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Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person and is treated like property. Slavery relies heavily on the enslaved person being intimidated either by the threat of violence or some other method of abuse. In chattel slavery, the enslaved person is legally rendered the personal property (chattel) of the slave owner. In economics, the term de facto slavery describes the conditions of unfree labour and forced labour that most slaves endure. In the course of human history, slavery was often a feature of civilisation and legal in most societies, but is now outlawed in all countries of the world, except as punishment for crime.

In 2019, approximately 40 million people, of whom 26 percent were children, were enslaved throughout the world despite it being illegal. In the modern world, more than 50 percent of enslaved people provide forced labour, usually in the factories and sweatshops of the private sector of a country's economy. In the industrialised countries, human trafficking is the modern variety of slavery; in the unindustrialised countries, enslavement by debt bondage is a common form of enslaving a person, such as captive domestic servants, forced marriage, and child soldiers.

Slavery Media

269,617 media by topicpage 1 of 2697
[Black slaves working in sugar mill. Hispaniola. Part 5, plate 2]

[Black slaves working in sugar mill. Hispaniola. Part 5, plate 2]

Illus. in: De Bay, Americae...1590. Reference copy may be in E141.B88. Reference copy may be in SSF (Gr) - Plantation crops Sugar, LOT 4410A. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.

Michaeli de Ruyter, batavorum, architalasso, invincibili, incomparabili ... / Romano de Hooghe auctore.

Michaeli de Ruyter, batavorum, architalasso, invincibili, incomparabil...

Print shows the body of Michiel de Ruyter lying on a bier in front of a memorial structure with two columns depicting scenes of naval victories. He is wearing a breastplate and is holding a sword and baton. Sev... More

Germantown Friends' protest against slavery 1688. [Facsimile].

Germantown Friends' protest against slavery 1688. [Facsimile].

Not in Evans.; Title.; On verso: 02-83-384.36. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 14... More

W'rede straffe van een Planter aan zyn knegt

W'rede straffe van een Planter aan zyn knegt

Planter whipping slave tied to tree. Illus. in: Exquemelin, Histoire der Boecaniers...(1700), facing p. 29. Reference copy may be in SSF (Gr) - Slavery 1700. This record contains unverified, old data from capti... More

[Slave factories, or compounds, maintained by traders from four European nations on the Gulf of Guinea in what is now Nigeria] / N. Parr, sculp.

[Slave factories, or compounds, maintained by traders from four Europe...

Illus. in: A New and general collection of voyages / Thomas Astley. London, 1746, vol. 3, p. 64.

The election, a medley, humbly inscribed to Squire Lilliput, professor of scurrility

The election, a medley, humbly inscribed to Squire Lilliput, professor...

Cartoon shows the old courthouse in Philadelphia during the October 1, 1764 election where a line of men wait at the steps on the right to enter the courthouse and cast their votes; in the foreground, many men,... More

Union, activity and freedom, or division, supineness and slavery. My dear Fellw Citizens In my address to you last night, in which I represented the dangerous consequences that would result to the inhabitants of this distressed colony, if you su

Union, activity and freedom, or division, supineness and slavery. My d...

Positive Photostat. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 103, Folder 33.

[Title page of An argument in the case of James Sommersett ...]

[Title page of An argument in the case of James Sommersett ...]

Text in: Hargrave, Francis. An argument in the case of James Sommersett,... London : Printed for the author and sold by W. Otridge ..., 1772, title page. Published in: Slavery in the courtroom : an annotated bi... More

Boston, April 20th, 1773. Sir. The efforts made by the legislative of this province in their last session to free themselves from slavery gave us, who are in that deplorable state a high degree of satisfaction. We expect great things from men wh

Boston, April 20th, 1773. Sir. The efforts made by the legislative of ...

Positive Photostat.; Not in Evans.; Slavery. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 37, Folder 16.

To the inhabitants of New York. My dear friends and fellow citizens. At a time when slavery is clanking her infernal chains, and tyranny stands ready with goads and whips to enforce obedience to her despotic and cruel mandates .... [Signed] Plai

To the inhabitants of New York. My dear friends and fellow citizens. A...

Evans 13658.; On verso: 1774. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 107, Folder 14a.

In Provincial congress, Concord, April 12, 1775. Whereas the preservation of our country from slavery, depends under God on an effectual execution of the continental and provincial measures for that purpose. [Resolutions to secure compliance wit

In Provincial congress, Concord, April 12, 1775. Whereas the preservat...

Photographic copy.; Stamped on verso: Mss Division.; On verso: Ac. 373. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. 2 duplicate copie... More

Address to the soldiers. Gentlemen. You are about to embark for America, to compel your fellow subjects there to submit to popery and slavery. It is the glory of the British soldier, that he is the defender, not the destroyer, of the civil and r

Address to the soldiers. Gentlemen. You are about to embark for Americ...

Stamped on verso: 452. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. 2 duplicate copies Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 38, Fold... More

Prospect Hill. Bunker’s Hill. I. Seven dollars a month. - - I. Three pence a day. II. Fresh provisions, and in plenty. - - II. Rotten salt pork. III. Health. - - - - III. The scurvy. IV. Freedom, ease, affluence and a good farm. IV. Slavery, beg

Prospect Hill. Bunker’s Hill. I. Seven dollars a month. - - I. Three p...

Propaganda hand bills.; Stamped on verso: 452. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. 2 duplicate copies Printed Ephemera Collec... More

General mourning, British Cartoon Print

General mourning, British Cartoon Print

Print shows a well-dressed West Indian? couple with big smiles on their faces, in the background is a depressed man (a plantation owner?) holding a piece of paper on which is written "No more credit given by [?... More

An address to the public, from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, and the relief of free negroes, unlawfully held in bondage ... Signed by order of the Society, B. Franklin, President. Philadelphia, 9th of November,

An address to the public, from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting ...

Title.; Imprint 2.; Franklin, B.; Not in Evans. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 14... More

Abolition of the slave trade, or the man the master, British Cartoon Print

Abolition of the slave trade, or the man the master, British Cartoon P...

Illustration shows the reversal of roles for slaves and slave masters, with former slaves now in the role of the slave master. No known restrictions on publication. Forms part of British Cartoon Prints Collect... More

France. Britain. Freedom. Slavery, British Cartoon Print

France. Britain. Freedom. Slavery, British Cartoon Print

"A design in two compartments. On the left the triumph of Necker in a land of 'Freedom', in the other that of Pitt in a land of 'Slavery"..." (Source: George) [Gillray]. Price 2sh. This record contains unverifi... More

Excise inquisition erecting by English slaves under the scourge of their task-masters the excise officers, British Cartoon Print

Excise inquisition erecting by English slaves under the scourge of the...

A British satire on an attempt by William Pitt and George Rose to transfer to excise law certain import duties; standing in opposition is Edward Thurlow. The central image shows Britannia, wrapped in a blanket ... More

Letter, Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker expressing his belief that blacks possess talents equal to those of "other colours of men," 30 August 1791

Letter, Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker expressing his belief th...

Reproduction number: A54 (color slide); LC-MSS-27748-21 (B&W negative) While serving as secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), one of Virginia's largest planters and slaveholders, wrote this 30 Augus... More

The gradual abolition off the slave trade or leaving of sugar by degrees, British Cartoon Print

The gradual abolition off the slave trade or leaving of sugar by degre...

Print shows George III sitting at a table with the Queen and two of his daughters, and the Queen's Keeper of the Robes, Juliana Elizabeth Schwellenbergen holding a bottle of "Brandy", discussing the use of suga... More

The abolition of the slave trade Or the inhumanity of dealers in human flesh exemplified in Captn. Kimber's treatment of a young Negro girl of 15 for her virjen (sic) modesty., British Cartoon Print

The abolition of the slave trade Or the inhumanity of dealers in human...

Print shows sailor on a slave ship suspending an African girl by her ankle from a rope over a pulley. Captain John Kimber stands on the left with a whip in his hand. Title from item. Attributed to I. Cruikshank... More

French Liberty – British Slavery

French Liberty – British Slavery

James Gillray (British, Chelsea 1756–1815 London)

Philanthropic Consolations, after the loss of the Slave-Bill

Philanthropic Consolations, after the loss of the Slave-Bill

William Wilberforce and Samuel Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, cavort with two black women in a well-furnished room. Wilberforce and a woman, wearing a print dress with her breasts exposed, sit on a couch smoking... More

Printers' picture gallery. The following device is made up entirely of cuts from the specimen-book of a single- type-foundry in this city. Most of the pictures are current at the South, and are even put by masters into the hands of the slaves ..

Printers' picture gallery. The following device is made up entirely of...

Anti-slavery.; Title. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 133, Folder 29.

Baltimore House, Dependency, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, Prince George's County, MD

Baltimore House, Dependency, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, Prin...

2000 Charles E. Peterson Prize, Entry Significance: This is the only surviving outbuilding of Riversdale, an 1801 plantation house in Prince George's County, Maryland. Dendochronology of its timbers suggests t... More

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observations ... on the state of slavery ... In a series of letters from an English officer, etc. [With plates.]"

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct ...

This image has been taken from scan 000314 from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observat... More

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observations ... on the state of slavery ... In a series of letters from an English officer, etc. [With plates.]"

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct ...

This image has been taken from scan 000324 from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observat... More

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observations ... on the state of slavery ... In a series of letters from an English officer, etc. [With plates.]"

portrait from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct ...

This image has been taken from scan 000006 from "Gleanings in Africa; exhibiting a faithful and correct view of the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope ... Interspersed with observat... More

[Iron mask, collar, leg shackles and spurs used to restrict slaves]

[Iron mask, collar, leg shackles and spurs used to restrict slaves]

Illus. in: The penitential tyrant / Thomas Branagan. New-York: Printed by Samuel Wood, no. 362, Pearl-street, 1807. Reference copy in: LOT 4422-A-3.

Maroon. Buckra reading their pass

Maroon. Buckra reading their pass

Drawing shows a white man (Buckra) reading the pass of Maroons (runaway slaves) on a road. Title from item. Unpublished finding aid, Drawings of Jamaica by William Berryman, available in LC Prints & Photographs... More

The last act of slavery arrived. The new embargo law ...... (No. 6) [Jan. 9, 1809].

The last act of slavery arrived. The new embargo law ...... (No. 6) [J...

Lower right hand corner wanting. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 227, Folder 25.

A Lady going to visit

A Lady going to visit

Illustration showing slaves carrying woman in sedan chair across street. Illus. in: Travels in Brazil / Henry Koster. London : Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1816, pl. opposite p. 188.

A Planter and his wife on a journey

A Planter and his wife on a journey

Illustration showing two slaves carrying woman in sedan chair, slave woman with baggage on head, and planter riding horse on country road..

Reply to bobalition of slavery

Reply to bobalition of slavery

One of several racist parodies of black American illiteracy, dialect, and manners issued in Boston at various times between 1819 and 1832. Others in the series are "Grand Bobalition or Great Annibersary Fussibl... More