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Slave trade, medieval era

Migration A–Z


  1. Juliane Schiel

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm488

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Schiel, J. 2013. Slave trade, medieval era. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Slavery and migration have always been connected, irrespective of time and space. Slaves, often defined as “outsiders who were alien by origin,” have migrated spatially and socially at all times, whereas “the most developed forms of slavery … were those where enslaved individuals were removed a considerable distance from their birthplace” (Lovejoy 2011: 36–37). Thereby, slave migration may be permanent or temporary as slaves could be owned lifelong or manumitted after a certain time, yet their enslavement is in any case a form of “conflict migration” (Bretell & Hollifield 2008: 115–117). As a consequence of war, raid, tribute payment, punishment, indebtedness or impoverishment, slave migration includes violence and constraint (Patterson 1982). Furthermore, in most cases slavery can be considered as a sort of working migration trading people from a region where manpower is abundant to a region where workforce is needed (Meissner et al. 2008: 271).


  • slavery;
  • immigration;
  • archaeology;
  • Asia;
  • empire;
  • labor;
  • medieval