25 Shocking Facts About Slave Trade

What do you think of when you hear the words “slave trade”? You probably think of the Atlantic slave trade. While this is one of the most well known, there were (and still are) numerous other trades as well. Today we’re going to take a look at all of the different trades throughout history, with a focus on the Atlantic trade. These are 25 shocking facts about slave trade.

Subscribe to List25


One of the first mentions of slavery was in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BC). It's worth noting that besides not having a written language, slavery wasn't too popular with hunter-gatherers because it required social stratification.

cave drawingsSource: history.com

Since the beginning of civilization (post-hunter-gatherers), slavery has played a huge role in society from the building of the pyramids in Egypt to indentured servitude in England. In fact, at the turn of the 19th century, an estimated 3/4 of the world was trapped in bondage against their will (some form of slavery or serfdom).

pyramidsSource: britannica.com


The first large scale slave trade was the Arab slave trade. It started in the 7th century and primarily involved slaves being taken from western Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Some historians have cited the Arab slave trade as possibly being the initial source of prejudice against darker skinned, sub-Saharan Africans that has unfortunately continued into the 21st century.

slave tradeSource: slate.com

When most people consider the phrase "slave trade," they are thinking of the Atlantic slave trade. This slave trade started during the 15th century and continued until the 19th century.

slave tradeSource: history.com


As with the Arab slave trade, the source of slaves was once again sub-Saharan Africa. The Europeans essentially tapped into an already developed slave trade and exploited it for their own purposes.

slave tradeSource: bbc.com

Featured Image: wikimedia commons (public domain), 25. wikimedia commons (public domain), 24. pixabay (public domain), 23. derivative work: Hakeem.gadi (talkTraite_musulmane_medievale.svgAliesinMedieval Arab Slave TradeCC BY-SA 3.0, 22-19. wikimedia commons (public domain), 18. Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World CulturesTropenmuseum Royal Tropical Institute Objectnumber 3444-7 Begrafenis bij plantageslaven2CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. SémhurTriangular tradeCC BY-SA 3.0, 16. wikimedia commons (public domain), 15. howard_morland via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14-13. wikimedia commons (public domain), 12. Dave LeyElmina slave castleCC BY-SA 3.0, 11. Jbolden030170African slave ship diagramCC BY-SA 3.0, 10-9. wikimedia commons (public domain), 8. pixabay (public domain), 7-4. wikimedia commons (public domain), 3-2. pixabay (public domain), 1. Kwamikagami. Font: Candara., Modern incidence of slaveryCC BY-SA 3.0

SEE ALSO: 25 Life Hacks That Actually Don't Help Make Your Life Better »

NOW WATCH: 25 Best Netflix Original Movies

Subscribe to List25

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote
25 Most Bizarre Religions That Actually Exist

25 Most Bizarre Religions That Actually Exist

25 Little-Known Tuberculosis Facts You'll Want To Know

25 Little-Known Tuberculosis Facts You’ll Want To Know