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The practise of slavery by vikings in Ireland can similarly be interpreted in two ways; it was a trade already well established in medieval Ireland and Britain in which Scandinavian entrepreneurs played no worse a role, or it can be argued that there was something strikingly abhorrent about the scale and nature of the vikings’ acquisition and sale of human pilotenkueche.deted Reading Time: 10 mins. 28/12/ · Ibn Hawqal, an Arab geographer, described a Viking slave trade in A.D. that extended across the Mediterranean from Spain to Egypt. Others recorded that slaves from northern Europe . The practise of slavery by vikings in Ireland can similarly be interpreted in two ways; it was a trade already well established in medieval Ireland and Britain in which Scandinavian entrepreneurs played no worse a role, or it can be argued that there was something strikingly abhorrent about the scale and nature of the vikings’ acquisition and sale of human cargo. Finland proved another source for Viking slave raids. Slaves from Finland or Baltic states were traded as far as central Asia. Mongols. The Mongol invasions and conquests in the 13th century added a new force in the slave trade.

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Our Location. Findan was an Irishman from Leinster. The Nordmanni took his sister. Joined by some friends he set out to find the Nordmanni. Unfortunately, they found him first, slaughtered his companions, clapped him in irons and chains and hauled him to a ship, perhaps a forerunner of the Skuy just offshore.

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Now, archaeologists are attempting to piece together a clearer picture of one of the darker aspects of the Viking world: slavery. Historical accounts make it clear that when they raided coastal towns from the British Isles to the Iberian Peninsula, the Vikings took thousands of men, women and children captive, and held or sold them as slaves—or thralls , as they were called in Old Norse. According to one estimate , slaves might have comprised as much as 10 percent of the population of Viking-era Scandinavia.

While hard evidence in the archaeological record may be scarce, what seems clear is that slavery played an important part in the Viking way of life, as in many societies both before and since. In fact, the desire for slaves might have been one of the main reasons Vikings began raiding in the first place. Many of these slaves came from the British Isles and Eastern Europe.

In one historical account of Viking-era slavery, an early-medieval Irish chronicle known as The Annals of Ulster , described a Viking raid near Dublin in A. This is one of numerous written sources referring to slavery in the Viking world, which include historical chronicles produced within northern European monasteries—often by people who were the victim of Viking attacks. Other sources emerged from the Arab world, including the account of the 10th-century geographer Ibn Hawqual, who in A.

Shackles from the Viking-Age town of Birka, Sweden top left , Neu Nieköhr, Germany bottom left , and Trelleborg, Slagelse, Denmark right.

viking slave trade

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As mentioned, the slave trade formed a significant component of the Viking culture and economy; contemporary historical investigation has suggested that, at least in part, the cruel trade was motivated less by internal than external economic factors. During the Early Middle Ages, among the foremost goods traded from Western Europe into Asia Minor and the Middle East was human slaves. Those captured would be transported to economic hubs like Venice, whereupon they would be castrated and shipped off for sale in the east.

The 10th century biography of St. The Viking raids, which began barely a generation after the Abbasid dynasty seized the Caliphate, met part of that need. Ancient History Middle Ages People. Being captured as a slave during a Viking raid, especially if you were a literate male monk, likely resulted in your castration As mentioned, the slave trade formed a significant component of the Viking culture and economy; contemporary historical investigation has suggested that, at least in part, the cruel trade was motivated less by internal than external economic factors.

viking slave trade

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Every description of raids that comes from that time talks about people being taken away into captivity. And even if you look at the later sources, like the famous Icelandic sagas, there are lots of enslaved people in those stories. It is slavery. When we think of Viking raids, we always think in terms of physical loot, taking some church plate or jewellery, but people are one of the main proceeds of all of these attacks.

According to Price, this renewed academic focus on slavery in Viking Age society has shown that vast resources and people power would have been needed to allow for the increasing size of Viking fleets over the period. And we have to ask who those people were. Price contends that those people were, of course, slaves. We know who lives in the big halls, but who lives in all the little ones? Why did the Vikings rely so heavily on their ships, and what made the longboat so terrifyingly effective?

The need for slaves to fulfil the economic functions that Price has described above went on to fuel itself as the Viking period progressed. As far as we can tell, slavery is a Scandinavian institution that goes back long before the Viking Age. Neil Price is Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the author of The Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings Allen Lane, He was speaking to HistoryExtra content director David Musgrove on an episode of our podcast about the Viking mindset.

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Viking ships! Then it’s too late to run. You have to stand and fight! A ’strandhogg‘ or beach raid turned up divers prizes for early birds. Men who resisted were cut down, women and children herded onto ships. Often in Ireland neighbouring kings sold rivals‘ women to Norse traders after territorial wars. A painting by S V Ivanov depicts a slave market in the east, traders haggling over the value of a bedraggled-looking man in shackles and wooden frame.

It was in their interests to treat her well, in order to secure a good price. Debt thralldom was for a fixed term. In law a thrall O. Thraell was property, like cattle. Until Christianity reached Scandinavia a thrall could be flayed, maltreated or killed without punishment.

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They soon coerced the natives into working on sugar and tobacco plantations as slaves—the conditions were horrendous and life was short and brutal. Because European explorers brought along their native diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis , the native population was soon dramatically diminished. This meant that Caribbean plantation owners had to import in African slaves. This rejuvenated the African slave trade, which became an essential part of the global economy.

Russian serfdom, however,. Raids were a prominent feature of Viking contact and in Ireland most of the raiding was directed by Norwegians. This consisted of few sporadic attacks along the coast before becoming more frequent in Many were kidnapped and held for ransom, or were used as slaves while the monasteries along the coast of Wexford were plundered. The Africans who were enslaved were generally prisoners of war or captives from slave raids.

By the 18th century, most African slaves were acquired through slave raids, which penetrated farther and farther inland. From the mid-fifteenth to the late-nineteenth century, European and American slave sellers obtained roughly

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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. The Viking Slave Trade. Clare Downham. Download PDF. Download Full PDF Package This paper. A short summary of this paper. READ PAPER. Note: This is the text as it was submitted to History Ireland.

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24/7/ · John Haywood includes a large section on the Norse slave trade in his Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age. There are many descended from people of the British Isles in far-flung places between Iceland and Arabia, wherever the thralls or slaves were taken and bought in much the same way as the Romans spread their slaves from these isles. 2/9/ · Viking slave skeleton beheaded Viking Slave Trade. Literal sources had it that the Viking slave trade primarily took place in the business center points like Hedeby (near the southern end of Jutland Peninsula) or Bolgar. Just like other trading activity, people exchanged the slave for other products of the same value.

One of the most striking features of the Viking Age was the vast trade network that the Norse maintained, which stretched from Greenland in the west to Baghdad and central Asia in the east, and encompassed virtually all of the peoples who lived in between. During the Viking Age, as in all ages that preceded it, the Scandinavian economy was primarily a subsistence economy.

Just about everyone lived on rural farmsteads. Each household produced most of what its members needed to sustain themselves, and the average person possessed few luxury items. Even before the Viking Age, however, a limited degree of domestic trade existed as well, primarily in the form of seasonal rural markets. Most Scandinavian farmsteads produced the craft goods their members needed — clothes, tools, etc.

But with the rise of the trade towns, many more people were able to become specialists in one or another of these crafts. Blacksmiths, jewelers, bead-makers, antler-workers, and other such full-time craftspeople flocked to the trade towns to produce their goods for export to foreign markets rather than just for subsistence or the limited trade that occurred domestically. Archaeological excavations at Hedeby, one of the most important Scandinavian trade towns, indicate the scope and content of Viking Age trade:.

Archaeologists have found much evidence for long-distance trade of a remarkable variety of goods: small ceramic bottles with mercury, amber, bars of iron, lead, silver, brass, foreign jewelry including carnelian and rock crystal, glass, foreign pottery, silk, a set of counterfeit Arab dirhams, and wine barrels from the Rhineland, which were reused to line well shafts. Among northern products found in Hedeby are walrus bones, reindeer antlers, Norwegian soapstone, and whetstones.

We know from other evidence that fur and most textiles were also traded at Hedeby, but they did not leave much trace in the archaeological material, since most organic matter perishes over a millennium. Furs from Scandinavia were particularly prized abroad, since the cold climate lent itself to the local mammals having thick, luxuriant pelts. Furs were one of the two largest pillars of Viking trade.

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