History of Slavery
Slavery, as an institution, dates back to the establishment of civilization. The Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest records makes mention of slavery as an established fact. Slavery existed in nearly every ancient civilization, including Sumer, India, China, Greece, Egypt, and Rome. It was a common and accepted practice throughout most of the ancient world.
Slavery persisted throughout the early Middle Ages. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was taken to the Emerald Isle as a captured slave. Viking raids frequently took individuals and sold them into slavery, but this practice largely faded by the 11th century as the Vikings adopted Christianity.
The beginnings of the Age of Exploration, including the opening of Africa and the discovery of the New World, brought a newer and more vigorous form of the slave trade. At first, Europeans attempted to enslave the Native Americans, but when such attempts failed, they turned to Africans.
In the United States, the long history of slavery was characterized by its racial component. The United States codified slavery in the Constitution, and the first half of the 19th century saw an increasing agitation over the question. It was not until the Civil War that the institution of slavery was legally outlawed in the United States. Slavery is not legal anywhere in the modern world.