Explain the relationship—and distinction—between African domestic slavery

The relationship—and distinction—between African domestic slavery and African chattel slavery is one that has been built upon the historical context of both forms of enslavement. The two types of slavery originated in different regions, with each having distinct characteristics that made them unique. While both systems were oppressive and exploitative, there are some important differences in how they operated. By understanding these distinctions, a better understanding can be gained regarding how Africans were enslaved throughout history.

Explain the relationship—and distinction—between African domestic slavery

African domestic slavery was an ancient practice which took place within various parts of Africa prior to European colonization (Lovejoy, 2000). This form of servitude often involved individuals who had been captured during wars or raids by other groups within their own societies (McElrath & Lovejoy 2017). The individuals taken captive would become servants to the captors’ families for life and could be traded or sold as property; however unlike chattel slavery, this type of servitude did not involve ongoing coercion through physical punishment or extreme deprivation. Instead these slaves were generally treated more like members of the households they served in which provided them with certain rights and privileges such as basic sustenance as well as access to education (Miers & Kopytoff 1977). These obligations were largely based on mutual benefit between master and slave due to the fact that many times the masters relied on their slaves for labor while the slaves received food and shelter in exchange for their services.

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