Ancient Rome and Mediterranean civilizations
The slave trade was a very important factor in making Mediterranean civilizations so prosperous. At one point during the Roman Empire, there were more slaves than soldiers in the army. There were so many slaves in Rome because the Romans had taken over other empires and enslaved those they captured. This is an example of prisoners of war becoming slaves. Slaves in Rome were used as gladiators for amusement of people and labour.
Slavery in Europe
During the Nazi rule of Germany, Jews that were put into concentration camps were treated like slaves. They were forced to work until they died or just killed when they got there. This is an example of punishment for a crime, because Hitler thought being a Jew meant you cheated people and were a miser, even though the Jews really didn't commit any crime. The slaves in the concentration camps were forced to do hard labour.
Slavery in America
During the history of America until the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves had been an important part of trade. They were usually brought over by slave traders who bought them off kingdoms in Africa, shipped them over in boats like cattle, and then sold them to bidders at auctions. A typical slave during the 1700s and 1800s might cost anywhere between $150 and $400. This amount today is worth between $20,000 and $50,000.
Because of the high price of slaves, slave owners had to keep the slaves alive for as long as possible so they could work more and bring in higher profits.
Slaves in the south usually worked on large farms called plantations. Plantations usually grew large quantities of cash crops (crops that grew well and sold for a lot) like tobacco, cotton, and indigo (indigo being a plant that can be ground up for blue dye).
Slaves in Rome