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Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Western Empires and Slavery

The major Empires of the Western civilization are: Ancient Athens, Ancient Sparta, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Portuguese Empire, the British Empire, the Dutch Empire, the French Empire, and the American Empire. The common feature of these empires is that they were founded on slave labor. 

The number of slaves in Ancient Athens, the so-called bastion of philosophy and democracy, was ten times more than the citizens. The Athenian philosopher Aristotle has posited that without slave labor an intellectual life is not possible. In the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire the slaves were ten to fifteen times more than the citizens. Wherever the Roman military went, the Roman slave traders followed. Whenever the Romans won a battle, the defeated side was sold to the slave traders. For more than 600 years, the Romans held their gladiator spectacles in which thousands of slaves were butchered—no other civilization has forced its slaves to fight to the death for the entertainment of the masses.

From the 1440s to the 1860s some 12–15 million Africans were brought to North and South America in chains and made to labor in the mines and plantations. This was the largest forced migration in history. All the European imperialist powers—Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland—profited from the slave trade.  It is estimated that more than 750,000 slaves from Africa were brought to the thirteen colonies of the United States. In 1660, the British Monarch Charles II granted the monopoly on Atlantic slave trade to the Royal African Company. His brother James II was the commander of the company before he ascended to the throne of Britain in 1685—the irony, a slaver became the King of England. 

During the journey from Africa, the slaves were kept below deck, where tropical temperatures would be above 100 degrees, and the conditions would be extremely cramped, unhygienic and rife with disease. They were given minimal food and water, and there were frequent punishments. About 20 percent of the slaves used to die during the Atlantic crossing. 

The Western empires tend to fall when they lose control of their slaves. The Athenians and the Spartans were weakened by the frequent rebellion of their slaves. The Roman Republic fell within 50 years of the great slave revolt led by Spartacus and other gladiators. The Roman Empire fell after the Goths, Gauls, Vandals, Alans, and other tribes of Europe united into a militaristic group and started attacking the Roman slavers. The empires of Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland fell when their colonies started fighting for independence. The American empire has started declining after the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

The non-Western empires have used slaves too—but in far smaller numbers. Most importantly, the non-Western empires do not indulge in virtue signaling by claiming that they are the bastions of liberty and democracy. Since the 1950s, the Western cries for liberty and democracy have become shrill and desperate—this is because the non-Western cultures are now economically and militarily powerful. Now the West does not have the power to impose its imperialist hegemony on the world. The West appeals to democracy and liberty only when it is weak. When it was strong it conquered, colonized, and enslaved.

The claim that the USA was created by a small group of elites—people like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Monroe, and Franklin—is a fantasy crafted by the one-sided historiographers and propagandists (the chauvinist intellectual elements) of the West. The blood, toil, and tears of millions of natives of the Americas and of all those who were brought from Africa has played a role in the rise of the USA. The people of all the colonies of the Imperialist powers have paid a heavy price for the rise of North America and Europe.

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