Skip to comments.Did Black Slaves Revolt in Iraq? (Slavery in Islam)
Posted on 07/31/2014 2:14:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
But, wait! you say. Black slaves in Iraq? The Middle East? Today, American childrenthanks to the revolution fostered by the institutionalization of black studies starting in the late 1960smainly learn about slavery starting with the Middle Passage, the tens of thousands of slave ships that headed west from Africa across the Atlantic to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries. But, it turns out, theres a good chance the European powers that backed those ships learned to link slavery and race from the eastern powers that once occupied the same lands. Thats what the dean of the history of slavery, David Brion Davis of Yale University, posits in his 2003 book Challenging the Boundaries of Slavery. To be sure, Iraq wasnt called Iraq back then (its current borders werent established until after World War I). It was known generally as Mesopotamia, the land of the Tigris and Euphrates, and was part of a sprawling caliphate empire that stretched from southern Asia to North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.
As old and as violent as the conflict is between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, slavery is even older. It predates the written historical record, Davis writes, and at critical turns was supported legally by the major religions of Judaism and Christianity. Islam followed. And as the teachings of the Koran spread from Mecca to the conquered lands of Africa and beyond, beginning in the seventh century, the lucrative slave trade expanded from Africa back to the Middle East.
Dont get me wrong: Africans were not just slaves in Mesopotamia. Some played key roles in the formation of Islam
(Excerpt) Read more at theroot.com ...
Isn’t this Obama’s friend of Beer Summit fame?
What is very rarely revealed is that those slaves were those confiscated from the Muslims that Spain was expelling. (For during Islam's occupation of Spain only Muslims owned slaves, whatever the color.)
Not just Iraq, but throughout the Islamic world. Judaism and Christianity moved past slavery and eventually abolished it - Islam did not. While Islam prohibited the enslavement of other Muslims, that same protection did not apply to infidels. The enslavement of infidels was permitted and even encouraged. This was especially true for the animists of sub-Saharan Africa who were not even “people of the book”.
Actually, this is not accurate. Spain (Castile) conquered the Canary Islands starting in 1402. They enslaved the natives (Guanches) and used them as labor across the Mediterranean. Spain also enslaved Muslims and imported large numbers of African slaves from the 1440s.
The prototypical slave plantations for sugar production, complete with African slaves, were functioning in southern Spain, Sicily, the Canaries and Madeira for decades before Columbus’ voyages.
Interesting article - thanks.
Skip Gates points out that Muslims started the slave trade from Africa, and that the total taken to Muslim lands is about as many as those taken to the New World.
What he did not mention though, is that when European buyers entered the market, it still remained a Muslim-dominated slave trade. Europeans in Africa suffered fifty percent mortality per year from malaria, until the introduction of quinine in the 1800’s. There were unable to establish any ongoing operation on the continent during that time.
Basically, European ships filled up with slaves at Muslim-controlled slave markets along the coast. Muslims regularly conducted slave raids within Africa for over a thousand years, and when demand got high from the Europeans for their new-world plantations, some African tribes newly became major slave raiders (others already had a long history). In fact, a significant amount of the West and Central African elites today, originally rose to wealth and prominence through slaving. It is estimated that about 90% of the slaves sent to the New World were enslaved by other Africans, and some unknown majority passed through the ownership of Muslim slave traders. The group with the single biggest role in the history of slavery, are the Muslims.
The Christian “Reconquista” of Spanish land from Islamic occupation took centuries. From the time of Islam's initial conquest (8th century) till the time of its final expulsion (15th century) piece by piece, various small kingdoms were carved away from Islamic rule by Christian rulers.
During this time, Muslims introduced Spanish Christians to many ways/practices. Many of those Islamic ways/practices were adapted in the Spanish land re-Christianized during that long “Reconquista.”
It was Islam that 1st brought the black African slave-trade and black African slaves to Spain. Christians who seized back those small kingdoms from Muslims took also their black African slaves and black African slave trade.
(Very tellingly, Islam also introduced Spain to the “jizyah” a special tax on non-Muslim... and new Christian rulers, in land reconquered from the Muslims, in turn imposed a special tax on non-Christians. )
Castile (or its later merged entity) was in "1402" only one of many Christian kingdoms carved away from Islamic rule during the "Reconquista" and while slavery of every group of people was known everywhere, black African slaves and the black African slave trade was introduced to Spain by the Islamic conquest and the Castile adapted it long before the final collapse of Islamic rule in Spain. As for what “modern” historians have been claiming to be the prototype of the new world's slave plantations, even Obama’s buddy Gates (in this thread's article) is conceding Islam's black African slave based plantation economy in places like Iraq. The “prototypical slave plantation” you write of, in the case of southern Spain and Sicily where in lands that like Iraq were victims of the same Islamic conquest and rule (including economic rule) and influence.
As for the Canaries and Madeira they were land conquered by Christian “Reconquista” kingdoms influenced by centuries of prior Islamic rule and exposure to Islamic practices.
Bottom-line: A more honest and less anti-West/anti-Christian scholarship is revealing that the black African slave trade and the black African slave plantation economy were both introduced to Spain and the world by Islam.
Not exactly. The Zand revolt was not of slaves on privately-owned sugar plantations run for profit, they were of slaves on huge 500 to 5000 man labor camps run by the State. More gulag than Tara.
The prototypical slave plantation you write of, in the case of southern Spain and Sicily where in lands that like Iraq were victims of the same Islamic conquest and rule (including economic rule) and influence.
Agreed. However, it should be noted that all these areas were hotbeds of slavery under the Roman Empire, which disappeared (in Spain) not all that long before the Muslim conquest. The Eastern Roman Empire (which also practiced slavery) was actually in control of Sicily, the Balearics, etc. when the Muslims conquered them.
IOW, all these areas were practicing slavery when the Muslims showed up. I'm not sure how massive the slave trade across the Sahara or up the Nile was during Roman or Byzantine times. I think they preferred other sources. I have no doubt the trade increased in volume under the Muslims, who penetrated much more deeply into Africa than earlier civilizations.
Ran across an interesting article about pre-Muslim Spain. Only discusses slavery en passant, but apparently enslavement was a common judicial punishment for crime under the "Christian" Visigoths.
We have a natural human tendency to blame other groups for the sins of our own ancestors, among the most egregious of which was slavery, IMO. What we tend to forget is that they, none of them AFAIK, saw slavery as a sin. Nobody needed to introduce slavery to Spain or Sicily. It had been practiced there for their entire history.
The idiocy of the anti-western types who love to beat up western civ and particularly the USA over its sin of slavery is that they've got it exactly backwards. Western Civ was the first civilization in which anybody came up with the idea that slavery war wrong, and eventually destroyed it throughout the world, though not completely. It just seems really odd to find the only civilization that stigmatized and eventually ended slavery uniquely guilty of practicing it.
My comments with regard to the "sugar plantation," which became the prototype of all plantation slavery, were exactly correct. This idea of how to organize society was developed in the eastern Med, by both Christians and Muslims, then spread to the central and western Med, mostly controlled by Christians, then to the Canaries and Madeira. When Columbus found the New World, the pattern was already fully in place and just took advantage of an immense virgin field into which it could spread.