (well the church had moral issues to enslave white Christians). The moral issues seemed to raise with the availability of the black slaves and the equation black=slave, that didn’t existed before the 16th century. Even if in the previous century the black slaves begun to appear in significant numbers in the markets in Algarve and Lisbon.