The Definition of a Slave

The Definition of a Slave

On 25 September 1926 the legal definition of a slave was finally made official for the entire world: 

Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

The document that made the definition of slavery official, the 1926 Slavery Convention, is still in force today, with 99 of the world’s nations participating in enacting its provisions. 

A slave held in Bahr el Gasal in 1882

The Convention required specific actions of its signatories: they had to intercept ships engaged in slave traffic in their territorial waters, they had to assist other states in their anti-slavery efforts, and national anti-slavery laws and methods of enforcing those laws had to be introduced.  

The holding of other humans in bondage officially became, with this convention, repugnant to the majority of the world.  Although the fight against slavery continues today, and the definition of slavery has been updated to include forced marriage and sexual bondage, the 1926 Convention is still in effect today and slavery has moved from being practiced openly to the shadows.  

The monument to the slaves sold a the Stone Town slave market in Zanzibar.

To read more about the history of slavery, see our post A Person Over Whom the Right of Ownership is Exercised.

See also our article about the Devshirme: The Slaves Who Ruled an Empire.


Translate »

Sign In Red Africa Travel

For faster login or register use your social account.

[fbl_login_button redirect="" hide_if_logged="" size="large" type="continue_with" show_face="true"]

Account details will be confirmed via email.

Reset Your Password