Foundations of Modern Slavery: Profiles of Unfree and Coerced Labor through the Ages 9780367749064, 9780367749071, 9781003160182

This is an academic inquiry into how labor power has been dehumanized and commodified around the world through the ages

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Foundations of Modern Slavery: Profiles of Unfree and Coerced Labor through the Ages
 9780367749064, 9780367749071, 9781003160182

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of tables
List of boxes
Preface
1 Introduction: the world of coerced labor
A Panoramas of coerced labor
Serfdoms/feudalisms
Indentured servitudes
Bonded labor
Convict labor
Neoslavery
B Academic discourses on coerced labor
C Economics of coerced labor
D Roadmap of the book
PART I: The world of slaveries
Conceptual contexts
Evolution
Nature and magnitude
Modes and sources
Validation and legitimization
2 Slaveries in the pre-Columbian world
A Ancient period
Greek civilization
Roman Empire
B Medieval period
Ottoman Empire
C Concluding remarks
3 Slaveries of Amerindians and Native Americans
A Amerindian slavery
Evolution and magnitude
Treatment of the Amerindians
Decline and consequences
B Servitude of Native Americans
Evolution and magnitude
Decline and consequences
C Concluding remarks
4 African slavery in the New World
A Evolution and magnitude
B African slavery in the United States
Evolution
Treatment of African slaves
Slave rebellions
C Abolition of slavery
Economic indictments
Political undercurrents
D Consequences of the abolition
The British economy
The African Continent
The United States
E Concluding remarks
PART II: The world of serfdoms
Conceptual contexts
5 The West European serfdom
A Evolution and development
B Nature and characteristics
C Decline and consequences
D Concluding remarks
6 The East European serfdom
A Evolution and development
B Nature and characteristics
C Decline and consequences
D Concluding remarks
7 The Russian serfdom
A Evolution and development
Restrictions on peasant mobility
Strengthening of nobility’s power
B Nature and characteristics
Serf and serf-masters
Nobles and Monarchy
C Abolition of serfdom
Role of tsars
Role of peasants
Role of intelligentsia
The emancipation decree
D Consequences of abolition
E Concluding remarks
PART III: The world of Asian and Latin American feudalisms
Conceptual contexts
8 The Chinese feudalism
A The evolution and development
B Nature and characteristics
Landlord and peasants
Landlord and state
C Decline and consequences
Development of commercial economy
Spread of urbanization
Development of patriarchal clan system
D Concluding remarks
9 The Japanese feudalism
A Evolution and development
Kamakura Shogunate
Ashikaga Shogunate
Tokugawa Shogunate
B Nature and characteristics
C Decline and consequences
Policy of seclusion
Internal transformation
Commercialization of agriculture
Growth of merchant class
Spread of urbanization
Intellectual and cultural developments
Economic growth
D Concluding remarks
10 The Indian feudalism
A Evolution and development
Mughal period
British period
B Nature and characteristics
Zamindari system
Raiyatwari system
Mahalwari system
Landlords and peasants
Peasant uprisings
C Decline and consequences
Land-tenure system reformed
Agriculture stagnated
Growth of moneylenders
Ravage of poverty and famines
Stunted industrialization
Paltry urbanization
D Concluding remarks
11 The Latin American feudalism
A Evolution and development
Spanish feudalistic reforms
Linkage between the land regimes
B Treatment of peasants and workers
C Debate over feudalism
Latin American Context
D Consequences of feudalism
Processes of colonization
Independence from colonialism
Proletarianization of the peasants and workers
Post-Colonial land reforms
Economic consequences
Urbanization
Post-World War II debate
E Concluding remarks
PART IV: The world of indentured servitudes
Conceptual contexts
12 The European indentured servitude
A Evolution and development
B Decline and consequences
C Concluding remarks
13 The Indian indentured servitude
A Evolution and development
B Treatment of indentured servants
C Decline and consequences
D Concluding remarks
14 The Chinese indentured servitude
A Evolution and development
B Treatment of indentured servants
C Decline and consequences
D Concluding remarks
PART V: The world of guestworkers
Conceptual contexts
15 The Bracero Program of the United States
A Evolution and development
B Treatment of Braceros
C Decline and consequences
Agricultural wage declined
Mechanization of agriculture increased
Growth of illegal immigration
Overhaul of American immigration
Strengthening of Mexican Diaspora
D Concluding remarks
16 Guestworker programs of Western Europe
A Conceptual Context
B German Gastarbeiter program
C French guestworker program
D Treatment of guestworkers
E Decline and consequences
F Concluding remarks
17 Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States
A Evolution and development
B Treatment of migrant workers
Segregation of employment
Treatment of domestic workers
Workers’ resistance
Reforms in labor and immigration laws
C Consequences of migrant labor programs
D Concluding remarks
PART VI: Neoslavery in the twenty-first century
Conceptual contexts
18 Human trafficking around the world
A Nature and magnitude
B Drivers of human trafficking
Labor vulnerabilities
Nature of job and work
Weak governance
Exorbitant profits
Nexus of corruption
C Concluding remarks
19 Forced labor in global value chains
A Nature and magnitude
B Forced Labor in business sectors
Construction and infrastructure sector
Agricultural sector
Fisheries and seafood
Healthcare sector
Manufacturing sector
C Forced labor in country-specific sectors
Vietnamese garments industry
Indian apparel and textiles industry
Bangladesh’s garments industry
Thai fisheries industry
Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms
Turkmenistan’s cotton
Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil
D Concluding remarks
20 Anti-slavery policies and measures around the world
A Costs of coerced labor
B Anti-slavery policies and measures
C Progresses made
Child labor
Prosecution of human traffickers
Global value chains
D Inadequacies and pitfalls
The private sector
The state sector
Ineffective compliance
Inconsistencies in laws and regulations
E Concluding remarks
Index

Citation preview

Foundations of Modern Slavery

This is an academic inquiry into how labor power has been dehumanized and commodified around the world through the ages for capital accumulation and industrialization, and colonial and post-colonial economic transformation. The study explores all major episodes of slaveries beginning from the ancient civilizations to the end of Transatlantic Slave Trade in the eighteenth century; the worlds of serfdoms in the context of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia; the worlds of feudalisms in the context of Latin America, Japan, China, and India; the worlds of indentured servitudes in the context of the Europeans, the Indians, and the Chinese; the worlds of guestworkers in the contexts of the United States and Western Europe; the worlds of migrant labor programs in the context of the Gulf States; and the contemporary world of neoslavery focusing on human trafficking in both developing and developed countries, and forced labor in global value chains. The book is designed not only for students and academia in labor economics, labor history, and global socio-economic and political transformations, but also for the intelligent and inquiring policy makers, reformers, and general readers across the disciplinary pursuits of Economics, Political Science, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and Law. Caf Dowlah, a former professor of economics with the State University of New York and the City University of New York for three decades, has most recently been an International Consultant for the Modern Slavery Project of the United Nations. He has also taught at the University of Southern California (his alma mater), the California State University-Fullerton, and the Otaru University of Commerce ( Japan). Dr. Dowlah has also worked for the World Bank, the UNDP, the UN-WFP, and the USAID in policy advisory capacities. He has authored over a dozen books and over three dozen papers in refereed journals on international trade, global finance and investment, global value chains, and international labor migration. His latest book—Cross-­Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives—was published by Macmillan in 2020. He is also a contributory author to Developing Freedom: The Sustainable Development Case for Ending Modern Slavery, being published by the United Nations.

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For a full list of titles in this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/ Routledge-Studies-in-Labour-Economics/book-series/RSLE

Foundations of Modern Slavery Profiles of Unfree and Coerced Labor through the Ages Caf Dowlah

First published 2022 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 Caf Dowlah The right of Caf Dowlah to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Dowlah, C. A. F., author. Title: Foundations of modern slavery : profiles of unfree and coerced labor through the ages / Caf Dowlah. Description: New York, NY : Routledge, 2021. | Series: Routledge studies in labour economics | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2021001547 (print) | LCCN 2021001548 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Slavery—History. | Commodification—History. | Land tenure—History. | Labor market—History. Classification: LCC HT861 .D68 2021 (print) | LCC HT861 (ebook) | DDC 306.3/6209—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021001547 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021001548 ISBN: 978-0-367-74906-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-74907-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-16018-2 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182 Typeset in Bembo by codeMantra

Contents

List of figures List of tables List of boxes Preface 1 Introduction: the world of coerced labor A  Panoramas of coerced labor 2 Serfdoms/feudalisms 3 Indentured servitudes  6 Bonded labor 7 Convict labor 8 Neoslavery 9 B  Academic discourses on coerced labor 10 C  Economics of coerced labor 13 D  Roadmap of the book 16

xiii xv xvii xix 1

PART I

The world of slaveries Conceptual contexts 23 Evolution 23 Nature and magnitude 24 Modes and sources 25 Validation and legitimization 26

23

2 Slaveries in the pre-Columbian world A  Ancient period 32 Greek civilization 35 Roman Empire 37 B  Medieval period 39 Ottoman Empire 40 C  Concluding remarks 43

31

vi Contents

3 Slaveries of Amerindians and Native Americans A  Amerindian slavery 50 Evolution and magnitude 51 Treatment of the Amerindians 53 Decline and consequences 55 B  Servitude of Native Americans 56 Evolution and magnitude 56 Decline and consequences 59 C  Concluding remarks 60

49

4 African slavery in the New World A  Evolution and magnitude 66 B  African slavery in the United States 70 Evolution 71 Treatment of African slaves 72 Slave rebellions 73 C  Abolition of slavery 76 Economic indictments 76 Political undercurrents 80 D  Consequences of the abolition 81 The British economy 81 The African Continent 81 The United States 82 E  Concluding remarks 84

65

PART II

The world of serfdoms Conceptual contexts 89

89

5 The West European serfdom A  Evolution and development 94 B  Nature and characteristics 95 C Decline and consequences 96 D  Concluding remarks 102

93

6 The East European serfdom A  Evolution and development 108 B  Nature and characteristics 109 C  Decline and consequences 111 D  Concluding remarks 114

107

Contents  vii

7 The Russian serfdom A  Evolution and development  117 Restrictions on peasant mobility 118 Strengthening of nobility’s power 119 B  Nature and characteristics 120 Serf and serf-masters 120 Nobles and Monarchy 124 C  Abolition of serfdom 125 Role of tsars 125 Role of peasants 127 Role of intelligentsia 127 The emancipation decree 128 D  Consequences of abolition  129 E  Concluding remarks 132

116

PART III

The world of Asian and Latin American feudalisms Conceptual contexts 137

137

8 The Chinese feudalism A  The evolution and development 141 B  Nature and characteristics 145 Landlord and peasants 145 Landlord and state 147 C Decline and consequences 147 Development of commercial economy 148 Spread of urbanization 149 Development of patriarchal clan system 150 D  Concluding remarks 150

140

9 The Japanese feudalism A  Evolution and development 156 Kamakura Shogunate 156 Ashikaga Shogunate 157 Tokugawa Shogunate 158 B  Nature and characteristics 159 C Decline and consequences 161 Policy of seclusion 161 Internal transformation 162

155

viii Contents Commercialization of agriculture 164 Growth of merchant class 165 Spread of urbanization 166 Intellectual and cultural developments 167 Economic growth 167

D  Concluding remarks 169 10 The Indian feudalism A  Evolution and development 173 Mughal period 174 British period 175 B  Nature and characteristics 176 Zamindari system 177 Raiyatwari system 177 Mahalwari system 177 Landlords and peasants 178 Peasant uprisings  179 C  Decline and consequences 180 Land-tenure system reformed 181 Agriculture stagnated 182 Growth of moneylenders 183 Ravage of poverty and famines 184 Stunted industrialization 184 Paltry urbanization 185 D  Concluding remarks 185

173

11 The Latin American feudalism A  Evolution and development 192 Spanish feudalistic reforms 193 Linkage between the land regimes 197 B  Treatment of peasants and workers 198 C  Debate over feudalism 204 Latin American Context 206 D  Consequences of feudalism  208 Processes of colonization 208 Independence from colonialism 211 Proletarianization of the peasants and workers 212 Post-Colonial land reforms 213 Economic consequences 214 Urbanization 217 Post-World War II debate 218 E  Concluding remarks 219

191

Contents  ix PART IV

The world of indentured servitudes 229 Conceptual contexts 229 12 The European indentured servitude A  Evolution and development 233 B  Decline and consequences 237 C  Concluding remarks 242

232

13 The Indian indentured servitude A  Evolution and development 248 B  Treatment of indentured servants 253 C  Decline and consequences 254 D  Concluding remarks 257

247

14 The Chinese indentured servitude A  Evolution and development 263 B  Treatment of indentured servants 268 C Decline and consequences 271 D  Concluding remarks 272

263

PART V

The world of guestworkers Conceptual contexts 277

277

15 The Bracero Program of the United States A  Evolution and development 283 B  Treatment of Braceros 286 C  Decline and consequences 287 Agricultural wage declined 288 Mechanization of agriculture increased 288 Growth of illegal immigration 289 Overhaul of American immigration  291 Strengthening of Mexican Diaspora 292 D  Concluding remarks 292

282

16 Guestworker programs of Western Europe A  Conceptual Context  298 B  German Gastarbeiter program 300 C  French guestworker program 302 D  Treatment of guestworkers 304 E  Decline and consequences 305 F  Concluding remarks 307

297

x Contents

17 Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States A  Evolution and development 312 B  Treatment of migrant workers 315 Segregation of employment 317 Treatment of domestic workers 318 Workers’ resistance 319 Reforms in labor and immigration laws 320 C  Consequences of migrant labor programs  321 D  Concluding remarks 323

311

PART VI

Neoslavery in the twenty-first century 329 Conceptual contexts 329 18 Human trafficking around the world A  Nature and magnitude 333 B  Drivers of human trafficking 335 Labor vulnerabilities 336 Nature of job and work 336 Weak governance 338 Exorbitant profits 339 Nexus of corruption 339 C  Concluding remarks 343

332

19 Forced labor in global value chains A  Nature and magnitude 349 B  Forced Labor in business sectors  350 Construction and infrastructure sector 351 Agricultural sector 351 Fisheries and seafood 352 Healthcare sector 353 Manufacturing sector 353 C  Forced labor in country-specific sectors 354 Vietnamese garments industry 354 Indian apparel and textiles industry 355 Bangladesh’s garments industry 356 Thai fisheries industry 356 Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms 357 Turkmenistan’s cotton 357 Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil 358 D  Concluding remarks 359

348

Contents  xi

20 Anti-slavery policies and measures around the world A  Costs of coerced labor 364 B  Anti-slavery policies and measures  366 C  Progresses made 372 Child labor 372 Prosecution of human traffickers 374 Global value chains 375 D  Inadequacies and pitfalls 376 The private sector 376 The state sector 377 Ineffective compliance 378 Inconsistencies in laws and regulations 379 E  Concluding remarks 380

Index

364

385

Figures

1.1 1.2 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 11.1 12.1 13.1 13.2 14.1 14.2 14.3 15.1 17.1 17.2 17.3 18.1 18.2

Historical timeline of coerced labor practices 11 Gradation of coerced labor 13 Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1501–1875 67 Major regions of disembarkation of African slaves in the new world, 1501–1875 69 Share of European colonial powers in Transatlantic Slave Trade by the mid-eighteenth century 69 Number of African slaves imported to the United States, 1626–1875 71 African slaves imported to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America, 1501–1875 203 Share of convicts and prisoners among European indentured servants landed in the British American colonies, 1607–1819 236 Estimated labor migration from India and returns, 1834–1937 (in ‘000) 249 Exports of Indian indentured servants to the Caribbean islands, 1842–1920 (in percent) 255 Flows of Chinese indentured servants around the world, 1806–1890 265 Cuban imports of African slaves and Chinese coolies, 1847–1878 266 Cuban sugar production, 1853–1882 266 Border apprehension of illegal aliens along the US border, 1960–2018 291 Share of migrants and natives in private sector and public sector employments in Gulf States, 2017–2018 317 Sectoral share of migrants’ employment in Gulf States, 2009 318 Share of remittance in the GDPs of Gulf States, 2004–2013 322 Share of males and females in human trafficking around the world, 2004–2016 (in %) 334 Annual profit from sexual trafficking in different regions of the world (per person) 340

xiv Figures

18.3 Share of government officials involved in human trafficking corruption (in %) 342 19.1 Minimum monthly wage for garment workers in 2017 (measured in $US PPP) 354 20.1 Declining trend of child labor in the world, 1950–2016 (% of children in child labor) 372 20.2 Trend in child labor and hazardous employment of child labor, 2000–2016 (in %) 373 20.3 Relationship between the level of economic development and the share of children in hazardous labor, 2016 374

Tables

2.1 Large-scale slave systems around the world—from the fifth to the nineteenth century BC 33 3.1 Estimates of Amerindian slaves in the Americas, 1492–1900 (in thousands) 55 3.2 Native American slaves sold in the southern British American colonies, 1670–1715 58 4.1 Shares of colonial powers in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1501–1875 68 4.2 Estimated slave population in the New World, 1770 70 4.3 Proportion of Black population in British American colonies, 1700–1770 (in %) 72 4.4 Chronology of abolition of slavery around the world, 1777–1888 77 7.1 Stages in the enserfing of Russian peasants, 1497–1649 118 7.2 Regional distribution of Russian peasant population by category, 1678 and 1719 (in %) 121 7.3 Census reports on Russian male population, peasants, and serfs, 1719–1858 122 7.4 Overall male population and the proportion of serfs in Russia, 1795 and 1858 123 7.5 Russian agricultural production in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (in hectoliters) 130 11.1 Tributary indigenous households in Spanish America, 1574 194 11.2 Imports of African slaves to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, 1501–1875 202 11.3 Relative per capita GDP in Latin America between 1820 and 1925 (USA=1.0) 215 11.4 Manufacturing output growth per annum, 1870–1913 (in %) 216 11.5 Urbanization in Colonial Spanish and Portuguese America, 1492–1920 217 12.1 German immigration to Pennsylvania, 1772–1835 (selected years) 234 12.2 Legal status and condition of servitude of immigrants to America, 1607–1819 235

xvi Tables

12.3 Price of indentured servants in the United States, 1817–1820 239 12.4 The share of indentured servants in the Chesapeake labor force, 1640–1700 240 13.1 Disembarkation records of Indian indentured servants, 1834–1917 249 13.2 Exports of Indian indentured servants to Indian Ocean Islands and the Caribbean, 1842–1920 250 13.3 Indentured immigration in the Indian Ocean World, 1831–1938 251 13.4 Estimated indentured servants and their destinations in Colonial British America, 1650–1780 (distribution in %) 251 14.1 Chinese laborers shipped to foreign countries between 1800 and 1900 264 15.1 Guestworkers admitted to the United States during 1942–1979 285 15.2 Illegal alien apprehension along the borders of the United States, 1960–2018 289 16.1 Foreign population in selected European countries, 1950–2000 (selected years, in thousands) 299 16.2 Labor migration from the Maghreb countries to France, 1946–1968 303 16.3 Guestworkers in France and West Germany in 1977 (% of total workforce) 304 16.4 Share of guestworkers in employment in selected European countries, 1976 (% of total employment) 305 16.5 Foreign-born population and their share in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom in 2011 306 17.1 Migrant Workers in Arab Countries, 1980 313 17.2 Composition of migrant labor force in the GCC region, 2005 314 17.3 Migrant stock as a share of total population and the share of female migrants in the Gulf region, 1990–2017 315 17.4 Remittance outf lows from Gulf States, 2004–2015 322 18.1 Shares of regional and intra-regional trafficking victims, 2010–2016 335 18.2 Annual profits of human trafficking in the world, 2014 339 18.3 Empirical findings on official corruption in human trafficking around the world, 2003–2019 (selected countries) 341 18.4 Global estimates of human trafficking, 2016 343 20.1 Legal and policy measures adopted by the United Nations and others to combat neoslavery 367 20.2 Number of countries adopted/ratified anti-slavery measures (as of June 2018) 369 20.3 Funding commitments of top 15 OECD donors to Modern Slavery of Projects, 2000–2013 (US$ millions) 370 20.4 Countries with child labor exceeding 20 percent of children population, aged 10 to 17 (2010–2015) 373 20.5 Worldwide law enforcement actions against Traffickingin-Persons, 2011–2019 374

Boxes

4.1 Major slave rebellions in the United States prior to the abolition of slavery 74

Preface

This book is about those lesser children of God whose toil and sweat grease the wheels of human civilization, and the manners how they have been dehumanized and commodified throughout the world history for creation of wealth for others. This inquiry encompasses the entire economic history of unfree and coerced labor regimes around the world—from slaveries to serfdoms to feudalisms, from indentured servitudes to guestworker programs to migrant labor, and from commercial to sexual exploitation of labor in the contemporary world. Available knowledge on these episodes of labor has been objectively and critically stitched together in one volume. As strange as it may sound, there is no single scholarly book available in the world today that provides the entire economic history of coerced labor around the world in one volume, which colleges and universities can use for courses on coercive labor markets in the world, or provides rational insights to policymakers, development thinkers, and social reformers on how coercive labor markets have evolved and prevailed over the centuries. Filling up this void has been the principal motivation behind this massive undertaking which took at least five years of on-again and off-again endeavors, and countless revisions. The book is essentially based on secondary sources available in English language alone. As a result, the discussions on some areas, such as coerced labor practices in China and Japan, have been somewhat constrained as many original works of Japanese and Chinese scholars are not yet available in English. A conscious attempt has been made however to depend on sources that had access to relevant Chinese and Japanese literatures. As the discussion is based on secondary sources, I owe profound debts to numerous scholars and researchers around the world whose works have been consulted and cited throughout the book. Some chapters of this book bear similarities with some chapters of my last book—Cross-Border Labor Mobility (Macmillan, 2020), but the relevant chapters have been thoroughly rewritten and refocused suiting the objective of the current book, which is, the treatment of coerced labor by their masters through the ages. The last book’s focus was on mobility of labor across borders. I am, however, grateful to Wyndham Hacket Pain, Economic Editor of Palgrave Macmillan, for granting me permission to use some of the tables from my last book.

xx Preface

I must also express my gratitude to Dr. James Cockayne, Director of the Center for Policy Research, the United Nations University, for allowing me to use my research for the Center’s Modern Slavery Project for my own publications. He also deserves thank for allowing me to draw on some of the data and other materials from his forthcoming book—Developing Freedom: The Sustainable Development Case for Ending Modern Slavery. I am profoundly grateful to Professor Gary Huf bauer of the Peterson Institute of International Economics (Washington, D.C.) for graciously reviewing Part II of the book—the World of Serfdoms—and for his insightful and constructive suggestions for improving the materials. I also owe thanks to several anonymous reviewers of the manuscript, whose comments and suggestions have been helpful in revising the manuscript. Finally, I would like to thank Kristina Abbotts, Economics Editor of Routledge, for her keen interest in the publication of this book. Very special thanks are also due to Christiana Mandizha, editorial assistant, and Kelly Cracknell, production editor, at Routledge for skillfully navigating the book through the production process. It has been a quite unnerving experience to see the length that some people have gone throughout the world history to dehumanize and commodify fellow human beings for the purposes of accumulation of wealth and empower themselves. The sad part of the story is that still, even in the twenty-first century, the menacing saga continues, of course, in different shapes and forms. While many scholars and authors through secondary sources, and many others through their comments and suggestions, have contributed to this project, any factual errors and omissions of this book are entirely my own. December 10, 2020 Forest Hills, New York

Caf Dowlah, Ph.D.

1 Introduction The world of coerced labor

Some of the most enduring questions of intellectual inquiry into human labor center around the terms and arrangements under which the labor-power— the physical and mental capacities of a natural person required for production of goods and services—has been deployed, and how the fruits/outputs of labor have been split between laborers—the owners of labor-power, and the entrepreneurs—the owners of capital. This book addresses the first question—the terms and arrangements under which labor-power has been extracted throughout the history, and it does so by focusing on coerced labor—the labor-power obtained without workers’ consent, that is, by restraining the freedom of mobility of workers and inf licting physical and/or psychological coercion on them. Historical records suggest that coerced labor has been the most dominant mode of labor transaction all the world over and in all ages. Conversely, free labor—labor-power obtained through free consent of the laborer, without involving psychological or physical coercion—has been the road less traveled. Slavery, the most extreme of coerced labor, had indeed not been ‘the peculiar institution,’1 it was free wage-labor that had rather been unusual in the world history (Engerman 1986, 318). Coerced labor and human civilizations have indeed advanced hand-inhand, and the predominance of such labor not only has increased further with almost all watershed episodes in the human history, but also thrived the most in those areas where conventional wisdom would have expected them the least (Davis 2006; Patterson 1982, xi). Much of the prolonged saga of coerced labor has to do with the freedom of human being itself. More than 95 percent of the global population was in shackles even at the time of the American Revolution (1776). Out of the 775 million people on the face of the earth in 1772, only 33 million, less than four percent, were free (Young 1772).2 All peoples across all of Asia and Africa and most of the Americas, and Southern and Eastern Europe, barring only those who lived in Western Europe, were considered unfree (Drescher 1987, 17). As a result, until the end of the eighteenth century, most of the workers throughout the world had to surrender their personal freedom either DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-1

2  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

temporarily or permanently to make a living (Potts 1990), and deliver unfree, involuntary, and coerced labor-power as slaves, serfs, coolies, raiyats, fiefs, bonded labor, indentured labor, and so on (Dowlah 2019).

A  Panoramas of coerced labor Among the various forms of coerced labor that had coiled the surface of the earth, slavery involved the most extreme form of coercion, dehumanization, and commodification of human labor, and worse still, such abominable deployment of labor has been around since the ancient times. All ancient ­civilizations—the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Indians, and the Chinese—practiced slavery extensively. Some of the great wonders of the ancient civilizations, such as the Great Pyramids and the Great China Wall, were also built with slave labor. All medieval empires and kingdoms—no matter European, African, Asian, Ottoman, Chinese, or Japanese—also used slave labor quite expansively. Many of the panoramic medieval churches, cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues were built with slave labor as well. Indeed, all major religions— no matter Islam, Christianity, or Judaism—validated, even harbored, slavery in one form or another, at one stage or another (Davis 2006, 55–56). Slave-labor has also received ringing philosophical validation throughout history. Greek philosopher Aristotle viewed the relationship between a master and a slave as natural as the relationship between body and soul, and his mentor, Plato, viewed slavery as a part of a vast cosmic scheme of irrational nature ordered and controlled by an intelligent and purposeful authority (Davis 2006, 55; Lord 2013). Similar views were expressed by many philosophers of Renaissance—from David Hume (1711–1776) to Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) to Montesquieu (1689–1755). Even John Locke (1632–1704), the father of Liberal Democracy, who championed ‘inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and property,’ was a staunch defender of slavery—he was actually an investor in the Royal African Company that sponsored the Transatlantic Slave Trade that brought more than 12 million African slaves to the American shores (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 5–6). The African slavery that f lourished in the Americas during the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries had been the most powerful manifestation of institutionalized and commodified slave labor in the world history (Blackburn 1988, 20–31; Fogel 1989). Thousands of books and papers have been written on the African slavery, and many more are on the pipeline at any given moment in time. The African slavery brought together four continents across the Atlantic— European colonizers procured and shipped African slaves to deploy in North and South American plantations in a scale and magnitude that the world had never seen before. The system not only involved awfully arduous transoceanic navigations of millions of slaves, but also required massive coordination

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  3

of activities involving numerous populations, governments, and transnational businesses across several continents (Drescher 1987). The slavery of black Africans in the New World had also been epitomized as ‘chattel slavery’—the ultimate form of human degradation designed to creating wealth for their masters. Not only the chattel slaves were personal property of their masters, but the ownership rights extended to the slaves’ descendants as well (Finley 1968, 307), and the masters’ domination over the slaves’ lives resulted in ‘social and cultural death’ and ‘perpetual condition of dishonor’ of the slaves from which the slaves had no legitimate exit (Patterson 1982, 106–107). At the time of the American Revolution, at least 20 percent of America’s population were black and at least 90 percent of them were slaves (Archdeacon 1983, 25), and manifold more were in shackles in Latin America and the Caribbean (Castles and Davidson 2000). The overriding intellectual focus on the African slavery for many decades, although well-deserved, has resulted in overshadowing of another large-scale slavery that occurred in the post-Columbian world—that of the indigenous populations that inhabited the New World when Christopher Columbus set his foot on the soils of the Bahamas. The exact number of the Amerindian population of that time is still unknown, but a ‘consensus estimate’ puts the number at around 54 million, which shrunk to 1.5 million by 1850 (Denevan 1992; Stannard 1993).3 Such a catastrophic decline of the Amerindian population had traditionally been attributed to ‘virgin soil pandemic’—European diseases such as smallpox, inf luenza, and malaria—but recent research suggests that such claims may be grossly exaggerated, and slavery and subjugation might have played a significant role in the debacle (Resendez 2016; Wright 2017). Although the scale and magnitude of the Amerindian slavery and subjugation still remains controversial, there is no dispute that the servitude of the nomadic Amerindians was the first large-scale exploitation of foreign workers for capitalistic accumulation by the European colonial powers outside Europe (Blackburn 1988, 5–31). Studies also suggest that the episode not only far exceeded that of the black Africans in terms of both scale and magnitude (Churchill 1994), but also served as the preliminary stage in the development of the Transatlantic Slave Trade that followed (Potts 1990, 16). More importantly, the saga had not only powerfully impacted the lives of the Amerindians, but also shaped the very nature of European colonialization, empire building, and capitalistic developments of the world economy since the fifteenth century (Gallay 2009, 2–3). Serfdoms/feudalisms Feudalism, another prominent variant of coerced labor that generally involved less inhuman treatment of labor than in slavery and owed its origin to the ancient Greek state of Sparta, staged a comeback in Western Europe in

4  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

the third century after the decline of the Roman Empire. Mitigating some of the harsher traits of slavery, the system known in Europe as serfdom, manifested in various forms of manorialism and seignorialism, entailing conditions of debt bondage, indentured servitude, or outright servitude or subjection of peasants (Fogel 1989). Serfdom eventually emerged as the base of economic and political superstructures throughout Western Europe before succumbing to the forces of the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Napoleonic Invasion in the mid-eighteenth century (Rostovtzeff 1926). Under this system, peasants were personally and legally free, while they tilled the land at the pleasure of their landlords whose rights were well-protected by the state. Peasants were, however, neither slaves nor personal possessions of their landlords, and serfs were hardly sold apart from their land (Kolchin 1997). Coinciding with the demise of serfdom in the Western Europe, a ‘second serfdom’ emerged in the Eastern Europe and the Imperial Russia during the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, which survived until the 1860s. In contrast to Western Europe, where serfdom spread due to the policies of individual overlords, in Eastern Europe and Russia, serfdom resulted from a series of governmental decrees that forbade peasants from leaving the jurisdiction or territory of their landlords, and some of these decrees granted landlords legal, juridical, executive, and police powers over the peasants (Anderson 1974, 258–263; Blum 1957, 814–815). As a result, in many parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, peasants lost their freedom almost completely—even they could be bought and sold like slaves. By the second half of the eighteenth century, serf-masters’ power in Eastern Europe and Russia hardly differed from that of the slave-masters in the antebellum South, and material lives of serfs were barely different from that of the chattel slaves in the Americas (Engerman 1986). Some Asiatic societies, such as Japan, China, and India, also had some variants of feudalism, often described as semi-feudalism, which entailed a land-tenure system under which monarchs/rulers granted an expanse of land to landlords, nobles, or vassals, under the condition of their loyalty and service to the rulers. Among the Asian variants of feudalism, only the case of Japanese shogunate is widely considered to be a mirror image of Western European serfdom (Anderson 1974). Just as Western European serfdom emerged from the wreckage of the land-tenure system of the Roman Empire, the Japanese system also emerged from the land-tenure system left by the Chinese Empire (Reischauer and Jansen 1995), and like the Western European feudalism, Japanese feudalism also was characterized by vassalage, fiefs, fragmentation of political authority, and remarkable transformation of predominantly agrarian economy toward urbanization, commercialization, and protoindustrialization under the feudal system (Coulborn 1956; Hall 1970). The Chinese variant of feudalism—known as fengjian—however, remains highly controversial. Some scholars trace the origin of the system as far back

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  5

as to the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC) and some to the Tang Dynasty (618– 906) or the Ming and Qing periods (1368–1912), some believe that the system disappeared by the eighteenth century, some say that it survived until 1912, and still others contend that it survived until the Communist Revolution in 1949 (Feng, 1996). Also, Chinese and non-Chinese scholars, as well as Marxian and non-Marxian perspectives, differ widely as to whether China was a feudal society dominated by feudalistic gentry-landlords who supported the imperial government or if it was a centralized bureaucratic state ruled by absolute monarchs (McFarlane 2005). Moreover, while non-Marxian scholars generally emphasize the lord-vassal bonds among the members of the ruling elite, Marxian scholars emphasize the relationship between the landlords and the tillers of their lands in their interpretation of Chinese economic and political developments (Dirlik 1996; HolCombe 2009). The Indian subcontinent—current India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh— never had Western European- or Russian-type serfdom or feudalism, although landholding emerged as a dominant basis of social and political status in the subcontinent during the medieval period, before the advent of the British (Ray 1996). The Indian feudalist institution, known as Zamindari, that evolved during the British colonial rule in the mid-eighteenth century is often described as ‘semi-feudalism’ as it lacked any contract between peasants and landlords, and rather emerged under the strong central control of the British rule (Bhaduri 1973; Burnell 1884). The British rulers encouraged three different types of land revenue systems in the subcontinent under which either landlords, individual cultivators, or village-based communes collected revenues for central authorities (Banerjee and Iyer 2002). Indian peasants were, however, raiyats (subjects of the ruler), not serfs or slaves of landlords—they could not be bought and sold by the landlords as in slavery or serfdom (Kumar 1982). Although in some areas peasants’ property rights could be denied temporarily, overall peasants had statutory occupancy rights to their lands and landlords’ power was restrained in the selling of tenants’ land (Baden-Powell 1892; Majumder et al. 1990). Following Columbus’s discovery of America in 1492, two European colonial powers with ocean-going navigational powers—Portugal and Spain— established their control over Latin America. While the Portuguese colonized only Brazil, the Spaniards controlled most of Mesoamerica.4 The European colonial rule survived in Latin America more than 300 years—longer than in other European colonialism anywhere in the world. During such a prolonged period, the colonial powers transplanted an entirely new fabric of life in the colonies following their Iberian traditions of Church-State authoritarian-absolutism and feudal institutions to subjugate and exploit indigenous labor-power for the purposes of empire building and capital accumulation (Chevalier 1963; Crow 1992). Under Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, three core institutions of feudalism evolved in Latin America—encomiendas, latifundias, and

6  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

haciendas—and all of them, no matter involved in agricultural production or mining, resulted from expropriation of lands of indigenous Amerindians and forced conscription of their labor-power. The colonial powers at the same time built elaborate commercial and mercantile networks to export minerals and raw materials to European destinations for capital accumulation and industrial development (Morner 1969; Simpson 1950). Latin American countries thus inherited hybrids of feudal or feudalistic societies where elements of pre-capitalist and capitalist systems co-existed, and landlords, mercantilists, and absolutist state exploited a predominantly servile agrarian labor-power through a mix of slave-labor, wage-labor, servile-labor, and debt-peonage. Latin American colonies in the Americas thus present a unique experience of undergoing processes of colonization, feudalism, slavery and servitude, modernization, industrialization, and urbanization as well as integration into Euro-centric global economy almost concurrently (Frank 1969; Laclau 1971). Indentured servitudes Another major variant of coerced labor—milder than slavery, arguably from serfdom as well—is known as indentured servitude, which prevailed in preindustrial England for a long time. The British settlers implanted the system internationally in the seventeenth century to bring adult European workers to work for their plantations in the New World on a contractual basis. The intercontinental expansion of the system survived for over two centuries, and before its disappearance by the early nineteenth century, it brought several million Europeans—the Irish, the Scottish, the English, and the ­Germans—to British American colonies, in addition to shipping more than half-a-million of them to the Caribbean plantations (Galenson 1984).5 Indentured servants, bound by legal contracts and depending on their age, skills, and occupations, served their masters from three to seven years. The contract also placed them completely at the disposal of the masters for the period agreed to, and allowed the masters to restrict their activities and mobility, the right to seek legal recourse if servants ran away, and sell them to another master at any time during the contract period. Indentured servants were generally provided subsistence and promised freedom dues at the end of the contract period, which varied from wages for their work to such other benefits as a small parcel of land (Engerman 1986). The indentured servitude of Europeans came to an end by the end of the eighteenth century as plenty of cheaper labor became available with the imports of African slaves (Galenson 1984). But the indentured servitude system staged a comeback after all European colonial powers officially abolished slave trade and slavery by the first half of the nineteenth century.6 The cutting of the ‘umbilical cord’ of African slave labor occurred when the European colonial powers were at their zenith and

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  7

slave plantations were still highly profitable (Drescher 1987, 10–11). European colonial powers then in search of cheap labor switched their attention to the vast reservoirs of labor in the Asian continent. The new phase of indenture servitude also came with some great advantages: the cost of the indentured servants was less than half of African slaves; the shipment of the labor was firmly under their control, and the ships were larger and faster than those previously deployed for transoceanic slave transports; and the workers were recruited through contracts, which could be billed as morally and politically superior method of labor deployment compared with the African slavery that tarnished the image of colonial powers (Dowlah 2020, 119–140). Under the revived indentured servitude system, millions of Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Javanese, and Melanesians were transported to plantations and other enterprises in European colonies in Austronesia, the Caribbean, East and South Africa, the South Pacific, and the southwestern Indian Ocean, as well as Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, and Peru, as well as the United States (Northrup 1995). The actual treatment of these indentured servants, however, turned out to be not much different from that of slaves, and many observers have described the revived indentured servitude as a ‘new system of slavery’ (Beaumont 1871; Tinker 1974). As a result, all Asian nations banned shipments of indentured servants by the first quarter of the twentieth century. Bonded labor Another major form of coerced labor, known as bonded labor or debt bondage, a close variant of serfdom and indenture servitude, has also existed since the ancient times. The Athenians, the Romans, and the Egyptians all practiced debt bondage, and ever since the system prevailed throughout the ages all over South America and southern United States, and all over Africa and Asia (Genicot 2002). Currently however the system is most dominant in the Indian subcontinent, which is believed to be the home of more than 70 percent of bonded labor in the world (Bales 2004; Kara 2012). Under the system, a tenant or debtor voluntarily places himself in a servile position for obtaining a loan, and he is not free from the bondage until the debt is paid off. As his state of servitude can be terminated upon payment of the debt, from technical standpoints some, however, contend that the debt bondage may well be considered as a form of free wage-labor (Watson 1980). But the ex-ante voluntary nature of choice involved in debt bondage is all but an illusion. Numerous studies have found that in reality, poor workers enter into such contracts having little or no other choice to procure muchneeded loans for major events in their lives, such as a funeral or a wedding of a family member (McGrath 2005); the creditors usually make the debtors work at unfair wages, charge exorbitant interest rates, and inf late the initial debts

8  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

by charging exorbitant prices for goods and services that the debtors must purchase to work for the creditors (Ennew 1981; Lasker 1950). Often such practices result in perpetual indebtedness of sharecroppers to landlords, and landlords enter into year-round contracts to avoid higher costs of recruiting workers during the peak season (Bardhan 1983). Bonded labor, which the United Nations designated as a form of forced labor in the 1930s, has been banned all over the world. India banned it in 1976, and Pakistan followed suit in 1992. But Anti-Slavery International (2012) maintains that such practices still continue as government officials in the Indian subcontinent hardly impose those bans. Some studies argue that limiting the availability of bonded labor practices actually hurts the very people whom it intends to serve since it results in a welfare loss to assetless peasants who have very limited access to formal credit (Baker and Benjamin, 1994), and many workers even voluntarily return to debt bondage because they lack other alternatives (Prasad and Chandra 1994). Convict labor Penal servitude, also called prison labor or convict labor, has been another major form of coerced labor that existed since the ancient times. The Pharaohs, the Athenians, the Romans, and the ancient Chinese rulers all had profited from the deployment of dispossessed and commodified labor of incarcerated criminals, convicts, captives, and slaves. As civilization progressed, the core belief of the states and societies that the commission of crime must be compensated by compulsory labor remained largely unshaken, and prison/convict labor has rather been found to be compatible with diverse modes of production, modern social relations, expansion of capitalism, and the spread of wage-labor. Nation-states have thus retained the rights to imprison offenders, remand them to administrative detentions, deny them civil rights, and exact compulsory prison labor for public works and economic development, and for profits accruing to the state as well as private entities (Mohler 1925). In the early modern period, more than 50,000 convicts from England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland were transported to populate the British colonies in North America, and about 160,000 British prisoners were shipped to New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land, and Western Australia. In the late eighteenth century, the British transported thousands of Indian and Sri Lankan convicts to penal settlements in the Malay Peninsula, Burma (Myanmar), Mauritius, the Andaman Islands, and Southeast Asia; several hundred nonAnglo-Celtic convicts from Canada, the Cape, and the West Indies to New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land; and thousands of Chinese and Malay convicts to British India (De Vito and Lichtenstein 2016). In 2016, more than four million people were found to be in state-­imposed forced labor around the world, of which 64 percent were employed as

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  9

compulsory labor for economic development, 15 percent were conscripted, eight percent performed work beyond their normal obligations, 14 percent were subjected to compulsory prison labor, and children comprised seven percent of all penal servitude (Dowlah 2019). Neoslavery The onslaught of coerced labor still continues. Although the traditional form of slavery involving physical ownership of a human being by a master has mostly disappeared from the face of the earth, many slavery-like practices, in which the victims are dehumanized and commodified, and physically and mentally constrained to exercise freedom of movement, have been on the rise in the contemporary world. Even in 2016, about 40 million workers, approximately five percent of global workforce, were employed in various forms of coerced labor, such as child labor, sex trafficking, forced labor, and forced marriage, often described, albeit erroneously, by the catchall term ‘Modern Slavery’ (ILO 2017). This study however uses the term ‘neoslavery’ to refer to slavery-like practices in the contemporary world. Most of these victims are employed in domestic services, construction works, clandestine factories, farms and fishing boats, and the sex industry, most of them are females, and over 60 percent of them are employed by private individuals and businesses. Sex trafficking, in particular, has emerged as one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the contemporary world. Among all human trafficking victims during the period of 2007–2016, the share of sex trafficking ranged between 53 and 61 percent, and much of this criminal enterprise is facilitated by corruption in government sectors (ILO-WFF 2018; OECD 2016; World Bank 2009). Among other forces, many global value chains—serving at the forefront of a nexus between transnational productions, investment, and trade—have emerged as a major vehicle for proliferation of coerced labor in the contemporary world (Dowlah 2019). In their constant search for lowering costs of production and distribution, many of them may be involved in myriad corrupt practices which impinge upon domestic and international labor standards (Oxfam 2018; Verité 2015). Studies suggest that in 2016, more than 90 percent of the global workforce of 50 major multinational corporations (MNCs) had hidden workforce vulnerable to exploitative labor practices (Stiftung 2017), and even well-­ intentioned MNCs often struggle to identify questionable labor practices at the lower end of their multi-tired and complex supply chains (Crane 2017; Minderoo Foundation 2019). While the zeal for exorbitant profits drives coerced labor around the world (ILO 2014), the costs of such practices to the victims and their families, to the societies, and to taxpayers have been astronomical (Reed et al. 2018).

10  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

B  Academic discourses on coerced labor Historians of labor and work generally contend that coercive labor practices over the course of time gave way to free but commodified forms of labor with the emergence of wage-labor, expansion of capitalism, industrialization, modernization, and so forth (De Vito and Lichtenstein 2013). Marx (1970, 705–706), for example, argued that unfree labor existed in pre-capitalist societies where capitalist relations of production either did not exist or could not be instituted. For Marx, under capitalism, the commodity of labor is acquired through wages, and wage-laborers can freely dispose of their labor-power as their own commodity, while in pre-capitalist societies, workers were forced to sell their labor-power under some forms of coercion or manipulation. Marx’s view of equating wage-labor with free labor, associating coerced labor with pre-capitalist societies, and ascribing wage-labor as a defining characteristic of capitalism however has raised some serious questions. Even Emmanuel Wallerstein (1974, 1980), a prominent Marxian scholar, has argued that although capitalism involves extensive use of ‘free wage-labor,’ it is neither inevitable nor the defining feature of the system, and that both wage-labor and unfree labor actually characterize both the ‘pre-capitalist’ and capitalist modes of production. The central premise of Wallerstein’s ‘World Systems Theory’ has been that capitalist accumulation of the core countries is based on the penetration of capitalist economic relations into peripheral, non-capitalist, and pre-capitalist societies under which labor f lows from the periphery to the core countries, while goods and capital move in the opposite direction. That, in turn, implies that both wage-labor and non-wage labor co-exists under a capitalist system. That led some scholars to suggest that capitalism is not only compatible with unfree labor, but in some cases, it also thrives on unfree workers to reinforce the capitalist mode of production and class-based relations (Brass and Linden 1997). Guestworker programs that thrived on both sides of the Atlantic during the post-World War II period, and the f lows of migrant workers in the Gulf Region since the 1970s, provide grandiose examples of how degrading and dangerous jobs were filled with immigrants from formerly colonial societies and developing countries (Dowlah 2020, 141–168; Reichert and Massey 1982). Also, in the contemporary world, many capitalist societies deploy millions of coerced workers in profitable penal labor, and many businesses employ undocumented workers who sell their labor-power under questionable working conditions and for remunerations that are far below than what is being offered in the wider labor markets (McGrath 2005). Moreover, history of labor does not support the postulation that coercive labor practices gradually made a transition into wage-labor as societies moved from pre-capitalist to capitalist mode of production. Historical records rather suggest that wage-labor had indeed existed even 5,000 years ago when the first states emerged in Mesopotamia which made regular payments to its professional soldiers.

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  11

Later, as labor markets emerged between 2000 and 1000 BC, workers were hired for building temples and public works. In the ancient Babylon, self-­ employed labor and wage-labor were more prevalent than slave labor. Even the last pharaohs occasionally hired Greek soldiers and paid them in coins. In North India, the Arthashastra mentions of paying wages to casual and permanent laborers between 321 and 185 BC. Around the same time, the Han Dynasty of China widely pursued wage-based labor market (Lucassen 2018). Various forms of coerced labor also did not progress in a linear fashion. The indentured servitude, for example, was not an intermediate stage between slavery and wage-labor—it emerged twice even at global level: before the African slavery in the New Word and after the abolition of slavery across all European colonies. The African population also served as a supplier of coerced labor twice: first as slave labor and then as forced colonial labor—while the former came before the indenture servitude, the later succeeded it (Potts 1990, 105–129). Also every society did not jump into the bandwagon of slavery and indentured servitude at the same time. Cuba, for example, had a mixed labor system when Chinese indentured laborers were imported before the abolition of slavery, while Hawaii used contracted indentured laborers without ever resorting to slave labor. Nor did indentured labor preclude wage-labor. Thus, free, indentured, and slave labor often coexisted side by side, often under the same economic setting (Hoefte 2018). Every slave-holding society also did not jump onto the bandwagon of African slavery at the same time. The British colonies of Barbados and Virginia, for example, began with an exclusive reliance on free or indentured white labor, and then switched to slave labor. Mexico, Peru, and some other countries in Central America, on the other hand, began with slave labor, especially for their mining activities, and then as farming became more widespread, gradually turned to free labor. Brazil and Cuba began their sugar production largely with slave labor at an earlier stage, then switched to tobacco production depending largely on free labor, and then returned to slave labor once again in the nineteenth century for sugar plantations (Blackburn 1988; Dowlah 2020, 104–105). Thus, as Figure 1.1 indicates, the history of labor rather shows unsavory coexistence of free and unfree labor in many societies—there has been no linear progression, no sequential order, or deterministic association of free Forms of Coerced Labor 3600BC to 500BC Neoslavery Guestworkers/Migrant workers Indentured Servitude Serfdom Debt Bondage Penal Labor Slavery

500 BC

400 AD

1000 AD 1600 1860 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2020

Figure 1.1  Historical timeline of coerced labor practices.

12  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

labor with capitalist accumulation or unfree labor with pre-capitalist accumulation. Many autocratic regimes employed wage-workers, many capitalist societies employed coerced workers, and most often than not, various forms of coerced labor coexisted in the same time period, even in the same society. Also, all wage-labor may not be free labor—millions of workers are employed in supply chains in the contemporary world as wage-labor, but the methods of exerting such labor are riddled with many hallmarks of coerced labor, and millions more are entangled in neoslavery—in forced marriages, sex trafficking, and child labor—around the world which may not be less coercive than traditional slavery or other forms of coerced labor (ILO-WFF 2018). The world history thus suggests that physical and psychological coercion deployed on workers to exert labor-power has been a constant factor in all ages and all over the world, and that force, compulsion, and manipulation have indeed been dominant factors that have shaped the global labor market. Coerced commodification of labor-power, under which workers were not possessors but carriers of labor, has indeed been a crucial aspect in the making of working class around the world (Hofmeester and Linden 2018). The degree and magnitude of such commodification, coercion, and violence applied to enforce subjugation, servitude, and compliance of the unfree labor indeed widely varied depending on the forms of coerced labor, and the place and time of such occurrences. Historical records rather suggest that often slaves were treated better than serfs, indentured servants were treated worse than slaves, and so on. Broadly however it can be argued that it is only under the chattel slavery that human beings were completely commodified and dehumanized, and in other forms of coerced labor, such as serfdom, indentured servitude, bonded labor or guestworker, labor was not a personal property of the masters or landlords. Also, history suggests that some of the oldest and most pervasive coercive economic institutions, such as bonded labor and serfdom, did involve considerable degrees of voluntariness on the part of workers, although an overwhelming majority of them chose servitude lacking any suitable alternatives (Genicot 2002). Some studies have made attempts to measure the scale and magnitude of coercion involved in various forms of coerced labor (De Vito and Lichtenstein 2016; Palmer 1998; Patterson 1982), but any scientific assessment of such coercion is all but impossible. After all, the weight of physical and psychological magnitude of coercion would vary from person to person, society to society, time to time, and between the nature and forms of coercion involved. But as chattel slavery is widely considered to be the most extreme form of coerced labor and wage-labor is widely considered to be free labor, presumably a continuum of gradation of coercion can be sketched by placing the chattel slavery and the wage-labor in opposite extremes, and placing all other major forms of coerced labor in between. Figure 1.2 provides such a sketch by

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  13 Free Wage Labor

Chattel Slavery

Penal Servitude

Serfdom/ Feudalism

Indentured Servitude

Bonded Labor

Guestworker Programs

Neoslavery

Figure 1.2  Gradation of coerced labor.

placing penal servitude, serfdoms/feudalisms, indentured servitudes, guestworkers, bonded labor, and neoslavery in between the two extremes. Obviously, the scale is highly subjective—just as beauty lies with beholder, so does coercion.

C  Economics of coerced labor The first theoretical assault on coerced labor came from Adam Smith—the pioneer of laissez faire economics, and the French physiocrats of the late eighteenth century. Adam Smith (1776/2004) argued that slave labor was actually costly and inefficient, as preoccupied with competitively priced exports, planters hold down wages assuming that increase in the wages beyond subsistence level would induce workers to work less due to nonpecuniary aspirations, and lowering of wages would encourage them to work harder and thus promote competitively priced exports. Adam Smith rather argued that higher wages do not necessarily mean higher labor costs, and an increase in the availability of comforts of life, due to higher wages, may actually stimulate industry. He also points out that slave labor is actually more expensive not only because of high mortality and low fertility of slaves, but also because owners’ capital is tied up unproductively in human chattels, and the slaves have no economic incentives to work efficiently. On the other hand, when a worker makes a living by selling his time and toil to the best bidder of his free will, the worker would be more efficient and cheaper compared with the work done by external discipline or coerced labor. Marx (1970) viewed labor consisting of two separate elements: ‘labor-­ power,’ the capacity to do work, and ‘labor,’ the actual physical act of working. To him, ‘labor-power’ is a commodity that a worker owns in his living body, and can sell on his own account as free labor or be forced to sell under some forms of coercion or manipulation as coerced labor. As explained above, Marx has postulated that coerced labor has been the primary source of primitive accumulation where capitalist relations of production did not exist or yet to be developed. Marx has also stipulated that under capitalism, labor becomes a commodity that is acquired through wages, and wages are determined in terms of quantities of labor which it contains. Thus, coerced labor is a transitional phenomenon that disappears with the emergence of a capitalist mode of production.

14  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

Mainstream economic theorists picked up the issue of coerced labor in the aftermath of World War II. To them, coerced labor means subjecting workers to psychological or physical coercion to accept employment, or terms of employment, which they would otherwise reject. Mainstream economists focus on three major aspects of coerced labor: (a) whether coercion increases the effort of the worker or raises productivity of the worker; (b) whether coercion is ‘socially inefficient,’ as it involves a (endogenously) costly way to transfer resources (utility) from workers to employers; and (c) whether there is any correlation between the scarcity or abundance of labor and prevalence of coerced labor (Acemoglu et al. 2005). In one of the earliest contributions on coerced labor, Evsey Domar (1970) has argued that coerced labor, such as slavery or serfdom, is more likely to occur when labor is scarce so that shadow wages are high, and by the same token, increase in labor supply (abundance of labor) makes coerced labor a less attractive option, and it would be especially so in respect to capital-intensive sectors. Many others, on the other hand, have argued that abundance of labor rather has a positive relationship with coercive labor practices, and coercive labor actually declines and labor productivity rises when labor becomes scarce (Conning 2004; North and Thomas 1971). Bales (2004) also has reinforced the same argument by stipulating that the wide prevalence of forced labor in developing countries in the contemporary world may be linked to relatively abundant supply of labor, not scarcity of labor. In respect to productivity of coerced labor, Acemoglu and Wolitzky (2011) have argued that workers who have a lower (ex-ante) outside option are coerced more and provide higher levels of efforts, and thus, effort and coercion are ‘complements,’ and more ‘productive’ employers would use more coercion. This argument falls in line with the prevalence of millions of instances of bonded labor in the contemporary world—most of whom lack meaningful alternative source of income and, being subjected to imbalance of capital, they bargain from weaker standing compared with lenders (Kara 2012). The theory also stands well with the widespread prevalence of slavery and serfdom, which were associated with widespread poverty, unequal land ownership, and income inequality in other parts of the world. Acemoglu and Wolitzky (2011) however also lend support to Domar’s position that labor scarcity encourages coercion through the effect of labor demand in the economy. As an increase in the price of outputs increases the value of effort (marginal revenue product of labor), it may encourage employers to coerce labor where workers have a lower (ex-ante) outside option. On the other hand, labor scarcity may discourage coercion through the outside option effect of labor—as labor scarcity increases the marginal product of labor in competing sectors of the economy, it also increases outside options for labor. The argument fits well with Fenoaltea’s (1984) argument that labor coercion must be particularly prevalent in effort-intensive and low-skill activities

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  15

and relatively rare in activities that require investment in care-intensive skills, and Chwe’s (1990) argument that victims of forced labor, where violence is involved, are often very poor individuals with extremely limited outside options. Major postulations of mainstream economic theories thus postulate that coerced labor: (a) cannot be productive as it does not increase marginal product of labor—labor cannot move freely where it is most productive; (b) cannot be efficient as workers lack incentive to work hard or exert full capacity to work; (c) leads to poor resource allocation by overemploying cheap and less productive labor in inefficient sectors and under-employing capital and technology; (d) skews distribution of income as much of the labor wages and returns accrue to owners of capital; and (e) leads to long-term negative consequences on physical, emotional, and mental health of the victims, negatively impacting their productivity and skill development (Dowlah 2019). Mainstream economic theories thus suggest that slavery and other forms of forced labor are inefficient, and that exploitation of workers negatively impacts economic output and development, and free labor—wage-labor—based on financial incentives is more productive, innovative, f lexible, and conducive to economic growth and development. Bringing the issue of coerced labor in the context of the contemporary world, Amartya Sen (1999), in his seminal work Development as Freedom, interprets ‘development’ not as just increasing wealth and income, but also as increasing peoples’ capabilities and freedom to live the lives they value the most. The UN added further momentum to the issue in 2000 by coining the catchall term ‘Modern Slavery’ and setting the goal of eradicating such menaces from the face of the earth by 2030. The UN argues that coerced labor not only augments unearned income of rent-seekers and distorts allocation of resources, but also powerfully undermines sustainable development of the world by causing significant negative externalities that ripple through the economy snowballing into large-scale, inter-generational effects (Cockayne 2020, 54). Numerous studies have by now shown that coerced labor: depresses equilibrium wage for all workers, not only for coerced workers (Datta and Bales 2013); provides an extractive system that enriches exploiters and rent-­seekers, which is more likely to occur where political freedoms are constrained (Landman and Silverman 2019), and societies are vertically unequal (Piketty 2020); poses obstacles to development by adversely affecting equity and efficiency in a society (Koettl 2009); results in illicit transnational financial f lows to jurisdictions different from the source of exploited labor (Sarrica 2015); discourages innovation, since workers may not benefit from the fruits of innovation, and invites collateralization of people as markets do not factor in social costs (Cockayne 2020); incentivizes global value chains and production networks to manipulate domestic labor laws to exploit vulnerable labor ­( LeBaron and Lister 2016); and reduces income tax receipts as wages

16  Introduction—the world of coerced labor

are unpaid while increasing public expenditures on enforcement, criminal justice, health services, and victim services (Reed 2018).

D  Roadmap of the book The book is organized into six thematic parts. Part I—the World of Slaveries—comprises Chapters 2 through 4. Chapter 2 covers the slaveries during the ancient and medieval periods. Chapter 3 covers the slavery and subjugation of the Amerindians by the Spanish Empire and that of Native Americans in the British America. Chapter 4 covers the slavery of black Africans in the New World, especially in the context of the United States. Part II—the World of Serfdoms—comprises Chapters 5 through 7. Chapter 5 covers the Western European serfdom that evolved from the remnants of the Roman slavery and survived until the seventeenth century. Chapters 6 and 7 cover the serfdom in the context of Eastern Europe and Imperial Russia that emerged coinciding with the demise of Western European serfdom and survived until the 1860s. Part III—the World of Feudalisms—comprises Chapters 8 through 11. Chapter 8 focuses on the Chinese variant of feudalism; Chapter 9 covers the Japanese feudalism; Chapter 10 covers the Indian version, and Chapter 11 covers feudalism in the context of Latin America. Part IV—the World of Indentured Servitudes—covers the indentured servitude system of labor in the contexts of Europe (Chapter 12), India (Chapter 13), and China (Chapter 14). Part V—the World of Guestworkers—covers the guestworker programs of the United States (Chapter 15), Western and Northern Europe (Chapter 16), and the Gulf States (Chapter 17). Part VI—the World of Modern Slavery—covers slavery-like practices in the contemporary world focusing on human trafficking (Chapter 18), global value chains (Chapter 19), and global response to neoslavery practices (Chapter 20).

Notes 1 The phrase was popularized in the antebellum South in the 1830s by a Southern politician named John C. Calhoun. 2 It is around this time that Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), whose writings inspired many revolutions, including the American and the French Revolution, made a prophetic statement in the opening sentence of his Social Contract (1762): “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Although philosophic connotations of his statement presumably implied how uncorrupted human nature gets corrupted by social and economic interdependence, the statement was factually and materially untrue. At the time he wrote the sentence, an overwhelming majority of men were actually born in slavery and other forms of coerced labor that often obligated them to perpetual and generational bondage. And, all men were not in chains either, some were free and powerful to whip others to slavery and other forms of coerced labor.

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  17 3 For example, in 1514, soon after Columbus landed in the Bahamas, even the Spanish Census showed that the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas had 22,000 Tiano’s alive, but their number dropped to just 200 by 1542 (Churchill, 1994). 4 The Spanish America spanned over 400,000 square miles encompassing southeastern Mexico and northern Central America, including the entire Yucatán Peninsula and all of the territory now incorporated into Guatemala and Belize, as well as the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. See Chapter 11 for greater details. 5 Most of the Western Europeans—nearly three-fourths—who settled in the British America between the founding of Jamestown until the American Revolution, arrived in the colonies in some condition of servitude (Smith, 1947), and in the colonies below the Mason-Dixon Line—in the Chesapeake colonies—their number ran into 70 and 85 percent of all European settlers (Gemery, 1980). In the other regions, such as New England and the Appalachian back country (the middle Atlantic coastal region), indentured servitude was however far less dominant (Dunn, 1984; Tomlins, 2001). 6 The British abolished slavery in 1807 and the slave trade in 1838; the French abolished slavery in 1818 and the slave trade in 1848; the Spanish Empire in America abolished slavery by 1558; the Russian Empire abolished serfdom in 1863; the United States abolished slave trade in 1808 and slavery in 1865; the Dutch East Indies abolished slavery in 1860; and France abolished slavery in Indochina in 1897.

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18  Introduction—the world of coerced labor Bardhan, P. (1983). Labor-tying in a poor agrarian economy: A theoretical and empirical analysis. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 98(3): 501–514. Beaumont, J. (1871). The New System of Slavery: An Account of the Indian and Chinese Immigrants in British Guiana. London: W. Ridgway. Bhaduri, A. (1973). A study in agricultural backwardness under semi-feudalism. The Economic Journal, 83(329): 120–137. Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso. Blum, J. (1957). The Rise of Serfdom in Eastern Europe. American Historical Review, LXII(4): 807–836. Brass, T., and Linden, M. (Eds.). (1997). Free and Unfree Labor: The Debate Continues. New York: Peter Lang. Burnell, A. (1884). The Ordnances of Manu. London: Trubner & Co. Busch-Armendariz, N., Nale, N., and Kammer-Kerwick, J. (2016). Human Trafficking by the Numbers: The Initial Benchmark of Prevalence and Economic Impact for Texas. Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA), University of Texas-Austin. Castles, S., and Davidson, A. (2000). Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging. New York: Routledge. Chevalier, F. (1963). Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda. Berkeley: University of California Press. Churchill, W. (1994). Indians are Us. Culture and Genocide in Native North America. Monroe (MN): Common Courage Press. Chwe, M. (1990). Why were workers whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model. Economic Journal, 100: 1109–1121. Cockayne, J. (2020). Developing Freedom: The Sustainable Development Case for Ending Modern Slavery, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking. New York: United Nations University-Center for Policy Research. Conning, J. (2004). The causes of slavery or serfdom and the roads to agrarian capitalism: Domar’s hypothesis revisited. Working Paper 401. Hunter College. New York. Coulborn, R. (Ed.). (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Crane, A. (2013). Modern slavery as a management practice: Exploring the conditions and capabilities for human exploitation. Academy of Management Review, 38(1): 49–69. Crane, A. (2017). Governance gaps in eradicating forced labor: From global to domestic supply chains. Regulation & Governance, 13(2017): 71–86. Crow, J. (1992). The Epic of Latin America. Fourth Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press. Datta, M., and Bales, K. (2013). Slavery is bad for business: Analyzing the impact of slavery on national economies. Brown Journal of World Affairs, 19(2): 205–223. Davidson, M. (1997). Columbus Then and Now: A Life Reexamined. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press. De Vito, C., and Lichtenstein, A. (2013). Writing a global history of convict labor. IRSH, 58:285–325.

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  19 De Vito, C., and Lichtenstein, A. (2016). Writing a global history of convict labor. In A. Eckert et al. (eds.), Global Work Histories. Work in Global and Historical Perspective (accessed online). Berlin: Gruyter. Denevan, W. (Ed.). (1992). The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Dirlik, A. (1996). Social formations in representations of the past: The case of feudalism in twentieth-century Chinese historiography. Review (Fernand Braudel Center of SUNY), 19(3): 227–267. Domar, E. (1970). The causes of slavery and serfdom: A hypothesis. Journal of Economic History, 30: 18–32. Dowlah, C. (2018). The new nexus of foreign investment, multinationals, and global value chains. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Transformations of Global Prosperity—How Foreign Investment, Multinationals and Value Chains are Remaking Modern Economy (pp. 145–198). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Dowlah, C. (2019). Development and modern slavery. Background Paper prepared for the Modern Slavery Project of the Center for Policy Research of the United Nations University, New York. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Drescher, S. (1987). Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Dunn, R. (1984). Servants and slaves: The recruitment and employment of labor. In J. Greene and J. Pole (eds.), Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (pp. 157–194). Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University Press. Eltis, D. (1987). Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Trade. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Eltis, D. (1993). Europeans and the rise and fall of African Slavery in the Americas: An interpretation. The American Historical Review, 98(5): 1399–1423. Engerman, S. (1986). Servants to slaves to servants: Contract labor and European expansion. In P. Emmer (ed.), Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labor before and after Slavery (accessed online). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff. Ennew, J. (1981). Debt Bondage: A Survey. Anti-Slavery Society (London), Human Rights Series Report No. 4. Feng, D. (1996). A comparative study on landownership between China and England. Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA) Paper No. 2241. Available at: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2241/. Fenoaltea, S. (1975). Authority, efficiency, and agricultural organization in medieval England and beyond. Journal of Economic History, 35: 693–718. Fenoaltea, S. (1984). Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model. Journal of Economic History 44(3):635–638. Finley, M. (1968). Slavery. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 14: 307–313. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton. Fogel, R., and Engerman, S. (1974). Time to Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Boston (MA): Little Brown. Frank, A. (1969). Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America—Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil. New York: Modern Reader.

20  Introduction—the world of coerced labor Galenson, D. (1981). White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Galenson, D. (1984). The rise and fall of indentured servitude in the Americas: An economic analysis. Journal of Economic History, 44(March): 1–26. Gallay, A. (Ed.). (2009). Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Gemery, H. (1980). Emigration from the British Isles to the New World, 1630–1700: Inferences from colonial populations. Research in Economic History, 5: 179–231. Genicot, G. (2002). Bonded labor and serfdom: A paradox of voluntary choice. Journal of Development Economics, 67: 101–127. Hall, J. (1970). Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times. New York: Delacorte. Hoefte, R. (2018). Indentured labor. In K. Hofmeester and M. van der Linden (eds.), Handbook of Global History of Work (pp. 363–377). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH. Hofmeester, K., and Linden, M. (Eds). (2018). Handbook of Global History of Work. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH. HolCombe, C. (2009). Was Medieval China Medieval? (Post-Han to Mid-Tang). Chapter 9 in F. S. Victor. Chinese City and Urbanism: Evolution and Development, World Scientific Publishing Co. . HolCombe, C. (2017). Was medieval China medieval? In M. Szonyi (ed.), A Companion of Chinese History (pp. 106–117). New York: John Wiley & Sons. ILO (International Labor Organization). (2014). Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor. Geneva: ILO. ILO. (2017). Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labor and Forced Marriage. ­Geneva: International Labor Organization. ILO and WFF (Walk Free Foundation). (2018). Global Slavery Index 2018. Geneva: International Labor Organization. Kamachi, N. (1990). Feudalism or absolute monarchism? Japanese discourse on the nature of state and society in Late Imperial China. Modern China, 16(3): 330–370. Kara, S. (2012). Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia. New York: Columbia University Press. Koettl, J. (2009). Human trafficking, modern day slavery, and economic exploitation. SP Discussion Paper, No. 0911. World Bank: Washington, DC. Kolchin, P. (1997). Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Kumar, Dharma. (2010). The Cambridge Economic History of India. Paperback edition. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Kumar, Dharma and Desai. (1982). The Cambridge Economic History of India. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Laclau, E. (1971). Feudalism and capitalism in Latin America. New Left Review, 67 (May–June): 19–38. Landman, Todd, and Bernard W. Silverman. (2019). Globalization and modern slavery. Politics and Governance, 7(4): 275–290. Lasker, B. (1950). Human Bondage in South–East Asia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. LeBaron, G., and Lister, J. (2016). Ethical audits and the supply chain of global corporations. SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No. 1. Lord, C. (2013). Aristotle’s Politics. Second Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Introduction—the world of coerced labor  21 Lucassen, J. (2018). Wage labor. In K. Hofmeester and M. Linden (eds.), Handbook of Global History of Work (pp. 395–410). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH. Majumdar B., Roy, C., and Datta, K. (1990). Advanced history of India. Calcutta: Macmillan. Marx, K. (1970). Capital, Vol. 3. New York: International Publishers. McFarlane, B. (2005). The Asiatic mode of production – A new phoenix. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 35(4): 499–536. McGrath, S. (2005). Unfree Labor, Capitalism and Contemporary Forms of Slavery. New School University. Economic Development & Global Governance. New York. Minderoo Foundation. (2019). The Economic Benefits of Eliminating Forced Labor. Sydney: Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics. Mohler, H. (1925). Convict labor policies. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 15(4): 530–597. Morner, M. (1969). The Spanish American Hacienda: A survey of recent research and debate. Hispanic American Historical Review, 53(2): 183–216. North, D., and Thomas, R. (1971). The rise and fall of the manorial system. Journal of Economic History, 31: 777–803. Northrup, D. (1995). Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism, 1834–1922. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). (2014). Background Paper. Developing a Framework for Combatting Corruption Related to Trafficking in Persons. Paris: OECD Publishing. OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development). (2016). Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Paris: OECD Publishing. Oxfam. (2018). Supermarket Responsibilities for Supply Chain Workers’ Rights. Published by Oxfam International and the Sustainable Seafood Alliance Indonesia. Palmer, C. (Ed.). (1998). The Worlds of Unfree Labor: From Indentured Servitude to Slavery. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing. Patterson, O. (1982). Slavery and Social Death. Cambridge (MA): Cambridge University Press. Piketty, T. (2020). World Inequality Report, 2018. Paris: World Inequality Lab. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London and Atlantic Highlands (NJ): Zed Books. Prasad, R., and K. Chandra. (1994). Bonded Laborers: A Study of Rehabilitation and Organizational Dynamics. New Delhi: Har-Anad Publications. Ray, S. (1996). Land system and its reforms in India. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 51(1&2): 220–237. Reed, S., Roe, S., and Grimshaw, J. (2018). The Economic and Social Costs of Modern Slavery. Research Report 100. London: Home Office. Reichert, J., and Massey, D. (1982). Guestworker programs: Evidence from Europe and the United States and some implications for U.S. policy. Population Research and Policy Review, 1(1): 1–17. Reischauer, E., and Jansen, M. (1995). The Japanese Today. Cambridge (MA): Belknap Harvard. Resendez, A. (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. New York: Mariner Books. Rostovtzeff, M. (1926). Problem of the origin of serfdom in the Roman Empire. Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics, 2(2): 198–207.

22  Introduction—the world of coerced labor Sarrica, F. (2015). Stealing labor: An economic analysis of forced labor and human trafficking. Forum on Crime and Society, 8: 137–154. Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Simpson, L. (1950). The Encomienda in New Spain: Forced Native Labor in the Spanish Colonies, 1492–1550. Berkeley: University of California Press. Smith, A. (1776/2004). Wealth of Nations. New York: Barnes and Nobles. Smith, E. (1947). Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 1607–1776. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press. Stiftung, F. (2017). Modern Slavery in Company Operations and Supply Chains. Berlin: Stiftung Friedrich, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and International Trade Union Confederation. Tinker, H. (1974). A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labor Overseas 1830– 1920. London: Oxford University Press. Tomlins, C. (2001). Reconsidering Indentured Servitude: European Migration and the Early American Labor Force, 1600–1775. Labor History, 42(1): 4–45. Verité. (2015). Strengthening Protections against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains—Research on Risk in 43 Commodities Worldwide. London: Anti-­Slavery International. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The Modern World-System, I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press. Wallerstein, I. (1980). The Modern World-System, II: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600–1750. New York: Academic Press. Watson, J. (1980). Asian and African Systems of Slavery. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. World Bank. (2009). Human Trafficking: A Brief Overview. Social Development Notes No. 122. Washington (DC): World Bank. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave. Young, A. (1772/2010). Political Essays Concerning the Present State of the British Empire. London: Kessinger Publishing.

Part I

The world of slaveries

Conceptual contexts Historically, the term ‘slavery’ referred to extreme forms of coerced labor that entailed enslavement, perpetual bondage, commodification, animalistic or worse than animalistic treatment of humans, or a combination of these traits.1 A wide variety of slaveries have existed around the world since the ancient times—available literature suggests that the ancestors of almost every racial or ethnic group on the face of the earth were at one time or another had been slaves or slaveholders, and most-often-than not only those who took the brunt of slavery, but those who whipped them also belonged to the same ethnic, tribal or racial group. All slaveries were however not alike: some slaveries treated slaves in the most gruesome ways imaginable; some allowed slaves to command militaries and ran administration on behalf of their masters; some treated slaves well in anticipation of collecting ransoms; some sacrificed slaves for religious festivities; some were explicitly directed at whites or blacks; and some brushed aside all religious-cultural-racial affinities in pursuits of creating wealth for masters. The magnitudes and intensity of coercion and brutality of a particular slave system also depended a wide-ranging factors including the time period of such occurrences; the nature of work, cultures, races, religions, and socio-economic and political positions of slaves and slave-owners; and overall economic and political superstructure that formally or informally sanctioned, endorsed, or permeated such practices.

Evolution Given the pervasiveness of slaveries around the world, the subject has befittingly received widespread intellectual attention since the times of Aristotle and has been on the forefront of intense focus across multiple disciplines ranging from history to politics, anthropology to sociology, economics to psychology, and philosophy to law. Some studies trace the origin of slavery to great advances of the Bronze Age (3300–1200 BC) when plough and irrigation agriculture emerged; some however even go further back to the DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-1

24  The world of slaveries

primitive hunting-and-gathering societies (Goody 1980, 18–21). Most scholars however agree that slavery emerged when human societies learned to domesticate animals, developed extensive agriculture, and came to build urban civilizations with complex social stratification (Davis 2006, 37). Conventional wisdom suggests that the advent of urbanization created demand for production of surplus food, which propelled farmers in the countryside to utilize their leverage on land-ownership to own slaves as such practices elevated their social status in addition to offering them an economically attractive choice of using low-cost labor to supply food to urban areas (Watson, 1980).2 Thus, slavery and urbanization, and therefore human civilization, advanced hand-in-hand. History also suggests that the predominance of slavery had increased further with almost all watershed moments and epochs in the human history, and slavery indeed thrived the most in those areas and epochs where they were expected the least (Patterson 1982, viii–ix).

Nature and magnitude The term ‘slavery,’ however, has no universally acceptable definition, and it is largely because all slaveries had not been alike—they rather differed significantly in respect to exercising coercion, cruelty, subjugation, and treatment of slaves to obtain slave labor. David Davis, in his seminal work Inhuman Bondage (1986, 8), wrote, “The more we learn about slavery, the more difficulty we have defining it.” The League of Nations, the precursor of today’s United Nations, in its first convention on slavery in 1926 defined slavery as “the status or conditions of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.”3 The UN definition of slavery, couched essentially in terms of ownership rights however glaringly neglects more essential trait that characterized most of the slaveries—dehumanization of slaves and commodification of slave-labor power. That slaves are owned by some individuals or groups, and that such ownership right has generally been perpetual, and legally extended to slaves as well as their descendants are well known. But the dehumanization aspect of slavery, which involves the internal sociological dynamics of slave-master relationships, received a widespread intellectual attention since Orlando Patterson in his seminal work, Slavery and Social Death (1982, 106–109), highlighted three essential forms in which dehumanization of slaves had been manifested: (a) personal domination of the master on a slave’s life and death, which leads to social and cultural death of slaves; (b) natal alienation of slaves, which leads to dehumanization of slaves and their descendants as permanent properties of masters; and (c) subjugation of slaves to perpetual condition of dishonor, which denies slaves any legitimate exit from their masters’ unbridled power and domination over them. The characteristics of slavery, as emphasized by Patterson (1982), are however largely based on the experience of the Transatlantic Slave Trade that f lourished

The world of slaveries  25

during the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, when millions of black Africans were forcibly brought to the American shores as slaves and subjected to complete dehumanization and commodification to obtain cheap labor under a well-orchestrated structure and process for capitalist accumulation in plantations. Although almost all slaveries had been somewhat brutal, inhuman, and barbaric, available literature does suggest that all slaveries did not involve such a scale of complete dehumanization and commodification of humans. Even the personal property aspect of slavery had not been the same in all slaveries. In fact, in vast majority of pre-modern slaveholding societies, the sale of secondor third-generation descendants of slaves was legally prohibited. Moreover, there had actually been a spectrum of slave systems—some accorded slaves a variety of protections and rights, while others denied any rights and protections (Davis 2006, 36). The Barbary slave system that f lourished for several hundred years under the Ottoman Empire and geared primarily to enslaving European whites, for example, provided slaves hopes for redemption and return, and was essentially motivated by extortion of ransom not for dehumanizing them as a source of cheap labor for capital accumulation (Colley 2004, 64–65). The episode of African slavery in the Americas, on the other hand, had been the polar opposite.4

Modes and sources Various modes were deployed to acquire slaves throughout history. One of the largest sources of slavery had been captures in warfare. As wars and hostilities were frequent and brutal in the early civilizations, victorious armies had great opportunities to enslave captured armies and fallen inhabitants. Instead of killing captured armies, victorious forces throughout the ancient to medieval periods often preferred to enslave them so that slave labor could be exploited for gainful trades. Another major source for acquiring slaves had been kidnapping and piracy—such practices were rampant in ancient and medieval slaveholding societies, especially in Mesopotamia and the ancient East. Tribute payment was another major method of acquiring slaves. Some societies made tribute payments in terms of slaves to save their families or tribes to withstand foreign threats. The Romans, for example, took a large number of slaves as tribute payments to protect other states. Several African slaveholding societies also relied heavily on slave tributes to augment their slave populations. Some societies, especially in Africa and Asia, practiced debt servitude, whereby members of the debtor’s family were pawned as a security for a loan. Many societies practiced penal slavery—where slavery was awarded as punishment for crimes—such practices were a significant source of acquiring slaves in the ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Hellenic Egypt as well as some oriental societies. Historically, another major source of acquiring slaves was trade. Often less-developed societies offered their own people to acquire luxury goods and guns from traders from advanced societies—such practices were rampant in

26  The world of slaveries

Africa since time immemorial as well as during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, in Spanish and British Americas, in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and in the medieval Europe. Often impoverished families sold their own children to slavery—such practices existed in Africa, in the Near East and the Orient, in ancient Mediterranean, and even in some Greek states and the Roman Empire. Moreover, often impoverished people voluntarily enslaved themselves. Such practices existed in several societies, such as Japan, China, and Russia, where poverty was the most important reason for self-enslavement among the mass of domestic slaves. Marriage was also often another source of self-enslavement in many primitive oriental as well as European slaveholding societies.5

Validation and legitimization Slaveries received a widespread validation in almost all societies across the world. The oldest official sanction of slavery is commonly traced to 1700 BC—to the Code of Hammurabi of Babylon. Some studies, however, suggest that the first legal code of slavery can be traced far back to Sumerian King Ur-Nammu (2112–2095 BC) who decreed that all individuals were either a free person or a slave to be determined by the King (Goody 1980, 18–21; Kramer 1966, 47). Then, the Roman Emperor Justinian (527–565 AD) promulgated an elaborate slave code in the sixth century acknowledging property in persons, sanctioning commodification of humans by their masters (Tuden and Plotnicov 1970, 11–12).6 During the medieval period, the Spanish and the Portuguese rulers further strengthened the Roman law by sanctioning that humans captured or purchased were owned by the individuals or groups who captured or purchased them (Finley 1968, 307). In the early modern era, the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) not only acknowledged slavery as a legitimate institution, but also allowed slave-trading companies to operate as free enterprises to supply slaves to European colonies in the New World (Blackburn 1988, 35–66). Slavery also received ringing philosophical validation since the ancient period. Aristotle (384–322 BC), for example, viewed the relationship between a master and a slave as natural as the relationship between body and soul.7 His mentor Plato (428–347 BC) viewed slavery as a part of a vast cosmic scheme of irrational nature ordered and controlled by an intelligent and purposeful authority (Davis 2006, 55; Lord, 2013).8 Similar views were expressed by many modern philosophers, such as David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Montesquieu (1689–1755), and Voltaire (1694–1778).9 As mentioned previously, even John Locke (1632– 1704), the father of liberalism who championed ‘inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and property,’ was a staunch defender of slavery (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 5–6). All these modern philosophers however linked their perceptions of slavery exclusively to blacks, although historically slavery of non-blacks was not less pervasive.10

The world of slaveries  27

Slavery was also validated by all Abrahamic religions. The Muslim world extensively depended on slaves for their administrative, military, and cultural services, and enslaved coreligionists as well as foreigners and infidels. Muslim-dominated regions of precolonial Africa, such as Ghana, Songhay, and Mali, the Kingdom of Dahomey and Ashanti, the caliphate of Sokoto, and the sultanate of Zanzibar all relied heavily on slave labor. Medieval Christian nations also permitted enslavement of fellow Christians, especially those who resisted the papacy, and peoples of other religious beliefs.11 Countless Amerindians were enslaved and slaughtered in the name of imperially sanctioned Christianizing missions. Similarly, the Jewish people practiced slavery in both ancient and medieval times, enslaved their own members, and traded slaves across many regions (Patterson 1982, 41–43).12 Some leading religious scholars also validated slavery in no uncertain terms. Muslim scholar Ibne Sina (980–1037), for example, remarked, “God in his providential wisdom had placed, in regions of great heat or great cold, peoples who were by their very nature slaves, and incapable of higher things—for there must be masters and slaves.” Christian theologian Saint Aquinas (1225– 1274) viewed slaves as the physical instrument of their owners, who had full claim to everything the slave possessed or produced, including children. Protestant reformer Martin Luther affirmed that “masters and slaves must accept their present station, for the earthly kingdom could not survive unless some men were free, and some were slaves” (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 31). Similarly, Jewish philosopher Isaac ben Abravanel (1437–1508) professed that biblical Noah had condemned to perpetual slavery both his son Ham and his young grandson Conan (Davis 2006, 55). In sum, slaveries existed since the time immemorial, although the scale and magnitude involved in physical ownership, dehumanization and commodification of labor power, and coercion and cruelty exercised to obtain coerced labor, varied widely through the ages and across various regions of the world. While some slave systems had accorded considerable protections and rights to slaves, even prohibited perpetual slavery—slavery of descendants of slaves, in others dehumanization of slaves and almost complete commodification of slave labor had been the hallmarks. Historical evidence also suggests that the lines of slavery often blurred the perimeters of race, gender, culture, religion, and economic standing of the victims, and such practices have received a widespread validation from governments, businesses, philosophers, and religious leaders throughout the world history. Although it sounds strange in the contemporary world, slavery, not free labor, indeed has been the most common and universal form of labor throughout world history—most settled societies incorporated the institution into their social structures, and few peoples in the world have not constituted a major source of slaves at one time or another (Eltis 1993). Free labor, on the other hand, is essentially a phenomenon of the modern period—it appeared as a significant ‘legal and cultural construct’ in the Anglo-American world of

28  The world of slaveries

the eighteenth century when employers lost the legal right to invoke criminal penalties for premature departure or non-performance of laborers (Drescher 1999). This part of the book consists of three chapters—Chapter 2 provides a review of major episodes of slaveries that existed in the pre-Columbian world; Chapter 3 covers the servitude of the Amerindians and Native Americans; and Chapter 4 covers the slavery of black Africans in the New World during the early modern and modern periods.

Notes 1 The English word ‘slave’ comes from the French word ‘sclave’ and from the Medieval Latin word ‘sclavus.’ During the eastward expansion of the Germans in the tenth century, so many Slavs were captured that their racial name became the generic term for a ‘slave.’ Slavs were an Indo-European ethno-linguistic groups who spoke various Slavic languages and lived throughout Eurasia stretching from Central and Eastern Europe to Northern Asia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia as well as Western Europe and Western Asia. The term ‘slave’ spread in Western Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ref lecting the Slavic origin of European slaves. With the spread of privatization of wealth and power in late feudal and early modern societies, chattel slavery emerged where slaves and their descendants were considered private properties and traded as commodities (Blackburn 1988, 35–66; Davis 2006, 81). 2 Such interpretation is, however, especially applicable to closed slaveries where land was the primary source of wealth, such as in India and China, but may not be equally valid in respect of open slaveries that existed, for example, in land-abundant Africa, where the key power came from control over women, slaves, guns, and horses, not from land (Miers and Kopytoff, 1977). 3 Subsequently, the UN Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery (1956) defined the concept of ‘slavery-like practices,’ covering a wide range of institutions and practices similar to slavery, such as debt bondage, serfdom, forced labor, and forced marriage, and has criminalized many of the slavery-like practices as prosecutable offence. 4 See, for example, Patterson (1982), who analyzed 66 slaveholding systems around the world from sociological perspectives, mainly focusing on the dynamics of power relationships between the masters and the slaves. Also, see Chapter 5 of Quirk (2011). 5 For greater details on various modes of acquiring slaves, see Patterson (1982, 105–131); and for philosophical discourses on slavery, see Vogt (1975, 171–188) and Davis (2006, 55–56). 6 It was the Romans who developed elaborate administrative and legal codes addressing the issues of slave, slave properties, slave children, slave runaways, slave marriage, and slave manumissions (Buckland, 1908). The Roman law—senatus consultum Silinianum—for example, decreed that if a slave master was killed in a household, all slaves in that household would be crucified by the state (Finley 1980, 117–118). 7 Aristotle believed that slavery was truly good for the slaves as they lacked the necessary mental capacity to make decisions and exercise forethought for themselves, and Plato viewed the division between master and slave was the natural way of organizing the universe (Lord, 2013). 8 Vogt (1975, 26–38) argues that both Plato’s political utopia, which insisted on life without marriage and private property for the Philosopher Kings, and Aristotle’s

The world of slaveries  29 practical handbook of addressing issues of organizing state and running the statecraft, revolved around their extreme insistence on the value of intellectual and social activity—a leisurely life of ref lection for the ruling class, which they thought, would be impossible in a slave-free society. 9 Hume wrote, There never was any civilized nation of any other complexion than white… No indigenous manufacturers among them, no arts, no sciences…Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. (cited in Davis 2006, 75) Kant wrote, The Negroes of Africa have received from nature no intelligence that rises above the foolish. The difference between the two races is thus a substantial one: it appears to be the just as great in respect to the faculties of the mind as an in color. (cited in Davis 2006, 76) Montesquieu observed, It is hardly to be believed that God…should place a soul, especially a good soul, in such a black ugly body. …It is impossible to suppose these creatures to be men, because, allowing them to be men, a suspicion would follow that we ourselves are not Christian. (cited in Blackburn 1988, 55–66) Voltaire wrote in 1756: “Their round eyes, their f lat nose, their lips which are always thick, their differently shaped ears, the wool on their head, the measure even of their intelligence establishes between them and other species of men prodigious differences” (cited in Davis 2006, 75). 10 Much of this prejudice to dark-skin African slaves may well be attributed to the discovery of the chimpanzee in Sub-Saharan West Africa that coincided in time with Europeans’ involvement with the African slave trade in that region. In the early seventeenth century, such encounters gave rise to considerable pre-­ Darwinian speculation on the relationship between Africans and Apes (Davis 2006, 73–74). 11 Historical records suggest that the Catholic Church not only rationalized the possession of slaves by others, but it itself owned slaves. Pope Gregory XI, in 1375, viewed bondage just punishment for those who resisted the papacy, and ordered the enslavement of excommunicated Florentines whenever they were captured. In 1488, Pope Innocent VII accepted a gift of 100 Moorish slaves from Ferdinand of Spain and then distributed them to various cardinals and nobles (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 31). 12 Some studies even suggest that Jews were the main traders of slaves across medieval Europe and one of the dominant forces behind the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the New World (Davis 2006, 67).

References Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso. Colley, L. (2004). Captives—Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600–1850. New York: Anchor Books. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

30  The world of slaveries Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Drescher, S. (1987). Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Eltis, D. (1993). Europeans and the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas: An interpretation. American Historical Review, 98(5): 1399–1423. Finley, M. (1968). Slavery. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 14: 307–313. Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Fogel, R., and Engerman, S. (1974). Time to Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Vol. I. Boston (MA): Little Brown. Goody, J. (1980). Slavery in time and space. In J. Watson (ed.), Asian and African Systems of Slavery (pp. 16–42). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Lord, C. (2013). Aristotle’s Politics. 2nd Edition. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Miers, S., and Kopytoff, I. (1977). (Eds.). Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Patterson, O. (1982). Slavery and Social Death. Cambridge (MA): Cambridge University Press. Quirk, J. (2011). The Anti-Slavery Project: From the Slave Trade to Human Trafficking. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Tuden, A., and Plotnicov, L. (Eds.). (1970). Social Stratification in Africa. New York: Free Press. Vogt, J. (1975). Ancient Slavery and the Ideal of Man. Translated by T. Weidermann. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Watson, J. (1980). Asian and African Systems of Slavery. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

2 Slaveries in the pre-Columbian world

Slavery has been an extensive form of coerced labor since the ancient times— urbanizations, civilizations, and slaveries indeed progressed hand-in-hand throughout the history. Records suggest that Homo sapiens came to inhabit most of the earth by 10,000 BC when they also invented methods of farming and began to establish permanent settlements around immovable land. Human beings invented writing several thousand years later—the Sumerians and Egyptians learned to write between 3500 and 3000 BC, the Indians learned it around 2700 BC, the Chinese learned it around 1200 BC, and Mesoamericans learned it around 650 BC (Fisher 2014, 8–13). The phenomenon of slavery, found since the beginning of written records, made great advances since the Bronze Age with the development of plough and irrigation agriculture, and with the growth of craft activities (Goody 1980, 21). The forces generated by the invention of agriculture, permanent settlement of human beings, and the invention of writing and craft activities soon paved the way for the growth of urbanizations and civilizations. Large settlement of humans in the same location—called cities—sprung up almost simultaneously in different parts of the world. It is during this period—between 3500 and 3000 BC—that the Chinese rulers built walled cities with grand canals and standardized roads along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers; pharaohs built large irrigation channels, capital cities, and pyramids in the upper and lower Nile; the Mesopotamians built cities around the Nile Valley along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; and the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro built urban centers with incredible sewerage system in the Indus Valley (Livi-Bacci 2012, 3). Such large-scale transition of humans from hunting and gathering to urbanization soon paved the way for the growth of some of the earliest civilizations on the face of earth, such as the Sumerian, the Nubian, the Egyptian, the Achaemenes Empire of Persia, the Greek and Hellenistic states, the Qin and Han states of China, the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean, and the Mauryan and Gupta Empires of India. And with the rise and demise of kingdoms, empires, and civilizations, with the movement of the invading and retreating forces, arose a massive demand DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-2

32  The world of slaveries

for human labor for soldiers, traders, construction workers, and auxiliary forces, while the endless wars produced massive numbers of captives and slaves as well (Pagden 2003, 30). All ancient civilizations that prevailed during 3000 BC to 500 AD —the Egyptian, the Sumerian, the Babylonian, the Greek, the Roman, the Chinese, and the Indian—had used slaves extensively (Manning 2013, 77). The trend continued well into the medieval period (500 AD–1400 AD) when many large-scale slave-holding societies sprung up across the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia. It is the sweat and toil of slave-labor of the pre-Columbian world that brought the humankind to the doorstep of early modern civilization which unleashed massive processes of colonization, capital accumulation, and industrialization. This chapter provides profiles of slaveries that existed in the pre-­Columbian world—that is, during the ancient through the medieval periods. The next section provides an account of slaveries during the ancient period; Section three looks into the slaveries of the medieval period; and Section four concludes the chapter.

A  Ancient period All ancient civilizations used slave-labor, and did so extensively (see Table 2.1). The oldest of all civilizations, the Egyptian civilization, which emerged in the Nile Valley around 3100 BC, used captured foreigners for their agricultural and construction works and military expeditions, and distributed them as rewards for exceptional service to the pharaohs. Some accounts suggest that the Great Pyramids were also built with slave-labor.1 The Sumerian civilization, which prevailed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers around 3000 BC, also depended on slaves extensively. One of the Sumerian rulers, named Sargon himself, famously owned more than 9,000 slaves. Sumerian rulers also penalized thieves and murderers to serve their victims as slaves, many Sumerian orphans and illegitimate children grew up as slaves in temples, and many impoverished Sumerians also sold their children to slavery (Davis 2006, 38). The Babylonian civilization, which arose around 2300 BC, treated slaves as the property of their owners. Babylonian slave-owners had their slaves cut their hair short in the front to signify slave-status on their forehead. Babylonian ruler Hammurabi framed the first slave codifications in the world in the eighteenth century BC, providing chilling details of different rewards and penalties for slaves and sanctioning death sentence for those who sheltered a fugitive slave or helped a slave to escape. In ancient Babylon however monetization spread quickly, self-employed labor and wage-labor were much more prevalent than slave-labor, and even slaves were allowed to own personal property (Cohen 1995). Around that time, the Chinese civilization sprung up along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, and around 3500 BC, Chinese rulers built

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  33 Table 2.1  L  arge-scale slave systems around the world—from the fifth to the nineteenth century BC Name and Location

Date Span of Slavery

Europe

Greek states Fifth century BC to early Roman period (Athens, Corinth, Aegina, and 225–200 BC Chios) Roman Italy 100 BC to AD 300 Roman Empire AD 1–150 Visigoth Spain AD 415–711 Muslim Spain AD 756–1492 Mediterranean Spain Thirteenth century Atlantic Islands Madeira 1450–1620 Canary Islands 1490–1600 Africa Algiers 1500–1770 Early states of Western Sudan Pre–Islamic Ghana Islamic Ghana Mali Segou Songhay States of Central Sudan

Darfur Wadai Bagirmi Bonrno Kanem

Tuareg of Sahara and Shahel Ashanti and Gyaman kingdoms Dahomey Arab–Swahili slave systems of Eastern Africa Zanzibar Zanzibar and Pemba Mombasa and Malindi Imerina (Madagascar) European-dominated SubSaharan Africa and Indian Ocean Cape Verde Islands Sao Tome Portuguese settlements in Angola Mozambique South Africa Reunion Mauritius Seychelles

Estimated Slave Population (In Percent) 30–33 10 30–35 16–20 >66 >20 >20 30–50 >30 >25

Fourth century to 1076 1076–1600 1200–1500 1720–1861 1464–1720

Unknown >30 >30 >40 >40

1600–1916 Nineteenth century Sixteenth to nineteenth centuries 1580–1890 1600–1800

40 50 50 40 30

1800–1965 14–75 Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 33 Late eighteenth and nineteenth >33 centuries 1811–1844 1880–1890s 1840–1885 1780–1895

75–90 90 80–90 50

1500–1878 1506–1864 1830–1900 1750–1910 1701–1820 1713–1848 1735–1835 1789

66 32–66 >75 50–80 40–54 54–88 73–83 82 (Continued)

34  The world of slaveries Name and Location

Date Span of Slavery

Asia and Oceania Iraq (lower Mesopotamia) Ninth to tenth centuries Burma Late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries Thailand 1600–1800 Southwestern China Late nineteenth century to early 1940s Korea AD 660–918   918–1392 1400–1810 1900 Spanish Caribbean Espanola 1560–1570 Spanish Jamaica 1600–1655 Cuba 1500–1550 1550–1861 Panama City 1607 Venezuela 1510–1600 Colombian Choco 1763–1808 Mexico 1570–1650 European-dominated (non-Indian population) Dutch slave systems in the Caribbean Surinam 1790–1862 Curacao 1700–1862 Saint Eustatius 1786–1829 Saint Martin 1770–1816 Bonaire 1806–1862 British slave systems in the Caribbean Jamaica 1658–1834 Barbados 1643–1834 Antigua 1678–1834 Saint Kitts 1678–1834 Nevis 1678–1834 Montserrat 1678–1834 Barbuda 1790 Anguilla 1790 British Virgin Islands 1756 Dominica 1763–1832 Saint Vincent 1763–1834 Grenada 1777–1834 Saint Lucia 1772–1834 Tobago 1770–1820 Trinidad 1797–1834 Cayman Islands 1802 British Honduras 1745–1832 British Guiana 1796–1834 The Bahamas 1671–1831 Bermuda 1670–1833

Estimated Slave Population (In Percent) >50 >30 25–33 47 50? >33 17–75 >50 90–92 37 >90 25–43 66 >90 20–39 50

30–91 30–65 53–71 72–84 21–37 24–91 24–81 48–94 43–92 52–92 27–88 99.9 83–87 84 77–90 83–95 90–96 86–92 93–98 50–69 71 42–86 86–93 40–68 25–49

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  35 Name and Location French slave systems in the Caribbean Martinique Saint Dominique (Haiti) Guadeloupe French Guiana Danish West Indies Saint Thomas Saint Croix Saint John Brazil (whole country) Minas Gerais Bahia Pernambuco Espirito Santo Rio de Janeiro USA (South as a whole) Virginia South Carolina North Carolina Georgia Mississippi Alabama Louisiana

Date Span of Slavery

Estimated Slave Population (In Percent)

1664–1848 1681–1789 1700–1834 1665–1830

54–86 35–90 62–83 33–97

1686–1848 1742–1848 1728–1787 1530–1650 1798–1872 1735–1872 1202–1872 1580–1872 1823–1872 1823–1872 1690–1860 1715–1860 1708–1860 1790–1860 1760–1860 1810–1860 1830–1860 1810–1860

53–94 25–92 85–92 >66 15–48 18–98 12–50 21–66 27–50 33–37 15–35 24–45 40–64 26–45 33–45 48–55 38–45 45–71

Source: Author’s compilation based on Appendix C of Patterson (1982, 353–364).

walled cities along these rivers, constructed grand canals, standardized roads, and employed hundreds and thousands of workers—many of them were forced to work. Even construction of the Great Wall of China, the hallmark of the ancient Chinese civilization, is believed to have involved forced labor.2 Greek civilization The Greek civilization, known as the birthplace of democracy and human dignity, f lourished between the fifth and third centuries BC. The world knows a great deal about the civilization because of its vibrant civil society, stormy political and philosophical debates and discourses, and legendary literary works of poets, comics, historians, and writers. Although it sounds strange, the Greek civilization, which celebrated human dignity more fiercely than ever before, was also a heavily slave-dependent society. Some even describe it as the first genuine ‘slave society,’ where at least one-third of the population were slaves (Davis 2006, 41; Finley 1968). In Athens, the center stage of the civilization, the dependence on slaves was even higher—of its approximate 155,000 inhabitants, more than 45 percent were slaves in the fifth century BC (Lord, 2013). Apparently, aristocrat Greeks despised manual labor for themselves and found it essential to depend on slaves so that they could devote their free time and leisure to the pursuits

36  The world of slaveries

of the arts and the sciences, take part in vibrant civic discourses, and defend their state in dangerous and difficult situations (Vogt 1975, 114). Leading Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle gave ringing endorsement to slavery—Plato viewed slavery as a part of vast cosmic scheme of nature, while Aristotle deemed slavery good for the slaves themselves as they lacked the necessary mental capacity to make decisions and exercise forethought. 3 Studies suggest that the Greeks’ dependence on slaves dates back to 750 BC when they pioneered the agricultural revolution by using slaves to grow surplus grains, fruits, and wine for profitable international trade (Hanson 1999).4 Evidently, during the period of agricultural revolution, Greeks also enslaved fellow Greeks. Subsequently, however, all Greek city states had outlawed slavery of their own people and acquired most of the slaves from across borders through war and trade (Davis 2006, 41–42). Treatment of slaves Leading ancient Greek states Athens and Sparta followed different models of slavery. While the Athenian slave system resembled what later came down as the chattel slavery in the Americas, the Spartan system resembled what later emerged as serfdom in Western Europe. While Spartan slaves lived on their hereditary land and enjoyed certain conventional rights, the Athenian slaves had no such rights. Greek slaves deployed in orchards, factories, and domestic works worked with free workers, but the mines were almost entirely worked by slaves. Some slaves were also employed in municipal services—in Athens; for example, the Scythian Archers—slaves from Scythia—served for the police force with powers to use force against citizens (Cohen 1995). Ancient Greeks accepted the institution of slavery in no uncertain terms— they treated slaves as a personal property of masters which could be bought and sold in the marketplace as a commodity. Although killing or grossly maltreating slaves were restricted by law, slaves themselves had no protection, recognition, or rights under the law. Depiction of slaves in Greek literature, however, indicates that slave-owners attempted to make the existence of slavery compatible with their respect for human dignity by treating them in a human manner. Some literary descriptions even suggest that slaves were granted so much freedom that by their appearance or dress, they could not be even distinguished in public. The ancient Greece also witnessed no slave revolts, and no law was framed to suggest that free citizens were afraid of any such revolt. Ancient Greek society made no sharp distinction between the tasks of slaves and that of freemen, except that slaves were generally slated to hard work. At the same time, slaves were irrevocably degraded in the eyes of the public. They were excluded from the social and political life, and slave-masters routinely used female slaves for sexual pleasures (Vogt 1975; Patterson 1982).

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  37

Demise of Greek slavery Records suggest that from the time of Solon to Pericles, free labor was more common in ancient Greek society than slaves, and the use of extensive slave-labor became prevalent only in the fourth century, largely coinciding with the evolution of the constitutional state. The Greek states found slavery necessary for guaranteeing a surplus of production to a small segment of the population so that they could carry on the business of government and other creative spiritual pursuits. Moreover, the ascendency of Greek slavery came at a time when the decline of the Hellenic states had already begun. By the third and second centuries BC, Greek slavery declined precipitously due to impoverishment of the middle classes and disintegration of urban society; many of them were granted manumissions out of their impoverishment not out of other considerations; and of course, the Roman conquest of the Hellenic states not only brought an end to Greek slavery, but also resulted in slavery of hundreds and thousands of Greeks.5 Roman Empire By the second century BC, most of the remnants of the vast empire of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC)—spanning from Europe to Asia, from the Balkans to Anatolia, from eastern Mediterranean to Egypt, and from the Persian Achaemenes Empire to Hindukush in Afghanistan—fell into the hands of the Romans. The vast Roman Empire was also one of the first large-scale slave societies in the world. Roman rulers, during the periods of both the Roman Republic (509–44 BC) and the Roman Empire (until 330 AD), built elaborate networks of walls, ditches, garrisons, forts, river defenses, and military roads across Black Sea along the Danube and Rhine rivers to Northern Europe, and on top of capturing millions of people through wars, they also drew millions of slaves from diverse communities for such massive projects. During the first two centuries of the Roman Empire (286 BC–402 AD), almost 75 percent of Italian peninsula’s 2.1 million people were in bondage (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 14).6 The Roman Empire was indeed ‘a massive collection of slave societies,’ which imported slaves from multiple directions—­ranging from blue-eyed slaves from Northern Europe and Black Sea to educated slaves from Greece and the Mediterranean to black slaves from Sahara (Davis 2006, 43–45).7 The Romans procured slaves through markets as well—the slave markets of Rome were among the largest and busiest in the world at that time.8 Debt-slavery was also very common where defaulting debtors were subject to compulsory labor, and like in Greek states, a prisoner of war could be ransomed, and citizens who failed to pay taxes could be made public slaves. Penal slavery indeed emerged as an established institution serving as a dominant source of slavery during the Roman Empire (Clifford 2013, 126).

38  The world of slaveries

Treatment of slaves The world knows about the Roman slavery more than other slaveries that had existed before. Unlike the Greek slavery, which was overwhelmingly urban and industrial, the Roman slavery was dominant in both rural and urban economic sectors. To the Romans, slaves were outsiders, foreigners, and property of masters, and slave-masters controlled all aspects of slaves’ lives. Roman Emperor Justinian (527–565) promulgated a slave code in the sixth century legitimizing property in persons (Blackburn 1988, 35–66).9 Roman slave-masters preferred slaves over land, as slaves were more f lexible than land, and they took special delight in possessing a large retinue of slaves and display such ownerships to enhance their sense of honor and reputation before their peers (Patterson 1982, 92). They employed slaves in almost every craft and trade, and considered a significant segment of the slave population as culturally superior and allowed freed men to exercise extraordinary power in both the executive and administrative branches of the imperial government. Many of the privileged slaves served in the imperial courts and received better treatment than others; however, overwhelming majority of the slaves served as miners and farmers, who were whipped into chain-gangs. Many slaves were used for latifundias in southern Italy and Sicily.10 Most of the approximately 250,000 Greek prisoners of war, imported between 200 and 150 BC, were deployed in the latifundias for cultivation of profitable olive and vines, where slaves were prohibited from leaving the employer, employers were allowed freely move them from one location to another, and slaves had no right to strike. Some of the Greek slaves—especially highly skilled and educated ones— found their way into the urban households and in industry, particularly in shipyards and weapon factories. Many Greek slaves were also employed as tutors for the education of Roman children—some accounts suggest that in the early Roman Empire, a Greek-speaking attendant became a member of every Roman household. These slave tutors taught Greek language to Roman children facilitating cultural and intellectual bonds with Greek community. As Romans detested the medical profession, many Greek slaves also served as physicians, and many such physicians were granted citizenship by Roman Emperors Caesar and Augustus, and even freed them from taxation, which made many Greek physicians free, wealthy, and famous. Many Greek nurses and teachers also came to form close relationship with their masters and achieved freedom in all formal aspects (Vogt 1975, 116–210). The early Roman Empire however experienced several slave revolts. Some of the earliest ones—that occurred during the relatively short period of time between 140 and 70 BC—were confined to small districts and suppressed easily, but some of the later revolts—such as the first Sicilian revolt (135–132 BC), Aristonicus uprising in Asia (133–129), second Sicilian revolt (104–100 BC), and the war against Spartacus (73–71)—had been long drawn-out.

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  39

The revolt of Spartacus, a slave gladiator, who led a great uprising against the Roman Empire between 73 and 71 BC with an estimated army of 70,000–120,000 slaves, has been a watershed moment. The defeated Spartacus was crucified along with 6,000 survivors of the war. After the defeat of Spartacus, however, there were no more slave rebellions of significant scale in the Roman Empire (Vogt 1975, 39). Demise of Roman slavery The Roman slavery was gradually transformed into serfdom as slave-masters mitigated some of the harsher features of the older system by tying the slaves to land but freeing them from slavery-like servitude (Fogel 1989). Studies generally credit the spread of Christianity for the transformation, as it came after the Roman society adopted Christianity which preached the ideals of equality of all men before God and churches began to inf luence Roman legislations to facilitate transformation of servile labor into wage-labor and do away with chattel slavery. At the same time, the decline of the slave trade, degeneration of free workers into hired workers, general economic stagnation of the Roman Empire, and the rise of colonate (tenant) system in agriculture played important roles in facilitating the transformation of Roman slavery into serfdom (Finley 1968).11

B  Medieval period Slavery received new momentum during the next 1,000 years called the medieval period (500–1400 AD). Much of this impetus came with the spread of Islam during the seventh through the thirteenth centuries when a vast intercontinental Muslim world extended from current Pakistan westward across the Mideast and Africa to Spain and France to the north and generated massive demand for slaves for households as well as agricultural, industrial, trading, administrative, and military services. All Muslim empires of the period—the Ottomans, the Moroccans, the Mughals, and the Persians—and many of the Muslim-dominated regions of precolonial Africa relied heavily on slaves and slave trade. The Muslim religion professed perhaps the sharpest conviction to the freedom of human beings as a natural condition, and it specifically prohibited enslavement of fellow Muslims, but it did sanction enslavement of infidels and Muslim converts. Muslim religion, however, did not allow perpetual bondage of slaves and slave-descendants; rather, it prescribed freeing of slaves after a maximum of six years of bondage and freeing of female slaves when their children were fathered by their Muslim masters (Fisher 2014, 34–35). Muslim societies thus needed frequent replenishments of slaves.12 Some studies suggest that it was the Muslims who first developed long-distance slave trade from Africa by transporting millions of black slaves by ships and desert caravans (Davis 2006, 60–61).13

40  The world of slaveries

The trans-Saharan slave trading system had indeed been the longest surviving slave trading system in world history—it lasted for almost thirteen centuries, from the seventh to the nineteenth century—catering to the demand for slaves from North African and Mediterranean states during the medieval period, and subsequently, that of the Americas in the post-Columbian world. During the medieval period, an estimated 6.8 million African slaves were transported through the system—more than half of total black slaves transported to the Americas during the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Patterson 1982, 151–162).14 Such a massive expansion of African slavery was facilitated by the fact that the Muslim societies of North Africa and the Mediterranean were surrounded to the north and south by relatively unsophisticated African tribes, many of whom could easily be enslaved through warfare.15 Then, market forces also encouraged many African tribes to seize their own people in order to sell as slaves. As a result, hundreds of trading stations sprung up along the southern Mediterranean areas to supply slaves to Muslim states.16 During this period, the West African state of Ghana emerged as a major commercial center of trans-Saharan trade for supplying slaves to merchants and traders for carrying goods and caravans across Sahara. Moreover, some of the African countries themselves were large-scale slave societies; for example, in Ghana and Mali, more than 30 percent of their own populations were held in slavery by their own rulers (see Table 2.1).17 Ottoman Empire A major impetus for rapid expansion of slavery stemmed from the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the fourteenth century. The Ottomans controlled the entire Mediterranean for over 600 years—they controlled the northeastern Mediterranean coastline through Serbia, Albania, Morea, and Turkey; the easternmost Mediterranean of Egypt and Syria; and the western Mediterranean through North African states of Tripoli, Tunisia, and Algiers. By the mid-fifteenth century, the Ottomans captured Constantinople, and thus ascended into a unique position of controlling trading networks  and slave routes that crisscrossed three land-linked continents—Africa, Asia, and Europe (Colley 2004, 35). They controlled the Sahel network around Mediterranean that linked Morocco, Southern Europe, Egypt, and Arab, and the Silk Road that connected the eastern Mediterranean, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and China, and they dominated over the Monsoonal network that connected the coasts of the Indian Ocean and the lands across western Pacific (Fisher 2014, 31).18 Ottoman slave market The Ottomans outshined all Muslim empires by adding a new dimension to slavery. Being in the unique location that connected the entire Old

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  41

World and being in command of the entire Mediterranean for several centuries, they drew millions of slaves from both the black African south and the white Slavic north. Most of the Ottoman slaves originated from the African continent—estimated to be around 18 million, far exceeding the African slaves transported to the New World by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Ottoman’s also drew between 1.5 and 7 million white slaves from the Crimea, the Balkans, and the steppes of West Asia (Davis 2006, 61–62).19 Evidently, the Crimean Khanate of Mongolia (1475–1783) was the largest among the major suppliers of European slaves to the Ottoman Empire. They not only captured and kidnapped millions of slaves throughout the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea, but also killed many more during ruthless slaveraids. On top of that, Tartars and other Black Sea slave traders also sold several million Ukrainians, Georgians, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, and Slavs in the Ottoman slave markets.20 Following the Western capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade (1204), Italian merchants conducted booming long-distance seaborne slave trade that transported tens and thousands of ‘white’ European slaves to the Mediterranean shoreline markets in exchange of coveted manufacturing products such as paper, glass, and sugar. A large part of the Ottoman slave trade was also carried out by Barbary Corsairs—pirate groups who engaged themselves in capturing white slaves by targeting European ships from countries with which the Ottoman Empire had military conf licts. By the early decades of the seventeenth century, about 8,000 English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish captives were taken to North Africa by the Algerian f leets alone (Colley 2004, 39). Between 1530 and 1780, almost one and a quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by the Barbary Corsairs, when Moorish corsairs also captured and raided European and American ships along the coastal regions to capture white slaves (Davis 2006, 67).21 TREATMENT OF SLAVES

The Ottoman slave trade lasted much longer and involved more slaves than any other slaveries in the history of the world, but Ottoman slaves also lived more diverse and freer lives than what the world had experienced before the slaveries of the Amerindians and black Africans in Caribbean and Americas in the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Records suggest that Muslim societies treated slaves without race-hatred and relatively leniently (Watson 1980). Neither all freemen nor all slaves in Muslim societies were blacks, and many of their slaves were treated as members of the owners’ families, and slave children were often trained in music and dance for Muslim harems (Goody 1980, 29). Moreover, Muslim laws allowed slaves to marry, and with the owners’ permission, they could also own small amount of property.22

42  The world of slaveries

The Ottomans deployed slaves mainly in the production of agricultural goods—ranging from coffee to cotton, coconuts to dates, sugar, and millet— but they also employed some of them in manufacturing, businesses as well as administrative services and standing armies (Wright 2017, 52).23 Many slaves also worked as sailors, weavers, porters, mercenaries, medical experts, architectural advisers, and armorers (Clarence-Smith 2006). Moreover, the loss of freedom of slaves that occurred under the Ottoman Empire had temporal limits—the Muslim law prohibited the span of enslavement no more than six years, and Europeans—male slaves as well as aff luent and protected women slaves—captured by corsairs could usually look forward to being ransomed at some point. As such ransoms often took a decade to arrive, slave-owners had incentive to keep their European slaves alive and healthy in the hope of bounty.24 Compared with the Transatlantic Slave Trade which mainly imported male slaves for capitalist accumulation, the Ottomans imported more women slaves, and being pre-industrial and rural society, most of their female slaves were employed in domestic work.25 European slave markets Europe had a long tradition in slavery—as mentioned above, both the Greek civilization and the Roman Empire were large-scale slave societies. While ancient Greeks procured most of the slaves from the Mediterranean region, most of the Roman slaves were sourced through the Black Sea and the Mediterranean trade route, one of the oldest slave trading routes in the world that existed since the seventh century BC (Patterson 1982, 152). Slave trading through this route continued even after the fall of the Roman Empire as numerous slaves were supplied to Visigoth Spain as well as early medieval France, and the Byzantine Empire in subsequent centuries.26 During the early ninth through the mid-twelfth centuries, there were also two other slave trading routes in Europe—one ran through the North Sea and across the English Channel, and the other involved sea, river, and overland transports. Through these routes, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings traded slaves for a long time all over Western Europe, when Celtic peoples of the British Isles and the Scandinavians were the main victims. In the tenth century, during the eastward expansion of Germans, it was the Viking raiding and trading of Slavs that led to the common root for the term ‘slave’ in European languages.27 The total slave population in Western Europe at the time was estimated to be around 3.4 million, out of a total population of 22.6 million (Patterson 1982, 152–153). By the thirteenth century, following the Western capture of Constantinople in 1204, Italian merchants launched a booming seaborne slave trade by transporting thousands of slaves from the regions around the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They transported numerous Russians, Greeks, Moors (North Africans and Arabs), Turks and Armenians, Ethiopians, and Tartars

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  43

(Mongolian and Turkic tribes of Eastern Europe and Central Asia) to the Mediterranean markets, Egypt, Syria, and Spain. Italian merchants also exported numerous slaves to its Mediterranean colonies of Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes, and Sicily,28 and deployed a large number of them in construction of large cosmopolitan cities, monuments, and architectural marvels that emerged in the country during the medieval period (Manning 2013, 49). The Italian slave trade lasted for about 150 years, and came to an end after the Ottoman Turks recaptured Constantinople in 1453 and blocked the entrance from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea cutting off the major source of slaves for European markets. During the period of Italian slave trade, Florence emerged as one of the largest slave trade centers in the world where not less than 10,000 bondsmen (mostly bondswomen) were sold between 1414 and 1423. Many of these white slaves were used for sugar production,29 while many were exchanged in shoreline markets for coveted goods. Another prominent slave trading center of the period was at Kaffa (in Russia), which supplied both male and female slaves to the Muslim countries (Davis 2006, 49–82).30

C  Concluding remarks As the discussion above suggests, slaveries, urbanizations, and civilizations have progressed hand-in-hand since the ancient period, and they all were underpinned by the same forces—the invention of agriculture, permanent settlement of human beings, and the invention of writing. With the rise and demise of kingdoms, empires, and civilizations, and with the movement of the invading and retreating forces, slaveries also expanded further throughout the medieval period. In the ancient Greece, aristocrats found it necessary to enslave others to enjoy independence and leisure and to devote time to civic responsibilities and other creative pursuits, and viewed the existence of the institution of slavery compatible with human dignity, constitutional state, and democracy. They, however, enslaved mostly non-Greeks, kept slaves out of political and social lives, and treated them in humane manner. The Roman slavery, on the other hand, grew out of imperial conquests and expansions of agriculture, industry, trade, and commerce, which granted slave-masters not only the possession of soil but also the human beings who worked on it. The Romans employed slaves in all sectors of the economy, including imperial services, but often treated them brutally, and often faced several slave revolts. The Ottomans enslaved millions of both white and black slaves coinciding with the expansion of Muslim rule throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. Although many of the European white slaves were supplied by the Tartars and the Khanates—who were known for brutal raiding and capturing of slaves—the Ottomans treated slaves humanely and largely in a race-­ neutral manner, and many of their slaves won manumission and worked for

44  The world of slaveries

administration, military, and other branches. All large-scale slave societies of the ancient through medieval periods, however, were, as Karl Marx famously described them, ‘machines of the ancient world’ owned by their masters.

Notes 1 By now Egyptians have discovered between 118 and 138 pyramids which were approximately 4,500 years ago. It took 10,000 workers and more than 30 years to build just a single pyramid, and the largest one, built for the Pharaoh Khufu, is still the biggest building on the planet. It took half-a-million tons of stone to build it; the workers had to raise some blocks as large as nine tons with nothing but wood and rope (Shaw, 2003). Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the pyramids were built by slaves, and the Old Testament also says that the Pharaoh enslaved the children of Israel and used them to build buildings. Hollywood films also propagated that ancient Israelite slaves—ancestors of the Jewish people—built the pyramids. Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin also claimed that enslaved Jews built the pyramids. Not everybody, however, agrees with such claims. Some claim that Jews even did not exist at the time when the pyramids were built. Some argue that some of the tombs of workers who built the pyramids were found next to the pyramids suggesting that if the workers were slaves they could not be buried next to powerful Pharaohs. See, for example, ‘New Find Shows Slaves Didn’t Build Pyramids’ (US News, January 12, 2010) and ‘Egypt tombs suggest free men built pyramids, not slaves’ (BBC News, January 11, 2010). 2 The construction of the wall began during 771 to 476 BC and completed during the period of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–206 BC). More than 21,000-­k ilometer-long wall across the country’s northern and western frontiers was aimed at defending the empire from foreign invasion, especially from the Mongol nomads. The construction required deployment of thousands of workers and soldiers, and much of the work is believed to be compulsory or forced labor. 3 Although leading Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle opined that certain people were prevented by their nature from being anything other than slaves and master-slave relation was fundamental to human existence, the Sophists postulated that slavery was contrary to natural justice and that it was rather based on law, custom, and force, and thus must be unjust. Also, the Stoic philosophers argued that it was a person’s moral state that showed whether he was free or not, not his current state. While both these viewpoints also received inestimable acceptance in Greek society, they failed to achieve any material success (Vogt 1975, 14–39). 4 The ancient Greece is also believed to be the birthplace of agricultural revolution, where such a revolution began in 750 BC (Davis 2006, 40). 5 For greater details on the Greek slavery—its evolution, nature, and demise, see Vogt (1975) who provides interpretative insights on some of the older works on Greek slavery such as Finley (1968), Watson (1987), and Westermann (1955). 6 Estimates of slaves during the Roman Empire, however, vary widely. Patterson (1982) maintains that 30–35 percent of the Italian population was in slavery during 225–200 BC, and about one-fifth of the population of the entire empire was in slavery during 100 BC–300 AD (see Table 2.1). Some estimates, however, indicate that the empire’s dependence on slavery was much heavier than previous civilizations. Fogel and Engerman (1974, 14) and Hopkins (1978, 100), for example, suggest that three out of four residents (75 percent) of the Italian Peninsula’s population lived in slavery or bondage. Some studies suggest that in the two centuries before the beginning of the empire—during the last two centuries

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  45 BC—Romans employed slaves more widely than before, and did so with greater brutality (Cohen, 1995). Davis (2006, 43–45) also maintains that there were two to three million slaves in Italy during the reign of Augustus (27 BC–14 AD), when almost every Roman family owned slaves and some even owned several hundred. Also see Encyclopedia Britannica (1961, 776) and Hopkins (1978). 7 It was not until 212 AD that Roman Emperor Caracalla (188–217 AD) granted Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire creating a common homeland. 8 In Roman slave markets, slaves were apparently sold at public auctions with money-back guarantee—if a slave was unable to do what he was described to be able to do, he could be returned. 9 The Justinian slave code was later extended by Iberian rulers, and thus survived well into the 1100s (Blackburn 1988, 35–66). 10 The Roman system of latifundia—which granted a large piece of land to members of the aristocracy along with considerable social and political power over the slaves, serfs, peasants, and peons—has served as a precursor of feudalism that emerged in Western Europe after the demise of the Roman Empire. Thus, the Roman latifundias can also be viewed as the precursor of other variants of feudalism that f lourished in other parts of the world, such as pomeshchik in Russia, hacienda in Latin America, zamindari in India, and shogunate in Japan. 11 Karl Marx and Marxists, however, have a different viewpoint—for them under slavery, slave-owners took possession of not only soil, but also the productive human beings who worked on it, and thus alienated the slave from his own productive activity and from his own product, which resulted in the decline of consumption and impoverishment of the masses paving the way for a transition to serfdom. More on this in the following chapters. 12 Muslim jurists and theologians of the period unequivocally rejected the prevailing notion that black Africans were somehow designed by nature to be slaves, and they rather insisted that human beings were divided only by faith. They, however, emphasized that infidels or pagans, regardless of race and skin color, could lawfully be enslaved under the Islamic law (Davis 2006, 63). 13 It was the Arabs who really invented Africa as a continent, along with blackskinned African people, at a time when Europeans themselves were still considered by the Arabs as barbarians (Davis 2006, 54–60). 14 African slaves were supplied through four main routes: from Timbuktu to Morocco, Kano to Air and Ghadames, Bornu to Fezzan, and Widia to Benghazi, and they were shipped to all North African and Mediterranean slave-holding societies, but Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria were the major destinations (Patterson 1982, 151–162). 15 From the seventh through the eleventh centuries, the Eastern Europeans in the Byzantine Empire both enslaved many Muslims and were themselves enslaved by Muslims, while the rapidly expanding Islamic states transformed the heritage of Roman slavery, which enslaved Europeans from every region along with Asians and Africans. 16 Some of the Muslim states even used slaves for their standing armies. Some of the slave armies even overthrew their masters. The Mamluks of Egyptian army, for example, seized power by deposing the Ayyubid Dynasty in 1250. The Mamluks (meaning slaves) formed the backbone of the dynasty’s military apparatus as the rulers manumitted and promoted to senior ranks for their loyalty. The rule of the Mamluk Dynasty stretched across Egypt to India and lasted nearly three centuries until the Ottoman overthrew them in 1517 (Clifford, 2013). 17 Emperor Mansa Musa, who took the Mali Empire to its zenith, famously made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1337 escorted by more than 10,000 slaves (Watkins, 1908/1969).

46  The world of slaveries 18 By the seventeenth century, by the early modern period, the Muslim empires of Ottoman, Moroccan, Indian, and Persian together contained between one-third and one-quarter of the world’s population. These Muslim empires also displayed daunting territorial reach and military power unrivaled by any other power in the world. Moreover, they were markedly urban and highly commercial, and possessed an inf luential written culture (Colley 2004, 106). Such spectacular Muslim rules and conquests had revolutionized geographic boundaries across the Old World opening intercontinental f loodgates of slaves to be deployed as servants, soldiers, members of harems, eunuch chaperons, and bureaucrats (Davis 2006, 54–67). 19 Even during their last attempt to overrun Europe in 1683, the defeated Ottoman army returned from the Gates of Vienna with 80,000 white captives (Colley, 2004). 20 Estimates of slaves exported by Crimean Tatars to the Muslim states from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe as well as Russia widely vary. For greater details, see https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-africa/white-slavesbarbary-002171; http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/ white_slaves_01.shtml; and http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/whtslav.htm. 21 Corsairs continued their piracy far beyond the medieval period, far beyond the Ottoman Empire, and well into the eighteenth century. In 1680, Morocco’s sultan Moulay Ismail, for example, nationalized corsair’s captures as state property, and by 1711, came to possess thousands of European slaves. Europeans were also captured Muslims through piracy at the same time. Malta’s sea-going vessels, for example, routinely preyed on Muslim vessels and seizing their crews and passengers and sold them in open market. There were an estimated 10,000 Muslim slaves in Malta in 1720. European powers that owned Mediterranean galley f leets—such as France, Genoa, Venice, and the Papal States—drew heavily on such slave manpower (Colley 2004, 39–61). 22 Many European slaves indeed converted to Islam in anticipation of better treatment and as a means of self-preservation. Such conversions helped many of them to be treated as family members, to be married to Muslim women, and to be employed in dignified occupations, as mercenaries, medical experts, architectural advisers, armorers, and so on (Colley 2004, 52–61). 23 Some of these states even used slaves for their standing armies. Some of the slave officials of the Egyptian army, known as Mamluks (meaning slaves), seized power by deposing the Ayyubid Dynasty in 1250. They came to form the backbone of the Ayyubid military apparatus as the Ayyubid rulers manumitted and promoted many of them to senior ranks in exchange of their loyal service to the rulers. The Mamluk Dynasty founded by them stretched across Egypt to India, and lasted nearly three centuries until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517 (Clifford, 2013). 24 In the 1670s, the parents and wives of almost a thousand English captives in Algiers petitioned to the British Parliament against inhuman treatment of their relatives in the Mediterranean. Many European nations set aside budgetary allocations for releasing their captives. Even a relatively remote and secure state like Denmark at one point devoted 15 percent of its profits from Mediterranean trade for releasing captives (Colley 2004, 47–57). 25 For treatment of slaves under the Ottoman Empire, also see Patterson (1982, 151–168), Beachey (1976), Curtin (1984), Gemery and Hogendorn (1979), and Bean (1974). 26 The Visigoth Spain refers to the Kingdom of Visigoths that existed around current southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula between the fifth and eighth centuries. It was one of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia.

Slaveries in the Pre-Columbian world  47

27

2 8 29

3 0

The Kingdom maintained independence from the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). As Table 2.1 suggests, almost two-thirds of the Kingdom’s population were slaves. Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group who speak various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic linguistic group, and they are natives to Eurasia, stretching from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe all the way north and westwards to Northeast Europe, Northern Asia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia as well as Western Europe and Western Asia. Some studies suggest that Jewish traders had also played a key role in slave trading in Europe during the medieval period (Davis 2006, 67). By then, sugar had already emerged as the greatest of the slave crops—around 60–70 percent of all slaves ended up Europe’s sugar colonies. Sugar was introduced into the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean countries—extending from Greece to Cyrenaica (eastern coast of Libya) in the seventh century by the Arabs). After taking over the Arab sugar industry in Palestine, the Normans (French people of Normandy) and Venetians (Italians from the state of Venice) promoted the production of sugar in their Mediterranean colonies of Cypress, Crete, and Sicily. During the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, these colonies shipped sugar to all parts of Europe (Fogel, 1989). At that time, African slave trade had not yet began. Portuguese traders, who began the African salve trade, even did not establish their trading posts before the 1440s. Soon after those trading posts were established, average imports of slaves into Iberian Peninsula and the Iberian-controlled islands off the coast of Africa (the Canaries, the Madeira, and Sao Thome) rose to about 1,000 per year. Still, by the time Cristopher Columbus sailed for the first expedition, imports of black slaves into the Old World were probably no more than 25,000 (Fogel, 1989).

References Beachey, R. (1976). The Slave Trade of Eastern Africa. New York: Harper & Row. Bean, R. (1974). The fishers of men: The profits of the slave trade. Journal of Economic History, 34: 885–894. Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso. Clarence-Smith, W. (2006). Islam and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press. Clifford, W. (2013). State Formation and Structure of Policies in Mamluk Syro-Egypt. Bonn: Bonn University Press. Cohen, R. (1995). History of Migration. University of Leeds, Arts and Humanities Research Council. http://www.striking-women.org/module/migration/history-­ migration. Accessed on May 5, 2018. Colley, L. (2004). Captives—Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600–1850. New York: Anchor Books. Curtin, P. (1984). Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Duncan-Jones, R. (1974). The Economy of the Roman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Encyclopedia Britannica. (1961). Accessed Online on March 21, 2018. Finley, M. (1968). Slavery. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 14: 307–313.

48  The world of slaveries Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton and Company. Fogel, R., and Engerman, S. (1974). Time to Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Vol. I. Boston (MA): Little Brown. Gemery, H., and Hogendorn, J. 1979. Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic Cost of Atlantic Slave Trade. Washington (DC): Academic Press. Goody, J. (1980). Slavery in time and space. In J. Watson (ed.), Asian and African Systems of Slavery (pp. 16–42). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Hanson, V. (1999). The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization. Berkley: University of California Press. Hopkins, K. (1978). Conquerors and Slaves. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Klein, M. (1993). Breaking the Chains: Slavery, Bondage, and Emancipation in Modern Africa and Asia. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Livi-Bacci, M. (2012). A Short History of Migration. Translated into English by Carl Ipsen. Malden (MA): Polity Press. Lord, C. (2013). Aristotle’s Politics. 2nd Edition. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Manning, P. (2013). Migration in World History. London: Routledge. Meakin, B. (1901). The Lands of the Moors. London: Sonnenschein. Patterson, O. (1982). Slavery and Social Death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shaw, J. (2003). Who built the pyramids? Not slaves. Archaeologist Mark Lehner, digging deeper, discovers a city of privileged workers. Harvard Magazine, July–­ August, 2003. Vogt, J. (1975). Ancient Slavery and the Ideal of Man. Translated by T. Weidermann. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Watkins, J. (1908/1969). King Cotton: A Historical and Statistical Review, 1798–1908. New York: Negro University Press. Watson, J. (1980). Asian and African Systems of Slavery. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Watson, A. (1987). Roman Slave Law. Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University Press. Westermann, W. (1955). The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave.

3 Slaveries of Amerindians and Native Americans

The nature and magnitude of coerced labor changed dramatically with the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) in the late fifteenth century. Up until then, all great empires of the world— the Achaemenes Empires of Iran, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, the Roman Empires of Caesar and Augustus, the Empires of Genghis Khan and Tamburlaine in Central Asia, and the Mughal Empire in India— were large territorial landmasses strewn across thousands of miles. But by the fifteenth century, all that changed with dramatic advances in maritime technology that vastly expanded human activities across and around the seas. Several ocean-going populations—the Chinese, the Arabs, and the West Europeans—had demonstrated tremendous navigational capacities by establishing elaborate networks of sea-routes connecting West Africa to the Americas, East Africa to the Indian ocean, and North Africa to the Mediterranean (Fisher 2014, 52–55). These advances soon ushered in massive redistribution of global population, founding of worldwide empires and colonies, mining explorations, and agricultural plantations, and it was the West Europeans who outshined all in this new era of global expeditions. In 1492, the Spanish Crown commissioned an Italian navigator named Columbus to voyage across the Atlantic to Asia to discover new colonies for the empire. Columbus however landed on a Caribbean island called the Bahamas believing that it was an offshore island of Japan. His erroneous discovery however opened up a vast New World of two new continents—North and South America—on top of establishing maritime connections, for the first time in world history, among four continents—­Europe, Africa, and the Americas.1 Soon another sea-going European power from the Iberian Peninsula—the Portuguese—joined the colonial expeditions as well.2 As a result, in 1494, the two major European powers at the time—the Spanish Crown and the Portuguese King—signed the Treaty of Tordesillas dividing the entire non-­ European world between themselves. The Tordesillas Line—a pole-to-pole line down the Atlantic—gave the western half of the non-European world to the Spanish Crown, while the eastern half went to the Portuguese King. Subsequently, in 1529, these Iberian powers signed the Treaty of Zaragoza DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-3

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drawing another dividing line down the Pacific Ocean under which Brazil, Africa, western Asia, India, Southeast Asia, and Japan went to the Portuguese King, while the rest of the Americas and the Philippines went to the Spanish Crown. Thus, when Columbus discovered the Americas, the New World was divided between two major colonial powers: the Spanish Crown controlled across the West Atlantic, and the Portuguese ruled across the East Atlantic. Columbus’s reign over Spanish America was however very brief (1493–1500), and it was rather his successors who brought large regions of the mainland Americas under Spanish control. Although their administration and interactions with indigenous peoples displayed considerable variance, the rule of the conquistadors (victorious Spanish soldiers) was so brutal that many even blamed Spaniards for causing massive blood-baths in order to subjugate and depopulate the native population (Potts 1990, 11–23). This chapter covers the slavery and servitude of the Amerindians—the pre-Columbian indigenous populations that lived in the Americas whom Columbus erroneously described as ‘Indians.’3 Until recently, the slavery or servitude of the Amerindians received scanty attention as scholars around the world rather remained fixated with the most dominant slavery of black Africans in the Americas. It is increasingly being recognized now that the servitude of the Amerindians is hardly a peripheral issue, but a central element in their history, which has powerfully impacted not only their own lives but also had shaped the very nature of European colonialization, empire-­ building, and capitalistic developments of the world economy since the fifteenth century (Gallay 2009, 2–3). The chapter is organized as follows: the next section covers the nature and magnitude of the Amerindian slavery and servitude in Spanish America; Section three explains the saga of the Amerindians in the land that now constitutes the United States, where the Amerindians are officially described as the Native Indians; and Section four concludes the chapter.

A  Amerindian slavery The story of subjugation, slavery, and extermination of indigenous Amerindians began in 1492, precisely with the landing of Columbus in the Bahamas, which paved the way for the establishment of large-scale colonies of the Spanish Crown across the Atlantic. Eventually, the Spanish Empire in the Americas lasted for more than 300 years, up until 1832, spanning all across the Americas except Brazil, Canada, the eastern United States, some parts of South America, and the Caribbean.4 For the Amerindians, however, the Spanish invasion was most traumatic during the first five decades when using the Caribbean islands as the base, the conquistadors quickly subdued major regions of the Americas as well as the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean—Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica.

Slaveries  51

The next 100 years were also extremely perilous as the conquistadors caused massive pillage and butchery on the population to subjugate and enslave them (Denevan 1992). Although often portrayed otherwise, Columbus did not actually discover America—millions of people lived in the Americas before Columbus first set his foot on the soil, although their exact number has not been ascertained yet. While some nineteenth-century estimates had the number as low as 10 million, some of the late-twentieth-century estimates put the number between 50 and 100 million. A recent ‘consensus estimate’ however puts the number around 54 million, most of whom lived in Mesoamerica and South America (Taylor 2002).5 Within 150 years of Columbus’s landing however the population declined to less than six million—to one-tenth of the ‘consensus figure’ (Davis 2006, 97–98). The decline of the Amerindian population had been extremely swift, tragic, and catastrophic. Studies suggest that when Columbus established his first fort in Haiti, the island had more than one million people, but the number was reduced to 10,000 by 1520, and to 250 by 1550; between 1509 and 1519, over 60,000 Amerindians were transported to Hispaniola from the Bahamas, of whom only 800 survived; of the unknown number of the Amerindians shipped from Nicaragua to Panama and Peru, less than 20 percent survived; the indigenous population of central Mexico, Peru, and Chile fell by almost 90 percent in 75 years after the Spanish invasion; and of the 300,000–500,000 indigenous population in the Caribbean, fewer than 500 survived by the 1540s (Churchill, 1994; Davis 2006, 97–98). Such a cataclysmic decline of the Amerindian population had traditionally been attributed to purported inability of the indigenous population to resist ‘virgin soil pandemic’—European diseases such as smallpox, inf luenza, and malaria. Recent studies however suggest that in addition to such pandemics, large-scale and indiscriminate enslavement of the Amerindians, which often led to the decimation of population groups of large areas, and the trauma of such atrocities, coerced labor, and the fate of life-long slavery also played a significant role in such a precipitous decline of the population (Gallay 2009, 2; Batstone 2010). Evolution and magnitude While appointing Columbus the Viceroy and Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella instructed him to win over the inhabitants of the new-found lands, and the Catholic Sovereigns of Spain also insisted on him abstaining from doing them any harm.6 Even when in his first voyage back to Spain in 1493 Columbus brought several hundred Amerindians to sell in Seville in order to purchase breeding cattle, seeds, and foodstuff to take back to America, the Spanish Crown not only disapproved his plans of Amerindian slavery but also ordered him to return the slaves back home.7

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Subsequently however the Spanish Crown displayed considerable vacillation regarding treatment of the Amerindians. In 1503, after Columbus was replaced by Nicolas Ovando as the governor of the Indies, the Crown allowed conquistadors to legally enslave insurgent Amerindians and others who resisted the Crown’s Christianization mission. The same decree also granted broad powers to conquistadors to force the nomadic Amerindians to work, and the next year, in 1504, the Crown legalized slavery throughout the Caribbean region. But the Crown reversed the decree in 1511 after it was pointed out that slavery of the Amerindians might negatively affect colonial labor force, the colonies’ yields, or the Crown’s coffers. Two years later, in 1513, the Crown then reversed its stance again by legalizing slavery and servitude of any Amerindian who refused to convert to Christianity. Three decades later, in 1542, facing an uproar against atrocities on the Amerindians in the mainland Spain, the Crown finally banned slavery of the Amerindians throughout the Spanish America. The conquistadors, apparently intoxicated by the prospects of wealth of the new colony, however kept on forcibly enslaving nomadic native populations without sparing even females and children. To evade the Crown’s ban on Amerindian slavery, they devised new categories of unfree labor and made other labor arrangements depending on local circumstances, and kept on enslaving indigenous population to produce crops for trade and to support the military, religious, and government officials as well as to build roads, ports, and housing (Gallay 2009, 18). The conquistadors also exploited numerous Amerindians as domestic servants (yanaconas), agricultural workers (repartimientos), bonded labors, and so on, and used indigenous women and girls as cooks, bearers, and chambermaids (Potts 1990, 24–30).8 All these subterfuges of labor carried the essential traits of slavery—forcible removal of victims from one place to another, inability of labor to leave the workplace, violence or threat of violence to compel laborers to work, and nominal or no pay (Resendez 2016, 4–6). Also, by the time the Crown’s ban on Amerindian slavery came in the 1540s, several major slaving zones sprung up to deploy indigenous Amerindians throughout Spanish America. Under these networks, thousands of enslaved Amerindians were shipped to Peruvian cities and mines through the Chilean zone; thousands of them were haunted to Rio de la Plata basin along the coast of Brazil through another slaving zone that extended through the provinces of Paraguay, Tucuman, and adjacent areas; thousands of them were shipped through another zone that crisscrossed through the vast grasslands of Colombia and Venezuela along the tributaries of the Orinoco River, where Spanish traffickers competed with English, French, and Dutch slave networks, and supplied their captives to the Spanish haciendas in Trinidad, the English plantations in Jamaica, and the Dutch colonies of Guianas and Ecuador; and still another slaving zone that ran through Sinaloa, New Mexico,

Slaveries  53

and Nuevo Leon supplied Amerindian slaves to the ranches, silver mines, and towns of northern Mexico as far south as Mexico City (Resendez 2016, 131–134). Treatment of the Amerindians To exploit seemingly inexhaustible labor force of the Amerindians for agricultural trade and mining exploration, the Spaniards adopted three major programs: the feudalistic institutions of Encomienda and Hacienda—­ primarily dedicated to agricultural production, and the Mita system—a forced labor-draft system primarily devoted to mining exploration— the principal source of the Spanish Empire’s colonial wealth from Latin America. The Encomienda It was Columbus who instituted the encomienda system in Spanish America.9 Adopted from the Spanish feudalist tradition, the system officially allowed Amerindians to retain their personal freedom but in reality turned them into de facto slaves of conquistadors to produce crops for Spanish trade and to support religious, military, and governmental institutions and officials (Simpson, 1950). Initially, it was applied differently in different parts of Spanish America, but in 1513, the Laws of Burgos attempted to standardize the system by mandating Amerindians to work nine months each year for the Spaniards and the rest of the year to tilt their own land. By the 1550s, the encomienda system was firmly in place throughout Spanish America, and by then the networks of vested interests—local government officials and conquistadors who made huge profits from the business of slave trade—had no incentive to implement the ban on Amerindian slavery imposed by the Crown. By the 1570s, 1.9 million Amerindian households—called tributaries—were registered with the Spanish authorities. Conquistadors collected tributes from them in the form of precious metals, such as gold and silver, foodstuff such as chicken and eggs, and crops such as maize and corn. As a typical Amerindian family consisted of four to five people, it can be inferred that around 8.5 million Amerindian laborers were available at the disposal of Spanish colonials in the 1570s. The encomienda system, which came to serve as the foundation of the Spanish colonial empire by permitting the most extensive appropriation of Amerindian labor, survived for more than 200 years, until its abolition in 1720 (Potts 1990, 17–20). The Hacienda The hacienda system has widely been depicted as the master institution of Spanish colonization of Latin America. The Spanish Crown began granting

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haciendas—large real estates—to conquistadors and other Spaniards, as early as in the 1520s. Most of the hacendados (owners of haciendas) were absentee landlords who managed their estates through hired management. Haciendas were ordinarily used for mines, factories, or plantations, but some of them combined all such activities. Ordinarily, the hacendados forced indigenous populations to work like slaves as in the plantations of the antebellum South. Although workers were paid wages, they were paid very poorly and kept in perpetual debt-bondage, which made it impossible for them to operate as wage-laborers (Gibson, 1969; Simpson, 1950). The Mita system Mining—explorations of gold and silver—had been the economic backbone of the Spanish America since the early 1500s when Spain and its colonies, mainly Peru and Mexico, produced as much as 70 percent of the world’s gold and silver. Initially, conquistadors depended on the encomienda system in mining too, but the system failed to keep up with the demand for mining labor. Then in the 1570s, the Spanish Crown introduced a new scheme called ‘Mita’ for drafting the Amerindians into the exploration of gold and silver by focusing mainly on naborios—free Amerindians—who were not slaves or repartimientos (agricultural workers). Naborios were wage-workers who also received board and lodging. Under the Mita system, workers were granted two weeks of rest after one week of work, and after one year in the mine, granted a break for seven years. The Mita system however was a gateway to death—only about 30 percent of workers deployed in the mines survived. La Casas, a member of Governor Obando’s entourage, believed that three million indigenous people died in the mines in its initial years (Resendez 2016, 37–39). The Mita scheme, however, survived more than 230 years until its abolition in 1812, and by then, it cost over eight million Amerindian lives (Potts 1990, 22–26). Mexico’s silver-boom—that lasted for about three centuries—provides a glaring example of how such a carnage took place. The silver-boom produced roughly 12 times as much metal as California’s Gold Rush (1848–1855). The work and hazard involved in silver exploration was way more daunting than exploring gold—while gold was laid in open-air deposits, silver needed to be extracted from deep underground, and some of the Mexican silver shafts were 250–635 yards deep. Moreover, while California’s Gold Rush lasted less than a decade and attracted thousands of people from across the world, colonial Mexico’s silver-­boom lasted several centuries depending entirely on local indigenous labor. As a result, the mining death toll was astounding—in 1518, Mexico had a population of around 25 million, but 90 percent of them were wiped out by 1605 as the population declined to 2.5 million (Resendez 2016, 101–104).

Slaveries  55 Table 3.1  E  stimates of Amerindian slaves in the Americas, 1492–1900 (in thousands) North America Mexico and Circum- South America Brazil (Excluding Central Caribbean (Excluding Mexico) America Brazil) 1492–1550 1551–1600 1601–1650 1651–1700 1701–1750 1751–1800 1801–1850 1851–1900 Total

  2–10   5–15   15–45   40–90   20–40   15–30   10–20   40–90 147–340

250–700 110–190   35–90   45–90   20–50   30–60   30–80   70–150 590–1,410

130–200   30–75   30–55   20–35   15–25   10–20   15–45   20–70 270–525

  40–80 165–270 190–350 185–355 145–260 100–145   40–90 100–180 965–1,730

  40–60 120–200   80–150   60–100   50–130   40–100   30–90   70–150 490–980

Totals

  462–1,050   430–750   350–690   350–670   250–505   195–355   125–325   300–640 2,462–4,985

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 4.2 of Dowlah (2020, 71) and Appendix 1 of Resendez (2016, 331–334).

Worse still, much of the Amerindian slavery was orchestrated in a clandestine manner—Spaniards continued enslaving indigenous population despite the Crown imposing a ban on it as early as in the 1540s. Given such clandestine nature of the slavery, it is difficult to establish the exact magnitude of Amerindian slavery. A recent study, based on extensive research, suggests that the number of Amerindian slaves between 1492 and 1900 ranged between 2.5 and 5 million throughout the Americas. The number of Amerindian slaves ranged between 147,000 and 340,000 in the US and Canada; between 590,000 and 1.4 million in Mexico and Central America; between 270,000 and 525,000 in the Caribbean; and between 1.45 and 2.7 million in South America (see Table 3.1). Decline and consequences By the early eighteenth century, the Spanish Empire—the sixteenth-century global superpower that in the east stretched across most of Europe to the Philippines and India, and in the west, spanned across most of the Americas— began to disintegrate with the onslaught of the Napoleonic invasion and the Spanish American War. By 1833, most of the Spanish territories in the Americas, including Mexico, Chile, and Colombia, gained their independence, and the Spanish Empire was reduced to some small islands such as Cuba and Puerto Rico.10 In 1898, following its defeat in the Spanish-American War, Spain conceded Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the US. But the decline of the Spanish Empire came after it had caused a catastrophic decline in the Amerindian population and enslaved millions of them. The Amerindian population declined from about 54 million in 1492 to 1.5 million at the end of Spanish colonization in 1852. Some studies describe such a propitious decline of the population as a ‘genocide’ (Churchill 1994), while others contend that the slaughter of the Amerindians had not risen to

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the level of genocide as the Spaniards had no plan or motive for systematic extermination of the population (Blackburn 1988, 5–31). The United Nations also declined to designate the slaughters of the Amerindians in the hands of Spaniards as a genocide.11 Genocide or not, it is, however, abundantly clear that three centuries of Spanish rule had resulted in almost complete annihilation of the Amerindian population. Studies also suggest that a mix of slavery, overwork, and famine killed more Amerindians than the so-called ‘virgin soil epidemic,’ and among all these human factors, slavery had been the most important killer.12 Slavery was not unknown to the Amerindians—they indeed enslaved members of their own or other tribes for centuries, but there is little dispute that the Spaniards enforced it brutally and did so at a much larger scale. They indeed commodified Amerindian slavery into the global economy and exploited it for colonial capital accumulation, and in the process, they decimated and depopulated large regions of Spanish America and enslaved and butchered countless Amerindians (Gallay 2009, 2).13 With the decline of the Spanish American Empire and the emergence of independent states in Latin America, slavery of the Amerindians also came to an end, but as the Amerindian slavery had no legal basis, it was never abolished.14

B  Servitude of Native Americans The exact number of indigenous population that had lived in the land that now constitutes the US at the time of Columbus’s arrival is still uncertain, but available estimates range between four and 15 million (Churchill 1997; Lewy 2004). The Amerindians who lived in the US territory, who are broadly described as ‘Native Americans’ since the 1960s, had also been subjected to servitude and enslavement, but their story is more complicated than their counterparts in Spanish America. To begin with, while their southern counterparts came under the yokes of Spanish conquistadors in the fifteenth century, they came under the fetters of other European masters—the British, the French, and the Dutch—two centuries later, in the seventeenth century.15 Evolution and magnitude European settlers in the British America initially treated Native Americans more fairly compared with their Spaniard counterparts. In both Virginia and Massachusetts, where non-Spanish European settlers established their first colonies in the early seventeenth century, did so with the help of Native Americans. Apparently, the settlers initially professed their antipathy toward slavery—they not only denounced their colonial competitor Spaniards for enslaving and exterminating indigenous populations but also viewed Native Americans as their natural allies against the Spaniards. Native American tribes, in their turn, often sold captives of other tribes to augment their own political and economic power relative to other tribes,

Slaveries  57

and to obtain European goods, such as weapons (rif les and pistols), clothes (needles and scissors), Caribbean rum, and European jewelry. They also cooperated with European settlers to secure alliances and defending themselves against the danger of their own enslavement. As a result, European settlers were able to employ numerous Native Americans for various trades and crafts, as soldiers, slave-raiders, hunters, domestic servants, and guides as well as for plantation of crops, such as tobacco, rice, and indigo (Gallay 2009, 22). But recent studies suggest that English settlers began capturing and enslaving American Indians since the beginning of their settlement, as they needed interpreters and guides for their expeditions (Newell, 2009). Also, the initial rapport with Native Americans began to unravel when English settlers, facing rapidly growing demand for labor for their export commodities, especially in the southern states of Carolinas and Georgia, began to exploit Native Americans as captive laborers and slaves. The rift led to a bloody uprising in the Powhatan Confederacy as early as in 1622 when approximately a quarter of the English population of the Virginia colony was killed. In the New England colonies,16 where both the colonists and the British Crown acknowledged native inhabitants as British subjects with collective rights in land, enslavement of the Native Americans entered a new phase in the 1630s, especially with the Pequot War (1636–1637), when settlers of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay killed between 400 and 700 Pequots, captured and enslaved thousands more, and sold out many of them on the coast of Nicaragua. Following the brutal wars of the 1640s through the 1660s, European settlers adopted a series of legal measures to subjugate and enslave Native Americans. In 1641, Massachusetts became the first British American colony to legalize slavery by allowing bondage of several hundred Pequot captives along with many African slaves. Colonial courts also occasionally condemned Native Americans to perpetual slavery for infractions such as sheltering fellow Native Americans, robbery, debt, theft, assault, and drunkenness (Newell 2009). Similar precedents were set by other original British American colonies as well. A Connecticut Court in 1650, for example, ordered seizure and shipping out of Native Americans who committed crime against English settlers; Rhode Island in 1659 decreed that Native Americans convicted of theft or property damage could be sold as slaves to other British colonies; Connecticut in 1660 ordered deportation of Native Americans to Barbados for committing robbery; in 1682, Virginia declared Native Americans, Mulattos (mix of white and black races), and blacks as real estate; and the same year, New York forbade black or Native American slaves from leaving their master’s home or plantation without permission (Marissa 2016). Most importantly, all original British American colonies had legalized slavery of Amerindians by 1661. As slavery of Native Americans became commonplace in the colonies, in the mid-1670s came the King Philip’s War which cost the lives of 2,500 colonists as well as 11,000 Native Americans. The war also led to the enslavement of thousands of Native Americans. In

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many colonies, including Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, many enslaved Native Americans were sold out in public auctions, while many others were exported to distant lands, such as Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Azores, Spain, and Tangier in North Africa (Fisher 2014). Like their counterparts in Latin America, numerous Native Americans also suffered from European diseases and inhumane treatment, and many died while in captivity. European settlers drew a rigid line between insiders, “people like themselves who could never be enslaved,” and nonwhite outsiders, “mostly Africans and Native Americans who could be enslaved” (Fessenden 2016). To the settlers, enslavement of defeated Native Americans was a lesser punishment than death, while to the Native Americans not being killed in raids meant lifelong misery as slaves (Gallay 2009, 2). British American colonists however asserted their sovereignty over Native Americans gradually. The exact number of the Native Americans who were enslaved is still unknown but studies suggest that between 1670 and 1715, around 24,000–51,000 Native Americans were captured directly by the British or by the Native Americans themselves for sale to the British settlers as slaves, and most of these enslavements occurred in the southern states with Florida having the largest concentration (see Table 3.2). Native American slaves were employed in various trades and crafts—they served as soldiers, police, slave-raiders, hunters, domestic servants, fishermen, and stock herders. Many of them were deployed in plantations for export crops, such as tobacco, rice, and indigo; many guided settlers through the wilderness and deserts; and many served as interpreters. At a later stage, when women exceeded men among the Native Americans, many Native American women were also used as prostitutes, concubines, and wives (Fessenden 2016). Native Americans were also a big part of the British American colonial system. Evidently, English settlers ran a highly organized Native American slave trade serving labor markets in New England as well as distant places as Table 3.2  Native American slaves sold in the southern British American colonies, 1670–1715 Place/Peoples

Low Range

High Range

Florida Arkansas, Taensa, and Tunica Petite Nations (Lower Mississippi Valley) Choctaw Tuscarora and allies Westo Subtotal Piedmond, Crek, Savannah, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Motcama, Guale and others Total

15,000–20,000   1,000   1,000   1,500–2,000   1,000–1,200    500 20,000–28,200

30,000   2,000   2,000–3000   2,500   1,800 –2000   1,500 41,000

  4,000 10,000 24,000–32,200 51,000

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 4.3 in Dowlah (2020, 72) and Table 2 of Gallay (2002, 299).

Slaveries  59

Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, Providence Island, and other British and Spanish plantations. Records suggest that between 1670 and 1720, more Native American slaves were shipped out of Charleston—the main port for importing of black slaves in the US—than black slaves imported. Apparently, both English and French setters found exporting of the Native Americans more profitable than trading blacks (Gallay 2002, 312).17 Such trades also played a major role in the competition among colonial powers for control of the North American continent as Native American tribes frequently exchanged their own captives during warfare between the French and English traders (Kiley 2017). Facing the prospects of being sent to the Caribbean plantations and enduring extremely harsh treatment in distant places for life, many Native Americans fought until their death, while many others surrendered. Studies suggest that as many as 40 percent of those who surrendered ended up in involuntary servitude or slavery in English households in New England, while in Massachusetts, they were forcibly resettled into designated enclaves where they were granted rights to land and protection from enslavement. Still by the mid-eighteenth century, captive Native American workers could be found throughout the region. The Rhode Island Census of 1774, for example, found that 35 percent of all Native Americans lived there as indentured servants with white families (Newell 2009).18 Decline and consequences As the discussion above indicates, all 13 original colonies of British America had legalized enslavement of Native Americans, and they all had extensively used Native American slaves in a variety of activities. But given the combative relationship with Native Americans, with the increasing importation of African black slaves since the early seventeenth century, slavery as well as slave trade of Native Americans came to an end by 1750. European settlers wanted to depend on black slaves for cheap labor rather than stubbornly resisting Native Americans. Also, blacks were believed to be physically better fit for plantations. The end of Native American slavery, servitude, and slave trade however did not bring an end to their long-standing hostile relationship with European colonists. The hostility of European settlers towards Native Americans f lared up again during the American Revolution as they sided with the British.19After the American Revolution, all surviving Native American tribes of the southeastern US—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole—­were declared ‘Civilized Tribes,’ and removed to federally protected ‘reservations’ in the ‘Indian Territory’ in Oklahoma.20 Although the original US Constitution recognizes the ‘reservations’ as homes of ‘independent sovereign nations’ of Native Americans, the issue of birthright citizenship of Native Americans was not settled until 1924.

60  The world of slaveries

While counting non-Native American slaves as three-fifths of a person, the American Constitution rather declared that American Indians could not be counted as the voting population of the US as they were not taxed. Then during the Civil War of 1860s, the Civilized Tribes of Native Americans sided with the Confederacy when each of the five Civilized Tribes entered into separate treaties with the Confederacy to secure admission to the Confederate States of America as a separate ‘Indian state.’21 While some Native Americans also fought for the Union, many joined the Confederate Army. Even the last Confederate general to surrender troops to the Union was a Cherokee named Standhope Watie, who commanded an all-Indian brigade. Due to Native Americans’ hostility to the Union, the Emancipation Proclamation that President Abraham Lincoln signed in 1861 also did not apply to the Native Indians. The proclamation was specifically limited to “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State,” and as ‘Indian Territory’ was not a ‘state,’ it did not apply to them. Even the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, passed in 1865, was not applicable to the Civilized Tribes, as it was applicable only to individuals “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” In 1866 however the US addressed the issue of slavery in Indian Territory by entering into new treaties with each of the Civilized Tribes, when the tribes pledged not to recognize slavery as a legal institution in their tribes. But then the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, declared all persons born or naturalized in the US as American citizens with equal protection and due process under the law, but excluded Native Americans from such citizenship rights. Finally, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the Indian Citizenship Act, 1924, which marked the end of a long debate and struggle over full birthright citizenship of Native Americans.22 At the time, 125,000 of an estimated population of 300,000 Native Americans were non-US citizens. The Act, however, didn’t guarantee full protection of voting rights to Native Americans. As late as 1948, the states of Arizona and New Mexico had laws that barred Native Americans from voting rights, and such barriers continued until the passage of the Civil Rights Act, 1965. The US, however, never acknowledged the extermination of the Native Americans as a genocide, although in 2009, President Barak Obama officially apologized to Native Americans for “violence, maltreatment, and neglect” inf licted upon them by the US, but did so without admitting any liability.23

C  Concluding remarks That millions of Amerindians—indigenous peoples throughout the Americas—­ were forced into slavery and involuntary servitude for several centuries, and that such coerced labor provided foundation for expansion of European colonialism, industrialization, and economic growth can hardly be disputed. The theory that the indigenous populations succumbed en masse to the so-called

Slaveries  61

‘virgin soil pandemic’ is increasingly being questioned, and it is also increasingly being recognized that the extermination of the indigenous population may have been one of the most brutal massacres in the world history. In many ways the experiments on coerced labor that the Spaniards carried on the Amerindians had served as a preliminary stage in the development of the Transatlantic Slave Trade that later resulted in the enslavement of millions of black Africans during the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The slavery and servitude of the Amerindians was however more catastrophic than African slavery—after all, they experienced a cataclysmic decline in their populations on top of ruthless exploitation. In the land that now constitutes the US, British settlers imposed sovereignty over Native Americans immediately after their arrival. Indigenous population however fiercely resisted such subjugation and enslavement. The relationship remained bitter for a long time, and the US finally awarded birthright American citizenship to Native Americans only in 1924.

Notes 1 Columbus’s discovery of America in fact shattered all previous notions of world geography and opened the possibility that there might be other undiscovered landmasses and continents around the world. Such beliefs subsequently led Dutch navigator Abel Tasman to land in Tasmania (Australia) and the south-island of New Zealand in 1642 and landing of Captain Cook in Australia between 1772 and 1775 (Pagden, 2003). 2 The Portuguese mariner Vasco De Gama—who has been credited for intercontinental voyage in the Atlantic Ocean and creating new sea lanes and discovery of unoccupied Atlantic islands—established the first Portuguese colony in 1497 which eventually turned out into a mighty Portuguese Empire by the seventeenth century extending all the way from West Africa to India and southern China (Manning 1990, 114). 3 Columbus described the people in the newly found land as ‘Indians’ as he thought he had landed in India. He was also unaware of the fact that he discovered a New World and added two more continents to the existing maritime connections between Europe and Africa. Recent genetic analysis shows that the Amerindian populations that Columbus met originated from their East Asian ancestors between 25,000 and 36,000 years ago, and most researchers agree that they arrived in the Americas through Beringia—the area encompassing parts of present-day East Asia and North America, connected by what is known as the Bering Land Bridge (Moreno-Mayar et al., 2018). 4 The Spanish Empire in the Americas encompassed most of the Caribbean Islands, most of Central America, half of South America, and much of North America— Mexico, and the southwestern and Pacific coastal regions of the United States— current states of Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. 5 The population composition was as follows: 25.7 million in Mexico, 14.6 million in Peru, 9.8 million in Bolivia, six million in Guatemala, 4.5 million in Ecuador, four million in the United States, 2.1 million in Canada, and two million in Chile. For greater details, see Mann (2005), Stannard (1993), Haines and Steckel (2000), and http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/ Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas.

62  The world of slaveries 6 Columbus was conferred the title of Viceroy and Admiral of the Ocean Sea and the Indies. While appointing him governor, Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella asked him to “strive and endeavor to win over the inhabitants” of the islands that he might discover, and the Christian Church asked him to treat them “lovingly and abstain from doing them any injury,” and insisted that if members of his f leet mistreated them, they should be punished severely (Bergreen 2011, 120–124). 7 Columbus pleaded to the Spanish Crown that “Indian slaves could provide cheaper labor for Europe and compensate for the financial expenditure required on overseas expeditions,” and described Amerindians as people with “good intelligence,” who could be “worth more than three black slaves from Guinea in strength and ingenuity” (Potts 1990, 9–12). After the Spanish rulers disapproved Columbus’s slavery plans, with the exception of an old man and a little girl who chose to stay back, all others returned to the Caribbean (Resendez 2016, 24–28). 8 Most Amerindian slaves were women and children, whom conquistadors found less threatening than male Amerindians. They also used many Amerindian women and girls as chambermaids and forced some of them to marry Spaniards. Churches and the Spanish Crown often encouraged such marriages, especially marriage to sisters and daughters of Caziques. As succession in the Native Indian society passed through the women, such marriages were found convenient to acquire land and labor. By the end of the colonial era, as many as 30 percent of South American population were of mixed race called Mestizos (Potts 1990, 24–30). 9 The new scheme Mita alone succeeded in reducing the Taino population—the indigenous Arawak populations of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas— from about eight to about three million by 1496, and to about 100,000 by 1500 (Churchill, 1994). 10 By then, Dutch colonials controlled Surinam, Curacao, and Bonaire; French controlled Martinique, Haiti, Guadeloupe, and French Guinea; and the UK controlled Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Trinidad, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. 11 The UN designates genocide as an act of deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group, and based on such a legal definition concluded that the evidence of the slaughters of the Amerindians in the hands of the Spanish Crown did not constitute such a deliberate and systematic effort. For greater details, see Rosenbaum (1996) and Rubenstein (2004). 12 Even Spanish King Ferdinand also believed that conquistadors “had forced the Indians to carry excessive loads until they broke down themselves” (Crosby 1972, 289). 13 There are however some scholars who concede that while some conducts of the Spaniards were cruel and unjust, the Spaniards were actually harbingers of civilization in backward Latin America. They also tend to blame those who exaggerate the accounts of Spanish misdeeds and underestimate the improvements that Spaniards had made in material and spiritual state of the Amerindians. For greater details, see Prescott (1843), Bolton (1928), Hanke (1949), and Morgan (1877). 14 Mexico, which had the largest concentration of Amerindians, granted full citizenship to the Amerindians as far back in 1829. 15 The first non-Spanish European colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. The Pilgrims, the founders of Plymouth, Massachusetts, arrived in 1620. These two colonies—Virginia and Massachusetts—were the first colonies in the land that now constitutes the US. 16 The New England colonies are comprised of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Providence, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. 17 Native American sellers charged different prices when they sold slaves to French or English colonists. In 1708, English colonists paid 15–16 trade muskets per

Slaveries  63

18 19 2 0

21 22

2 3

slave—about £10–£11 sterling. In 1714, French governor offered between 100 and 150 livers—about £6–£10 sterling. Thus, the cost of a Native American slave ranged between £5 and £10 sterling, while the colonists sold those slaves to other colonies at a much higher price making hefty profits (Gallay 2002, 312). By 1736, granting of lawful contracts for indentured servitude in the British American colonies was restricted only to Caucasians. Native American also sided with the British during the British-American War of 1812, which has often been described as the Second American War of Independence. Currently, 576 Native American tribes live in 326 Reservations, most of them are located to the west of the Mississippi River. While some tribes live in more than one Reservations, some share the same Reservation with others. Geographic areas of all Reservations spread over 87,800 square miles (227,000 km)—while most of them are small, 12 of them are larger than the state of Rhode Island, and the largest one—the Navajo National Reservation—is equal to the size of West Virginia. The Confederacy also entered into treaties with some other Native American tribes such as the Comanches, Delawares, Osage, Quapaws, Senecas, Shawnees, and Wichitas. The Indian Citizenship Act reads: “All noncitizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided that the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.” Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/ on-this-day-in-1924-all-indians-made-united-states-citizens. In 2019, California acknowledged the slaughtering of an estimated 16,000 Native Americans in the hands of state and local militias in Los Angeles during the 1840s through the 1870s. California governor Gavin Newsom described the massacre as a ‘genocide’ as there was ‘no other way to describe it.’ Retrieved from https://www.history.com/news/native-american-genocide-california-apology.

References Batstone, D. (2010). Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It. New York: HarperCollins. Bergreen, L. (2011). Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492–1504. New York: Penguin Books. Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso. Bolton, H. (1928). History of the Americas. Boston (MA): Ginn and Company. Churchill, W. (1994). Indians Are Us. Culture and Genocide in Native North America. Monroe (ME): Common Courage Press. Churchill, W. (1997). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the ­Americas—1492 to the Present. San Francisco (CA): City Lights Books. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. ­Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Denevan, W. (Ed.). (1992). The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Fessenden, M. (2016). Colonial America Depended on the Enslavement of Indigenous People: The Role of Enslaving Native Americans in Early American History Is Often Overlooked. Smithsonian.com.

64  The world of slaveries Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Gallay, A. (2002). The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. Gallay, A. (Ed.). (2009). Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Gellately, R., and Kiernan, B. (Eds.). (2003). Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. Gibson, C. (1969). Encomienda and hacienda: The evolution of the great estate in the Spanish Indies. Hispanic American Historical Review, 49(3): 426–429. Haines, M., and Steckel, R. (2000). A Population History of North America. New York: Cambridge University Press. Hanke, L. 1949/2015. The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America. University Park (TX): Southern Methodist University Press. Kiley, G. (2017). Colonial enslavement of Native Americans included those who surrendered, too. Available at: https://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/02/enslavement. Lewy, G. (2004). Were American Indians the victims of genocide? Available at: http://hnn.us/articles/7302.html. Mann, C. (2005). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf. Manning, P. (1990). Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades. New York: Cambridge University Press. Manning, P. (2005). Migration in World History. New York: Routledge. Moreno-Mayar et al. (2018). Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan reveals first founding population of Native Americans. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature25173. Accessed on January 3, 2019. Morgan, L. (1877/2004). The Ancient Society. Available at: https://www.marxists.org/ reference/archive/morgan-lewis/ancient-society/index.htm Newell, M. (2009). Indian slavery. In A. Gallay (ed.), Indian Slavery in Colonial America (pp. 33–66). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Pagden, A. (2003). Peoples and Empires. New York: Modern Library. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London: Zed Books. Prescott, W. (1843/2001). History of the Conquest of Mexico. New York: Penguin Classics. Resendez, A. (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. Boston (MA) and New York: Mariner Books. Rosenbaum, A. (Ed.). 1996. Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide. Boulder (CO): Westview Press. Rubenstein, W. (2004). Genocide: A History. New York: Pearson Longman. Sherman, W. (1971). Indian slavery and the Cerrato reforms. Hispanic American Historical Review, 51(1): 25–50. Simpson, B. (1950). The Encomienda in New Spain: The Beginning of New Spanish ­Mexico. Los Angeles: University of California Press. Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press. Taylor, A. (2002). American Colonies: Volume 1 of the Penguin History of the United States. New York: Viking. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave.

4 African slavery in the New World

By the late fifteenth century, the European colonial powers shifted their attention to the African continent for drawing cheap captive labor. Such a seismic shift that required transoceanic transportation of labor from thousands of miles away was caused by a precipitous decline in the reservoir of Amerindian populations, a waning f low of white indentured servants from the European continent, a rapidly growing scale and output of profitable plantations in the New World, and the belief that African slaves would be more suitable for enduring the rigors of tropical climate than their European and Amerindian counterparts. The resultant Transatlantic Slave Trade involved four continents—Europe, Africa, and North and South America and lasted more than 300 years when approximately 12.5 million black slaves were shipped to the New World under one of the most well-organized and gruesome slavery systems in the history of humankind. The scale and magnitude of slavery required not only coordination of numerous populations, governments, and businesses across four continents, but also involved dreadfully arduous and risky transoceanic navigations of millions of slaves thousands of nautical miles away. About 90 percent of the slaves, exclusively drawn from the African continent, were deployed in highly profitable plantations in the New World where a great majority of them were treated extremely inhumanely. It was a well-orchestrated transcontinental economic operation under which international investments were directed to exploit coerced low-cost labor to produce highly demanded goods for transatlantic market involving extremely complex business transactions that linked numerous seamen, bankers, merchants, investors, credit exchanges, insurance facilities, and governmental agencies across many countries (Davis 2006, 87; Eltis 1987, 51). Given the enormousness of African slavery, it is hardly surprising that it has also been a widely researched subject around the world—literally thousands of books and papers have been written on the subject, and even African slaves themselves have penned some of the classic works.1 Unlike other slaveries, African slavery has also been surveyed by multiple disciplines ranging from literature to history to politics, from anthropology to sociology to psychology, and from economics to philosophy to law. More studies are constantly DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-4

66  The world of slaveries

pouring in as the world remains fixated on the issue due mainly to the way the descendants of African slaves are being treated in the United States.2 It is thus a daunting task to sketch an objective narrative of this most important episode of slave-labor in the world. The chapter is organized as follows: the next section reviews the evolution and magnitude of Transatlantic Slave Trade; Section three examines the treatment of African slaves in the US; Section four examines the politics and economics of the abolition of slavery; Section five explores the consequences of the abolition of slavery; and Section six concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and magnitude Africa has been a source of slave-labor since ancient times. The trans-­ Saharan slave route that f lourished since 650 AD had alone supplied an estimated 6.8 million African slaves to North African and Mediterranean states over the course of ten centuries (Patterson 1982, 151–152). It was however the Portuguese traders who first opened the gateway to the African slave market to the New World by establishing regular contacts between European slave ships with Sub-Saharan African slave routes along the coasts of West Africa.3 The new trading system that eventually transformed into what is known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade shuttered all slave systems that prevailed in the past along the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, medieval Europe, and the trans-Saharan terrains.4 The earliest groups of African slaves that landed in the New World however came from the Iberian Peninsula, where they were delivered by the Mediterranean slave route, and the earliest group of black Africans directly shipped from Africa came from the Senegambia coast, from the traders involved in trans-­ Saharan trade. In the end however the Transatlantic Slave Trade spread far beyond as these slave-trading routes failed to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for slave-labor in the New World. At the outset, Portuguese traders transported African slaves only to their own colony of Brazil from their fortified bases along the west coast of Africa—along today’s Mozambique and Madagascar. But the slave trade began to grow exponentially after the Spanish Crown granted them license to export African slaves to the labor-intensive plantations of sugar, cotton, and tobacco across the Caribbean islands and the Americas. Soon other European colonial powers—the British, the France, the Dutch, the Danes, and the Swedes—also joined the slave trade with their own shipping infrastructures while the respective imperial powers granted slave traders property rights to lands and mines, and facilitated trade and commerce of slave-produced goods across the oceans and continents. Such operations soon led to the development of a massive multinational financial infrastructure. International investments began to pour in search of low-cost labor from the

African slavery in the New World  67

NUMBERS OF SLAVES IMPORTED

African continent; and complex business operations involving bankers, merchants, investors, credit, and insurance facilities across many countries and continents began to pop up for procurement and transportation of slaves to plantations as well as production and exports of plantation products around the world.5 The Transatlantic Slave Trade resulted in one of the largest transcontinental migrations in the world history as well. Between 1501 and 1866, a total of 12.5 million African slaves embarked for the New World, of which 10.7 million disembarked and 1.8 million (14.5 percent) lost their lives while crossing the ocean(see Table 4.1 and Figure 4.1). Most of the slaves disembarked in the British and French colonies in the Caribbean (51 percent), followed by the Portuguese colony of Brazil (36 percent), the Spanish colonies in the Americas (six percent), and the mainland America (four percent) (see Figure 4.2).6 By the mid-eighteenth century, England emerged as the largest slave-­ trading country in the world with a 41 percent share in Transatlantic Slave Trade, while Portugal still controlled about 29 percent share, France had a share of about 20 percent, and the Dutch had less than six percent share. In terms of the entire business of Transatlantic Slave Trade however the Portuguese had a commanding share of 47 percent, followed by the British (26 percent), the French (11 percent), the Spanish (eight percent), the Dutch (four percent), while mainland America had just about two percent share (see Figure 4.3). The Transatlantic Slave Trade also involved a highly profitable triangular shipping trade. Usually, British ships departed from Liverpool or Bristol carrying highly profitable goods demanded in West Africa—such as firearms, alcohol, cotton goods, metal trinkets, and beads, and then in the ports along the African coasts, they sold those goods in exchange of slaves. The vessels then packed slaves in appalling conditions—in most cases slaves were 25,00,000 20,00,000 15,00,000 10,00,000 5,00,000 -

25-YEARS INTERVAL

Figure 4.1  Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1501–1875. Source: Based on Emory University Database.

Spain/ Uruguay

    6,363    25,375    28,167    60,056    83,496    44,313    12,601    5,860 – –    4,239    6,415   168,087   400,728   215,824 1,061,524     8.5%

Period

1501–1525 1526–1550 1551–1575 1576–1600 1601–1625 1626–1650 1651–1675 1676–1700 1701–1725 1726–1750 1751–1775 1776–1800 1801–1825 1826–1850 1851–1875 Totals Share in the total

    7,000    25,387    31,089    90,715   267,519   201,609   244,793   297,272   474,447   536,696   528,693   673,167 1,160,601 1,299,969     9,309 5,848,266    46.7%

Portugal/ Brazil – –     1,685      237 –    33,695   122,367   272,200   410,597   554,042   832,047   748,612   283,959 – – 3,259,441    26.0%

– – –   1,365   1,829   31,729 100,526   85,847   73,816   83,095 132,330   40,773   2,669     357 – 554,336    4.4%

Great Britain Netherlands

Table 4.1  Shares of colonial powers in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1501–1875

– – – – –     824 –   3,327   3,277   34,004 84,580   67,443  109,545   1,850      476 305,326    2.4%

– –       66 – –     1,827     7,125    29,484   120,939   259,095   325,918   433,061   135,815    68,074 – 1,381,404    11.0%

United States France – – – – –   1,053     653   25,685   5,833   4,793   17,508   39,199   16,316 – – 111,040    0.9%

Denmark/ Baltic

    13,363     50,762      61,007    152,373    352,844     315,050    488,065     719,675   1,088,909  1,471,725   1,925,315  2,008,670   1,876,992   1,770,978    225,609 12,521,337    100.0%

Totals

68  The world of slaveries

African slavery in the New World  69 Mainland North America 4%

Other 2%

Africa 2%

Europe 0% Brazil 36%

Caribbean… Spanish Mainland Americas 6%

Figure 4.2  Major regions of disembarkation of African slaves in the new world, 1501–1875. England

Portugal

France

British North America/USA 3%

Holland

British North America/USA

Denmark

Denmark 1%

Holland 6% France 19%

England 42%

Portugal 29%

Figure 4.3  Share of European colonial powers in Transatlantic Slave Trade by the mid-eighteenth century. Source: Author’s compilation based on Eltis (1987, 50).

crammed below decks, shackled and badly fed, and navigated across the Atlantic.7 After disposing terrified and wacked slaves along the Atlantic coasts, the shippers then picked up valuable products of the West Indies, such as sugar, rum, molasses, and tobacco, and then sailed back to England where wealthy consumers eagerly awaited such slave-made products (Eltis 1987, 51–52).

70  The world of slaveries Table 4.2  E  stimated slave population in the New World, 1770 Number of Slaves Total Population Percentage of Total Population (%) British America British North America British Caribbean Portuguese America (Brazil) French America (Caribbean) Spanish America Spanish Caribbean Spanish Mainland Dutch Caribbean Danish Caribbean

878,000 450,000 428,000 700,000 379,000 290,000   50,000 240,000   75,000   18,000

  2,600,000   2,100,000    500,000   2,000,000    430,000 12,144,000    144,000 12,000,000     90,000     25,000

34 21 86 35 88  2 35  2 83 72

Source: Blackburn (1988, 5).

Massive shipment of African slaves for several hundred years had profoundly changed the demographics of the New World. By 1770, immediately before the American Revolution, 34 percent of the total population in British America were blacks, and their share was 35 percent in Portuguese Brazil (see Table 4.2). But nowhere was the concentration of blacks more spectacular than in the Caribbean islands, which were extensively used by all European colonists for highly profitable plantations. By the late eighteenth century, 86 percent of the British Caribbean population were black—the share was 88 percent in the French Caribbean, 83 percent in the Dutch Caribbean, 72 ­percent in the Danish Caribbean, and 35 percent in the Spanish Caribbean.

B  African slavery in the United States The British colonies that now constitute the US had comparatively small share of African slaves compared to other regions in the New World. While earlier estimates showed that between four and five percent of all African slaves imported to the Americas landed in the US, recent estimates put the share at around 2.4 percent (see Table 4.1). The colonies had such a small share because they deployed slaves mainly in sugar plantations, which employed 60 to 70 percent of all African slaves imported to the country. African slaves thus played a smaller role in the British American colonies compared with other slave-importing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Over 75 percent of African slaves were imported to the US during 1451–1810, while large-scale sugar plantation began in Louisiana in 1795, and cotton plantation was still in its infancy when international slave trade was banned in 1807. Throughout the eighteenth century, the British American colonies had three principal plantation crops—tobacco, rice, and indigo—and together they employed over 50 percent of all slaves, and the rest were employed in general farming, domestic services, and related crafts (Fogel 1989, 29–31).

African slavery in the New World   71

Evolution Imports of African slaves into the British American colonies began in 1619 with a Dutch ship delivering a shipment of 20 slaves to Jamestown—the first English settlement in the New World. This small shipment, however, opened the f loodgates for the colonists to import cheap African labor and cut back their hitherto dependence on more expensive white indentured servants and less reliable Native Americans. By the 1720s, slave imports into the colonies peaked up, and the trend continued in full swing during the next 100 years, up to the 1820s, and then slid down to near zero in the 1850s (see Figure 4.4). It was the independent US, not the British American colonies, which imported most of the African slaves as almost 60 percent of them were imported after the American Revolution.8 The southern colonies—Virginia, South and North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana—were the prime destinations of slaves. Slavery had never been widespread in the North, although many northern businessmen were involved in slave trade and had invested in southern plantations. In the mid-1770s, at the time of the American Revolution, approximately 35 percent of North Carolina’s population and 67 percent of South Carolina’s were blacks, while in the Chesapeake colonies—Maryland and Virginia—the share ranged between 35 and 39 percent; in the Middle ­Colonies—New York and New Jersey—the share of blacks ranged between nine and 12 percent; and in Pennsylvania and Delaware, their share ranged between three and seven percent (see Table 4.3). By the 1770s, blacks comprised around 20 percent of the US population, while their share was more than 85 percent in the British Caribbean. But by 1825, the US had the largest share of slaves in its population than any other country in the New World. Much of this growth that elevated the US as the leading employer of slave-labor in the New World however came from 1875 84,580

1,09,545 67,443

34,004

3,327

3,277

1676-1700

1701-1725

1,850

1726-1750

1751-1775

1776-1800

1801-1825

1826-1850

Figure 4.4  Number of African slaves imported to the United States, 1626–1875. Source: Adopted from the Emory University Slavery Database.

72  The world of slaveries Table 4.3  Proportion of Black population in British American colonies, 1700–1770 (in %) Years New New York and Pennsylvania Maryland North South Georgia England New Jersey and Delaware and Virginia Carolina Carolina 1700 1710 1720 1730 1740 1750 1760 1770

2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3

 9 10 12 12 12 11 11 10

3 7 7 3 3 3 3 3

22 26 25 23 28 39 38 39

 4  6 14 20 21 27 30 35

43 38 70 67 67 61 61 61

 0  0  0  0  0 19 37 45

Source: Author’s compilation based on Tables 8.1 and 8.2 of Galenson (1981) and Table 5.5 of Dowlah (2020, 96). Notes: 0 under the column Georgia stands for no data available.

the growth of Creoles—descendants of African slaves—who made up the majority of the slave population in the country as early as in the 1740s (Galenson 1981, 143). The proportion of slave population in the Caribbean, on the other hand, declined mainly because of a decrease in their natural rate of growth, tropical weather, and hazardous working conditions (Patterson 1982, 160–161). Treatment of African slaves American slavery was a chattel slavery—slaves were personal property of the owners, who could be bought and sold as a commodity, and they had no right to withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement. Slave masters owned the slave’s labor and output, and his/her descendants became slaves at birth. As personal property, slaves could be treated inhumanly, although killing was not permitted. Except in the early colonial era, when colonists depended on white indentured servants and Native Americans, slavery remained the principal source of unskilled labor throughout British colonies well into the nineteenth century, although the dependence on import of slaves diminished gradually due to rise in the Creole population. The US had mainly three types of slave plantations: small plantations that employed 1–15 slaves, intermediate plantations that employed 16–50 slaves, and large plantations that employed 51 or more slaves. Before the emergence of large-scale plantations for profitable commercial crops such as tobacco, sugar, and cotton by the mid-through late seventeenth century, most of the slaves lived and worked in small family farms. Even in 1725, the median slave plantation in the Chesapeake colonies had about ten slaves (Blackburn 1988, 21–22). Slaves and their families usually lived with their white masters, went to the same church, and even ate the same food. But with the emergence of

African slavery in the New World  73

large-scale plantations in the American south and with the transition from tobacco to sugar,9 traditional farming was replaced with large gang of slaves, working in lock-step, and moving methodically across vast fields (Fogel 1989, 22–51). Large-scale plantations, geared to competitively priced exports, also changed traditional slave-master relationships. Studies suggest that African slaves were treated harshly—their education and marriage were prohibited, movements were restricted, and conduct and behavior were subject to reward and punishment, and some slave-masters took sexual liberties with slave women. Some even argued that slavery in the US was so uniquely severe and oppressive that it could be compared with the Nazi concentration camps (Elkins 1959, 207). Patterson (1982, 9–10) also argued that commodification and dehumanization of slavery brought social death and natal alienation— perpetual and inheritable bondage—to slaves. Some however pushed back such stark analogies by pointing out that concentration camps were organized to exterminate people, while plantations were rather places where slaves were used to produce staples for sales on world markets. Genovese (1974, 189), for example, argued that although the balance of power between slaves and slave-masters varied greatly from plantation to plantation, American slave-masters were generally careful about the extent to which they could exercise cruelty without endangering utilization of slaves for profitable production of staples, and they usually accommodated slave demands for the sake of increasing plantation outputs. Slave rebellions Although the US emerged as a large-scale slave-holding society by the early nineteenth century, unlike its counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean, there was no slave revolt in the country between 1831 and 1865, not even in the slave-dependent Chesapeake colonies during 1619–1775 (Davis 2006, 205).10 Such a consistent lack of resistance to slavery prompted some to dismiss African slaves as exceptionally docile and servile race who were incapable of revolt.11 One observer described slaves as “a black servile race, sensuous, stupid, brutish, [and] obedient to the whip, children in imagination”12; another cited numerous examples of inherent laziness, docility, and incompetence of blacks (Phillips, 1918); and still another found nothing admirable either in the personal character of African slaves or in the quality of their labor (Rhodes, 1928). Throughout the eighteenth century and much of the nineteenth century, a ‘white consensus’ that prevailed in America held that absence of any major revolts of black slaves showed that they were contented with their lot and cowardly by nature (Davis 2006, 206). Even Frederick Douglas (1817–1895)—a slave-turned anti-slavery advocate—famously attributed the lack of slave revolt in America to the constitutional commitment to protect slavery and the hopelessness of a contest between “seventeen millions of armed, disciplined

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and intelligent people, against three million of unarmed and uninformed,” and argued that slave rebellions were “almost always suicidal” (cited in Blassingame 1977, 171–172). But since the early 1940s, some studies, primarily spearheaded by black scholars and observers, adopted a revisionist approach suggesting that instead of accepting slavery as a fait accompli, African blacks had actually mounted numerous uprisings and incursions, especially in the American South. Aptheker (1943), for example, has documented 250 of such slave rebellions during 1526–1860 to argue that some ‘militant-concerted slave action’ had even succeeded in instilling acute fear among slave-masters as well as the entire ruling class.13 Most of the slave uprisings enumerated by Aptheker were however small in scope, occurred outside the plantations, led by privileged slaves, and were easily suppressed. Some of these rebellions that earned historical significance are elaborated in Box 4.1. Subsequent studies however acknowledge that African slaves largely refrained themselves from large-scale rebellions. Stampp (1956) and Herskovits (1958), for example, have argued that considering odds of success too overwhelming, slaves rather concentrated on mounting day-to-day resistance by running away from plantations and engaging in a series of sabotaging acts, such as shirking, destruction of tools, stealing, spoiling of crops, and slowdowns. Genovese (1974) has also argued that slave resistance was more geared at amelioration of conditions for slaves and their families, and rather than aiming to overthrow the master class, they attempted to modify harsh aspects of the system and derive concessions from their masters.

Box 4.1 Major slave rebellions in the United States prior to the abolition of slavery Stono Rebellion (1739): Some accounts suggest that the revolt initially involved about 20 slaves who broke into a store by the Stono River (in Florida), seized arms, killed two white storekeepers, and left their heads on the doorsteps. Then, they moved southward and, on the way, burnt plantations and killed many whites, increased their size to about 60, and came close to capturing South Carolina’s lieutenant governor. Eventually the rebels were defeated, scores of slaves were executed, and over 30 slaves were rewarded for protecting their white masters (Davis 2006, 139–140). Another account however suggests that the rebels marched toward St. Augustine, Florida, where they could be free under the Spanish law, and on the way they executed a series of white slave-masters and their families, and burnt structures while they marched through the colony. The revolt withstood more than a week before the rebellion

African slavery in the New World  75

was suppressed, which resulted in the death of 21 white people and 44 black slaves (Gates and Yacovone, 2013). New York City Conspiracy (1741): Some accounts suggest that numerous conspirators—some Spanish blacks who escaped from a British ship in the Caribbean, and some Irish, French, Dutch, and Englishmen—­hatched a plan in the midst of a major English war with Spain and France to support the Spanish and French Catholic cause by plotting with African- and American-born slaves to burn down New York City. After the exposure of the conspiracy, nearly 200 slaves were arrested, of whom 13 were burned at the stake and 17 were hanged (Davis 2006, 130–131). Another account however suggests that the authorities arrested over 100 people for burglary, arson, and insurrection, and of whom 17 black slaves, two white men, and two white women were hanged, and 70 black slaves and seven white persons were expelled from New York City (Gates and Yacovone, 2013). Gabriel Conspiracy (1800): Available accounts suggest that at the Prosser plantation in Richmond (Virginia) a slave named Gabriel hatched a plot to rally about 1,000 slaves under a banner that said ‘Death or Liberty,’ putting Patrick Henry’s slogan ‘give me liberty or give me death’ backward. Taking advantage of one of the most divisive presidential elections in American history ( Jefferson vs. John Adams), Gabriel and his followers planned to mobilize a large number of slaves to take Virginia Governor James Monroe hostage until their demand for equal rights for slaves was met. The rebellion was crushed while it was barely under way, State troopers captured Gabriel and his fellow conspirators, and 26 of them were hanged, including Gabriel. German Coast Uprising (1811): Inspired by the Haitian Slave Revolt, Charles Deslondes, a mulatto slave driver of a sugar plantation in the German Coast (Louisiana), led the largest and most sophisticated slave revolt since the independence of the United States.14 Deslondes and his followers attacked the plantation’s owner and his family, and hacked to death one of the owner’s sons. Following the suppression of the rebellion, about 100 black rebels were summarily executed, their heads severed, and placed along the road to New Orleans. Gates and Yacovone (2013) however suggests that Deslondes was captured before the rebellion began, tried, and hanged along with 47 other black slaves. Denmark Vesey Revolt (1822): Another slave revolt of the early nineteenth century was staged by a free slave named Denmark Vesey of South Carolina. He purchased his freedom with lottery money, and he was an educated man. Fluent in several languages, he was a carpenter by profession. Being encouraged by the Haitian Slave Revolt, he

76  The world of slaveries

hatched a plan to murder all white people in American South with the help of thousands of black slaves. He even set the date for the revolt for July 24, 1822, coinciding with the American Independence Day. But before the planned uprising began, his plan was revealed, and he was captured. Vesey was hanged with 47 other black slaves. Apparently, the plan involved nearly 1000 people. Nat Turner’s Rebellion (1831): Nat Turner was a slave in Southampton County of Virginia who led about 70 armed slaves to slaughter whites for enslaving blacks. Turner’s revolt killed nearly 60 whites— mostly women and children—before local militia killed or captured all the rebels. Following the rebellion, more than 100 rebels were killed, 19 of them were convicted, and over 300 free blacks were deported to Liberia. Turner, however, escaped and eluded arrest for 68 days before he was caught and hanged (Davis 2006, 209–209). Another account suggests that after crushing of the revolt, 21 slaves were sent to the gallows and another 16 were sold away from the region (Gates and Yacovone 2013). Source: The accounts of the rebellions widely vary depending on sources. For greater details, see Aptheker (1943), Jordan (1993), ; and .

C  Abolition of slavery The ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery15 —understood in the traditional sense of physically owning a human being by another human being—has run its course by now almost all over the world. International slave trade was banned across the Atlantic in 1807, and slavery was abolished in all British colonies in 1838, in all French and Danish colonies in 1848, in all Dutch colonies in 1863, and in the US in 1865. With the last two hold-outs of traditional slavery—Cuba and Brazil—abolishing slavery by 1888, the long ride of the ‘peculiar institution’ came to an end in the New World by the end of the nineteenth century (see Table 4.4). Some of the key economic and political factors that contributed to the demise of this long-lasting institution have been surmised below in the context of the US. Economic indictments The Transatlantic Slave Trade that catapulted slavery into a massive institution for channeling coerced African labor-power for the capitalist accumulation and economic growth of European colonial powers survived several centuries

African slavery in the New World  77 Table 4.4  C  hronology of abolition of slavery around the world, 1777–1888 Year

Description

1771

Lord Chief Justice Mansfield rules that slavery is not supported by English law, and thus lays down the legal basis for the freeing of England’s slaves. The English Society of Friends votes the expulsion of any member engaged in the slave trade. Slavery abolished in Madeira (Portugal). The Societies of Friends in England and Quakers in Pennsylvania require members to free their slaves or face expulsion. The Vermont Constitution prohibits slavery. The Massachusetts Constitution declares that all men are free and equal by birth, and thus laid down the legal force for abolishing slavery. Pennsylvania adopts a legislation for gradual abolition of slavery—freeing all slave-children born after November 1, 1780, at their 28th birthday. Rhode Island and Connecticut prohibit slavery. Formation of Society for the Abolition of Slave Trade in England. The French National Convention abolishes slavery in all French territories—a law repealed by Napoleon in 1802. New York passes a gradual emancipation law. US citizens barred from exporting slaves. Slavery abolished in Haiti. New Jersey adopts a policy of gradual emancipation. England and the United States prohibit engagement in international slave trade. Gradual emancipation of slaves adopted in Argentina. Gradual emancipation begins in Columbia. Formation of the London Anti-Slavery Committee. Slavery abolished in Chile. Slavery abolished in Central America. Slavery abolished in Mexico. Slavery abolished in Bolivia. Slavery abolished in all British colonies. The Quintuple Treaty was signed by England, France, Russia, Prussia, and Austria to search vessels on the high seas in order to suppress slave trade. Slavery abolished in Uruguay. Slavery abolished in all French and Danish colonies. Slavery abolished in Ecuador. Slave trade ended in Brazil. Slavery abolished in Peru and Venezuela. Slavery abolished in all Dutch colonies. Slavery abolished in the United States. Slave trade ended in Cuba. Gradual emancipation initiated in Brazil. Slavery abolished in Cuba. Slavery abolished in Brazil.

1772 1775 1776 1777 1780

1784 1787 1794 1799 1800 1804 1807 1813 1814 1819 1824 1829 1831 1838 1841 1842 1848 1851 1854 1863 1865 1867 1871 1886 1888

Source: Authors’ compilation based on Table 6 of Fogel (1989, 206–207).

without much of a challenge. As the demand for plantation products—sugar, tobacco, coffee, and cotton—grew rapidly throughout the world, even John Locke (1632–1704), a great champion of liberal democracy who professed inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property for all humans, invested in slave stocks.16 Although racial overtones overtook the debate eventually, it is

78  The world of slaveries

widely believed that the Transatlantic Slave Trade survived so long precisely because African slaves provided the least-cost option for labor-intensive cultivation of highly profitable plantation crops. Even Frederickson (1988, 194) concluded that if white slavery had appeared to be profitable for the burgeoning capitalism, colonists would have adopted that too. Galenson (1986) also concluded that an elastic supply of slave-labor, falling slave transportation costs, and rising prices of indentured servants facilitated the transition to African slavery. Eltis (1993) has also argued that stereotyping racial preference to slavery cannot explain why Europeans went thousands of miles away to Africa for slaves in the first place, or, why at some point between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in the face of three centuries of stereotyping, the Europeans had decided that Africans were no longer suitable for enslavement.17 Europeans indeed had exploited hundreds and thousands of fellow Europeans as indentured servants both before and after the African slavery, and about one-third of them succumbed to hard work before even collecting their freedom dues (Davis 2006, 39). But the linchpin of the argument that slaves provided the least-cost option for plantations was powerfully challenged by Adam Smith and other physiocrats such as Francois Quesnay back in the eighteenth century. Smith (1776/2004) argued that slave-labor was actually more expensive because of high mortality and low fertility of slaves as well as tying up of slave-owners’ capital unproductively as slaves had no incentive to work hard or efficiently. Challenging planters’ tendency to keep slave wages low in order to squeeze higher profits from exports, Smith argued that higher wages did not necessarily mean higher labor costs, and that increased availability of comforts of life that could be obtained with higher wages could actually serve as a powerful stimulus to industry. He argued that it was wage-based labor, rather than a system of external discipline, and the principles of market economy that could generate greater wealth and economic growth. Adam Smith’s arguments had a special resonance in the Atlantic world as many scholars and politicians, like Benjamin Franklin, Marquis de Mirabeau, David Hume, and Felix de Arrate, came to embrace such ideas, and many planters also eventually conceded that indefinite reliance on the slave trade would prove ruinously expensive (Blackburn 1988, 50–56). Such thoughts also inspired some anti-slavery critics to claim that slavery had caused more harms than benefits to the American South, and that it had adversely affected not only the slaves or slaveholders, but also the whites as well as non-­ slaveholders. The indictment that slavery was an inefficient and wasteful economic institution thus added a new dimension to the existing view in many people’s mind that slavery was an immoral and un-Christian institution (Fogel and Engerman 1974, 158–197). By the 1840s, the economic indictment of American slavery became even more prevalent. Cassius Clay (1810–1903), a politician, claimed that slavery was responsible for retarding economic growth, restricting education, directing capital into the purchase of slaves, discouraging mechanical skills, and

African slavery in the New World  79

thwarting growth of manufacturing. More specifically, Clay (1848) argued that: (a) slavery impoverished the soil; (b) slaves were less skillful and less energetic than whites, and they consumed more than whites; and (c) slaves lacked the stimulus of self-interest. He also pointed out that three million slaves in the South performed only one-half of effective work that the same number of whites did in the North. Another anti-slavery critic—Hinton Helper (1829–1909)—gathered statistical data to suggest that American North significantly outranked American South in respect to economic growth, trade, personal wealth, manufacturing, infrastructures, and even agricultural production, and attributed the South’s economic underperformance to slavery. Similarly, Frederick Olmsted (1822–1903), a journalist, based on his extensive travels across the southern America, argued that slavery kept not only the slaves but virtually the entire American South in deep poverty, and much of the destitution resulted from low productivity of slaves, wasting of productive resources, underutilization of natural fertility of land, neglect of livestock, and decay in labor and management skills. Olmsted (1856) also argued that slavery was sustained in the antebellum South because of increasing value in the slave stocks, not because of slave output. Similarly, John Cairnes (1862), an economist, also argued that slave-labor was delivered reluctantly and lacked versatility, and that it was planters’ longing for conspicuous consumption, fashionable taste, and social passion that sustained slavery, not their desire to make profits. Another major critic, Ulrich Phillips (1877–1934), projected a natural death of slavery in the US. Portraying slavery incompatible with urbanization and industrialization, Phillips (1906) argued that slavery prospered in the antebellum South because of simultaneous prevalence of three conditions: an extreme scarcity of, and high price of, free labor; a system of agricultural organization and a set of crops that permitted the strict supervision of slaves in simple routines; and low price for slaves. Phillip’s followers then argued that the institution of slavery in the country would face natural death by the mid-nineteenth century because: (a) despite dampening of cotton prices, southern planters relentlessly overproduced it; (b) the natural limit of climate and soil would make labor productivity so low that the slavery would not survive; and (c) controlling slaves in an urban environment would be problematic because of greater opportunities for crimes and escape. Some of the subsequent studies have however questioned the validity of many of these indictments. Fogel and Engerman (1974) and Fogel (1989, 81–113), for example, have argued that: (a) investment in slavery was rather highly profitable as it yielded a rate of return comparable to the most outstanding investment in manufacturing at the time; (b) large-scale operations, effective management, and intensive utilization of labor and capital made southern slave agriculture up to 35 percent more efficient than the northern system of family farming; (c) the contention that slavery was incompatible with urbanization or industrialization was erroneous as during 1840–1860,

80  The world of slaveries

the demand for slaves increased more in urban areas than in rural areas, and the southern slave economy actually grew more rapidly than the rest of the country; and (d) the claim of overproduction of cotton in the face of crisis in demand was also erroneous as the price of cotton cloth held fairly steady and that of yarn increased slightly. Political undercurrents Politically, the seventeenth-century Renaissance, the American Revolution (1776), the French Revolution (1779), and the Haitian Slave Revolt (1791– 1803) all must have had powerful impacts on abolitionary debate in the US.18 But two political events played a more immediate role in the debate: (a) the Boston Massacre (1770), in which the first person who fell for American freedom was a black slave named Crispus Attucks; and (b) the American Declaration of Independence (1776), which powerfully undercut the very foundation of slavery—the question arose if all men had inalienable rights to life and liberty, how come some of them were denied such rights solely because of their skin color. Thus, adhering to the sprits of the Declaration of Independence, all northern states abolished slavery between 1777 and 1804 (see Table 4.4). The framers of the US Constitution—the Constitutional Congress—­ however left the door open for continuation of slavery by counting slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation, and by affirming the right of slave-masters to repossess any ‘person held to service or labor.’ To induce the South to join the union, the Constitutional Congress also agreed not to pass any law on slavery for 20 years. Slavery thus continued in the US, and the American South retained slavery up until the 1860s—out of nearly four million slaves in the US at the time, more than half lived in the South. Then in the early 1860s, the issue of slavery plunged the country into a devastating Civil War (1861–1865) as largely industrial North wanted to abolish it, but predominantly agricultural South fiercely opposed it. Of the 34 states that comprised the US at the time, 13 slave-holding southern states joined the Confederate States of America in 1861 to secede from the Union. During the Civil War, President Lincoln adopted the policy of abolition of slavery largely as a military necessity to placate anti-slavery sentiment in the North and accommodate the aspirations of self-emancipation of black slaves who joined the Union troops. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the famous Emancipation Proclamation declaring freedom of all slaves in Confederacy states, but the declaration did not free slaves in the states that sided with the Union. Following the proclamation however an estimated 180,000 slaves f led southern states to join the Union troops expecting freedom after the war. The victory of the Union forces eventually led to ‘freedom’ of about four million black slaves as the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution officially abolished slavery in 1865.

African slavery in the New World  81

D  Consequences of the abolition The ban on the Transatlantic Slave Trade had been a watershed event in the history of the world—it not only brought an end to one of the largest intercontinental labor migrations in human history, but also dried out a vast slave-labor force that served as the foundation stone for European pre-­ industrial capital accumulation and colonization for several centuries. Similarly, the abolition of slavery in the US affected the whole world— especially many neighboring countries in Latin America and the Caribbean could not hold on to slavery much longer. The consequences of abolition of slavery have been elaborated below in the context of the UK, the US, and the African continent—the major epicenters of African slavery. The British economy Among the European-colonizing nations, the British not only surpassed all others in establishing colonies overseas, but also succeeded the most in exploiting slave-labor for its industrialization and economic growth. By the end of the eighteenth century, almost 90 percent of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was controlled by the British alone, and at the time of abolition of slavery, highly profitable slave-employing plantations of the British West Indies controlled over 60 percent of the world’s sugar exports and about 50 percent of coffee exports.19 British slave plantations were highly productive as well—in the first half of the nineteenth century, output of cotton per slave increased from 436 to 620 pounds, while exports of cotton per slave more than doubled, and the share of cotton output exported increased from 54 to 86 percent of the total output (Eltis 1987, 287–289).20 Thus, Drescher (1987, 5–11) rightly argues that by banning the slave trade in 1807 and abolishing slaveries across the British Empire in 1838, the British Parliament severed the umbilical link with African slaves at a time when not only the value of the slave trade and the slave colonies, but also the prospects of future growth of the trade had been brighter for the British economy. The British economy, however, survived the onslaught as the ban on slave trade, abolition of slavery, and industrialization evolved almost simultaneously for the empire, and by the time slavery was abolished, the British economy had already made a transition to manufacturing to such a scale that British colonies alone proved to be inadequate for its manufacturing products.21 The African Continent Although not much light has been shed on the subject, the impact of the banning of slave trade and abolition of slavery had been anything but astronomical on the African continent which supplied between 12 and 20 million of its mostly adult males for European colonization and capital accumulation over the course of four centuries.

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Most of the African slaves however entered the Transatlantic Slave Trade through sophisticated supply networks manned by Africans themselves— tribal groups kidnapped fellow Africans indiscriminately and traded them to Europeans for booties, guns, and other European goods. Records also suggest that most of them passed through many hands, and in the process lost their freedom, before they were sold to European slave traders across the West African coasts (Patterson 1982, 466). Between 1700 and 1820, during the peak decades of African slave imports, the population of West Africa declined from 25 to about 20 million, when six million Africans were shipped to the New World, but another two million died during slave raids and shipments (Resendez 2016, 4).22 The coastal regions along West Africa—being in close proximity of slave-stations—­ suffered the most. Between 1580 and 1680, an estimated 1.5 million African slaves were imported from just two countries of the region—Angola and the Congo (Patterson 1982, 466). Also, during 1650–1850, the population of African continent remained static, while the populations of Asia and Europe more than doubled (Rodney 1976, 82).23 The United States The abolition of slavery was a great historic event for the overwhelmingly slave-dependent American economy. The Civil War drew one-tenth of the population directly into the war and cost the nation more than 620,000 lives.24 At the time of the war, the US had a population of 31.4 million, of which 3.95 million (12.5 percent) were slaves, and about ten percent of them, 398,000 (379,000 in the Union Army and 19,000 in Union Navy), fought in the Civil War, of which 40,000 died—6.4 percent of all casualties of the war.25 In that sense, African slaves paid rather a heavy price for their freedom in terms of blood—the freedom was not a gift stemming from feelings of immorality or economic inefficiencies of slavery. The abolition of slavery, in theory, meant establishing a free-wage relationship between workers and employers, making coercion illegal and ending a regime of coerced labor, emphasizing the innate moral and physical capacities of workers rather than subjecting them to a system of external discipline, and upholding the principles of free market economy. But the practice turned out to be very different—apparently some abolitionists might have also supported the movement to free the slaves without believing that they were either equal to white people or capable of adapting and competing in an open society (Eltis 1987, 15–19). Moreover, the slaves earned their ‘freedom’ without having anything but their own labor to sell—they had no education, no skills, no property, no social recognition, no state protection, and no level-playing field to survive in a land where they were in shackles for several hundred years (Tannenbaum 1947, 95–106). They were thrown wide-open in a society, where “racism,

African slavery in the New World  83

although the child of slavery, not only outlived its parent but grew stronger and more independent after slavery’s demise” (Frederickson 1988, 3). Around the same time, when African slaves were freed in the US—Russian serfs and Japanese feudal tenants were freed as well, while freed Russians and Japanese had their own land to depend on, freed African slaves had to endure racism and discrimination for many decades with nothing but their labor.26 Since the abolition of slavery, African-Americans had to fight numerous battles to further their legal rights of equality before the law and establish themselves as rightful American citizens. The struggle has progressed in several phases, ordinarily described as the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877), the Lynching Era (1878–1939), and the Civil Rights Era (1940–1971).27 During the Reconstruction Era, the US adopted three far-reaching amendments to the US Constitution—the thirteenth through the fifteenth—and in addition to abolishing slavery, they also furthered equality and voting rights for former slaves. But in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of slavery, forces opposed to freedom of slaves adopted what came down as infamous ‘Black Codes’ that prevented many blacks from earning competitive wage. They had to be employed by white person or former employers, and former slaves convicted of vagrancy or found to be in debt were sold to the highest bidder. In some southern states, such as Mississippi, even ordinary white people could arrest blacks if they quit employment. Many states also adopted segregation laws that helped erase most of the freedoms granted to the former slaves by the amendments. For example, the Jim Crow Segregation Laws, passed by southern states throughout the 1870s and 1880s, segregated blacks in schools, railroads, and public places. Even by the end of the nineteenth century, blacks were banned from white hotels, bars and restaurants, theaters, and other public accommodations. In the 1890s, many states also adopted the poll tax, effectively disenfranchising many African-Americans who could not afford the tax. During the Lynching Era, ritualistic killing of blacks by local white communities became a common feature in the southern states. Even in the 1920s, about 30 such incidents occurred per year. During the Civil Rights Era, much of the legalized segregation, voter intimidation, and suppression were disbanded by a series of civil rights legislations, which also brought an end to housing segregation, discrimination in employment, and so on. America also elected a black President—Barak Obama—twice in 2000 and 2008. Still, however, much of the progress remains truer on paper than in reality. Still, systemic nature of discrimination, police brutality, judicial activism, and racial tensions continue to engulf American social and political discourse. Even in 2020, at the time of writing this chapter, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, massive demonstrations, lootings, rampaging, and destruction of governmental buildings and private businesses rocked dozens of cities throughout the US reminding the peoples all over the world that the stigmas of slavery are not easily erasable, and the evils of slavery are not easy to reconcile with.

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E  Concluding remarks The Transatlantic Slave Trade that lasted for about four centuries and brought approximately 12.5 million African slaves to the New World will go down as a highly institutionalized slavery system in the world. It had surpassed all major slave-trading systems that prevailed in the world before in terms of scale and magnitude of recruitment and deployment, ferocity and single-handed focus on capital accumulation and colonization, commodification and degradation of human labor, and ramifications on racial discriminations around the world. It was only by the early nineteenth century that major colonial powers became convinced of slavery’s immorality and economic inefficiency. American settlers, who employed both white indentured servants and black Africans in significant numbers, became convinced of ill-effects of slavery around the same time as well. The emancipation of African slaves—abolition of slavery in the US—eventually came in 1865, but only after a devastating Civil War that powerfully threatened the very existence of the country, and only after African slaves made heavy down payment in terms of bloods for their freedom by defending the territorial integrity of the nation. Even then meaningful freedom for majority of African-Americans still remains a pipe-dream—voices of systemic racial discrimination and stereotyping can still be heard all around.

Notes 1 Some of the classic works include Frederickson (1945) and Equiano (1789). 2 The land that now constitutes the US however had received only 2.4 percent of 12.5 black African slaves shipped to the New World during the period of Transatlantic Slave Trade (see Table 4.1). 3 Portuguese settlers moved into the Cape Verde Islands of Africa and set up slave-trading stations on the coast of Guinea by the 1460s, way before Columbus landed in the Americas. Most of those slaves worked in the cotton and indigo estates and weaving and dying factories of Portuguese settlers, while some of those slaves were exported to Madeira (Portugal) and Seville (Spain) where profitable African slave market existed (Cohen, 1995). 4 As discussed before, the Indian Ocean trading system, which survived from 1580 BC up until the nineteenth century, exported an estimated five million African slaves to the Middle and the Near East. The Black Sea and the Mediterranean trading system, which f lourished between the seventh century BC and early medieval period, recruited slaves across Europe and Africa. The medieval European trading system, which f lourished during the early ninth through the mid-twelfth centuries, had two principal routes—the western route that ran through the North Sea and across the English Channel, and the eastern route that involved sea, river, and overland transports. The trans-Saharan system that lasted between 650 AD and the nineteenth century supplied African slaves to North African and Mediterranean states. For greater details, see Beachey (1976), Gemery and Hogendorn (1979), and Patterson (1982, 151–168). 5 For greater details on the emergence of Transatlantic Slave Trade, see Blackburn (1988, 20–31), Davis (2006, 84–87), Dowlah (2020, 83–94), Eltis (1987, 41–51), and Potts (1990, 53–58). 6 The latest database cited in the study provides significant upward, and more accurate, data on the slaves traded during the period of Transatlantic Slave Trade.

African slavery in the New World  85 Previously, a widely quoted source, Curtin (1969), put the total number of African slaves imported to the New World at 9.5 million, and Patterson (1982, 160) placed the number between 11 and 12 million (plus or minus 20 percent). In respect of shares of colonial powers in the trade, Fogel (1989) attributed 40 percent to Portuguese; 47 percent to the British, French, and Spanish colonies; five percent to the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish colonies; and five percent to the colonies that later formed the United States. 7 To maximize profits, slave traders shipped African slaves in such appalling conditions that one in six of them died during ocean crossing—about one in three slaves transported by the Dutch, and one in five slaves transported by French also died during the shipment (Dowlah 2020, 90). 8 Prior to such large-scale imports of African slaves, the colonists depended on white indentured servants. By the 1770s, approximately 350,000 indentured servants were shipped to the British colonies. While white indentured servants however did not offer a stable workforce for the planters as they had legal rights and had to be freed, but African slaves had no legal rights and condemned to slavery for life (Blackburn 1988, 25–31). 9 Large-scale slave plantations also required huge capital investments for purchasing slaves, acquiring land, buildings, work animals and other livestock, irrigation works, implements, and in the case of sugar, also machinery, as sugar plantations were not only large but also depended on advanced technology of their age (Fogel 1989, 24). 10 Black slaves became majority in some southern states only after they became geographically concentrated there by the mid-eighteenth century. Moreover, majority of the slaves in Brazil and Caribbean were born in Africa; in the US, on the other hand, creoles became majority by 1740, and by 1850, only a small fraction of the slaves was native born (Fogel 1989, 31–32). 11 Huge literature is available on such prejudices; see, for example, Aptheker (1937 & 1943), Blassingame (1977), Blackburn (1988), Davis (2006), Eklins (1959), Fogel (1989), Gates and Yacovone (2013), Genovese (1974), Herskovits (1958), Patterson (1982), Phillips (1918), Rhodes (1928), and Stampp (1956). 12 Schouler (1882), cited in https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americansmany-rivers-to-cross/history/did-african-american-slaves-rebel/. 13 To Aptheker (1943), a ‘rebellion’ was any uprising that involved a minimum of ten slaves in an action aimed at revolution. The study, however, received little recognition in mainstream literature until the 1960s because of his Marxist orientations. More recently, his narratives received wide attention with Henry Louis Gates’ PBS documentary series, “African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/didafrican-­american-slaves-rebel/ and publication of Gates and Yacovone (2013). 14 The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) was the first black revolution in the world which succeeded in overthrowing white masters by establishing an independent nation of former slaves. Spearheaded by Toussaint Louverture, the revolution was fought and won by Jean-Jacques Dessalines. 15 The phrase was first popularized in the antebellum South in the 1830s by a politician named John C. Calhoun. 16 Locke owned stocks in slave-trading company named the Royal Africa Company, and justified slavery by arguing that Africans were rescued from a worse fate (Locke 1689/1960, 159). 17 Many others who wrestled with the issue of racism in the context of African slavery—such as Blackburn (1988), Eltis (1993), Fogel (1989), Fogel and Engerman (1974), Jordan (1962), and Williams (1966)—have also concluded that the primary basis of American slavery was an economic phenomenon. 18 Some literary works, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1862 anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Aphra Behn’s 1688 novel Oroonoko on the experience of slaves;

86  The world of slaveries

19 2 0 21 22

2 3 24

25

26

27

denunciation of slavery by the Friends of Freedom (Quakers) on both sides of the Atlantic; and the landmark 1771 decision of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, which decreed that slavery was not supported by English law, had powerful impacts as well. Cuba and Brazil emerged as the dominant sugar and coffee producers in the world only after the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and abolition of slavery in the British Empire. Also see Table 5.9 of Dowlah (2020, 113). Rostow (1960) stipulated that industrialization swept through Western countries between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the United Kingdom achieved its industrialization during 1783–1802. Countless villages in the interior of Africa were frequently attacked at midnight and “the people were either killed or captured by Europeans themselves or, more frequently, by Africans acting on their own account or for Europeans, and the victims let alive were shackled with a collar about the neck, men, women, and children, and driven for hundreds of miles to the coast” (Tannenbaum 1947, 21). For greater details on the effects of African slavery in the New World on the African continent, see Dowlah (2020, 113–115), Klein (1992), Davidson (1961), and Patterson (1982). The Civil War cost the US more casualties than any other conf licts that the nation had ever been involved. While roughly 1.26 million American soldiers have died in all wars of the nation, nearly half (620,000) died in the Civil War alone. For greater details, see https://www.battlefields.org. The proportion was about the same with mainstream American population. Out of a population of 22 million in Northern states, 2.13 million fought in the war, and in the Southern states, out of a population of nine million, 1.1 million fought in the war. In January 1865, Union General William Sherman sought to establish ‘Sherman Land’ by setting aside 400,000 acres of land along the coastlines of Charleston, South Carolina, St. John’s River in Florida, and Sea Islands of Georgia for the newly freed slaves. Under his plan, each black family was to receive no more than 40 acres of tillable ground. Apparently, Sherman adopted the plan in consultation with President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor, however, overturned the Sherman Order in the fall of 1865 and returned the land to the planters who had originally owned it. For greater detail, see https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americansmany-­r ivers-to-cross/history/the-truth-behind-40-acres-and-a-mule/, accessed on 12/6/2018. A voluminous amount or literature is available on this issue. See, for example, Davis (1986, 2006), Dubois (1903/2004), Blassingame (1977), and Genovese (1979). For chronicles of major historical events, see “A History of Race and Racism in America, in 24 Chapters” by Ibram X. Kendi. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/diversity/sph-symposium/a-history-of-raceand-racism-in-america-in-24-chapters/, and “158 Resources to understand racism in America,” Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/ history/158-resources-understanding-systemic-racism-america-180975029/.

References Aptheker, H. (1937). American Negro slave revolts. Science & Society, 1(4): 512–538. Aptheker, H. (1943/1983). American Negro Slave Revolts. New York: International Publishers. Beachey, R. (1976). The Slave Trade of Eastern Africa. New York: Harper & Row.

African slavery in the New World  87 Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. New York: Verso. Blassingame, J. (1977). Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Cairnes, J. (1862/1969). The Slave Power: Its Character, Career, and Probable Designs. New York: Carleton. Clay, C. (1848/1969). The Writings of Cassius Marcellus Clay. New York: Negro Universities Press. Cohen, R. (1995). History of Migration. University of Leeds, Arts and Humanities Research Council. http://www.striking-women.org/module/migration/history-­ migration. Accessed on May 5, 2018. Curtin, P. (1969). The Atlantic Slave Trade. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Davidson, B. (1961). The African Slave Trade: Precolonial History 1450–1850. Boston (MA): Little, Brown. Davis, D. (1986). Slavery and Human Progress. New York: Oxford University Press. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. New York: Oxford University Press. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Drescher, S. (1987). Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press. Dubois, L. (1903/2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Eklins, S. (1959/1976). Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Eltis, D. (1987). Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Trade. New York: Oxford University Press. Eltis, D. (1993). Europeans and the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas: An interpretation. American Historical Review, 98(5): 1399–1423. Equiano, O. (1789/2001). The Interesting Narratives of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Electronic Edition. Academic Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton. Fogel, R., and Engerman, S. (1974). Time to Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Boston (MA): Little Brown. Frederickson, G. (1945/1988). The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Slavery, Racism, and Social Inequality. Middletown (CT): Wesleyan University Press. Galenson, D. (1981). White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Galenson, D. (1986). Traders, Planters and Slaves: Market Behavior in Early English America. New York: Cambridge University Press. Gates, H., and Yacovone, D. (2013). African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. www. SmileyBooks.com. Gemery, H., and Hogendorn, J. (1979). Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic Cost of Atlantic Slave Trade. Washington (DC): Academic Press. Genovese, E. (1974). Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Vintage Books.

88  The world of slaveries Genovese, E. (1979). From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press. Herskovits, M. (1958). The Myth of the Negro Past. Boston (MA): Beacon Press. Jordan, W. (1962). White over Black: American Attitude toward Negro, 1550–1812. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Locke, J. (1689/1988). Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Olmsted, F. (1856). A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States: With Remarks on Their Economy. New York: Dix & Edwards. Patterson, O. (1982). Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Phillips, U. (1906). The origin and growth of the southern belts. American Historical Review, 11: 798–816. Phillips, U. (1918/1966). American Negro Slavery. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. London: Zed Books. Resendez, A. (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. New York: Mariner Books. Rhodes, J. (1893/1928). History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850. New York: Macmillan. Rodney, H. (Ed.). 1976. The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London: New Left Books. Rostow, W. (1960). Stages of economic development—a non-communist manifesto. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Smith (1776/2004). (1976). Wealth of Nations. New York: Barnes and Nobles. Stampp, K. (1956/1989). Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Antebellum South. New York: Vintage. Tannenbaum, F. (1947). Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. New York. Vintage Books. Williams, E. (1966). Capitalism and Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (Original publication in 1944).

Part II

The world of serfdoms

Conceptual contexts While the ancient period of world history was dominated by slavery, the medieval period was reigned by a new system of coerced labor known as ‘feudalism’ under which peasants/serfs were tied to a parcel of land while they worked for landlords/warriors/vassals, who, in turn, owed their allegiance to a relatively weak authority, such as duke, king, or emperor who granted them a ‘fief ’—a strip of land or territorial assignment—in exchange. Such systems prevailed in many parts of the Old World—in Europe, Asia, and Africa—but its preeminence as a part of universal experience in the development of involuntary labor has been tied to the Western European experience during the seventh through the fourteenth centuries, and that of the Eastern Europe and Imperial Russia during the fourteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. The concept of ‘feudalism’ became familiar in the seventeenth century as many Renaissance writers used the term to refer to outdated laws and customs of feudal relationships between the fiefs and the warrior aristocracy in the pre-Enlightenment Western Europe.1 Some of the Enlightenment thinkers, such as Montesquieu and Voltaire, attributed the origin of the ‘deplorable regime’ to the Romans, who presumably made such concessions to the invading Germans; some of them attributed its origin to the Germans who had apparently reduced to servitude the peoples they conquered; and still others attributed it to the constant wars and defeats, and consequent enslavements of peoples that characterized the Middle Ages. The Enlightenment writers thus concluded that feudalism was the product of either Roman decadence, German arrogance, or medieval brutality (Herlihy 1970). Feudalism, as it emerged in Western Europe, envisaged a well-defined overlord-lord-tenant relationship on hierarchical lines (Lefebvre 1976). The king was at the top of the hierarchy, and the next in line came the lords/ vassals who were granted a fief inhabited by traditional peasants who stood at the bottom of the hierarchy. Although the king owned the fiefs, actually their proprietorship vested with the vassals as long as he rendered necessary services to his overlord. Peasants, in turn, delivered their labor in kind or rents in cash, and their mobility was restricted by landlords. Feudalism thus DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-2

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embodied a relationship between lord (patron) and vassal (client), and servile peasantry, where lord-tenant relationship served as the center of the land tenure structure (Anderson 1974). To those who espouse this strand of thought, the very essence of feudalism lies with the seigniorial-manorial system—with the production relations between demesne and estate, between the fief and the lords (Persson 1991), where lord-vassal personal relationship constituted the core of medieval mode of production, and the method how governments devolved powers and authority to the landed aristocracy under ‘scalar’ or ‘parcelized’ sovereignty (Anderson 1974, 407–408). To them, feudalism is ‘a method of government,’ not an economic and social order or system, although they acknowledge that such a method was subject to and modified by the existing social and economic environment (Coulborn and Strayer 1956). Some scholars however challenge the view that feudalism portrayed just a hierarchical system or a method of government, to them it rather envisaged “a whole social order whose principal feature was the domination of the rest of society, mainly peasants, by a military landowning aristocracy” (Hilton 1978, 30). Bloch’s (1914/1961), in his seminal work, outlined the essential characteristics of feudalism as: A subject peasantry; widespread use of the service tenement (i.e. the fief ) instead of salary; supremacy of a class of specialized warriors; ties of obedience and protection which bind man to man; fragmentation of authority; and, in the midst of all this, survival of other forms of association, family and State. Much of the controversy also depends on the conceptualization of feudalism and manorialism. Although both had served as the political and economic foundations of Western Europe during the medieval period, they are not identical. Historical records rather suggest that the manorial system both preceded and succeeded feudalism. The feudal system grew out of the manorial system—it was rather a product of the instabilities caused by the invasions of Vikings from the North, Magyars from the East, and Arab Muslims from the South (Pratt 2013). Feudalism and manorialism also had different purposes: while the former was a political and social organization, the later was an economic enterprise; while the former was concerned with the aristocracy and gentry, the later was concerned with the peasantry—mass of people who functioned around respective manor houses (Stephenson 1941, 151).2 Over the course of time, the concepts of ‘feudalism’ and ‘feudal society’ have received diverse interpretations from both Marxian and non-Marxian perspectives. Adam Smith (2004), for example, viewed feudalism as a system in which workers were moved to deliver labor not by the incentives naturally generated by a free market but by force and coercion. Marx and Engels (1979), on the other hand, interpreted feudalism as a form of production based on both ‘economic exploitation’ and ‘extra-economic exploitation.’3

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The debate intensified further as the followers of Marx and Smith concentrated on the methods of production as well as the institutions, customs, and coercion involved in the feudal system in the context of: (a) evolution of serfdom in Western Europe during the third through the fourteenth centuries, and the second serfdom in Eastern Europe and Russia during the fourteenth through the eighteenth centuries; (b) implications and consequences of feudalism on the transition to capitalism in Western Europe, and transition to socialism in Eastern Europe and Russia; and (c) the evolution of feudalistic institutions and customs in some Asian countries such as China, Japan, and India, and in Latin America. Also, feudalism manifested itself in many forms and varieties around the world—in Europe, it was branded as serfdom, but in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as feudalism or pseudo-feudalism (Coulborn and Strayer 1956). A European version of feudalism as manifested in serfdom, peasants were personally and legally free while being tied to a parcel of land, which they tilled at the pleasure of their landlords whose rights were well-recognized and well-protected by the state.4 In Western Europe, serfdom emerged in the third century, but disappeared by the mid-eighteenth century largely due to the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, the Napoleonic Invasion, and waves of epidemics, agrarian depression, and peasant revolts. In Eastern Europe and Imperial Russia, serfdom emerged in the fifteenth century, and survived until the mid-nineteenth century (Blum 1968; Jones 1973). The feudalisms/serfdoms of the European continent have been covered in three chapters: Chapter 5 covers the Western European serfdom; C ­ hapter 6 covers the Eastern European serfdom; and Chapter 7 covers the Russian serfdom.

Notes 1 Available literature suggests that some concepts like ‘feodum,’ appeared in Germany in the early 1000s and became familiar in France and England by the end of the same century. Several centuries later, in 1530, Jean Bodin, in his Six Books on the Republic, mentioned the ‘law of fiefs’ to refer to something called feudataire. It is widely believed that the term feudalism is derived from the words ‘feodum’ in Latin, ‘feodalite’ in French, and ‘feudalismus’ in German, which generally meant a ‘fief ’—the a strip of land or territorial assignment granted by the lord (king) to vassals in exchange of their services to the state. In English language, however, it was Adam Smith (1776) who used the term feudalism for the first time in his Wealth of Nations (Herlihy, 1970). 2 Bloch (1961, 250) explains, a manor as an “economic enterprise” and “first and foremost an estate,” a part of a system which f lourished “on all sides because under it, the mass of the people found the possibility of livelihood.” A manor had three basic components: lord’s demesne, which the free and unfree tenants farmed; 30-acre plots of the tenant farmers, which occasionally coincided with a village; and strips of land farmed by serfs bound to the land. Manorial serfs were thus both free and unfree, while under feudalism peasants were not free. 3 Marx’s ‘economic exploitation’ referred to landlords appropriating economic benefits from serfs’ labor on the demesnes, and ‘extra-economic exploitation’

92  The world of serfdoms involved landlords extracting additional unpaid services from workers in such activities as tending herds and domestic services. 4 Some studies suggest that there were however times when serfs could be bought and sold like slaves. In Russia, especially, serf-masters power hardly differed with that of slave-masters in the Americas, and material lives of serfs were hardly different from the chattel slaves in the Americas (Engerman, 1986; Kolchin, 1987).

References Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Bloch, M. (1961). Feudal Society. Translated by L. A. Manyon. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Blum, J. (1968). Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth through the Nineteenth Century. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Coulborn, R., and Strayer, J. (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Davis, H. (1911). Medieval Europe. London: Oxford, University Press. Herlihy, D. (Ed.). (1970). The History of Feudalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hilton, R. (Ed.). (1978). The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London: Verso. Jones, R. (1973). Emancipation of Russian Nobility, 1762–1785. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Lefebvre, G. (1976). Some observations. In R. Hilton (ed.), Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (pp. 122–127). London: New Left Books. Marx, K., and Engels, F. (1979). Pre-capitalist Socio-Economic Formations. New York: International Publishers. Persson, K. (1991). Was feudalism inevitable? Scandinavian Economic History Review, 39(1): 68–76. Pratt, M. (2013). Historiography of medieval peasants: From a nameless mass to a thriving community. Tenor of Our Times, 2(7): 36–47. Smith. (1776/2004). Wealth of Nations. Reprint 2004. New York: Barnes and Nobles. Stephenson, C. (1941). A Brief Survey of Mediaeval Europe. New York: Harper and Brothers. Weber, M. (1968). Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Vol. 3. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. New York: Bedminster Press.

5 The West European serfdom

This chapter focuses on West European serfdom. The variant of serfdom that emerged in West European countries in the third century had its roots in the ancient Spartan slavery under which slaves lived on their own hereditary land while they toiled for their masters.1 Roman landlords revived the Spartan variant by transforming slaves into tenant farmers under a colonate (tenant farming) system by mitigating some of the harsher features of slavery that prevailed before (Fogel 1989, 17). After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the colonate system spread throughout Western Europe—while in some places landlords granted concessions to peasants due to persistent labor shortages, in others the system spread because of self-commendation by peasants to powerful landlords for their protection in a lawless society (Vogt 1975). Although West European serfdom, embodying a hierarchical relationship between lords (patrons) and vassals (clients), and servile peasantry, had emerged as a major institution throughout the region by the fifth century, it took up to the seventh century for manorialism or seignorialism to emerge as a dominant economic and political structure of Western Europe (Bloch, 1961; Rostovtzeff, 1926). The serfdom that eventually emerged in Western Europe came down as a classic model of feudalism demonstrating critical features of weak central authority, dominance of vassalage, fiefs and noble-­ warrior aristocratic class, fragmentation of political authority, great contrast between the urban and rural economies, parcelization of sovereignty, and a rigidly classified peasantry perpetually subservient to landlords/nobles (Coulborn 1956). The Western European serfdom also created the foundational bases for the subsequent transition to capitalism (Pickvance 1976) by creating dichotomy between ‘backward countryside’ and ‘progressive cities’ (Lefebvre 1976); sharpening the conf lict between urban-industrial capitalism and pre-­ capitalist rural agriculture (Saunders 1981); and setting the stage of transition between the slave-based mode of agricultural production and wage-labor based capitalism, and a class struggle between the lords and the serfs (Larchmann 1989; Marx 1848/1961). DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-5

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The chapter is organized as follows: the next section elaborates on the evolution and development of serfdom in Western Europe; Section three examines its nature and characteristics; Section four focuses on its demise and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development The West European serfdom had its roots in the ancient Spartan slavery under which slaves lived on their own hereditary land while working for their masters. After the collapse of the Hellenistic world, between 200 and 150 BC, the Romans introduced a land tenure system called latifundium, under which the members of aristocracy were granted large pieces of land along with control over the slaves. Slaves were tied to their masters—they could move even slaves from one location to another. During the period of Roman Empire, such latifundias were common in Italy and Sicily where slaves were deployed in the cultivation of profitable olive and vines (Vogt 1975, 40–44). Later facing acute labor shortage, many Roman landlords revived the Spartan variant of slavery by transforming slaves into tenant farmers under a colonate (tenant farming) system.2 After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the colonate system spread throughout Western Europe—while in some places landlords granted concessions to peasants due to persistent labor shortages, in other places the system spread because of self-commendation by peasants to powerful landlords for their protection in a lawless society. By the fifth century, serfdom, embodying a hierarchical relationship between lords (patrons) and vassals (clients), and servile peasantry, had emerged as a major institution throughout Western Europe. But it was by the seventh century that serfdom, manifesting itself as manorialism or seignorialism and entailing the conditions of debt bondage, indentured servitude, or outright servitude of peasants, came to dominate economic and political structures throughout Western Europe. The system f lourished cross-culturally and cross-temporally in traditions as diverse as the comitatus of the Germanic warlords, the antrusions of the Merovingian kings, and the tribal states of the Celtic and the Illyrian states (Rostovtzeff 1926). During the eighth and ninth centuries, the Carolingian monarchs also systematically granted lands to armed bands to bind them to royal service, and with the invasions of Vikings from the North, Magyars from the East, and the Muslims from the South. Such practices consolidated further during the ninth and tenth centuries (Pratt 2013).3 The system of granting land to warlords in exchange of loyalty to the monarchs was initially called ‘beneficium’ ref lecting classical tradition, but subsequently renamed as ‘fiefs’ during the ninth century as vassals rendered military service to defend their lords. Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, peasants were legally obligated to provide corvees (in-kind payments such as grains), or labor services to landlords, and serfs were prohibited

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from moving outside their manorial or seignorial territory, and thus, serfdom was legally institutionalized. During the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, the institution of serfdom became a dominant socio-economic and political superstructure almost all over Western Europe (Davis 1911, 73–74).4

B  Nature and characteristics As mentioned above, a classic authority on serfdom of the medieval Europe, Marc Bloch (1961) described the institution as follows: A subject peasantry; widespread use of the service tenement (i.e. the fief ) instead of salary; supremacy of a class of specialized warriors; ties of obedience and protection which bind man to man; fragmentation of authority; and, in the midst of all this, survival of other forms of association, family and State. The description perfectly captures the nature and characteristics of West European serfdom—the institution was indeed shaped by supremacy of a class of warriors, lord-vassal-peasants relationship, fragmentation of authority, the link between obedience and protection, and the evolving history and tradition of families, societies, and the state (Bush 1996). Studies suggest that the evolution of West European serfdom was characterized by three dominant forms of lordships: (a) banal lordship, which claimed authority from royal powers to command public taxation, punishment, adjudication, and decreeing—such lords constituted the ‘master class’ within the medieval ruling class; (b) domestic lordship—the most prevalent form since the Carolingian times—under which the lord’s land was divided into a seigneurial demesne to be tilled by slave labor and surrounding plots to be cultivated independently by the tenured peasants; and (c) landlord-ship, under which personal relationships between lord and vassal as well as between the lord and peasantry played instrumental roles. Under this system, lords privatized justice, taxed their subjects, territorialized their fiefs, and made lands hereditary. In course of time, mergers of banal and domestic lordships resulted in the conversion of some estates into a fully independent seigneurie (Duby 1974, 174–177; Hall 1997, 695–606). Although the authority of the landlords were well-recognized and well-protected by the state/monarchs under different forms of lordships, under West European serfdom serfs were neither slaves nor personal possessions of landlords. Hardly were they sold apart from their land, and most sales of serfs represented only the transfer of jurisdictional rights from one landlord to another without any physical movement of serfs. Also, serfs had de facto control over the land they tilted and were capable of resisting seigniorial pressures actively through negotiation or protest, passively through foot-dragging and pilfering, and by taking recourse to the public justice system (Coulborn 1956; Kolchin 1987).

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Another major feature of West European serfdom has been that it was characterized by widely diffused and variegated socio-economic relationships among diverse social groups which had overlapping politico-legal rights and powers under vertically dispersed state structures (Hunt 1978). A major consequence of such parcelization of sovereignties has been that it enabled urban and rural communities to evolve along increasingly antithetical paths—while the urban economy controlled by merchants, organized guilds, and corporations depended on commodity exchange, rural economy controlled by nobles, manors, and serf-owners depended on natural exchanges in communal and individual peasant enclaves (Anderson 1974, 150–151).

C Decline and consequences The Western European serfdom reached its golden age between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries; by then, it had not only expanded throughout much of Eurasia but also achieved great successes in commercialization, urbanization, international trade, state formation, and strengthening of the peasantry’s class power vis-à-vis that of the seigneurs which eventually provided foundations for a transition to capitalism (Anderson 1974, 202). For Marx and Marxian writers also, feudalism was a social formation that stood mid-way in the transition between the slave-based mode of agricultural production and wage-based capitalism. The feudal system of Western Europe began to show serious cracks by the early fourteenth century when famine and deadly epidemics proliferated, peasants started to revolt, merchants and financiers lost businesses, and many states went to war. The onslaught of the Black Death that persisted well into the fifteenth century,5 the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, and the War of the Roses in England all resulted in many peasants abandoning fields, manors, and towns, many of which were not reclaimed until the sixteenth century. By the mid-fifteenth century, rents in England, Germany, and Italy were 40 percent lower than a century earlier, while labor wages were as much as 400 percent higher. The resultant crisis of labor shortage effectively torpedoed the balance of power between landlords and serfs to the extent that instead of directly exploiting seigniorial reserves, many landlords parceled out their demesnes to peasants in tenancy, commuted many labor services and servile disabilities into fixed monetary payments, and granted more secure property rights to peasants under the new land tenure systems (Anderson 1974, 202–204).6 Peasants’ protests also played a critical role in the eventual demise of West European serfdom. Some of the peasant uprisings that earned historical significance include the Grand Jacquerie in northern France (1358), the Peasants’ Revolt in England (1381), the German Peasants’ War (1524–1526), and Peasants’ War of Catalonia (1462–1486). Among these, the Peasants’ War of Catalonia, although brutally suppressed, resulted in some far-reaching

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reforms, including the enfranchisement acts of Bologna (1257) and Florence (1289) which set serfs free, and mass sales of freedom to peasants, especially in the Paris region during the mid-thirteenth century (Moore 2003, 115–116). Anderson (1974) however maintains that the most significant factor for the demise of serfdom in Western Europe had been urbanization. He argues that the urban centers were not only the locations of the greatest agricultural commercialization where lords realized their incomes, but they also provided great opportunities to discontented peasants to f lee away from serfdom. Development of such relatively autonomous medieval towns, Anderson argues, broke down the parcelized sovereignties (divided and overlapping systems of jurisdiction), myriad systems of justice (that ranged from seigneurial to religious sanctions), and property tenures (that ranged from serfdom to free-holdings). Thus urbanization not only resulted in the loss of the lords’ direct political control over the peasantry, but also served as a source of potential peasant resistance and village independence. By the fifteenth century, all these factors in tandem contributed to gradual parceling out of demesnes to peasants, more secure property rights of peasants, and monetization of labor services and servile obligations. By then England had already transformed serfdom into a secure ‘customary’ tenure system which granted peasants robust rights of inheritance, conveyance, and mortgage. By the late sixteenth century, crown serfs were manumitted, while still a few villeins remained, seigneurial political power permitted enclosures, and wool production emerged as an alternative to seigneurial levies. Around the same time, Germany also established a heritable tenancy (Erblehenrecht) that granted extensive rights of conveyance to peasants, and by the sixteenth century, in both France and southwestern Germany, lords resorted to outright sale of emancipation. In northern Italy, the supremacy of the communes eliminated serfdom two or three generations ahead of France or England, and the region developed the first large-scale commercial farming as well as short-term leases and sharecropping. Thus, by the beginning of the sixteenth century, the burdens of servility or legal bondage of serfdom had been ‘tenurialized’ throughout most of Western Europe (Herlihy 1970; Nichtweiss and Seward 1979).7 Perhaps the greatest contribution of Western European serfdom has been that it has presumably served as the harbinger of commercialization, industrialization, and urbanization, which paved the way for eventual transition to capitalism. As mentioned before, Marx and Marxian writers most certainly viewed feudalism as the immediate precursor of capitalism. Historical records also suggest that in the fourteenth century, following the wars and plagues, aristocratic control over peasant labor in Western Europe weakened substantially as tenants won personal freedom and mobility, and much of the economic obligations of serfs were transformed into monetary payments (Gimpel 1976; Moore 2003). By the fifteenth century, the advancement in manufacturing, especially the emergence of urban-based woolen cloth and clothing industry as the

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leading manufacturing activity, accelerated monetized economic relationship for trade and commerce (Bailey 2014). In the sixteenth century, technical advances in navigation contributed to further commercial explosion as technical means of production, communication, and transportation allowed the mercantile class to exploit the differences between the costs of production and price of goods from one region to another (Wallerstein 1974, 36). The forces of monetization, commercialization, and manufacturing soon led to the growth of new urban centers and cities dominated by quasi-­feudal patrician oligarchies and urban guilds in many parts of Western Europe where urban wealth served as much for feudal status as for the purposes of profit maximization and capital accumulation. By the end of the nineteenth century, between 20 and 25 percent of Western Europeans lived in urban settings, and the share grew upward to 50 percent in England (Holton 1984). Together the processes of monetization, commercialization, manufacturing, and urbanization soon ushered in the transition to capitalism in Western Europe. In England, where it occurred first, the roots of such a transition can be traced back to the thirteenth century when the country had an individualist ideology along with a developed market in which land was treated as a commodity, private ownership right was established, labor mobility was freed, geographical and social mobility of people became considerable, a distinction between farm and family existed, and rational accounting and the profit motive were widespread (Macfarlane 1978, 195). Some studies even argue that capitalism, defined as private property in land and proletarian labor, developed in England during 1536–1640 (Lachmann 1987, 16–17). Scholars however differ in respect to the emergence of capitalism throughout Western Europe. Some suggest that it occurred between the mid-­ sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries—during 1450–1640, when the world economy stretched from Poland to the Americas, while others argue that capitalism emerged in France following the 1789 Revolution. Brenner (1982, 76–94), for example, argues that unlike England, France failed to develop economically in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries because state protection of peasant tenures prevented property accumulation, and surplus extraction was increasingly directed to feed the military and bureaucracy rather than economic projects. Some however trace the earliest step towards capitalism in Western Europe to the revival of European trade in the eleventh century, since a halt in the Muslim penetration into Western Europe resulted in the reopening of the Mediterranean for commerce. Pirenne (1914/1974), for example, stipulates that to promote trade and further their capitalist interests, the early capitalist class began to challenge noble restrictions and limitations and assert their rights to urban self-government and legal autonomy back in the eleventh century. Considerable controversy also exists in regard to root causes that propelled the transition of Western Europe to capitalism. Some studies stipulate that capitalism emerged in Western Europe as a consequence of a conf lict between

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‘backward countryside’ and ‘progressive cities’ (Williams 1973); some see the roots in the widening gap between rural food suppliers (feudal landlords) and urban traders (Lachmann 1989; Pirenne 1914/1974); some view the growth of the urban centers and cities as a continuing process of interdependence between urban and rural areas rather than the culmination of urban progress over rural backwardness; some see the urbanization as ‘non-feudal islands in the feudal seas’ as the root cause (Postan 1972, 239); and still others view the urban centers as not only markets for generating accumulations of wealth, but also as political-administrative centers governed by autonomous laws and policies, religious practice, and market rights conducive to urban economy (Weber 1968). Holton (1984) points out that scholars who attach a pivotal role of the rural-­urban dichotomy in the transition to capitalism envisage three different strands of thought, such as: (a) it played a progressive role only in feudalism, thereby creating one of the principal bases for the subsequent transition to capitalism (Pickvance 1976); (b) it created a conf lict between ‘backward countryside’ and ‘progressive cities’ (Lefebvre 1976); and (c) it resulted from a confrontation between urban-industrial capitalism and pre-capitalist rural agriculture (Saunders 1981). Thus, while Pickvance’s standpoint implies that the urban-rural dichotomy disappears once capitalism emerges, Saunders’ position implies that the distinction is crucial during the early phases of capitalist development, not so much thereafter. Perhaps the most sweeping interpretation of West European serfdom came from Marx (1848/1961), who famously remarked, “The Middle Ages begins with the land as the seat of history … the modern age is the urbanization of the country.” Also, in his sweeping generalization of the stages of human development, Marx stipulated that serfdom/feudalism served as the stage of transition between the slave-based mode of agricultural production and wage-labor-based capitalism.8 To Marx, being in total control of serfs, serf-masters had deployed both ‘economic’ and ‘extra-economic’ methods of labor exploitation,9 and it was the ‘extra-economic coercion’ that served as an essential feature of social relations under the feudal mode of production. Marx however has also envisaged that merchant capital—the exchange relations organized through trade and towns—is in itself incapable of making a transition to capitalism, which rather depends on the development of free wage-labor and capital accumulation. Marxist writers have long been grappling with whether capitalism developed out of the conf licts among the classes in feudal society or because of some external factors, such as wage-­ labor, which had undermined feudalism and stimulated new forms of production relations called capitalism (Lachmann 1989). Some of prominent Marxist writers—such as Dobb (1947), Hilton (1978), Merrington (1978), and Brenner (1976)—envisage that transition to capitalism cannot be explained in terms of trade and town as medieval towns or cities were neither islands of capitalism in a sea of feudalism nor autonomous centers of freedom. They locate the main dynamics for the transition to

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capitalism in the rural sector, and within the class struggle between the lords and the serfs. The dispute intensified further with the debate between two prominent Marxist scholars—Maurice Dobb and Paul Sweezy.10 Dobb (1947), a Marxist scholar, has argued that feudal trade was primarily geared to the satisfaction of the luxury consumption demands of feudal lords, and feudal towns, far from being centers of proto-capitalist entrepreneurship, were either ‘feudal-commercial republics’ or centers of feudal monopoly trade. Dobb maintains that given the self-sufficient character of the subsistence economy of feudalism, it could only be broken from outside, by some forces like emerging exchange economy, trade, and the specialized division of labor. Dobb thus attributes the development of capitalism to the emergence of free wage-labor and the contradiction within feudalism that stemmed from the expanding demands of the feudal class for greater revenue and the relative inefficiency of feudal production to meet such demands over the long term. On the other hand, to Sweezy (1950), a Smithian Marxist, feudalism neither fetters nor generates capitalist development. To him, serfdom, which ceased to be the dominant form of production throughout Europe by the fourteenth century, was geared to production for use, while capitalism is geared to production for market. The West European capitalism emerged in an urban market sector, outside the control of feudal lords, and as production for market is inherently more profitable than realizing a surplus through feudal appropriation in a natural economy, feudalist economy was superseded by capitalism as efficient producers were able to outbid feudal rivals for the inputs of land, labor, and capital, regardless of the relative political power of aristocrats and merchants.11 Closely allying to Dobb’s position, Brenner (1976) argues that the relative class strength of peasants and landlords served as the key variable for making a transition to capitalism, and that landlords everywhere sought to re-impose serfdom on the peasants following the Black Death, but they failed in Western Europe because of strong solidarity among the peasant community, while they succeeded in Eastern Europe because isolated peasants there were unable to prevent imposition of a second serfdom. Arguing in the same vein, Hobsbawm (1965) has also argued that without a large body of wage-workers, there would be very little incentive to capitalist industrial production, and that while the availability of wage-workers led to capitalism in Western Europe, a transition to capitalism did not occur simultaneously in Southern Europe—Italy, Spain, and Portugal—where profit opportunities were obtained through political domination, predatory activity, and irregular transactions with political bodies. Max Weber (1968, 1243–1244), a sociologist, on the other hand, took a position close to Sweezy by arguing that feudalism did not contain within itself the elements necessary for the development of rational economic technique or the practice of rational economic action, and the external force rather came from Christianity, which encouraged urban living and allowed

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peasants to enjoy increasing per capita incomes from the rise of trade and technological advances, and thus helped Western Europe to make inroads to modernity (capitalism). That Christianity played a role in the transition of slavery into feudalism is not however far-fetched. The Romans indeed bequeathed the juridical and philosophical foundations for slavery to Christian Europe, and slavery indeed gradually disappeared in Europe coinciding with the spread of Christianity. But then again, slavery actually did not ‘disappear’ entirely; it rather changed its skin—it was replaced by serfdom, which was in fact a more efficient and more progressive mode of coerced production (Davis 1966, 37).12 Finally, the timeline of the emergence of capitalism neither theoretically nor empirically followed the deterministic Marxian logic. The transition of human societies from slavery to serfdom to capitalism to socialism/communism nowhere in the world has been a linear process as Marx and Marxian scholars have envisioned. As discussed in Chapter 1, the world history rather suggests that the same society can experience several societal formations/ stages simultaneously at the same point of time and socio-economic development.13 Moreover, the twentieth century has shown that societies can jump to the bandwagon of socialism from serfdom or agrarian societal formation, and then move back to capitalism after decades of socialist experiments. Also, as Szelenyi (1981) has shown, different historical experiences of urbanization in Western and Eastern Europe led to different destinations— while decentralized Anglo-Saxon pathways led to capitalism in Western Europe, the centralized ‘Prussian’ pathways led to socialism in Eastern Europe. Rostow (1960) also has shown that Western Europe experienced several waves of ‘industrial revolution’ prior to the ‘Industrial Revolution’ that occurred between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.14 Meanwhile, some institutionalist economists, such as North and Thomas (1971), have viewed the pre-industrial European serfdom as an efficient institution for the medieval economies as it provided a voluntary contract between peasants who provided labor services to lords in exchange of protection and justice. They maintain that given the existing ratio between labor and land, the contract was efficient, but when the ratio changed, serfdom stopped being efficient and disappeared. Supplementing the position, Fenoaltea (1975) also argues that serfdom was efficient because increased output was obtained by imposing superior techniques and innovations as well as efficient labor monitoring. But critics of the institutionalist arguments point out that the benefits of protection, as well as innovations and better management of estates, would have been impossible without the coercive power that the landlords had exerted. They argue that serfdom had actually distorted markets for labor, land, capital and product markets. For example, serfdom distorted labor market by entitling landlords to levy coerced labor, compelling serfs to work at below-­ market wages, preventing serfs from migrating freely, and forcing them to migrate against their will.

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Serfdom distorted land markets by prohibiting farm divisions, intervening in inheritance, preventing land sales, ejecting farmers from holdings, and refusing to enforce contracts. Serfdom distorted capital markets by empowering landlords to override private credit agreements, refusing to enforce debt contracts, and destabilizing property rights. Finally, serfdom distorted product markets by licensing monopolies and monopsonies, obliging serfs to offer output to overlords at below-market prices, and forcing serfs to purchase demesne output at above-market prices (Ogilive 2007).

D  Concluding remarks The Western European variant of serfdom, which revived the ancient Spartan slavery by shredding some of the harsher characteristics of slavery, f lourished throughout the medieval period providing a classic model of feudalism characterized by a weak central authority, parcelization of central authority, hierarchical relationship between lords (patrons) and vassals (clients), and a servile peasantry. At a more mature stage, it manifested itself in a manorialism/seignorialism entailing the conditions of debt bondage, indentured servitude, or outright servitude of peasants, and came to dominate the economic and political superstructures of entire Western Europe. Although the authority of the lords was well protected by states/monarchs, serfs under the serfdom were neither slaves nor personal possessions of lords, and hardly were they sold apart from their land. They had de facto control over the land they tilled and were capable of resisting seigniorial pressures under a diffused and variegated socio-economic system where diverse social groups had overlapping politico-legal rights and powers under vertically dispersed state structures. The serfdom originated and demised voluntarily and had succeeded in creating the foundations for transition to capitalism by gradually harnessing forces of monetization, commercialization, manufacturing, urbanization, and wage-labor.

Notes 1 As discussed in Chapter 2, the ancient Greek civilization had two models of slavery: while the Athenian slaves were owned by their masters as personal property and mostly served as domestic servants, the Spartans had a slavery system under which slaves lived on their own hereditary land while they toiled for their masters in the fields, resembling what later came down as serfdom in Western Europe. 2 Most of the latifundium slaves were however prisoners. Between 200 and 150 BC, the Romans imported an estimated 250,000 Greek prisoners of war and deployed most of them in these latifundias. Some of the skilled Greek slaves found their way into the urban households and served as domestic servants or tutors, while others were employed in industry, particularly in shipyards and weapon factories. The Roman latifundium served as prototype for feudal systems that prevailed in different parts of the world in later centuries. 3 German historian Heinrich Brunner in 1887 argued that the economic and social order of the middle ages—the feudal order—was unthinkable without the

The West European serfdom  103 intervention of the Saracen expansion and the destruction of the Mediterranean unity, and thus, the prime cause for the emergence of feudalism in Western Europe must be the Koran (Herlihy 1970, xxiv). 4 Serfdom was however never a universal condition of the peasantry throughout Western Europe—it was insignificant in Scandinavia and the Iberian Peninsula, with the exception of Catalonia. Even in England, where serfdom was most dominant, free peasants made up 50–60 percent of the rural population during the high middle ages. For greater details, see Sreenivasan, https://www.­ encyclopedia.com/history/modern-europe/heraldry-knighthood-and-chivalry/ serfdom. pp. 375–377. Accessed on March 7, 2020. 5 McNeill (1982) attributes the unprecedented ‘disease pool’ to trade that brought Chinese peasants, central Asian pastoralists, and European artisans increasingly close to “breathing the same air … providing a fertile conjuncture for the bacillus that carried the Plague from Southeast Asia to Europe in 1348.” The plague cost around 25 million European lives, wiping out one-third of the continent’s population in three years. Interestingly, at the time of writing this chapter, the world has been undergoing another great pandemic—called COVID-19, and it also originated from China and it led to almost complete shutdown of global economy, in addition to killing several million people over 100 counties. 6 Bailey (2014) maintains that the terms upon which villeins held land soon became much more monetized and commercialized in the post-Black Death period during 1350–1380, and thus serfdom died away slowly, without needing elimination after 1400. 7 Some pockets of serfdoms, however, still survived in some parts of Western Europe. For example, serfdom still continued in the eastern regions of France, such as Burgundy, which was abolished by the French revolutionaries in 1789. Similarly, serfdom still continued in the German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of it collapsed because of the Peasants’ War of 1524–1526, and the rest was abolished by German states between 1789 and 1848. For greater details, see Herlihy (1970), Anderson (1974), and Nichtweiss and Seward (1979). 8 To Marx (1848/1961), human development began with a primitive, poor, and unproductive communism; then came slavery under which land belonged to rich, and slave-masters accumulated wealth at the cost of human degradation. Then came the feudal society under which land belonged to lords, and labor was delivered by serfs—peasants tied to the land while they toiled for the masters. The next stage is capitalism in which bourgeoisie control the industries, and labor is provided by the wage-labor, the proletariat. The society then moves to a transitional stage of socialism when means of production come under the control of the proletariat, and finally it moves to the final triumphant stage of communism where all means and forces of production are controlled commonly by people in a classless society. 9 As explained before, Marx’s ‘economic methods’ involved lords exacting economic benefits from serfs’ hard labor on the demesne, and ‘extra-economic methods’ involved extracting serf labor from unpaid additional services, such as construction of roads and castles, tending herds, and domestic services. 10 See Lachmann (1989) for an excellent exploration of the debate. 11 Wallerstein (1974, 36) has also viewed feudalism as production for use, but has been critical of the market approach espoused by Sweezy. For Wallerstein, bourgeois classes emerge where and when the technical means of production, communication, and transportation allow that class to take advantage of differences between the costs of production in one region and the price of goods in other areas of the world market. Thus, the timing of technological innovation determines the moment of initial capitalist development. For him, slaves and serfs, and slave-owners and feudal lords, become parts of a capitalist system of production

104  The world of serfdoms merely by taking their place at the bottom of commodity chains that end in mercantile cities. 12 Neither Marx nor Marxist writers have, however, explained the internal contradictions that led to the disappearance of slavery, which prompted M. Bober (1965) to ask: “What are the productive forces liberated by slavery that unavoidably create a higher order? Does a slave mode of production inevitably produce circumstances which must result in feudalism?” 13 Wallerstein (1974) has also argued that capitalists can profit from exchange with non-capitalist systems, for example, by exploiting slaves in Africa or in the Americas, or through buying the products of serf labor in Eastern Europe. Thus, in Wallerstein’s model, slaves and serfs, and slave-owners and feudal lords, all can become parts of a capitalist system of production at the same time. 14 Rostow (1960) stipulated that industrialization swept through Western countries between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—the United Kingdom achieved industrialization during 1783–1802, France during 1830–1860, Belgium during 1833–1860, the United States during 1843–1860, Germany during 1850–1873, and Sweden during 1868–1890.

References Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Bailey, M. (2014). The Decline of Serfdom in Late Medieval England: From Bondage to Freedom. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Bloch, M. (1961). Feudal Society. Translated by L. Manyon. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Brenner, R. (1976). Agrarian class structure and economic development in pre-­ industrial Europe. Past Present, 70: 30–75. Brenner, R. (1982). The agrarian roots of European capitalism. Past Present, 97: 16–113. Bush, M. (Ed.). (1996). Serfdom and Slavery Studies in Legal Bondage. New York: Routledge. Coulborn. R. (Ed.). (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Davis, D. (1966). The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press. Davis, H. (1911). Medieval Europe. London: Oxford, University Press. Dobb, M. (1947). Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York: International Publishers. Duby, G. (1974). The Early Growth of the European Economy: Warriors and Peasants from the Seventh to the Twelfth Century. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press. Fenoaltea, S. (1975). Authority, efficiency, and agricultural organization in medieval England and beyond. Journal of Economic History, 35: 693–718. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton. Gimpel, J. (1976). Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages. New York: Penguin. Hall, R. (1997). Moral authority as a power resource. International Organization, 51: 547–562. Herlihy, D. (Ed.). (1970). History of Feudalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hilton, R. (Ed.). (1978). Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London: Verso.

The West European serfdom  105 Hobsbawm, E. (1954/1965). The crisis of the seventeenth century. In T. Aston (ed.), Crisis in Europe, 1560–1660. London: Routledge. Holton, R. (1984). Cities and the transitions to capitalism and socialism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 8(1): 13–38. Hunt, T. (1978). The rise of feudalism in Eastern Europe: A critical appraisal of the wallerstein “World System,” Science & Society, 42(1): 43–61. Kolchin, P. (1997). Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Lachmann, R. (1987). From Manor to Market: Structural Change in England, 1536–1640. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Lachmann, R. (1989). Origins of capitalism in Western Europe: Economic and political aspects. Annual Review of Sociology, 15: 47–72. Lefebvre, G. (1976). Some observations. In R. Hilton (ed.), Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (pp. 122–127). London: New Left Books. Lyon, B. (1965). The Middle Ages in Recent Historical Thought: Selected Topics. Washington (DC): Service Center for Teachers of History. Macfarlane, A. (1978). The Origins of English Individualism. New York: Cambridge University Press. Marx, K. and Engels, F. (1848/1961). Collected Works. Vol. 3. New York: International Publishers. McNeill, W. (1982). The Pursuit of Power. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Merrington, J. (1978). Town and county in the transition to capitalism. In R. Hilton (ed.), Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (pp. 170–195). London: Verso. Moore, J. (2003). Nature and the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Review (Fernand Braudel Center of SUNY). Nichtweiss, J., and Seward, G. (1979). The second serfdom and the so-called “Prussian way”: The development of capitalism in Eastern German agricultural institutions. Review (Fernand Braudel Center), 3(1): 99–140. North, D., and Thomas, R. (1971). The rise and fall of the manorial system. Journal of Economic History, 31: 777–803. Ogilive, S. (2007). Whatever is, is right? Economic institutions in pre-industrial Europe. Economic History Review, 60(4): 649–684. Pickvance, C. (1976). Introduction: Historical materialist approaches to sociology. In C. Pickvance (ed.), Urban Sociology: Critical Essays. London: Tavistock. Pirenne, H. (1914). Stages in the social history of capitalism. American Historical Review, 19: 494–515. Pirenne, H. (1936/1956). Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe. New York: Harcourt Brace. Postan, M. (1929/1972). Medieval Economy and Society. New York: Pelican. Pratt, M. (2013). Historiography of medieval peasants: From a nameless mass to a thriving community. Tenor of Our Times, 2(7): 36–47. Rostovtzeff, M. (1926). Problem of the origin of serfdom in the Roman Empire. Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics, 2(2): 198–207. Rostow, W. (1960). Stages of Economic Development—A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Saunders, P. (1981). Social Theory and Urban Question. London: Hutchinson. Sweezy, P. (1950/1976). A critique. In R. Hilton (ed.), Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (pp. 35–56). London: New Left Books. Szelenyi. I. (1981). Urban development and regional management in Eastern Europe. Theory and Society, 10: 169–206.

106  The world of serfdoms Teschke, B. (1998). Geopolitical relations in the European middle ages: History and theory. International Organization, 52(2): 325–358. Vogt, J. (1975). Ancient Slavery and the Ideal of Man. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The Modern World-System, I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press. Weber, M. (1968). Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Vol. 3. Edited by G. Roth and C. Wittich. New York: Bedminster Press. Williams, R. (1973). The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press.

6 The East European serfdom

This chapter examines serfdom in the context of Eastern Europe which generally refers to the area from the Elbe to the Don River, covering Austro-­Hungary, East Elbian Germany, Poland, Prussia, the Baltic States, as  well as Russia.1 Eastern Europe came to embrace serfdom, often called the ‘second serfdom,’ in the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries, at a time when the Western European serfdom was in decline. Although some variants of serfdom existed in some parts of Eastern Europe even in the twelfth century, it was around this time that Eastern European peasants began to witness increasing pressures on their obligations to landlords as well as their freedom of mobility (Trethewey 1974). A crucial economic motivation behind the East European serfdom had been the historically low land-labor ratio in the region; as too few peasants were scattered over too vast a space, landed classes sought to arrest peasant mobility and bind laborers to their estates (Dobb 1947). Even as late as in 1600, population density in Eastern Europe ranged between three and seven persons per square kilometer, which was equivalent to a land-labor ratio ten times higher than that of Western Europe (Hunt 1978). 2 Another key factor that caused the spread of serfdom throughout Eastern Europe had been sharply rising prices of agricultural commodities in Western Europe following the Black Death and plagues that wiped out millions of lives and forced innumerous farmers to desert their manors and seigneurs, which in turn, caused severe decline in agricultural output. Eastern European land-owners responded to the rising price of cereals in neighboring Western Europe by eliminating peasants’ rights to leave the estate and by expanding their modest familial manor farms into large-scale dominical farms for production of exportable surpluses.3 The chapter is organized as follows: the next section sheds light on the evolution of serfdom in Eastern Europe; Section three focuses on its nature and characteristics; Section four examines its consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-6

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A  Evolution and development Studies attribute the phenomenal rise of manorial powers to subjugate peasants and systematically reduce them to tenant serfs throughout the sixteenth century, at a time when serfdom was in retreat in Western Europe, to two fundamental factors: First, lack of urbanization and weaker village organization in the lands east of the Elbe afforded little escape opportunities to the peasants, and relatively weak village communities were unable to resist growing seignorial pressures to eliminate their rights to leave the estates (Anderson 1974); and second, lacking opportunities in less labor-intensive forms of agriculture such as wool production as in Western Europe, Eastern European landlords had extra incentive to subjugate farmers as concentration on lucrative cereal production presented to be a better economic course for utilization of their vast manorial reserves (Trethewey 1974). The evolution of Eastern European serfdom however has attracted some controversies. One strand of thought, known as the Pirenne thesis,4 has interpreted the commutation of seigneurial exploitation in Western Europe and the concurrent implantation of serfdom in Eastern Europe as a direct result of growing ‘ecumenical link’—geographical interpenetration—between the two disparate European zones which resulted in transformation of the eastern zone’s manorial agriculture into ‘plantation capitalism’ (Hunt 1978). Another strand of thought, championed by the World System theorist Wallerstein (1974, 87–91), on the other hand, emphasizes the ‘capitalist origin’ of Eastern European serfdom by arguing that the sixteenth-century boom in the Baltic grain trade encouraged the rise of wage-labor, trade, and commerce in Western Europe caused disintegration of feudal mode of production in that zone while pulling the peripheral economies of Eastern Europe into the new world-order in a colonial fashion. Thus, both serfdom and wage-labor developed simultaneously in the two zones of Europe: while coerced cash-crop labor was conducive for the eastern zone, wage-labor was appropriate for the western zone. Wallerstein’s core-periphery thesis in the context of sixteenth-century Europe however met some serious challenges from others. Hunt (1978), for example, argues that external inf luence, such as the Baltic grain trade, had exerted only a secondary effect on the rise of Eastern European serfdom, where serfdom rather originated and matured by historical events that created instability in the existing mode of production within the zone itself. Second, despite its relative abundance, it was land, not labor, which served as the primary tool in creating the service gentry and the concomitant social relationships in Eastern Europe. Third, the expansionist policies were common in Eastern Europe even during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when Russian territories multiplied 12 times and Prussia quadrupled its size, and such expansions were not driven by capitalist mode of production. Fourth, commerce alone did not serve as the prime mover of Eastern European serfdom, but it was rather based on social

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and technical relations of production which required extra-economic coercion that only a strong central authority with repressive state militias could impose. Finally, Wallerstein’s argument that trade was the main reason for the integration of Eastern Europe into world capitalist system is not supported by facts—even Poland, the most successful country in grain exports in the sixteenth century, hardly exported more than ten percent of its grains. Hunt’s argument that Eastern Europe’s serfdom originated and matured by historical events from within, not from outside, has also been echoed by several other scholars. Anderson (1974, 233–234), for example, argues that in Eastern Europe, clan aristocracies progressively individualized and consolidated property rights by acquiring larger landholdings and by grouping their followers into armed retinues which eventually formed the nucleus of a ruling class. The beginning of such processes can even be traced to the tenth century when Byzantine and Scandinavian inf luences helped in consolidation of such political structures and paved the way toward establishment of a cohesive seigneurial nobility by enserfing peasantries and tying them to land. Trethewey (1974) also traced the practices of encroaching upon the freedom and mobility of Eastern European peasants to the twelfth century, way before the Baltic trade of the sixteenth century that Wallerstein has referred to. Similarly, Blum (1957, 814–815) also argues that after initial dynastic rivalries and seigneurial localism, local aristocracies in Eastern Europe had steadily extended their provincial estates leading to a peasant tenancy increasingly controlled through debt bondage. Dependent peasant-tenants and penal slaves then gradually converged into a mass of unfree laborers under seigneurial jurisdiction. In the thirteenth century, sovereigns and seigneurs welcomed German settlers in their midst in order to increase the population and gain from their superior knowledge of economic development. Although German settlers received greater freedom from princely and seigneurial burdens, the basic character of Eastern European serfdom had not changed.

B  Nature and characteristics In contrast to Western Europe where serfdom spread due to voluntary contract between peasants and individual overlords, in Eastern Europe serfdom resulted from a series of governmental decrees issued during the prolonged period between the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries, which forbade peasants from leaving the jurisdiction or territory of their landlords and increasingly inf licted servitude onto them (Hunt 1978, 55).5 In addition, these decrees also often granted landlords legal, juridical, administrative, and police powers over peasants, and allowed them to serve as tax collectors, judges, and policemen in their territories on behalf of the state. Anderson (1974) describes such authorities as the ‘private sovereignty’ of the lord of the manor, as the progressive integration of political and economic relations down the feudal pyramids based on multiple, divided, or ‘parcelized’ sovereignties.

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Often dubbed as the ‘second serfdom,’ the East European serfdom emerged as a well-established institution of coerced labor throughout the region by the seventeenth century. By then, millions of peasants were legally relegated to the status of serfs and tied to the soil and to the lord. Serfs were obligated to provide corvees and/or labor services to their lords, and their mobility and out-marriage were restricted. Eastern Europe however had two broad types of serfdom: tenurial serfdom and personal serfdom—the former form was predominant in the Austrian Habsburgs and Prussian Hohenzollerns areas where serfs were tied to lands, not to lords, and thus enjoyed greater freedom, while the later form was dominant in Poland, Hungary, and Russia where serfs were held as private property of landlords. Those serfs who lived on church and state lands however enjoyed greater freedom, no matter whether they lived on tenurial or personal serfdoms. Studies suggest that landlords in Eastern Europe constituted just about one percent of the population, while most estates had several hundred peasants, and some big estates, especially in Poland, Hungary, and Russia, owned several hundred thousand serfs. With the exceptions of the Baltic regions and Polish-Ukrainian estates, most serfs and serf-masters shared the same ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Most East European serfs, unlike the majority of the peasantry of Western Europe, lived in settlements known as communes. While some of those communes were on the lands that belonged to the peasants themselves, majority of the communes were settled on the lands that belonged either to landlords, the church, or the state. Peasant-tenants who resided on landlords’ lands (manors) were free to move on their will, and they either worked in the landlords’ fields or paid annual fees, while landlords provided peasant-tenants with certain legal and military protections. In some parts of Eastern Europe however serfs could be bought and sold at the will of their landlords, and could even be mortgaged or given as gifts (Gorshkov 2020; Sreenivasan 2020). By the late eighteenth century however scores of laws were enacted to protect peasants from personal insult and unreasonable corporal punishments. The Polish law of 1768, for example, provided death penalty for landlords who deliberately caused the death of serfs. Russian laws enacted during 1827– 1848 progressively limited the power of the landlords over peasants engaged in licensed commercial and business enterprises. Also, during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762–1796), about 20 landowners were tried for causing the deaths of their serfs and some of them were exiled to Siberia. Similarly, in Prussia and the Austrian Habsburg, seignorial jurisdiction was significantly reduced during the eighteenth century as peasants were allowed to appeal to the crown against landlord abuses (Blum 1957). Overall, the East European serfdom has widely been viewed as more oppressive than its Western European counterpart. Among others, on top of

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rents in cash or kind, under East European serfdom, the labor services demanded of peasants were severe. Often peasants had to work three to six days per week for the landlords who considered such services essential for the very functioning of the demesne farms geared to sale of surplus agricultural products to West European markets (Szołtysek 2008). Also, East European serfs were generally denied of the rights of appeal against landlords to public courts, and in large parts of Eastern Europe, such as Russia and Poland, serfs were often treated as chattels and could be sold apart from their land. Marx and Engels (1979, 236) even compared Eastern European serfs to slave-labor: “…the civilized horrors of overwork are grafted on the barbaric horrors of slavery … [that drew slave-labor into the] …whirlpool of an international market dominated by the capitalistic mode of production.”

C  Decline and consequences As mentioned above, some accounts suggest that serfdom had existed in some parts of Eastern Europe since the tenth century. But it definitely evolved as a predominant legal institution in the region during the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, when greater and greater pressures were mounted on the peasantry in the form of their obligations to landlords and restrictions on their freedom of mobility. Such a dramatic expansion of the powers of landlords over the peasants was largely driven by the economic forces—mainly by the ‘price revolution’ in agricultural commodity during the sixteenth century that led to the emergence of cereal exports as the driving force of the region. However, politics of the state authorities, which favored bolstering of landowning nobility’s power at the expense of peasants’ rights, also played a significant role (Szołtysek 2008). The Eastern European serfdom that eventually emerged was however not a monolithic institution, its modus operandi rather demonstrated strong regional variations depending on geography, ecology, and climate. The eventual demise of the institution thus also differed sharply from one state to another. But just as serfdom was established in the region by state decrees, it was abolished by state decrees as well. Prussia abolished serfdom in 1807 by a royal edict, and the same year Napoleon Bonaparte emancipated the serfs of Poland. Imperial Russia freed the serfs on the Baltic States during 1816–1819, and in its own territory in 1861 following the Crimean War (1853–1856). The Austrian Empire granted freedom to its serfs following the revolutions of 1848–1849. Hungary abolished serfdom in 1853, and Romania freed its serfs in 1864. Thus, centuries of serfdom in entire Europe came to an end prior to the emancipation of African slaves in the United States in 1865.6 One of the most striking consequences of the Eastern European serfdom has been that while serfdom catapulted Western Europe to capitalism, it

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drove Eastern Europe to the opposite direction—it ended up with socialism. The underlying forces and factors that propelled Eastern Europe’s transition from serfdom to socialism will remain a major focus of research for centuries to come, but available research suggests that, among others, stunted growth of urban centers, lack of autonomous cities, lack of economic and cultural dynamism of the societies, domination of autarkic markets, and centralized states dominated by politico-military-manorial alliances played instrumental roles. Szelenyi (1981) on the other hand, extolls historical experiences of urbanization in Western and Eastern Europe to their respective transition to capitalism and socialism by arguing that while the autonomous occidental cities led to capitalist development in Western Europe, lack of urbanization or a restricted urban sector led to a decisive thrust toward socialism in Eastern Europe. East Europe’s lack of urbanization can be gauged from the fact that by the end of the nineteenth century, Russia had only four percent of its population in urban setting, compared with 20–25 percent in Western and Central Europe, and upward 50 percent in England. Szelenyi attributes East Europe’s transition to socialism squarely to such under-urbanization—to him, lack of urbanization of the regions east of the Elbe provided the ‘organic connection’ toward the transition to socialism as these regions failed to develop the economic and cultural dynamism and autonomy of occidental cities. Weber (1978) also viewed that urban centers provide politicoadministrative centers with developed autonomous institutions of governance with legal and taxation systems, market rights, and autonomous urban economic policies essential for the growth of capitalism. Eastern Europe not only had very low urban settlements compared with Western Europe, but the cities sprung up in the region also displayed ‘the Asiatic princely camp character,’ much like ‘a large oriental city of the time of Diocletian,’ where social change had to be directed from a centralized state, rather than from autonomous urban centers. Similarly, Anderson (1974) also interprets the growth of autonomous urbanization as the most crucial factor for West Europe’s transition to capitalism, and maintains that in addition to the lack of urbanization, there were also deep-seated historical contrasts between Western and Eastern Europe—while Western Europe inherited Roman law and the civil society conducive of capitalist culture, Eastern European societies, with their legacy of Asiatic state structures, urban centers controlled by emperors, kings and princes, and village communes, were more conducive of a socialist destiny. Wallerstein (1974, 36) however puts the emphasis on the emergence of a bourgeoisie class, and argues that while the transition of Western Europe to capitalism was facilitated by the emergence of a bourgeois class, in eastern zone, the technical means of production, communication, and transportation did not allow the emergence of such a class to take advantage of cost and price differences in the world market. Similarly, Hunt (1978) also argues that

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Eastern European feudalism was not dominated by ‘pure’ economic incentives; instead, the system was dominated by a mode of production based on extra-economic coercion, a repressive state, and a politico-military alliance, not by a market-oriented bourgeoisie class. Brenner (1976, 15), on the other hand, puts the blame of Eastern Europe’s inability to make a transition to capitalism squarely on the lack of wage-­labor. To him, as long as there is no large body of wage-workers, and as long as most men supply their needs from their own production or depend on the exchange in autarkic local markets, there would be little scope to generate capitalist profit, and thus little incentive to undertake mass production for markets. He argues that while absolutist states in Western Europe in the postplague stage helped in economic development and class formation, Eastern Europe failed to do so as powerful nobles/seigneurs in the region subordinated independent cities, starved monarchs of revenues, and attempted to conquer rivals’ territories to expand their incomes. Eastern Europe also remained backward in terms of innovation and diffusion of new technology. Although the so-called ‘second serfdom’ was triggered off by the prospects of gains from exports of agricultural commodities to Western European markets, most of Eastern Europe remained stuck with traditional slash-burn methods of clearance until the eighteenth century, and even in the nineteenth century, they employed wooden scratch plows for cultivation. As a result, even in the eighteenth century, the region could not reach the agricultural productivity of Western Europe in the sixteenth century. Worse still, when more intensive methods of cultivation were introduced by some aristocratic estates in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, they required more efficient labor than what the feudal mode of production could supply (Anderson 1974, 258–263; Hunt 1978, 58). Some studies also hold the ‘second serfdom’ responsible for stunted inter-­ generational human capital formation in Eastern Europe. Baten and Szołtysek (2014), for example, have shown that the levels of real wages and human capital in Poland and Russia were lower than those in Western Europe during the nineteenth century, indicating that serfdom took its tolls on economic changes and social transformations over the centuries. The study also point out that in the nineteenth century, literacy rates in Russia were four percent in 1800, 13 percent in 1850, and 30 percent in 1900, while in Western Europe, the rates were between 15 and 65 percent in the early modern period until around 1800. Remarkably, by making a transition to socialism from a backward agrarian feudal stage of economic development, East European societies also put Karl Marx upside down. As discussed above, in his schema of human development, Marx envisioned socialism as a successor, not as a precursor, of capitalism. Eastern European nations, as well as Russia, indeed proved Marx wrong again by moving back to capitalism by the end of the twentieth century, albeit after spending many decades under socialism. Eastern European

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societies, like many other parts of the world have also proved that not all societies move according to the Marxian deterministic dialectic logic.

D  Concluding remarks Eastern Europe’s serfdom, often called the ‘second serfdom,’ emerged during the fourteenth through the fifteenth centuries coinciding with the decline of serfdom in Western Europe. Extremely low land-labor ratio in the region, as well as so-called ‘price revolution’ in agricultural commodity in the sixteenth century Western Europe, played instrumental roles in its evolution and expansion. But unlike its counterpart in Western Europe, the East European serfdom evolved through official decrees that granted landlords extraordinary powers while tying peasants to a parcel of land and restricting their mobility. Also, in contrast to Western European feudalism in which commercialization, urbanization, and market-oriented policies dominated, Eastern Europe’s feudalism was dominated by a mode of production based on extra-economic coercion, autarchic markets, centralized state machineries, politico-­m ilitarymanorial alliances, and stunted growth of urban centers and autonomous cities. Eventually, lack of economic and cultural dynamism, lack of urbanization and commercialization, lack of a bourgeoisie class and wage-workers, and lack of innovation and technological development kept Eastern Europe backward, and eventually paved the way to its transition to socialism.

Notes 1 Among the East European countries, serfdom arguably played the most consequential role in Imperial Russia. Thus, the Russian episode of serfdom has been covered separately in Chapter 7. 2 Domar (1970), who examined the economics of serfdom extensively, has also reached the same conclusion: extremely high land-labor ratio had served as the most critical factor for the emergence of serfdom in Eastern Europe. 3 This issue has received widespread intellectual inquiry. Some of the dependable resources include: Baten and Szołtysek (2014), Cerman (2008), Hagen (1998), Kula (1976), Millward (1982), Mironov (1999), and Szołtysek (2008). 4 Named after Belgian historian Henri Pirenne (1914) to whom capitalism stood for individual enterprise, advances on credit, commercial profit, and speculation aimed primarily at the exchange of commodities for profit through trade, rather than the social relations of production constituted by wage-labor. 5 The decrees came in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) in 1487, in Poland in 1496, in Hungary in 1514, in Prussia in 1526, in Brandenburg (in present-day Germany) in 1528, in Austria in 1539, in Pomerania (in present-day Poland and Germany) in 1616, in Imperial Russia in 1649, and in Mecklenburg (in present-­ day Germany) in 1654. For greater details on such decrees and their ramifications on peasants and landlords, see Anderson (1974), Gorshkov (2020), and Sreenivasan (2020). 6 The abolition of serfdom however did not come automatically. The forces that led to the abolition will be explained in greater details in Chapter 7 in the context of Russian serfdom.

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References Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Baten, J., and Szołtysek, M. (2014). A golden age before serfdom? The human capital of Central-Eastern and Eastern Europe in the 17th–19th centuries. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) Working Paper 2014–008. Germany. Brenner, R. (1976). Agrarian class structure and economic development in pre-­ industrial Europe. Past Present, 70:30–75. Blum, J. (1957). The rise of serfdom in Eastern Europe. American Historical Review, 62(4): 807–836. Cerman, M. (2012). Villagers and Lords in Eastern Europe, 1300–1800. Basingstoke: Palgrave-McMillan. Dennison, T., and Ogilvie, S. (2007). Serfdom and social capital in Bohemia and Russia. Economic History Review, 60(3): 513–544. Dobb, M. (1947). Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York: International Publishers. Domar, E. (1970). The causes of slavery and serfdom: A hypothesis’. Journal of Economic History, 30: 18–32. Gorshkov, B. (2020). Serfdom: Eastern Europe. https://www.encyclopedia.com/ international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/serfdom-easterneurope. Hunt, T. (1978). The rise of feudalism in Eastern Europe: A critical appraisal of the Wallerstein “World System.” Science & Society, 42(1): 43–61. Kula, W. (1962/1976). An Economic Theory of the Feudal System: Towards a Model of the Polish Economy 1500–1800. Translated by L. Garner. London: Verso. Lachmann, R. (1989). Origins of capitalism in Western Europe: Economic and political aspects. Annual Review of Sociology, 15(1989): 47–72. Marx, K., and Engels, F. (1979). Pre-Capitalist Socio-Economic Formations. New York: International Publishers. Mironov, B. (1999). A Social History of Imperial Russia, 1700–1917. Boulder (CO): Westview Press. Pirenne, H. (1914). Stages in the social history of capitalism. American Historical Review, 19: 494–515. Sreenivasan, G. (2020). Europe 1450 to 1789. https://www.encyclopedia.com/ history/modern-europe/heraldry-knighthood-and-chivalry/serfdom. Szelenyi. I. (1981). Urban development and regional management in Eastern Europe. Theory and Society, 10: 169–206. Szołtysek, M. (2008). Three kinds of preindustrial household formation system in historical Eastern Europe: A challenge to spatial patterns of the European family. The History of the Family, 13(3): 223–257. Trethewey, R. (1974). Establishment of serfdom in Eastern Europe and Russia. American Economist, 18(1): 36–41. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The Modern World-System, I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press. Weber, M. (1978). Economy and Society—An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Berkeley (CA): University of California Press.

7 The Russian serfdom

Most historians—Russian as well as Western—agree that slavery and other forms of servile labor had existed in Eastern Europe, including Russia, since the time immemorial.1 But some scholars, such as Buschen (1861), contend that Russians were always free before the advent of serfdom. Buschen claims that from the time of the foundation of the Roman Empire until the sixteenth century, every Russian native was a free man—no matter he dwelt on his own property or that of another—and Russians were thus ahead of Western Europe in terms of personal freedom. Gorshkov (2020) also maintains that even in the sixteenth century, most East European peasants, unlike the majority of the peasantry of Western Europe, lived on the land in settlements known as communes. Although majority of the communes were settled on the lands that belonged to landlords, the church, or the state, peasant-tenants were free to move on their will. Jerome Blum (1968, 4–52), a leading Western scholar on Russian serfdom, also asserts that the largest amount of Russian land were under the control of independent peasant communities since the Kievian era of the eighth and ninth centuries, and no evidence suggests that the smerdy— the tenants and hired laborers of private proprietors—had lost their personal freedom during that period. Blum however acknowledges that some groups of Russian rural labor were slaves, indentured labors, or bonded labors as well, and Russians themselves owned many such workers as chattel slaves and exported many of them to Byzantine and other eastern buyers, while some Jewish merchants of Southern Germany also imported Russian bondsmen for resale to Western Europe. Kolchin (1997, 2–3), a Russian scholar, also maintains that before the emergence of serfdom, there existed a significant group of unfree workers in Russia, known as kholopy (slaves), but they were actually servants. Like the rest of Eastern Europe, Russia also historically suffered from chronic labor shortages, too much land and too few people to tilt it—but the disproportion of population to geographic size was more acute in Russia than in other East European countries (Domar 1970). Moreover, a vast geographic landmass of Russia also made it relatively easier for labor to flee to other areas. DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-7

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Russian monarchs made the labor shortage situation even worse by sending numerous convicts to exile—between 1500 and 1914, Russia sent more prisoners into exile than all the Western European nations combined (Eltis 2002). Russian monarchs thus had vested interests to embrace an institution like serfdom to restrict peasant mobility. Most scholars agree that the institution of serfdom (krepostnoe parvo) emerged in Russia in the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries as successive Russian monarchs replaced old feudal aristocracy as well as free peasant-­ holders by a new landholding class known as nobles (pomeshchikis). The earliest such decree that restricted peasants’ mobility and rewarded noble servitors who backed the state power can be traced back to 1455 when nobles received powers to collect taxes from peasants. Initially, such restrictions were limited to monasteries, and then gradually broadened to include the entire peasantry by the sixteenth century (Trethewey 1974). By the first decade of the seventeenth century, peasants’ mobility was completely prohibited, and by the first half of the eighteenth century, the institution of serfdom was firmly in place (Stanziani 2014, 101–127). Even in the mid-eighteenth century when Western Europe abandoned serfdom completely, about 50 percent of Russian peasants toiled for serf-masters (Buggle and Nafziger 2016). Serfdom thrived for 400 years as a defining characteristic of Russia’s socio-economic and political superstructure until its abolition in 1861 by Tsar Alexander II (1855–1881). The next section explores the evolution and development of Russian serfdom; Section three sheds light on its nature and characteristics; Section four explains its demise and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Serfdom evolved in Russia gradually and indigenously over the course of several hundred years, but two major factors critically shaped its growth and development: First, a political will of the Russian monarchs to replace traditional feudal aristocracy with a well-defined class of landholding and serf-owning class of civil and military bureaucrats who would stanchly serve the interests of the Russian state; and second, an economic imperative—given extremely high land-labor ratio in the country, Russian monarchs sought to restrict the mobility of peasants to provide an institutional mechanism of exploiting captive servile labor by placing them at the disposal of nobles in exchange of their loyalty to the monarchy. During the 400-year-long history of this institution, since it was founded by Peter I (1689–1725), this two-prong strategy—tying peasants to a parcel of land, and making serf-masters serve the monarchs—had been the guiding principle of Russian serfdom. As a result, the progression of Russian serfdom was shaped by the state decrees that continually restricted peasants’ mobility and strengthened serf-owners of power.

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Restrictions on peasant mobility Russian peasants came under the jurisdiction of landlords for the first time in 1455, when the state entrusted landlords with the authority to collect taxes from them. As Table 7.1 indicates, the restriction was reinforced Table 7.1  S tages in the enserfing of Russian peasants, 1497–1649 Legislative Code For the first time, a general provision was adopted decreeing (1497) that peasants could move only during a two-week period— between one week before and one week after the autumn St. George’s Day (26 November)—when harvest was in and peasant migration would be least disruptive. The code also introduced exit fees for migrant peasants. Legislative Code The code reiterated the principles of 1497 Code: as peasants (1550) continued to move, wealthy landlords hungry for labor often stole peasants by giving them loans and paying their exit fees. Still, peasants’ mobility remained curtailed, not abolished. The Period The centralization and expansion of the Russian state under between 1462 Muscovy state as the center of Russian Empire led to a and 1553 revolutionary change in the system of landholding, as Ivan III (1462–1505) and his successors rewarded noble subordinates (pomeshchikis) land grants and instructed peasants to obey their new landlords, cultivate their lands, and pay them grains and money obrok. Legislative Code Beginning in 1581, a succession of tsars issued decrees declaring (1581–1592) certain years as forbidden years during which peasants could not move legally, even during the two weeks that were previously decreed. The forbidden years were, however, temporary measures and applied to some specific areas only. Code (1592) By 1592, restrictions of mobility during the forbidden years extended throughout the country. By then, Russian authorities also began registering peasants with local cadasters to determine their proper residence and track down fugitives to return to their rightful masters. A five-year search period was established for hunting fugitives; however, those who eluded capture for more than five years were safe for the time being. Code (1597) By the 1597 edict, Russian monarchs compelled peasants to remain on the land on which they dwelt, and required any household willing to move to make a clearance payment. Code (1603) Russian authorities declared every year as a forbidden year, and firmly maintained and gradually strengthened the prohibition in peasant movement throughout the country. Code (1649) Serfdom was fully codified—five-year search period was abolished altogether; henceforth, serfs could not escape from their owners no matter how many years elapsed. The Code also prohibited the movement of peasants who resided on court and government lands and for tax-paying urban residents. Thus, all serfs, no matter under the authority of the individual or monastery, became bound to their residence as well as to their land-owners, and Russian serfdom increasingly resembled chattel slavery. Source: Author’s compilation from various sources.

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half-a-century later, in 1497, by a legislative code that restricted peasants’ mobility to a two-week period each year. Under the code, a week before and a week after the St. George’s Day (November 26) was earmarked for the mobility during this period was considered least disruptive for harvests. Peasants had to pay an ‘exit fee’ if they moved outside the estate in other periods of the year. Another legislative decree, which came half-a-century later, in 1550, sought to prevent labor-starved large landlords from enticing peasants from other estates by paying their exit fees and granting them loans. As peasants’ mobility outside of their estates still continued, beginning in 1581, a series of decrees issued declaring certain years as forbidden years during which peasants could not move out legally. Initially, the restriction was temporary and made applicable only to certain areas, but by 1592, such restrictions were effective throughout the country. By then, local authorities also began registering peasants to establish their proper residence and track fugitives to return to their rightful owners. A five-year search period was also instituted for hunting fugitive peasants—those fugitives who eluded capture for more than five years were however safe (Kolchin 1997, 2–9). Further consolidating restrictions on peasants’ mobility, a decree in 1597 compelled peasants to remain on the land on which they dwelt. Then following widespread f light of peasants during the famine (1601–1603), another decree in 1603 declared every year as a forbidden year for any mobility of peasants outside their estate. The year 1603 not only marks the beginning of the end of Russian peasants’ right to mobility, coincidentally it also marks the beginning of the Romanov Dynasty’s rue over the Russian Empire (Blum 1960, 254–255). The final nail in the coffin however came with a 1649 Law Code called Ulozhenie, which practically turned Russian peasants into hereditary subjects of serf-owners. The Ulozhenie embodied the first full codification of Russian serfdom—it abolished the search period for fugitives so that they could be forced to return to their masters no matter how many years elapsed since their escape, and prohibited mobility of peasants who lived on court and government lands. Thus, all Russians, except nobles and monarchs, came under the authority of individual monasteries on whose land they lived, tied to their residence as well as their land-owners, and since then, until its abolition, Russian serfdom increasingly resembled chattel slavery (Kolchin 1997, 10). Strengthening of nobility’s power It was Peter the Great (1689–1725) who forced nobles to serve either in civil or military capacity in exchange of land grants and other privileges associated with serving the Russian monarchs. Based on the Census of 1716–1722, which counted all persons settled in all estates, Peter the Great assigned

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peasants to specific nobles placing them under complete personal bondage of serf-owners. During the course of next 100 years, Russian peasants only sank deeper and deeper into bondage as the power of serf-owners was fortified further and further: in 1729, peasants were forbidden to take military service on their free will; in 1730, the rights of peasants to possess and inherit property in land was recalled; during 1734–1736, successive decrees granted serf-owners the power of holding the tenants absolutely to their command, permitted sale of serfs with or without land, and allowed nobles to punish fugitive serfs; and in 1760, serf-owners were allowed to send disgruntled serfs to Siberian mines. The power and privilege of the nobility climaxed further during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762–1796). In 1785, nobles were granted freedom from state service, exempted from all personal burdens and taxes, and granted the right of sole and uncontrolled possession of serfs. It is during her reign that peasants became hereditary and disposable property of nobles. These decrees effectively turned Russian peasants into chattels of their owners—the law of the land allowed them to be bought, sold, and bequeathed like any other property (Bartlett 2003).2

B  Nature and characteristics The relationships between serfs and serf-masters, as well as the interface between nobles and monarchs—had hardly been static or uniform. It rather differed widely from one state to another so much so that some even argued that Russian serfdom barely constituted just one system (Hoch 1996). Some of the factors that underpinned such dynamics include: (a) the state’s ­intrusion—either to confer citizen’s rights in a bid to annex an increased share of serfs’ surplus, or to take them away; (b) economic changes, such as extensions or contractions of demesne farming due to changes in population density; (c) pressures on landlords brought upon by other landlords to entice peasants from one estate or territory to another; and (d) pressures brought upon the nobles by the serfs (Mironov 1996). Serf and serf-masters Russian serfdom never encompassed the whole peasantry of the country—all peasants were not serfs either juridically or empirically. Considerable f lexibilities and variations characterized their compositions and alignments as well as modus operandi with serf-owners. Serfs toiled their lords’ land in exchange of paying rents, which they could pay in three different forms: (a) by performing labor obligations, known as barshchina, under which they cultivated seigneurial land as well as their own rented allotments; (b) by quitrent payments, called obrok), under which payments were made in grains and other products; and (c) in cash. All three forms coexisted for a long time, sometimes

The Russian serfdom  121

on the same estate, but obrok became common by the seventeenth century, and barshchina came to dominate by the early eighteenth century and eventually shaped the nature of Russian serfdom. There are various categories of serfs—they could belong to individual landlords (privately held peasants), monasteries (clerical peasants), or tsars and the state (state-peasants and court peasants). In 1678, out of a total of 4.8 million male population in Russia (including Ukraine and the Baltic region), 4.3 million (about 90 percent) were serfs, of which 53.5 percent were privately held peasants, 16.3 percent were clerical peasants, 9.3 percent were court peasants, and 20.9 percent were state-peasants (see Table 7.2). Russian serfdom generally spread into the regions that were most suitable for agricultural production, in the regions with good soil, relatively mild climate, and close proximity to expanding agricultural market in Moscow. As Table 7.2 indicates, regions like Siberia had virtually no privately held serfs, while in the North and northeast Russia about a quarter serfs were privately held. Some regions, such as non-black earth center, the Northwest and the West, had no state-peasants at all, but about two-thirds of their serfs were privately held. In some regions, privately held serfs outgrew other types of serfs. For example, in the East and southeast regions, the number of privately held serfs more than tripled between 1678 and 1719, while peasant population also increased during the same period. By the end of Peter the Great’s reign (1700–1721), state, clerical, and court peasants constituted the largest group of serfs with about two-thirds of Russia’s rural population. While privately held peasants—serfs-proper who cultivated the land of the nobles—constituted about one-third, onefifth were state-peasants (gosudarstvennye or kazennye), and about 15 percent Table 7.2  R  egional distribution of Russian peasant population by category, 1678 and 1719 (in %)

Non-black earth center Northwest West Black earth center East and southeast North and northeast Siberia Source: Kolchin (1997, 30).

Year

Privately Clerical Court Held Peasants Peasants Peasants

StatePeasants

1678 1719 1678 1719 1678 1719 1678 1719 1678 1719 1678 1719 1678 1719

62.6 67.8 62.7 62.3 64.1 78.3 62.3 62.2 44.3 65.7 22.4 20.7   0.0   3.4

  0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0 18.6 23.2 23.1   8.4 57.1 55.4 91.8 88.2

20.8 21.2 28.0 26.3   6.8   6.3   8.4   7.1 12.7 11.8 15.5 11.9   8.2   9.5

16.6 11.1   9.2 11.3 29.1 15.5 10.8   7.6 19.9 14.4   5.0 12.1   0.0   0.0

122  The world of serfdoms

were controlled by Orthodox Church. By 1858, however, the share of state-­ peasants climbed to almost 47 percent of all serfs as both Peter the Great and Catherine the Great secularized clerical property and converted all clerical serfs into state-serfs.3 Unlike serfs-proper, state-peasants could not be bought and sold, and they could enter into juridical relationships and become townsman upon fulfilment of certain conditions, and they could petition against state officials responsible for their administration. Catherine the Great even made them eligible for participation in her Legislative Commission. The monarchs, however, still had the right to conscript them for army, factories, or special projects. Records suggest that Russian serfs had reproduced themselves at a rate at least as high as the population at large. As Table 7.3 indicates, the serf population grew rapidly during the eighteenth century, but then slowed down during the first half of the nineteenth century and steadily declined during the second half of the nineteenth century. By 1858, serfs constituted about 39 percent of Russian population and became a minority even among the peasants. The decline in the serf population during 1762–1858 has been attributed to the increase in their mortality rates, greater exploitation, decline in levels of their material well-being, freedom of many serfs as many pomeshchikis no longer valued serf-labor as profitable as before, and transferring of serfs from land to domestic service for the fear of emancipation and taxation (Kolchin 1997, 166–167). During 1795–1858, the share of serfs-proper in Russian male population declined from 54 to 39 percent, while that of state-serfs increased from 36 to 44 percent (see Table 7.4). At the same time, overall share of serfs in Russian male population also declined from 90 to 83 percent. Still, by 1858, one in Table 7.3  C  ensus reports on Russian male population, peasants, and serfs, 1719–1858 Census Total (Year) Population 1719 1744 1762 1782 1795 1811 1815 1833 1851 1858

  7,292,417   8,600,954 10,593,546 13,686,691 18,168,574 20,232,352 20,911,493 25,492,967 27,990,685 28,935,190

Number of Peasants

Number of Serfs

Serfs as a Percent Serfs as Percent of Population of Peasants

  6,552,377   7,793,776   9,978,113 12,592,478 16,321,984 18,217,744 17,849,543 21,591,881 23,350,494 24,015,651

  3,258,722   4,348,873   5,611,531   6,714,331   9,787,802 10,455,986   9,987,997 11,447,203 11,384,312 11,338,042

48.4 50.6 53.0 49.1 53.9 51.7 47.8 44.9 40.7 39.2

53.9 55.8 56.2 53.3 60.0 57.4 56.0 53.0 48.8 47.2

Source: Based on Table 11 of Kolchin (1997, 166). Note: The number of serfs is for privately held serfs only, and thus excludes clerical and state peasants.

The Russian serfdom  123 Table 7.4  O  verall male population and the proportion of serfs in Russia, 1795 and 1858 1795

1858

Population Categories

No. Males

Percentage of Population

No. Males

Percentage of Population

Serfs State-peasants Total peasants Noblemen Other Total population Serfs/noblemen Peasants/noblemen

  9,787,802.0   6,534,182.0 16,321,984.0    362,574.0   1,484,016.0 18,168,574.0        27.0        45.0

53.9 36.0 89.8   2.0   8.2

11,338,042.0 12,677,609.0 24,015,651.0    463,968.0   4,455,571.0 28,935,190.0        24.4        51.8

39.2 43.8 83.0   1.6 15.4

Source: Based on Kolchin (1997, 52), Table 3.

four Russian males were privately held serfs who toiled for the land-owning class or nobles. Most of the Russian nobles were large serf-holders and they were mostly absentee landlords. Although less than four percent serf-owners owned more than 500 male serfs, they owned almost 45 percent of all serfs in Russia.4 In 1858, Russia had 24.4 male serfs per nobleman, whereas in the United States, there were 2.1 slaves per member of a slave-owning family in 1860.5 Average slave-owners in the US owned about ten slaves. The nobles were also a very small segment of Russian population—in 1782, there were 108,155 male noblemen in Russia, less than one percent of the country’s male population (Table 7.4).6 Although they shared the same ethnic background, Russian noblemen and peasants turned out to be as different from each other as white and black in the New World. Serfs came to constitute a distinct social class apart from the nobility, the clergy as well as free-peasants. Russian serfs generally faced substantive restrictions on their personal, family, and community relations, with powerful implications for their rights under the country’s civil, criminal, and property laws. Serf-owners exerted substantial authority over their marriage, education, and religious practices. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, serf-masters executed a wide range of corporal punishments against serfs for drunkenness, theft, disobedience, immorality, poor work, and nonpayment of dues, as well as for simply displeasing them (Kolchin 1997, 121). Most scholars agree that often Russian serfs were scarcely distinguishable from chattel slaves. A Russian scholar, Gerschenkron (1970, 93), even believed that the term ‘serfdom’ was inappropriate in the context of Russian serfs. To him, conditions of Russian serfs had long degenerated into outright

124  The world of serfdoms

slavery. Some American scholars also deemed the conditions of Russian serfs, especially in the late eighteenth century, hardly distinguishable from the chattel slavery of the US (Eltis 1993; Fogel 1989). Nobles and Monarchy The Muscovy state emerged as the center of far-f lung Russian Empire during the mid-fifteenth through the mid-sixteenth centuries. The area controlled by the state increased sevenfold between 1462 and 1533, and then doubled again by the end of the sixteenth century. Russian tsars, Ivan III (1462–1505) and his successors, achieved such a meteoric expansion of the state by rewarding nobles (pomeshchikis) with conditional land grants in exchange of their obligation to fight for them. The land grants also obligated peasants to cultivate the land and pay rents to nobles in cash or kind. In 1556, Ivan the Terrible (1547–1584) made it clear that serf-owners were actually landholding, rather than landowning, class, and they held tsar’s land on the condition of serving the tsars (Volin 1943). The Romanov Dynasty, which ruled the country for more than 300 years during 1613–1917—continued the same tradition, but in the seventeenth century, the conditional landholding (promest’ia) was merged with hereditary landholding (votchiny). In 1722, Peter I, in his Table of Ranks, declared nobles as a distinct class with well-defined privileges and duties. All children of nobles were also declared nobles, and division of landed property of the estates was restricted to noble children only. Nobles also had an obligation to serve as members of the service class. Peter the Great, in 1762 however divorced noble service obligations from landholding and made both hereditary/family and service holdings private property. As a result, service was rewarded by monetary salary and the gentry who served the state received direct compensation (Kolchin 1997, 39).7 Under the new system, called Bureaucratic Absolutism (1762–1774), the central authority of the state coopted the intermediate authorities based on loyalty, obedience, or ability. Each authority was made accountable to the next higher authority, and ultimately to the sovereign, and such formalized rules and procedures were made applicable throughout the governmental system. The reorganization affected about 50,000 noblemen who represented less than one percent of the Empire’s male population but accounted for 100 percent of the country’ military officers and middle- and upper-level civil servants who also played predominant roles in the country’s intellectual and cultural affairs ( Jones 1973, 3–38). Finally, the Charter to the Nobility, decreed in 1785, guaranteed property rights of land (and by implication, serfs) to nobles without requiring any service, and prestigious military service in officer ranks was reserved exclusively as a noble privilege. By 1800, the legal and institutional context of Russian serfdom, ‘the peculiar institution of Russia,’ was firmly in place (Buggle and Nafziger 2016), and the Russian noblemen came to constitute

The Russian serfdom  125

a peculiarly dualistic class—on the one hand, they were land-owning and serf-owning aristocracy; and on the other hand, they were government bureaucrats and military servitors whose fate was intertwined with that of the monarchs (Kolchin 1997, 169). Thus, there were no free men in Russia save the tsars—everyone bore obligations, peasants served nobles, and nobles, in turn, served tsars.8

C  Abolition of serfdom Russian serfdom, built on coercion and personal subjugation of the peasantry by nobles with staunch monarchical patronage, provided the foundational support for the Russian Empire’s spawning socio-economic and politico-­ military structures for several centuries. Apparently, the institution served all power centers of the country well: village élites and estate managers had a vested interest to collude with nobles and governmental authorities to maintain status quo; religious institutions had a vested interest to mobilize peasant allegiance in favor of the monarchy; nobles had a vested interests to prolong their extravagant lifestyles and serve as the power-base for the empire’s administrative and military elite; and the monarchs had little reason to rock the boat as the servile system provided crucial support for the Empire’s economic growth and military might. But then, the end came. One strand of thought believes the end came suddenly and mainly because of the crushing defeat of the Russian Empire in the Crimean War (1853–1856), which forced Tsar Alexander II (1818–1881) to abolish serfdom in 1861 fearing that the homecoming of a large number of peasant conscripts might pose impossible social dangers for the survival of the empire (Bartlett 2003). Another strand of thought, held mainly by Western scholars, argues that the end of hugely entrenched institution like Russian serfdom rather came gradually, through critical actions undertaken by three major groups of players: the tsars and the ruling elite, the peasantry, and the intellectuals (Blum 1968, 537–600). The discussion below highlights the key points of this strand of thought. Role of tsars Russian monarchs, up until the reign of Catherine the Great (1774–1796), showed little interest to rock the boat because serf-labor had been crucial for Russia’s agricultural and industrial expansions. More specifically, serfdom helped Russia to capture both domestic and international markets in agricultural commodities for several centuries. Moreover, serf-labor could be conscripted for labor-scarce areas and branches of industry, and thus, wage rates and costs of production could be held down to aid the empire’s mining and manufacturing activities (Wcisilo 1990). Among Russian monarchs, apparently Catherine the Great had expressed great concerns at the condition of serfs in her young age.9 During her reign,

126  The world of serfdoms

she encouraged lively debate in upper government circles on reforms aimed at limiting work required of serfs, restraining punishments meted out to serfs, prohibiting sale of serfs without land, and providing serfs with ownership of land. At the end however she not only refrained from carrying out such reforms but also made serfdom more oppressive than before (Kolchin 1997, 141). It was rather Catherine the Great’s successor Tsar Paul (1796–1801) who imposed the first positive restriction upon serf-owners by outlawing barshchina on Sundays and prohibiting the sale of serfs without land. Although both decrees were largely disobeyed, his orders served as a turning point in peasant–noble relations in the country. Then Alexander (1801–1817) in 1803 decreed the Free-Farmer Act allowing serfs to buy freedom and land directly from their owners as individuals or as a commune. The decree resulted in the freedom of large number of serfs—over 400,000 male serfs and their families in the Baltic provinces won their freedom (Blum 1968, 547).10 Then Tsar Nicholas I (1825–1855) appointed several secret committees to consider peasant reforms, but eventually preferred not to cripple the privileges of the nobility. Facing strong resistance from nobles and ruling elites, Nicholas famously stated that there was “no doubt that serfdom in its present situation in our country is an evil, palpable and obvious for all; but to attack it now would be something still more harmful” (cited in Bartlett 2003). But Nicholas’s constant obsession on peasant question made his successors and the ruling elites to realize that when time came, serfs had to be freed with land. By the first half of the nineteenth century, the nobles and ruling elites, who had little incentive to cut the umbilical cord of the servile system that served as the springboard of their power and privilege, also came to realize that the serfdom could not be perpetuated for long. For them, the main threat came from the increasing concentration of serf estates. While estates with less than 21 peasants accounted for barely three percent of all estates, those with 21 to 100 peasants made up 16 percent, those with 100 to 1,000 peasants made up 52 percent; and those with more than 1,000 peasants made up 29 percent. Such a consolidation of estates resulted from the increasing indebtedness of the estate owners, limited growth of capital markets, and growing institutional pressure of the tsarist state favoring peasants’ emancipation (Stanziani 2014). Also, between the 1830s and 1850s, peasants’ mobility increased considerably throughout Russia. Many serf-owners, especially in the central industrial regions, no longer restricted peasant movements between the city and country as industrial and tsarist elites pushed for increasing liberalization of the labor market and the Russian state approved a series of decrees standardizing the procedures for issuing and extending passports and tickets for peasant-migrants. In 1835, the Russian monarchs denied the right of land-owners and local authorities to recall employed peasants from factories until expiration of their passports or permission for temporary leave. Initially, the law was limited to Moscow and St. Petersburg districts but by the early 1840s the law was

The Russian serfdom  127

extended to most industrial provinces. Such laws contributed to large growth in labor mobility and manufacturing activities. While in 1828, there were about 6,000 factory-weavers and 18,224 non-factory weavers in the greater Ivanovo region, by 1849 the number of factory weavers doubled to 14,854, and the number of non-factory weavers tripled to 56,980 in the region (Stanziani 2014). Role of peasants Apparently, Russian serfs had a living standard not much worse than their counterparts elsewhere—even in the 1780s, they lived in ‘a state of rude abundance,’ with an average per capita income at par with Britain and second only to France (Blanchard 1995). Moreover, Russian serfs hardly differed with their masters in respect to race, ethnicity, or religion. As the nobles formed a distinct social class based on ownership and control of labor, not on race or ethnic differences, such issues did not foment their resistance (Buggle and Nafziger 2016). Russian serfs’ resentment toward serfdom was also not directed against ‘barbaric horrors of slavery’ as stipulated by Marx and Engels (1979, 236), but it was rather directed against injustices and excesses caused by landlords, such as increase in service obligations, the sale of their fellows to recruit substitutes, seizures of their personal property, reduction in the size of their landholdings, and corporal punishments (Blum 1968, 552). Serfs adopted a range of strategies to protect their interests, which included petitioning to the landlords against bad officials, appealing to the prince against bad landlords, foot-dragging and rent strikes, acts of reprisal such as theft or illicit pasturing, escaping the estates, and actual revolt (Bush 1996). Records suggest that during 1719–1827, more than 200,000 fugitives crossed to other parts of Russia and neighboring Poland. There had been some serious peasant revolts as well. A Cossack leader named Stenka Razin, for example, led a major uprising in southern Russia against the nobles and tsarist bureaucracy in 1670–1671, and another Cossack leader, Kondratii Bulavin, revolted against Peter I in 1701. In 100 years, between 1762 and 1772, around 40 such outbreaks in the Great Russian provinces required deployment of tsarist troops. Then in 1773, another uprising in the Eurasian frontier led by Emelian Pugachev was so formidable that it powerfully threatened the Russian monarchy itself. In the nineteenth century, before the abolition of serfdom in 1861, there were 1,467 officially recorded peasant uprisings in Russia, aside from the uprisings staged by non-­ seigneurial peasants.11 Role of intelligentsia By the mid-eighteenth century, Russian intellectual circles also became aware of the liberal and humanitarian ideas of the Renaissance. Apparently,

128  The world of serfdoms

Catherine the Great herself came to learn about Renaissance ideas way before she assumed power. During her reign, she established the Free Economic Society of Russia and organized an international essay contest on the peasant question. Some of the essays received by the society portrayed Russian serfdom as economically unprofitable institution as serfs had no incentive to work hard. Showing awareness of Adam Smith’s ideas, they also argued that free labor would be less expensive in the long run than serf-labor as free labor would have incentive to work hard. Catherine the Great also encouraged literary criticism of serfdom, and some of the literary critics, such as N. I. Novikov and A. N. Radishchev took the opportunity to expose sufferings of serfs in their works. Apparently, the so-called Decembrist Uprising of 1825, which sought to transform Russian autocracy into a limited monarchy and end serfdom, was also led by a group of nobles who were inspired by the enlightenment philosophies.12 It was however during the reign of Nicholas (1825–1855) that a powerful breed of intellectuals emerged in Russia, and they came from both within and outside of the ruling class. Being familiar with the enlightenment philosophies as well as the history and culture of their own society, these brand of intellectuals, representing the crowning glory of the Russian Golden Age, professed liberal ideas, socialist theories, and indigenous nationalist ethos for regeneration of the Russian economy and society. It so happened that the geniuses came in droves that included Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Nekrassov, Grigorovitch, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Gorchakov, and Tolstoy—and they all contributed to the most enduring literature in Russian history. They portrayed the most overt and the most effective criticism of the existing Russian society, including its defense of and dependence on serfdom. The foundation of serfdom, the authority of the nobles to live on coerced labor, and the state’s rationale to perpetuate class exploitation thus began to crumble. The emancipation decree At the time Tsar Alexander II assumed power in 1855, Russia was engulfed with peasants’ and other internal uprisings, stirring intellectual debates on the excesses of serfdom, and a monarchy burdened with an overextended military force distraught by the crushing defeat in the Crimean War. Immediately after assuming the power, Alexander II deemed the emancipation of serfs as the only way to ensure internal order and external power of his empire. He apparently concluded that the center of all evils of Russia lied with serfdom, that “It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait until the serfs begin to liberate themselves from below” (cited in Blum 1968, 576). Within five years of his reign, on February 19, 1861, Alexander II signed the emancipation decree abolishing the 400-year-old institution of serfdom in Russia.13

The Russian serfdom  129

Tsar Alexander’s emancipation decree however came in 400 pages—full of statutes, annexes, and complex and contradictory provisions that directly affected around 11 million male peasants, about 40 percent of the country’s male population and less than 50 percent of the country’s male peasant population, and around 100,000 nobles who owned them as serfs (Table 7.4). In 1858, at the eve of emancipation, Russia had 22.6 million peasants categorized as serfs—36 percent of the country’s total population and two-fifths of its rural population (Buschen 1861).14 The emancipation decree however did not bring an immediate end to serfdom. Although serfs gained official sanctions for personal freedom instantaneously, it took another 50 years, up to 1907, for them to fully materialize the freedom. The decree ordered serfs to continue to meet their obligations to former owners for first two years. After that, they were moved to a ‘temporarily obligated’ status while land-owners still retained full ownership of their land. Then, 20 years later, in 1881, freedom of serfs was conditioned on paying redemption to land-owners in 49 years, at an annual rate of six percent. Russian serfs thus finally gained ownership rights to land and regained their freedom of mobility by 1907. The emancipation decree however freed serfs with land ownership backed by strong legal and social rights, while the US Proclamation of Emancipation, that came four years later, granted slaves no land. As discussed in Chapter 4, they were rather left with their own labor in an extremely hostile legal, social, and political environment. The Russian emancipation decree however had its pitfalls as well. To begin with, the decree prevented the peasantry from gaining their freedom for many years. The state’s unwillingness to advance credit to the peasantry for the purchase of land from nobles without collective peasant responsibility had also contributed to the delay. The nobles, on the other hand, had benefited from the decree as they received liquid capital from the state in return of a fraction of their estates. They also had a choice in relinquishing estates, and thus retained the best lands while relinquishing less desirable ones. The decree also treated state-peasants more favorably than serfs-proper—while the former received landholdings almost everywhere larger than those given to the latter, the latter’s annual redemption charges were also 50 to 60 percent lower than the former (Saunders 2014).

D  Consequences of abolition Russian serfdom survived almost 400 years—the reigns of Peter I (1689– 1725) and Alexander II (1855–1881) marked its opening and closing, respectively. The prolonged journey was marked by some paradoxical ­developments—the Russian Empire not only made considerable progress in terms of agricultural production, and trade and commerce, but it also expanded enormously in terms of area and population, and emerged as one of the major powers on the world stage. More importantly, Russian state

130  The world of serfdoms

managed to do so by successfully withstanding military challenges from both within and outside. The Russian Empire, however, regressed socially and politically—while the nobility emerged as a dominant class, the ordinary masses were reduced to utter servility. Serfdom, the defining characteristic of Russia for several centuries, thus entailed both modernity and medievalism (Blum 1968, 536–550). Serfdom did help Russia to become one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in Europe and Central Asia in the eighteenth century. As Table 7.5 indicates, in the mid-eighteenth century, Russia exceeded all other European nations in agricultural production, and the trend continued in great pace well into the nineteenth century, up until the abolition of serfdom in 1861. At the same time, modes of Russian agricultural cultivation were extremely poor, and agricultural yields were lower than all other European nations. Dependence on cheap serf-labor rather kept the country bogged down to outdated modes of agricultural production, although the rigors of Russia’s continental climate had reduced its growing seasons even in more favored zones, and inadequate rainfall eroded soil fertility and held back crop yields nearly everywhere. On top of that, a great majority of the large estate owners of Russia were absentee landlords who preferred to live extravagant lives elsewhere.15 Consequently, serfdom kept Russia agrarian and backward. At the time of its abolition, Russia was the most agrarian society in the entire European Table 7.5  Russian agricultural production in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (in hectoliters) Part 1: Agricultural Production of European Russia in 1873 Years

Average annual harvest (millions of chetverts)

1800–1813 1734–1840 1840–1847 1857–1863

155.0 179.0 209.7 220.7

Part 2. Russian Agricultural Production Compared with Other European Nations Countries

Mid-eighteenth century

Russia Belgium and Holland Saxony Great Britain Austria Sweden Prussia

9.0 4.7 4.9 5.7 6.6 6.2

Source: Author’s compilation—Part 1 is based on Blum (1968, 7) and Part 2 is based on Blum (1960).

The Russian serfdom  131

continent—its economy was almost entirely dependent on agriculture, and only about five percent of its workforce was employed in manufacturing. Russia’s urbanization was also one of the lowest in the European continent—less than ten percent of its population lived in urban settings. In the mid-­nineteenth century, there were only two major cities in Russia—St. Petersburg and ­Moscow—each having about half-a-million residents (Wcisilo 1990). Most importantly, serfdom had held back Russia’s economic advancement. Some even argue that the institutional regime of Russian serfdom itself was fundamentally antithetical to economic development.16 They point out that the constraints imposed on labor, property, and education of serfs resulted in disincentives for investment, misallocation of labor and other resources, impeded adoption of better agricultural techniques, and adversely affected economic growth and income distribution. They also argue that serfdom continued in Russia for centuries not for economic efficiency, but to sustain the imperial regime, support the elite tutelage over masses, and to keep the population subjugated. Even abolition of serfdom, they argue, was not prompted by any economic consideration, it was rather aimed at preserving the monarchy against internal disorder and external threats. Some scholars however argue that Russian serfdom was rather a dynamic institution that propelled considerable economic growth during the imperial rule.17 Domar and Machina (1982), for example, have argued that Russian serfdom was profitable to the nobility and therefore worth defending against its abolition. Some scholars even challenge the depiction of Russian serfdom as a crucial determinant of backwardness—they argue that Russia remained a backward agrarian society right up to the October Revolution despite the abolition of serfdom 50 years ago (Gerschenkron 1962 & 1965; Moon 1996). Another debate centers precisely on this issue—whether the emancipation of serfs helped or hindered subsequent economic growth of Russia leading up to the October Revolution in 1917. Obviously, the most immediate effect of the abolition of serfdom had been a fundamental realignment in the relationship of labor to land and peasant to nobles. Under serfdom, nobles had owned virtually all of Russia’s private lands, but with the emancipation, serfs gained legal rights to more than half of those lands. Then, in the decades following the emancipation, nobles sold out additional 40 percent of their lands, mostly to peasants. Thus, the emancipation eventually transformed Russia’s serf-holding economy based on coerced labor to a peasant economy in which nobles owned less than one-quarter of land and controlled less than one-tenth of the country’s agricultural production (Engerman 1986). Gerschenkron (1962) however argues that the transformation from serf-holding to free-peasant economy took more than four decades because of the redemption policies, when many features of feudal institutional restrictions remained in force contributing to a slowdown in post-serfdom economic growth. Another prominent Russian scholar, B. Litvak goes one step further

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to argue that the emancipation and the accompanying land reforms during the transition period actually worsened the former serf landholdings, and also imposed considerable new burdens on the rural economy, as serfs received property rights of low-quality lands, and owned the lands collectively through the communes, not individually (Markevich and Zhuravskaya 2018). Similarly, Nafziger (2016) also argues that post-emancipation landholdings were smaller in size, land inequality in society was greater, and the associated land and tax obligations were higher, which affected economic growth well into the twentieth century. Also, some of the post-emancipation administrative measures, such as unification of different types of peasants in institutions of communal self-governance, collective property rights, and joint liability for taxes and land payments, had adverse effects on the well-beings of former serfs (Allen 2003). Wcisilo (1990, 305–310) also argues that in the post-emancipation Russia, the administrative apparatus and supervisory bureaucracy of the state, together with its institutions of self-administration, justice, and political representation, provided the central government an institutional system that was far more extensive and effective than what serfs had confronted in the mid-nineteenth century. Some scholars, on the other hand, argue that emancipation made a great majority of former serfs better off, at least in terms of factor endowments and obligations. With the abolition of serfdom, peasants were free to leave their land to seek better living conditions elsewhere, which, in turn, led to expansion of artisan production, greater urbanization, and the rise of commercial classes. Such transformation of rural society in the post-emancipation period even prompted Tsar Nicholas II to take measures for rapid development of a modern industrial society in Russia in keeping with developments across Europe (Fisher 2014). Some studies also show that emancipation of serfs contributed to greater productivity gains and economic growth for Russia. Markevich and Zhuravskaya (2018), for example, found that Russian GDP increased by 18 percent in the second half of the nineteenth century, mainly because of the change in the incentive structure brought forth by serf-emancipation. The study found that gaining back the rights to own land and labor, peasants transformed themselves into free small-scale farmers, and exerted greater effort to adapt to local conditions and applied available agricultural knowledge and technologies better than before.

E  Concluding remarks The Russian serfdom, that survived almost 400 years, thrived on a two-prong strategy: tying peasants to a parcel of land- and serf-owners, and empowering of the serf-owners to serve the monarchy. The nature of relationships between serfs and serf-masters, as well as between the nobles and monarchs, was consistently shaped by the same strategies. While a segment of serfs—especially

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state-serfs and those lived on imperial land—enjoyed greater latitude, for a vast majority of the serfs, the serfdom resembled chattel slavery—their mobility, productivity, education, and economic activities were severely restricted. Russian serfs could be bought and sold as any other property. The captive serf-labor force helped Russian economy to thrive agriculturally, and even helped Imperial Russia to emerge as a major power in Europe militarily, but the institutional regime of serfdom turned out to be fundamentally antithetical to economic development. The nation almost completely missed the boat of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization that f lourished in Western Europe during the same the period. The Russia indeed ended up as an agrarian and backward economy when serfdom ran its course. While early disappearance of serfdom contributed to the rise of Western Europe and its transition to capitalism, long dependence on serfdom left Russia with a fertile background to make a transition to socialism.

Notes 1 For greater details, see Blum (1968, 49–51), Buggle and Nafziger (2016), Hallie (1971), Kolchin (1999, 21), and Volin (1943). 2 The climax of Russian serfdom came at a time when moral opposition to black slavery as well as white serfdom and the Enlightenment concerns for improvement of the lower classes gained momentum across Europe. Apparently during her youth, Catherine II passionately sought to reform serfdom. See Bartlett (2003) and Blum (1968) for greater details. 3 A small segment of peasants however possessed their own land. In 1858, out of the 62 million people of Russia, they numbered only about 1.5 million. There were also some wealthy serf-entrepreneurs who travelled distant places with passports from their masters; some serf-artists who achieved recognitions at home and abroad; and some serfs who worked as petty traders, and agricultural or industrial workers (Buschen 1861, 312). 4 By the 1850s, majority of Russian peasants were state-serfs or court peasants— they resided on state or Romanov family-owned land, possessed more land, had greater freedom to engage in contracts than serfs-proper, and paid taxes directly to state exchequer. Even in typical noble-owned estates, most peasants were allotted plots of land which they came to regard as their own. They cultivated their owners’ seigneurial land as well as their own land, and were free to use its product for their own benefit. On top of that, serfs were engaged in various handicrafts and woodworking as well as factory work, and they could also hire themselves out (Kolchin 1997, 49–50; Nafziger, 2016). 5 While for every nobleman, there were 51.8 peasants in Russia, for every southerner white person, there were only 0.5 blacks (Kolchin 1997, 51). 6 By 1858, the share of noblemen rose to 1.6 percent, but the increase came from the inclusion of Poland in the Russian Empire. In Poland, noblemen constituted about five percent of the population; in mainland Russia, their share however never exceeded one percent. 7 By divorcing service obligations of the nobles, Peter the Great also undercut the rationale of Russian serfdom, which was founded on the premise that nobles served the state and serfs served the nobles. He also took away church’s land and peasants and converted them into state lands and peasants, and thus, showed that if the state could take away land and wealth of powerful churches, it could also take away estates and serfs from the nobles (Moon, 2001).

134  The world of serfdoms 8 Raeff (1957, 121) cited in Buggle and Nafziger (2016). 9 While still a grand duchess, she considered serfdom contrary to the Christian religion and justice, and openly stated that Russian agriculture could never f lourish as long as producers were denied the right to own property because: “Every man will take care of his own property than that which belongs to another” (cited in Blum 1968, 547). 10 The number of free farmers who paid redemption stood at 151,895 males, about 1.5 percent of all male serf population in the country. In addition, 7,631 serfs were freed without any redemption (Blum 1968, 547). 11 Between 1774 and 1996, during Catherine the Great’s reign, there were 20 peasant uprisings; during Paul’s three years’ reign, there were 278 disturbances in 32 different provinces; during Alexander’s reign, there were 281 uprisings; during three decades of Nicholas’s rule, there were 556 uprisings; and during Alexander II’s reign, there were 474 disturbances. For greater details, see Blum (1968, 552–558). 12 The military uprising took place on December 26, 1825, when rebel army ­officers—all came from noble families—refused to swear allegiance to the Tsar Nicholas I arguing that Constantine, Alexander’s brother, was the rightful constitutional successor. The uprising was crushed ruthlessly—many of the rebels were killed, and others begged tsar’s mercy. Despite miserable failure, the uprising “stands as a landmark in Russian history because for the first time men of the serf-owning class had taken to arms in the name of freedom, not only for themselves but for their serfs as well” (Blum 1968, 565). 13 At the time of its abolition in 1861, Russia had over 23 million serfs and the Russian Empire extended its settler and military colonies all the way to the Pacific coast and beyond Alaska, ruled various Slavic groups in Eastern Europe, including the Ukraine and Caucasus regions (Fisher 2014, 50–65). In contrast, the US had approximately four million slaves when it abolished slavery in 1865, and the British Empire had less than one million slaves when it abolished its slavery in 1838 (Forsythe, 2009). 14 The Tenth Census of Russia (1858) provided the composition of serfs as follows: (a) serfs attached to the land (20.1 million); (b) serfs not attached to the land (1.5 million); (c) temporary serfs (354,000); (d) serfs as property of institutions— churches, corporations, or hospitals (40,500); and (e) serfs attached to manufacturing and mines (542,000) (Buschen, 1861). 15 While most of Russian noblemen were absentee landlords, most slave-masters in the US lived in their own estates and were involved in plantation’s production (Kolchin 1997, 51). 16 For greater details, see Dennison (2001), Gerschenkron (1962, 1965), and Markevich and Zhuravskaya (2018). 17 For greater details, see Cerman (2012), Hoch (1996), Moon (1996), Mironov (2000), and Stanziani (2014).

References Allen, R. (2003). Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Bartlett, R. (2003). Serfdom and state power in imperial Russia. European History Quarterly, 33(1): 29–64. Blanchard, I. (1995). Eighteenth-Century Russian Economic Growth: State ­Enterprise or Peasant Endeavour? In I. Blanchard, ed., Studies in Economic and Social History: Discussion Papers, No. 95–1 (University of Edinburgh, Dept. of Economic and Social History 1995).

The Russian serfdom  135 Blum, J. (1960). Russian agriculture in the last 150 years of serfdom. Agricultural History, 34(1): 3–12. Blum, J. (1968). Lord and Peasant in Russia from the Ninth through the Nineteenth Century. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Buggle, J., and S. Nafziger. (2016). Long-Run Consequences of Labor Coercion: Evidence from Russian Serfdom. Williams College, Williamstown (MA). Buschen, M. (1861). On the origin and numerical development of serfdom in the Russian empire. Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 24(3): 311–327. Bush, M. (Ed.). (1996). Serfdom and Slavery Studies in Legal Bondage. London: Routledge. Cerman, M. 2012. Villagers and Lords in Eastern Europe, 1300–1800. Basingstoke: Palgrave-McMillan. Dennison, T. (2001). Did Serfdom Matter? Russian Rural Society, 1750–1860. ­Historical Research, 79(2003): 74–89. Domar, E. (1970). The causes of slavery and serfdom: A hypothesis. Journal of Economic History, 30: 18–32. Domar E. and M. Machina. (1982). On the profitability of Russian serfdom. Mimeo. ­Boston (MA): Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eltis, D. (1993). Europeans and the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas: An interpretation. American Historical Review, 98(5): 1399–1423. Eltis, D. (Ed.). (2002). Coerced and Free Migration—Global Perspectives. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Engerman, S. (1986). Slavery and Emancipation in Comparative Perspective: A Look at Some Recent Debates. Journal of Economic History, 46(2): 317–339. Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton. Forsythe, D. (Ed.). (2009). Encyclopedia of Human Rights. Volume 1. New York: ­Oxford University Press. Gerschenkron, A. (1962). Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays. Cambridge (MA): Oxford University Press. Gerschenkron, A. (1965). Agrarian Policies and Industrialization of Russia, ­1861–1917. Cambridge Economic History of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gerschenkron, A. (1970). Europe in the Russian Mirror: Four Lectures in Economic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gorshkov, B. (2020). Serfdom: Eastern Europe. Available at: https://www.­ encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ serfdom-eastern-europe. Hellie, R. (1971). Enserfment and Military Change in Muscovy. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. Hoch, S. (1996). The Serf Economy and Social Order in Russia. In M. Bush (ed.), Serfdom and Slavery Studies in Legal Bondage (pp. 311–320). New York: Routledge. Jones, R. (1973/2015). Emancipation of Russian Nobility, 1762–1785. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Kolchin, P. (1997). Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

136  The world of serfdoms Kolchin, P. (1999). After serfdom: Russian emancipation in comparative perspective. In S. Engerman (ed.), Terms of Labor: Slavery, Serfdom and Free Labor (pp. 87–115). Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Markevich, A., and Zhuravskaya, E. (2018). The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire. American Economic Review, 108(4–5): 1074–1117. Marx, K., and Engels, F. (1979). Pre-capitalist Socio-Economic Formations. New York: International Publishers. Mironov, B. (1996). When and Why was the Russian Peasantry Emancipated. In Bush, M. (ed.), Serfdom and Slavery: Studies in Legal Bondage (pp. 323–347). New York: Longman. Mironov, B. (2000). A Social History of Imperial Russia, 1700–1917. New York: Avalon Publishing. Moon, D. (1996). Reassessing Russian serfdom. European History Quarterly, 26: 504–588. Moon, D. (2001). The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia, 1762–1907. London: Routledge. Nafziger, S. (2016). Communal Property Rights and Land Redistributions in Late Tsarist Russia. Economic History Review, 69(3):773–800. Saunders, D. (2014). An Anglo-Russian critic of the abolition of serfdom. Slavonic and East European Review, 92(2): 255–283. Stanziani, A. (2014). Bondage: Labor and Rights in Eurasia from the Sixteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries. Berlin: Berghahn Books. Trethewey, R. (1974). Establishment of serfdom in Eastern Europe and Russia. American Economist, 18(1): 36–41. Volin, L. (1943). Russian peasant and serfdom. Agricultural History, 17: 41–61. Wcisilo, F. (1990). Reforming Rural Russia: State, Local Society, and National Politics, 1855–1914. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

Part III

The world of Asian and Latin American feudalisms Conceptual contexts As discussed before, the concepts of feudalism, serfdom, manorialism, and seignorialism have often been used interchangeably to refer to land-tenure systems under which peasants are legally tied to a plot of land owned and controlled by landlords, states, or other authorities. Historical records suggest that some variants of feudalism existed in non-European parts of the world as well. In the Asian continent, China had such a system since the ancient times; Japan had a similar system during the medieval period; and the Indian subcontinent had such a system during the late eighteenth century under the British colonial rule. In Latin America, scores of former Spanish and Portuguese colonies—from Brazil to Bolivia, Columbia to Peru, and Argentina to Chile—experienced the processes of colonization, servile-labor, feudalism, and pre-capitalist transformation since they became integrated into Euro-­ centric global economy with Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World in the late fifteenth century. Among the Asian varieties of feudalism, the Chinese variant remains most controversial as scholars question whether China in fact had a feudal society dominated by gentry-landlords who supported the imperial government, or whether it had rather a centralized bureaucratic state ruled by absolute monarchs. The interpretation of the Chinese variant is also compounded by divergent interpretations by Marxian and non-Marxian scholars—while Marxian scholars interpret the Chinese feudalism in the context of Marxian concept of ‘Asiatic mode of production,’1 non-Marxian scholars use traditional academic definition of feudalism that centers on the lord-vassal bonds. Considerable controversy also exists in respect to its origin and ­periodization—some trace it to the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC), while others trace it to the Tang Dynasty (618–906), or the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1912). The longevity of the Chinese variant of feudalism has also been controversial as some believed it lasted until the eighteenth century, while many others believe it survived up until the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949. DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-3

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The Japanese feudal system, on the other hand, has widely been interpreted as a mirror image of the Western European feudalism. Just as the Western European serfdom emerged from the wreckage of the land-tenure system of the Roman Empire, the Japanese feudalism had also evolved from the land-tenure system left by the Chinese Empire. Originating during the Heian period (794–1185), the Japanese feudalism matured during the periods of the Kamakura Shogunate (1185–1333) and the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338–1603), when central authority declined, and local leaders and landlords banded together for mutual protection under complex political systems that bonded public authority and personal property rights to land. Then during the period of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600–1868), the Japanese feudalism achieved remarkable transformation toward urbanization, commercialization, and protoindustrialization, which eventually paved way toward transition of the economy to capitalism. India never had Western European or Russian-type serfdom or feudalism, but it had something akin to the system which is widely described as pseudo-feudalism. Ancient India had a complex land-tenure system which granted tenancy rights to individuals, families, and communes, while monarchs retained the ultimate land-ownership. It is during the medieval period that feudalist relations between landlords and peasants emerged in India when landholding became the dominant basis of social and political status. Large-scale monarchial intervention in Indian land-tenure system came in the fourteenth century when the Mughals introduced land revenue system under which actual cultivators paid a fixed revenue. But it was the British colonial rulers who in the eighteenth century introduced a land-tenure system in India called Zamindari, which came to resemble feudalism. Indian peasants were, however, never serfs or slaves, and they could not be bought and sold. The core institutions of Latin American feudalism—the encomiendas, latifundias and haciendas—evolved under the Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, and all these institutions, no matter involved in agricultural production or mining, resulted from expropriation of lands of indigenous Amerindians and forced conscription of their labor-power. Latin American countries inherited hybrids of feudal or feudalistic societies where elements of pre-capitalist and capitalist systems co-existed, and landlords, mercantilists, and absolutist state exploited a predominantly servile agrarian labor-power through a mix of slave-labor, wage-labor, servile-labor, and debt-peonage. Latin America thus present a unique experience of undergoing the processes of colonization, feudalism, slavery and servitude, modernization, industrialization and urbanization as well as integration into Eurocentric global economy almost concurrently, and some of these countries are still plagued with the remnants of such hybrid systems. This part of the book covers the Asian and Latin American varieties of feudalisms/semi-feudalisms focusing on the experiences of China (­Chapter 8), Japan (Chapter 9), India (Chapter 10), and Latin America (Chapter 11).

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Each of these episodes has been explained from the perspectives of their origin and development, the relationship between feudal lords and peasants, the interaction between feudal lords and the state, and the consequences of such systems for the subsequent development of these societies.

Note 1 As discussed before, the Marxian concept of ‘Asiatic mode of production’ stipulates that Asian societies remained untouched by the storms in political superstructure as despotic rulers directly expropriated surplus from largely autarkic and generally undifferentiated village communities.

8 The Chinese feudalism

The Chinese variant of feudalism has received conf licting interpretations by scholars and observers from both within and outside China, and from both Marxian and non-Marxian perspectives. Questions have been raised whether China actually had a feudal system dominated by gentry-landlords who supported the imperial government (something called fengjian), or whether it had a local authorities of a centralized bureaucratic state controlled by absolute monarchs (something called junxian).1 Controversies also exist with respect to the historical sequence (periodization), that is, if China had actually passed through a stage of feudalism or semi-feudalism, when the country had gone through such a stage. Substantial differences in views also prevail on the longevity and consequences of such an institution, that is, if a Chinese variant of feudalism or semi-feudalism had indeed existed, what was its life-span and what were its consequences on the socio-economic and politico-cultural development of the country. Such controversies began to surface in the early 1920s through the 1930s, at a time when Chinese scholars and communist leaders began to re-conceptualize the Chinese past from Marxian perspectives, and spearheaded the May Fourth Movement embracing Marxian interpretation of social change.2 Rejecting Western stipulations of universal sequences of economically defined modes of production proceeding from ancient slave society to medieval feudalism, and then to modern capitalism, Marxian scholars and Chinese communist leaders rather emphasized ‘class conf lict’ and the ‘Asiatic mode of production’ in their interpretation of Chinese feudalism.3 They also construed their movement against a presumed ‘reactionary alliance’ between imperialism and feudalism, and interpreted the China of the 1930s as a ‘bourgeois state’ based on capitalist development and class differentiation of the peasantry (Dirlik 1996).4 The debate over the issue whether China had actually passed through a stage of feudalism dominated by gentry-landlords or it was a centralized bureaucratic state ruled by absolute monarchs surfaced later in the early 1950s, mainly at the behest of the Japanese historiography of China.5 While Pro-Marxian Tokyo School maintained that the Chinese feudalism emerged with the ancient Western Zhou Dynasty (1046–771 BC) and viewed pre-­ Revolution China as a feudal society dominated by landlords and supported DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-8

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by the imperial government, pro-Western Kyoto School held that Chinese emperors beginning from the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) were indeed absolute monarchs, and the institution of feudalism, understood as the lord-­ vassal bonds among the members of the ruling elite, actually emerged in China during the transition periods of the late Ming and the early Qing dynasties (1368–1949) (Kamachi 1990). In respect to the debate on the periodization of feudalism, Chinese communist historians generally postulate that the society made a transition from slavery to feudalism during the period of Western Zhou (1045–771 BC), and that reign of feudalism lasted up until the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949.6 The Kyōto school, on the other hand, viewed China’s medieval period as lasting from the end of Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) through the midTang period (618–906 AD), while the postwar Japanese Marxist ­scholars— the Tokyo School—saw Chinese feudal society as only just beginning in the mid-Tang period (HolCombe 2017). The chapter delves into the controversial history of the Chinese variant of feudalism. The next section examines its evolution; Section three explains its nature and characteristics; Section four explores its demise and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  The evolution and development Divergent viewpoints exist on the origin of the Chinese variant of feudalism—some trace its origin to the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC)— more than 3,000 years ago, some trace it to the periods of Warring States and the Qin Dynasty (475–206 BC), some trace it to the Tang Dynasty (618–906 AD), some trace it to the Ming and Qing periods (1368–1912), and there are still some who believe it originated as recently as in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.7 Marxist scholars generally believe that the Chinese feudalism emerged during the period of Western Zhou Dynasty (1046–771 BC) when loyal nobles, warriors, and ministers received large land grants in exchange of their allegiance to the monarchy. They claim that the Western Zhou monarchs replaced the earlier system of bureaucratic administration (the junxian or prefectural system) with the administration by the landlords and delegated regional authority to the landlords to establish control over peasants. Thus a feudal system ( fengjian) that evolved during the Xia (2100–1600 BC) and Shang (1600–1050 BC) dynasties reached its historical height by the end of the Western Zhou period when the system became more comprehensive, more codified, and more mature in nature and form (Victor 2010). As a consequence, the ancient form of coerced labor—slavery—which was widely practiced during the period of Shang Dynasty (1600–1050 BC) gradually decreased and disappeared.8 Marxian historians also argue that the early Zhou society displayed most of the basic characteristics of feudal society as depicted by the medieval

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Western European feudalism. They argue that: (a) the Chinese land-­tenure system—the jingtian—ref lected manorial organizations of production,9 and the zhuangyuan (manor) composed of farm land, pastures, and hunting grounds surrounding the fortress of the lord; (b) part of the feudal land was divided among the peasants as their private holdings and the rest was feudal land, and peasants paid their obligations to landlords in the form of produce (rent-in-kind), forced labor, and occasional tributes (wine, poultry, and so on); (c) while the land was the property of the monarch, landlords held their land as fiefs, and their military power and rank depended on the monarch; (d) a class of free-peasants had no obligation to pay rent; and (e) landlords had coercive legal and political power over peasants, and delivered their military obligations to monarchs under a rigidly enforced hierarchical system (Dirlik 1996). Critics of the Marxian interpretation however maintain that the feudalism of the Zhou Dynasty hardly resembled the manorial system of Western Europe under which vassals/manors enjoyed their own administrative, judicial, and economic privileges without any monarchical interference. Jianxin (2007), for example, argues that the Zhou Dynasty rather dispatched their own relatives and clansmen to various localities of the country in order to maintain armed strongholds on their behalf, and the relationship between the monarchs and the local fiefs is much different from that of the manorial system of Western Europe. Moreover, a class of professional warriors, a hallmark of Western European serfdom, never emerged in China, and the landlords and the warrior class in China also never shared the same identity. Critics also argue that the power of the nobility or local officials during the Zhou Dynasty was rather derived from the rulers, and manors, landlords, or warriors had no ability to defend independent rights from the imperial authority. The fengjian system was rather based on clearly specified relations, duties, and responsibilities of the parties, and the strength of the ties and duties demanded by the king of the feudal lords depended on their closeness to the rulers in terms of blood relationship with the lord as well as the distance of the fiefs from the state capital (Victor 2010). Some even described the relationship between the rulers and the nobility of China similar to masters and slaves.10 Coulborn and Strayer (1956, 16) also argue that the Chinese variant of feudalism had not displayed some of the essential features that characterized the Western European feudalism, such as fragmentation of political authority, private possession of public rights, and a ruling class composed of military leaders and their followers. Those who postulate that feudalism emerged in China during the period of the Warring States (477–221 BC)11 tend to argue that during this period private land-ownership became increasingly common as the country witnessed powerful technological and societal changes with the emergence of iron and steel, spread of urbanization, a bureaucratic class, and professional army.

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During the period of the Qin Dynasty (201–206 BC) that followed, private ownership of land further expanded as the country emerged as a unitary state with small polities in the periphery organized into prefectures, counties, and such other administrative units under a highly bureaucratic hierarchy of a centralized empire. With the rapid spread of private ownership rights during the reigns of the Warring States and Qin Dynasty (477 BC–206 AD), slavery gradually disappeared with the development of land-tenure system (Feng 1996; Hu 1988). In the course of next 800 years—when China was ruled by the Han ­Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), the Six Dynasties (220–589 AD), and the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD)—Chinese land-tenure system underwent no significant change almost befitting to what Karl Marx had described as the ‘Asiatic mode of production’ under which peasants remained largely out of the loop of the interplay of political and economic superstructures of the society. Peasants remained tenants under large-scale land-tenure system, while landlords— one percent of the population—occupied 70 percent of cultivated land, and tenants and half-tenants—more than 80 percent of the population—­owned less than 20 percent of the cultivated land (Feng 1996). Under the reigns of the Tang (618–906) and the Song (960–1127) dynasties, China experienced significant economic and social changes with the spread of Confucianism and Buddhism.12 Some scholars attribute the origin of Chinese feudalism to this period when the country experienced rapid growth in monetization, commerce and maritime trade, urban expansion, and technological innovations. During the period of subsequent Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), a permanent land-tenure system (Yong dian) was developed, under which tenants had both the right of perpetually cultivating the land and the right to alienate or sublease this right, which in turn, resulted in the growth of large land accumulations, and bankruptcy of small land-­ owners (Feng 1996; Hu 1988). Championing the thesis of the emergence of Chinese feudalism during the Tang-Song transition period in the eighth century, Japanese scholar Niida Noboru argued that although the system subsequently underwent major changes, it survived up until the Communist Revolution in 1949. Noboru added that during the long course from the eighth to the twentieth centuries, the nature of lord-peasant relationship changed from a servile or ‘slave-like’ system of subordination of peasantry of the Tang-Song periods and slowly gave way to tenant-serf relations during the Ming-Qing periods. Noboru however ruled out any voluntary pledge of loyalty, or a truly contractual relationship, between free individuals in the Chinese variant of feudalism as was the case in the Western European feudalism (Kamachi 1990). The non-Marxian strand of the Japanese historiography of China as well as most Western scholars however place the origin of Chinese feudalism during the transition between the late Ming (1368–1644) and the early Qing (1644– 1912) periods. Espousing this thesis in the 1950s, Oyama Masaaki (1952 and 1957) argued that it was the Ming Dynasty which established an authoritarian

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political structure emphasizing agrarian base and development of commerce under which landlords were allowed to personally manage their slaves (or bond-servants) who worked on their land, when many landlords disguised slaves as their family members through ritual adoptions as the Ming Law prohibited slave-ownership by commoners.13 Exponents of this strand of thought maintain that the expansion of money and market economy during the Ming-Qing period helped spread highly profitable handicrafts production which allowed many tenants to accumulate capital to afford communal landholdings and become less dependent on landlords. The transition to a monetary economy and the rise of handicrafts also helped many slaves (dorei) to gradually transform themselves into serfs (nodo), and under a more liberal feudal landholding system, as tenant farmers. Then, the permanent land tenancy system, introduced by the Qing rulers in response to peasants’ demand, ensured greater innovations in production as well as control over land creating a greater opportunity for tenants to emerge as a more independent peasant class (Kamachi 1990).14 These simultaneous processes of transition to money and market economy, institutionalization of serfdom, and the rise of a more independent, rich peasant-class during the Qing period also resulted in an antagonistic struggle between landlords and tenants over their respective rights and obligations. The landed gentry reasserted their claims to the agrarian surplus by exercising considerable inf luence with both local and national government officials to reform taxation, and to institute new forms of rent, including a shift to fixed rent and rent deposits. They also deployed techniques of market manipulation and usurious loans to extract the additional surplus that peasant households produced not only in agrarian but also in handicraft activities. The landed gentry, with the support of the autocratic state, was thus able to keep the peasantry in a state of a semi-independent status. In the end, however, the peasantry’s hard-won rights to permanent tenancy acted as a new means of binding them to the land under a feudal system (Grove and Esherick 1980).15 Some scholars however challenge the thesis that Chinese feudalism emerged during the period of Ming-Qing transition. Miyazaki Ichisada, for example, argues that tenants (dianhu) of post-Song China were actually small farmers who were not personally bound to their landlords—they had free contractual relationships as tenants, and many of them rented land from more than one land-owner. Yanagita Setsuko also maintains that a small number of great landlords of the country could not have taken in all peasants as their tenants as a great number of village inhabitants were self-managing small farmers. Similarly, H. Nishimura also maintains that during the early Qing period, tenants had the right to sell their user’s rights to a third party, especially in the southern coastal areas, and as a result, land changed hands frequently without the cognizance of landlords, indicating greater freedom of the peasantry in disposing lands, which is uncommon under feudalism (Miyakawa 1955; Schreckcr 1991).

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B  Nature and characteristics Historical records suggest that there has never been any period in the Chinese history when independent rights of governance over the peasants were granted to the lordships, fiefs, or warlords, and the country thus never had any actual parcelization of sovereignty or fragmentation of political authority either. Throughout its recorded history, the country’s pseudo-­feudalist institutions were rather in a state of f lux, shaped and reshaped by policies and processes adopted by various dynasties. Apparently, China had something akin to a free market for land during the Zhou Dynasty, but all successive dynasties since the Han Dynasty restricted alienation of land and maintained a Well-Field System. They also encouraged small landholdings through forfeiting rich families’ land, limiting maximum landholding, imposing mandatory migration, and distributing land to poor peasants. The Tang Dynasty even guaranteed each adult male the right to possess a parcel of land, and mandated that the land, house, and chattel must be divided among brothers. The Qing Dynasty also mandated that land and property must be equally inherited by all sons. Since the Song Dynasty, however, Chinese rulers strengthened the patriarchal clan system by allowing the clans to buy and sell land within the clans, and form armed bands to protect themselves (Feng, 1996). Successive dynasties also reformed the country’s rent and tax laws to shift the primary burden of rent and tax away from person and household to land and property. During the Shang and Zhou dynasties, land tax was based on labor, but during the Tang through the Ming-Qing dynasties, all rent, poll tax, and service obligations of peasants were combined together and levied primarily on land and property, and only secondarily on person and household. This unification measure had far-reaching implications, for example: (a) land emerged as the crucial unit for taxation, which not only weakened legal authority of the state to intervene in the relationship between landlord and tenants, but also diminished direct state control over non-land-owners as the tax was paid directly by the owner of land; (b) because the state depended on the landlords for collection of taxes, it became more vulnerable to landlords’ interests; and (c) tax obligations of peasants greatly increased as tenants had to pay tax to the state in addition to paying rent to landlords, while nobles and officials were exempted from any such obligations. These processes and policies that promoted freer land market, small land-ownerships, continuation of Well-Field System, strengthening of patriarchal clan systems, and levying of rent and tax on land and property rather than on person and households profoundly shaped and reshaped the relationships between landlords and peasants as well as landlords and ruling authorities. Landlord and peasants The relationships between landlords and peasantry in China had many twists and turns as throughout the history peasants had struggled to improve their

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legal and economic status while landlords and nobles, often supported by the rulers, attempted to extract greater economic benefits over their produce and exert greater social and political dominance over their lives. Prior to the Western Zhou period, slavery was the most dominant form of labor in China, but as the Well-Field System ( jingtian) evolved under the dynasty, peasants were allocated private fields while they worked for communal fields of landlords. The dynasty, however, granted landlords, vassals, and the upper-­class nobility greater control over peasants by replacing the earlier system of bureaucratic administration ( junxian). The dynasty also codified peasant-­landlord relationships, which diminished slavery significantly. During the periods of the Warring States and Qin dynasties, when private land-ownership became increasingly common and society also made some technological progress, slavery arguably disappeared, but under a reformed land-tenure system, landlords gained upper hand as they came to serve as local or regional agents of the ruling power. In the eighth century, during the Tang-Song period, a feudalistic society emerged, but it was not until the Ming-Qing period, several centuries later, that the nature of the lord-­ peasant relationship changed from a ‘slave-like’ system of subordination to tenant-serf relations. The pseudo-feudal system thus emerged was however not based on any truly contractual relationship between peasants and landlords—they rather had a legal status of master-servant relationship under a patriarchal system. Under the prevailing sharecropping arrangements, tenant-serfs split between one-fourth and one-half of their produce to landlords, while landlords supplied tools and seeds. Tenant households also depended on loans from landlords, and some of those loans took the form of usury representing a transition to a monetary economy along with ‘patriarchal slavery.’ The Ming period (1368–1644) experienced a large-scale peasant resistance against excesses of landlords, which forced the dynasty to introduce a permanent land-tenure system (Yong dian) under which tenants were granted the rights of perpetually cultivating the land and to alienate or sublease such rights.16 The reforms led to two forms of landholdings: (a) a gentry-type large-scale landholdings by absentee landlords who left direct management of estates to their agents who collected fixed rents and rent deposits from tenant-­peasants, and (b) resident landholdings by small-scale landholders who were directly involved in local production. The Ming Dynasty’s reform in ownership rights of land had gradually paved the way toward land accumulation and bankruptcy of small land-­ owners (Hu 1988). During the subsequent Qing period (1644–1912), with the spread of commercialization, and growth of a rich-peasant class and small peasant proprietorships, the dominance of large absentee landlords gradually declined, while smaller resident landlords became dominant in rural economy. But as smaller landlords lacked economic and political muscles like their larger counterparts, they became more lenient to peasants’ protests and demands.

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But the Qing Dynasty’s policy of replacing tax as a required condition for renting land as opposed to payment in grain or cash made the state more dependent on landlords as they had the responsibility to collect the tax. This convergence in the interests of landlords and the state, and the retreat of direct state control over taxpayers, served as a key foundation of the Chinese feudalism. This policy enabled the landlords to keep the peasantry in a state of a semi-independent status, use the permanent land tenancy system as new means to bind peasants to land, and crystalize their feudal position.17 Landlord and state It was the Western Zhou Dynasty which made land grants to fiefs (vassals or landlords) and designated them in five different ranks—duke, marquis, earl, viscount, and baron—depending on the size of their fiefdoms and the population under their control. The same rulers also awarded vassalage and land grants to their ministers and other key officials, but usually granted them lower ranks (Victor 2010).18 They also administratively and militarily codified the relationships and duties of feudal lords—depending on the strength of their ties and closeness with the monarchy, and distance of the fiefs from state capital—and made peasants and the land they farmed their subjects. During the subsequent dynasties—while the country zigzagged between fengjian and junxian systems—the legal, administrative, and juridical positions of peasants, tenant-peasants, or tenant-serfs worsened, while that of the landed gentry had strengthened. Throughout the periods of the Song through the Yuan and early Ming dynasties, landlord and peasants had the legal status of master-servant; in legal proceedings, tenants were considered unequal in courts; and crimes committed by tenants against landlords were punished severely. Chinese legal codes, however, did not establish any legal difference between landlords and tenants as entirely different classes as evidenced under the European feudalism. During the Ming period, when increased monetization and commercialization of the economy gave rise to a rich peasant-class, feudal lords’ control and power over peasants were also strengthened as the ruling class had vested interests in tax collection. But during the subsequent Qing period, small resident landlords became dominant in rural communities leading to diminishing power of large-scale absentee landlords who lost their inf luence not only in the rural communities but also with the monarchs. The decline in absentee landlords’ exploitation of agricultural surplus and control over peasants’ lives also came with a decline in the domination of small-scale resident landlords as they became more amenable to local demands (Myers 1974; Rowe 1984).

C Decline and consequences The leaders of the Chinese communist movement had made a claim that the Chinese Revolution (1949) was an anti-feudal revolution implying that

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a feudal system did exist in China in the early twentieth century when they spearheaded the revolution. If the beginning of feudalism is traced back to the Zhou Dynasty, as many Marxian scholars assert, then the Chinese feudalism must have been the oldest and longest feudalist system in the history of humankind. But as pointed out above, no definitive answer exists about the precise origin or longevity of the Chinese feudalism. There is however no dispute that the tenure of the feudalism ended with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and that the system had its far-reaching consequences on Chinese economy, polity, and society, some of which are elaborated below. Development of commercial economy Records suggest that private land-ownership emerged in China in the ancient period, and was patronized by the Warring States (477–221 BC). Then after a prolonged period of despotic and bureaucratic rule, market economic forces staged a comeback during the period of Tang Dynasty (618–906). Although the ownership of land—the primary means of production—remained firmly with administrative authorities, Chinese society by then displayed a clear tendency for differentiating private and public spheres of economy and enlarging the former at the expense of the latter. During the subsequent Song Dynasty (960–1279), with the spread of neo-Confucianism, the country witnessed a significant movement toward monetization, commerce and maritime trade, urban expansion, and technological innovations, signifying larger roles of private sector and market economic forces. During the Ming-Qing periods that lasted more than 500 years (1368– 1912), cotton culture and manufacture and handicraft industry were widespread, and all such industrial and commercial activities were entirely in the private sector. Cotton growing, spinning, and weaving by peasant households, dyeing of cloths by factories, the distribution of yarn and cloth and their transportation, along with the fixed and working capital needed for the industry, and all exchanges between producers, merchants, and purchasers were conducted through market. Even most of the banking operations were also in the private sector. All oldstyle banks (qianzhuang) were completely in the private sector, although they were subject to governmental regulations. The Shanxi banks (piaozhuang), which grew in importance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had ties with government officials and handled some of government financial matters, but they were also privately financed and managed. During the subsequent Song period, such private activities spread so enormously that some studies suggest that Song China demonstrated commercialization as well as manufacturing (protoindustrialization) comparable with the Tokugawa Japan and early modern Western Europe (Howell 1992; Jones 1988).

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Such a profound run of market-based economic activities, however, failed to lead to a transition to market economy or capitalism. Instead of fusing various regions of the country into an organically integrated national market for growth of capitalism, the commercial capital of China rather served as parasitic exploiters in the countryside. They obstructed the development of productive forces by diverting surplus capital to unproductive uses, mainly in investment in land, which impoverished the peasantry and undercut agrarian livelihood. On top of that, merchant-landlords also succeeded in taking their lands off governmental tax rolls, contributing to a weaker agrarian economy and overall backwardness, and poverty of the peasantry (Dirlik 1996). Although commercial capital existed in the traditional Chinese society for a long time and succeeded in infiltrating into the village economy, records suggest that it rather served the feudal mode of production by further intensifying feudal exploitation. The changes it brought forth in the pattern of land ownership and political superstructure had neither contributed to a transformation of feudal society nor signified a major change in the mode of production and exploitation (Rowe 1984; Zhao 2012). Spread of urbanization The Chinese feudalism also contributed to a robust growth of urbanization. The ancient Western Zhou Dynasty encouraged vassal states and large-scale absentee landlords to live around the conqueror’s garrisons, earmarked designated settlements to the upper-class nobility to receive education and military training to serve the monarchy, and inculcated the cult of Heaven and ancestral worship which promoted urbanization. Also, most of the Chinese dynasties maintained large standing armies—the Eastern Zhou, for example, apparently deployed 600,000 soldiers just in one single battle. Similar military strongholds and bureaucratic establishments maintained by successive dynasties gave rise to many urban centers and commercial and industrial cities throughout China. Records suggest that there were 600 cities within 35 larger states in Eastern Zhou, and archaeologists in recent years have uncovered 56 cities of Western Zhou, 192 cities of Eastern Zhou, and 387 cities of the Warring States. A city named Qi—founded by the Warring States—had a population of about 350,000, and it remained the largest commercial-industrial city in China for several hundred years (Victor 2010). Feuerwerker (1984) maintains that the Song, the Ming, and the Qing dynasties were almost as urbanized as the early modern Europe. In 1800, there were 23 cities in Europe with populations in excess of 100,000, and a total of 5.5 million people, or three percent of Europe’s 192 million people, lived in the cities. By 1900, out of Europe’s 432 million people, 46 million or ten percent lived in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. In contrast, in 1843, China had an estimated 20.7 million urban residents—5.1 percent of its total population. Five decades later, in 1893, there were 877 urban places in

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China with 4,000 or more inhabitants with a combined population of 20.8 million or 5.3 percent of the country’s total population. Development of patriarchal clan system Chinese dynasties allowed free alienation of land—the right to dispose of the property—since the ancient times, but they also restrained the development of land market and private property rights by simultaneously strengthening and expanding family and clan land-ownership as the foundation of property rights system in the country. The Zhou Dynasty (1100–256 BC), which introduced such a patriarchal hierarchy by distributing lands to relatives and vassals, underscored that: (a) all land belonged to the king, and it must be distributed to families only for the purpose of cultivation; (b) products of the land, earmarked as public land, belonged to the king; (c) peasants must pay rent to cultivate land; and (d) any alienation of land was forbidden. The subsequent Warring States and the Qin Dynasty (475–206 BC) established private land-ownership rights on the surface of land while actually retaining the ownership of the soil with the monarchy. Since then, almost all dynasties took measures to restrict the development of a free market for land while continuing land-ownerships of family and clans, which made alienation of property rights next to impossible. The Qing rulers made an extraordinary leap by making land the crucial unit of taxation and unleashing mechanisms for a feudalistic system, but they simultaneously continued the permanent land tenancy system, land-ownership along the family and clans, and restrained growth of private land market (Feng 1996).

D  Concluding remarks The history of Chinese feudalism had some parallels with Europe, such as the collapse of the ancient unified empires (such as Rome and Han); political fragmentation and the prominence of new ethnic groups (such as the Franks and the Xianbei); the spread of new religions (such as Christianity and Buddhism); and the appearance of armored horse-riding warrior elites (such as manorial system and hereditary aristocracy) (Holcombe 2017). But China never had a feudal system whereby a weak monarchy tried to control an area of land through alliances with wealthy landholders or by conferring rights of governance to lordship and fiefs. China thus has not experienced fragmentation of political authority, private possession of public rights, and parcelization of sovereignty as demonstrated by the Western European feudalism (Coulborn and Strayer 1956, 4–5). China was indeed ruled by monarchs and emperors, not by feudal landlords or warlords. Although it had some variants of feudalist institutions at some points, the exact period when such a feudalistic episode occurred remains highly controversial. The history of China’s socio-cultural, economic, and political developments however suggests that if China had indeed gone

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through a West European-type feudalism, it must have occurred during the period of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). Records also suggest that the pre-Communist Chinese economy had attained a significant level of monetization, commercialization, and urbanization, but these forces served more as parasitic exploiters of the countryside rather than contributing to a capitalist mode of production.

Notes 1 Generally, the Chinese terms ‘ fengjian’ and ‘ junxian’ represent alternative conceptions of political order: while the former refers to a decentralized rule, the latter refers to a centralized bureaucratic order. Although ‘ fengjian’ as a concept had existed in the Chinese political thought since the ancient times, it was apparently used in modern sense by Japanese scholars in the early twentieth century. 2 The May Fourth Movement refers to student protests staged in Beijing on May 4, 1919, as a part of the New Culture Movement (1915–1921), against the Chinese government’s response to the Treaty of Versailles that allowed Japan to retain territories in Shandong that was surrendered by Germany after the ‘Siege of Tsingtao’ in 1914. Some of the leaders of this movement, including Mao Tse Tung, later formed the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. 3 Karl Marx couched his ‘Asiatic mode of production’ in the context of India by stipulating that the structure of the fundamental economic elements of Asian societies remained untouched by the storms in political superstructure as they were held in a thrall while despotic rulers directly expropriated surplus from largely autarkic and generally undifferentiated village communities. For greater details, see McFarlane (2005). 4 In 1939, Mao Tse Tung himself described the May Fourth Movement as “a new stage in China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution against imperialism and feudalism.” 5 Japanese scholar Kanichi Asakawa however raised such questions as early as in 1903 when he compared the Chinese fengjian with the European feudalism and concluded that although fengjian had displayed many essential characteristics of European feudalism, it fell short in many respects as well. Some Western scholars, such as Max Weber and Etienne Balazs, characterized the Chinese Empire as a totalitarian bureaucratic state all along. 6 Chinese scholars and communist leaders however had extensive debate on the issue during the 1920s through the 1930s. While the followers of the Communist International (Comintern), led by Xue Muqiao, believed that feudalism still existed and stressed their movement against the reactionary alliance of nascent capitalism, imperialism, and feudal warlord forces, the Trotskyites, led by Wang Yichang, on the other hand, viewed China as an already bourgeois state and viewed their movement against capitalist development. After the May Fourth Movement and with the rapid spread of Marxism in China however the feudal system became targets of the communist movement (Grove and Esherick, 1980; Zhao, 2012). 7 For greater details on the origin and development of Chinese feudalism, see Dirlik (1996), Grove and Esherick (1980), Hu (1988), Jianxin (2007), Loewe and Shaughnessy (1999), Victor (2010), and Zurndorfer (1995). 8 There are considerable controversies with regard to the beginning and the end of slavery in China. Some Marxist writers, for example, disagree with the notion that slavery existed in China even during the period of the Shang Dynasty. They contend that if the Shang Dynasty was a slave society, then it must have been an

152 Feudalisms ‘Asian-style slave society,’ in which slaves were few and greatly outnumbered by independent self-cultivators and tenant farmers. On the other hand, some Japanese scholars like Niida Noboru maintain that ‘slave-like’ system of subordination of peasants continued in China even during the Tang and Song periods, with a crucial reorganization occurring during the late Ming and early Qing periods. Another Japanese scholar, Masaki (2009), has also argued that patriarchal, slave-like landlord-tenant relationship continued in China as late as the midMing period, and some personal slavery did exist in China even during the period of the Qing Dynasty (Grove and Esherick, 1980). Based on interpretation of diverse viewpoints, Feng (1996) concluded that slavery, tenure, and private ownership co-existed in China for 2,000 years, although over the course of time, slavery gradually disappeared while the tenure system greatly developed. 9 Under the Well-Field System, a squared area of land was divided into nine identically sized sections, of which the eight outer sections were privately cultivated by peasants and the center section was cultivated communally for the landlord. While the private fields were managed exclusively by peasants and they controlled the produce entirely, the produce from the communal fields went to the landlords. 10 Some Marxist scholars however reject the interpretation of Zhou as a feudal society on the grounds that such interpretation departed from the universal scheme of development outlined by Karl Marx, according to which the early Zhou period must have been a slave society (Victor, 2010). 11 The Warring States (403–221 BC) overthrew the Eastern Zhou Dynasty ­(710–403 BC) that took power after the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty. The reigns of the Eastern Zhou is often called the ‘Spring and Autumn Period’ in the Chinese history—when the rulers apparently reached moral heights, prompting China’s utmost moral philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC) to describe the period as China’s ‘Golden Age.’ 12 It was the preceding Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) which adopted Confucianism as the foundation of the imperial order in China, and it was during the reign of the Tang Dynasty (618–906) that Buddhism f lourished across the country. 13 The institutionalization of the ‘gentry’ landholding class apparently took place during the sixteenth through the seventeenth centuries in the Jiangnan region of China where most of the country’s resources were concentrated (Grove and Esherick, 1980). 14 Under the tenancy system, known as ‘two lords to a field,’ the ownership rights of ‘subsoil’ went to landlords, while that of the ‘surface’ went to tenants. Such an arrangement had also served as a major institutional deterrent for the development of full-scale capitalist agriculture in China. 15 The development of the tax collection system through private contractors—the so-called ‘tax farming’ (baolan)—became prevalent soon after the land-and-poll tax was established in China in 1733–1735. The state relied on private tax collection as it was unable to obtain data on taxpayers’ landholdings and lacked bureaucratic apparatus to collect taxes directly. Some scholars contend that a weak and incapable state protected the tax farming activities of the landed gentry to indicate that feudalism had emerged in China during this era (Feng, 1996). 16 Earlier, during the Qing period, tenants in many parts of China had the right to sell their user rights to a third party, and as a result, land changed hands frequently without the cognizance of landlords, indicating that peasants had some freedom in disposing of lands even before. 17 Some writers however maintain that peasant-tenants (dianhu) of post-Song China were actually small farmers who were not personally bound to their landlords. They had free contractual relationships as tenants, and many of them rented land from more than one land-owner. Similarly, Yanagita Setsuko (1976) also

The Chinese feudalism  153 maintains that a great number of village inhabitants were actually self-managing small farmers (see Feng, 2003; Grove and Esherick, 1980). 18 Feng (2003), however, contends that the systematization of the ranking system into five ranks probably resulted from the reorganization of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.

References Coulborn, R., and Strayer, J. (Eds.). (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Dirlik, A. (1996). Social formations in representations of the past: The case of “Feudalism” in twentieth-century Chinese historiography. Review (Fernand Braudel Center of SUNY), 19(3): 227–267. Feng, D. (1996). A comparative study on landownership between China and England. Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA) Paper No. 2241. Retrieved from https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2241/. Feng, L. (2003). Feudalism and Western Zhou China: A criticism. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 63(1): 115–144. Feuerwerker, A. (1984). The state and the economy in Late Imperial China. Theory and Society, 13(3): 297–326. Grove, L., and Esherick, J. (1980). From feudalism to capitalism: Japanese scholarship on the transformation of Chinese rural society. Modern China, 6(4): 397–438. Holcombe, C. (2017). Was medieval China Medieval? Chapter 9 in M. Szonyi, (ed.), A Companion of Chinese History (pp. 106–117). 1st Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Howell, D. (1992). Proto-industrial origins of Japanese capitalism. Journal of Asian Studies, 51(2): 269–286. Hu, Z. (1988). A reassessment of the theory of the five modes of production. Social Sciences in China, 19(2) June issue. Jianxin, H. 2007. A discussion of the concept of ‘feudal.’ Frontier History of China, 2(1): 1–24. Jones, E. (1988). Growth Recurring: Economic Change in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kamachi, N. (1990). Feudalism or absolute monarchism? Japanese discourse on the nature of state and society in Late Imperial China. Modern China, 16(3): 330–370. Masaki, N. (2009). Institutions and economic development of early modern Japan-­ Preliminary. ISS Discussion Paper Series. F-146. Institute of Social Science. University of Tokyo. McFarlane, B. (2005). The Asiatic mode of production—A new phoenix. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 35(4): 499–536. Miyakawa, H. (1955). An outline of Naito Hypothesis and its effects on Japanese studies of China. Far Eastern Quarterly Review, 14(4): 533–553. Myers, R. (1974). Transformation and continuity in Chinese economic and social history. Journal of Asian Studies, 33(2): 265–277. Rowe, W. (1984). Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796–1889. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Schreckcr, J. (1991). The Chinese Revolution in Historical Perspective. New York: Praeger. Strayer, J. (1956). Feudalism in Western Europe. In R. Coulborn (ed.), Feudalism in History (pp. 15–25). Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

154 Feudalisms Victor, F. (2010). From feudalism to commercial–industrial cities: Zhou dynasty and the warring states. Chapter 6 in Chinese City and Urbanism: Evolution and Development. World Scientific Publishing Co. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.­ proquest.com/lib/cunymain/detail.action. Zhao, L. (2012). Feudal and feudalism in China. Journal of Modern Chinese History, 6(2): 198–216.

9 The Japanese feudalism

The Japanese variant of feudalism has widely been considered as a mirror image of the medieval Western European feudalism. Many Western scholars consider Japan as the only society outside Europe that had a genuine feudal system, and the feudalistic institutions of Japan had demonstrated all critical features of the Western European feudalism, such as weak central authority, dominance of vassalage, fiefs and noble-warrior aristocratic class, fragmentation of political authority, great contrast between the urban and rural economies, parcelization of sovereignty, and a rigidly classified peasantry perpetually subservient to landlords/nobles. Many Western scholars also cited both Japan and medieval Europe as the only societies in the world that had exhibited ‘fully-proven cases of feudalism’ or ‘the classic case of feudalism’ (Coulborn 1956). Although closely mirrored, the Japanese feudalism however evolved independently of the West European feudalism. While the Western European serfdom emerged from the wreckage of the land-tenure system of the Roman Empire, the Japanese feudalism sprung up from a similar system left behind by the Chinese Empire. In both cases, feudal institutions grew out of complex political systems that bonded personal loyalty in a military aristocracy that wielded property rights to both land and peasants. And, in both cases, the development of monetization, commercialization, urbanization, and protoindustrialization paved the way toward capitalist transformation of their economies (Anderson 1974; Reischauer and Jansen 1995). Writing in the 1880s, Karl Marx (1912, 789) also remarked that Japan “with its purely feudal organization of landed property and its developed petite culture” truly demonstrated the feudalism of medieval Europe. Some scholars however question whether the concept of feudalism can appropriately be applied to Japan, or the Japanese variant of feudalism can appropriately be labeled as identical to that of medieval Europe. They argue that although such issues have been debated by scholars since the time of Voltaire and Montesquieu, they are still far from settled as many of the precise forms of serfdom and manorialism typical of medieval Europe actually did not materialize in Japan. They point out that Japanese peasants paid their dues as a portion of their produce from landholding or as an assessment on DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-9

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the holdings, and they hardly rendered any service in terms of working on the lord’s demesne (Hall 1962). Moreover, feudalism was well established in Western Europe by the ninth century, but it appeared in Japan only in the twelfth century, and while the West European feudalism declined with the growth of stronger political states in the sixteenth century, the Japanese feudalism held on until the Meiji Restoration in the late nineteenth century. The Japanese variant of feudalism thus also remains controversial, although far less intensely than other variants of Asian feudalisms. The chapter is organized as follows: the next section discusses the origin and growth of the Japanese variant of feudalism; Section three explains its nature and characteristics; Section four explores its decline and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development The Japanese feudalism originating during the transition period between the Heian period (794–1185) and the Kamakura Shogunate (1185–1333), it developed into a full-f ledged feudal system during the period of the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338–1600), and reached its climax during the reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600–1868). During this prolonged period, the feudalism had undergone two paradoxical phases. The first phase—the pre-Tokugawa period (1185 to 1600)— was marked by Sengoku Jidai, when a series of devastating civil wars among the daimyos ravaged the country. The second phase—the Tokugawa period (1600 to 1868) was the period of sakoku, when the country experienced a sustained period of unbroken peace and stability under robustly developed feudalist institutions. Kamakura Shogunate The Kamakura Shogunate was established by Minamoto no Yoritomo, a warlord who succeeded in establishing his military command almost all over Japan. He however never installed himself as the head of the Japanese government at Kyoto, and rather instituted his base at Kamakura, a seaside suburb of Tokyo, by assuming the title of Shogun—as a generalissimo of the emperor’s army. Minamoto also left the pre-feudal government and economy largely intact, and even allowed the former court aristocrats to continue to occupy high civil posts and draw income from their estates (Reischauer and Jansen 1995). The Kamakura Shogunate, which survived more than 150 years, created the proto-feudalist foundations of the Japanese society. Under the rigidly hierarchical governmental structure, the Shogunate accepted the Japanese Emperor as a titular head of the country while the Shoguns controlled the armies and battles. The next tier of the hierarchy was held by the Daimyos who

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served the Shoguns with the backing of Samurai warriors. The ruling class thus comprised of the shoguns, the daimyos, and the samurais—in that order. Peasants (hyakusho) and artisans (shokunin) came next in the hierarchical order in which merchants/traders (shonin) were placed at the bottom. Unlike medieval Europe where peasants were considered lower class, the Kamakura Shogunate accorded higher status to peasants as they produced food for the society, and looked down upon the merchants’ class as they were after making profits (Sanderson 1994). Ashikaga Shogunate Following the overthrow of the Kamakura Shogunate1 by Japanese Emperor Go-Daigo, the country plunged into a period of disarray and disintegration. Then, the Ashikaga Shogunate, founded by Ashikaga Takauji, succeeded in establishing de facto power over largely unified Japan by 1338 by sharing his authority with the Japanese Emperor.2 Complete unification of the country, however, occurred in 1590 when a military general named Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1536–1598) succeeded in reestablishing authority over a completely reunified Japan. Hideyoshi did so by forcing all rival warlords to serve as his vassals/fiefs.3 Under Hideyoshi’s reign, the Japanese feudalism underwent far-reaching changes. In 1582, before even consolidating his power all over Japan, Hideyoshi began the process of reforming the country’s taxation system recognizing peasants’ right to the land that they cultivated. He also obligated peasants to pay tax only to a landlord designated by him, and thus freed them from paying tax to multiple authorities, such as local temples, nobles, or samurais. Hideyoshi surveyed all land areas of the country to determine their productivity, and granted land to vassals/fiefs based on such surveys. He also introduced the rice-standard (kokudaka-sei) to fix daimyos’ tax obligation. With the land rights exclusively granted to the cultivators, and the daimyos obligation fixed through rice payments, the manorial system that existed in the county for a long time all but disappeared (Masaki, 2009). As unified Japan was brought under his firm control, during Hideyoshi’s rule constant in-fighting among warlords came to an end, making the samurai class all but redundant after hundreds of years. To resolve the issue, Hideyoshi forced the samurais to either move to castle towns to live with their feudal lords as salaried samurais or to stay in their own lands to live as peasants. Consequently, many samurais who had the most land to lose became village headmen and leaders of rural society. The villages thus gained strong local leadership and were allowed a considerable degree of autonomy in running their own affairs and collecting taxes. Hideyoshi also introduced the so-called Katanagari system, under which the samurais were ranked at the top, followed by peasants, then craftsmen, and the merchant class at the bottom. The social hierarchy introduced by

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Hideyoshi served as a major foundation of Japan’s social ranking system for a long time. Hideyoshi’s guarantee of exclusive rights to farmers over their land, and encouragement of samurais to live as village headmen and serve as leaders of rural society served as strong incentives to raise productivity and agricultural growth as well (Tamaki, 2011). By the end of Hideyoshi’s reign (1582–1598), Japan emerged as a politically unified country with a centralized feudal system under which a few supreme overlords ruled over a large number of vassal lords, who in turn controlled their respective vassals and samurai retainers. At the same time, Hideyoshi’s drive toward centralization of national authority, integration of the daimyo domains under a few powerful overlords, granting of exclusive land rights to peasants, and fixing their tax obligations also resulted in elimination of many of the typical feudal practices from Japanese society (Asakawa 1912; Hall 1962). Tokugawa Shogunate After Hideyoshi’s death in 1598, the descendants of Kamakura Shogunate staged a comeback under the leadership of one of top military generals of Hideyoshi named Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616). The Tokugawa Shogunate that he founded following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 ruled a unified Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and during this prolonged period of 268 years, Japan experienced uninterrupted peace, stable government, and economic growth. While the Kamakura period led to ‘proto-feudalism’ in Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate ref lected ‘the age of classical feudalism in Japan’ (Reischauer 1956). The absence of any major war during such a long period allowed the shogunate to carry out far-reaching administrative and economic reforms including major changes in the country’s land-tenure and feudal systems, and promote monetization, commercialization, and urbanization of the country, which eventually paved the way for transition of Japanese economy toward capitalism. Several crucial factors underpinned such a massive development. First, as prolonged absence of wars made the warrior class—the samurais—­completely redundant, the Tokugawa Shogunate turned them into governmental bureaucrats under the supervision of shoguns, and as samurais came to assume most of the governing responsibilities, the daimyos gradually turned into mere figureheads. The bureaucratization of samurais also led to the growth of two distinct social classes in rural Japan: the samurai class and the peasants (hyakush) class. Tokugawa rulers accorded each class a rigid place in the country’s social scheme—the samurai ruled the peasants, and the peasants supported the samurais. Each class had its own customs and morals, and each class had a measure of autonomy under the paternal control of the country’s rulers (Asakawa 1912).

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Second, the Tokugawa Shogunate reformed the traditional method of tax payment by introducing a ‘village contract system,’ which required each village to compose a ‘team of five’ to take the joint liability for the village’s tax obligation to the shogunate or feudal lord. Under the system, if a farmer failed to pay his tax, four fellow farmers of his team had to meet his tax obligations. Tokugawa rulers also changed tax obligations from a fixed rate to a fixed amount which implied that all the residual amount of produce belonged to the farmers (Masaki 2009). Tokugawa rulers also permitted rural population to form self-governments for administering their own affairs in accordance with the general policy that underlined that the villagers must be ‘satisfied and submissive’ to the samurais as well as the shogunate. Third, Tokugawa rulers made the domains (fiefs) largely autonomous, freed them from paying taxes to the central government, but made them responsible for collecting taxes from the peasants and for maintaining law and order in their domains. At the same time, the shogunate depended squarely on the bonds of personal loyalty—the rulers demanded absolute loyalty of the vassals and required the daimyos to spend alternate years in attendance in Edo, the capital of the country. Fourth, the shogunate also controlled samurai-bureaucrats strictly and subjected them to severe penalties for failures to meet the demands of the rulers which ranged from self-confinement to confiscation of fiefs, severing of ties of allegiance and support, or self-immolation (seppuku). The samurais, on their part, also staked their lives to defend the honor of their lords, families, and themselves. Thus, two moral principles—personal fidelity and individual honor—came to define the very nature of Japanese feudal institutions, which in turn served as the backbone of the Tokugawa reign (Asakawa 1912).

B  Nature and characteristics Japan’s economic history during the early modern period has been widely perceived as a history of peasants—most Japanese people were indeed peasants until the end of World War II. As mentioned before, in Japanese social hierarchy, peasants were historically accorded higher social status than artisans, traders, and merchants.4 Thus the nature of the Japanese feudalism was largely shaped by the interface between the samurais and the peasants, but under a rigid social system in which the samurais’ role was to rule the peasants and the peasants’ role was to support the samurais (Tamaki 2011). The samurai class came to dominate the peasantry by the tenth century when a nominally centralized governing system was replaced by various delegated authorities shared by imperial family members, nobles, and temples. These manorial owners delegated police authorities to the samurais to keep public order and collect rent in local manors, and in return, allowed the samurais to collect rent from peasants to support themselves. The samurai class

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gained greater prominence in Japanese society by the twelfth century as they grouped themselves under rival noble families—the Tiara and the Minamoto (Masaki 2009).5 The subsequent developments in samurai-peasant relationship depended on how the rulers and shoguns balanced the respective rights and obligations of the two distinct classes under their respective feudal systems of governance. Under the Kamakura Shogunate, the shoguns were the most important figures—next in line to the rulers—who made important decisions about armies and battles, and the daimyos served the shogun to control a large area of land while samurai warriors worked for them (Hall 1962). The samurais were thus similar to the European knight—they fought for their people and maintained law and order in the community. The Kamakura Shogunate, as mentioned above, left the old proto-feudal governmental system largely intact under which peasants (farmers and fishermen) were controlled by the samurais but they were accorded a higher status than the artisans, traders, and merchants. In contrast, the Tokugawa Japan was rather a fully developed feudalist society, especially by the end of the seventeenth century. Peasants had exclusive rights to the land that they titled, but the sale or split of land beyond certain acreage was prohibited so that no peasant could be too rich or too poor. The state also restricted the choice of crops that peasants could grow on their land. The socio-economic condition of the peasant population, however, greatly improved during the Tokugawa Japan because of peasants’ land-­ ownership and resultant increase in land productivity and commercialization of agriculture. Moreover, during the period villages emerged as self-governing institutions under which peasants selected village chiefs from their own members and organized themselves for all village activities. Such self-­ governments however had to work under the paternalistic control of the central government that required peasants to enforce the dictates of the state submissively.6 During the Tokugawa Shogunate, also emerged a new group of peasants called bonded agricultural workers (hokonin), and depending on their bonds, there were three categories. The least free group was assigned to a family for an indeterminate period of time in return for a loan—they received no compensation for their work other than their maintenance and obligated to work until the loan was repaid completely. A second group was like the first group except that they received some compensation—a sum was agreed upon in advance, and it was then deducted from the remaining debt at the end of the loan period. The third group of bonded workers was freer than the others—they were bound by debt for the duration of the loan, and their labor constituted repayment of the loan in full at the end of the stipulated period. At the beginning, the duration of bonded labor was indefinite, but the Tokugawa Shogunate initially shortened its duration to ten to 15 years, then to no more than three

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years, and finally to only one year or only one season. Eventually, by the end of the Tokugawa era, with the emergence of wage-labor, bonded labor largely disappeared in Japan (Smith 1959).

C Decline and consequences The Japanese feudalism evolved through a natural course of events spanning several hundred years, but its demise came with a single royal decree promulgated by 14-year-old Japanese Emperor Mutsuhito Meiji in 1871. The imperial decree that came within the first three years of his reign not only sent death-knell to the Tokugawa Shogunate but also to the entire Japanese experiment with feudalism. The end of the Tokugawa Shogunate came in 1868, when the last shogun, Tokugawa Keiki, resigned facing a revolt orchestrated jointly by two powerful anti-Tokugawa and pro-imperial clans named the Choshu and the Satsuma. The rebellious clans mounted powerful opposition to the Tokugawa Shogunate’s policy of seclusion (Sakoku), under which the Japanese society was almost completely cut off from the rest of the world for more than 200 years. After the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japanese Emperor and the imperial nobles tried to establish an absolute monarchy under the leadership of the emperor, while anti-Tokugawa domains wanted to create a modern nation state. Both groups however sought to abolish the feudalist system altogether. After establishing his supreme control over Japan, Emperor Meiji denied autonomy to all 260 domains in the country and compensated feudal lords with government bonds for surrendering their sovereignty over their domains. With the surrender of the feudal lords, the 700-year-old feudalist system of Japan was obliterated with a single stroke of pen (Masaki 2009). Although the revolt of the Choshu and the Satsuma clans came as the final nail on the coffin, the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate was propelled by an explosive mix of other factors and forces ranging from domestic transformation of Japanese society to interference by foreign powers. Policy of seclusion For a long time, the Tokugawa Shogunate staunchly followed the policy of seclusion. The Shogunate allowed only a small Dutch outpost in Nagasaki Harbor and maintained close trade relations only with neighboring Korea and China. Under the policy of seclusion, the Shogunate banned any Japanese from engaging in foreign trade or travel in 1630; prohibited any overseas Japanese from returning to the country in 1636; restricted Japanese shipping to coastal vessels and ocean voyages in 1639; banned spread of Christianity in Japan in 1606; forced out the British from Japan in 1623; expelled the Spaniards in 1624; stamped out European Catholic missionaries in 1638; and restricted the Dutch mobility only within the Nagasaki Harbor in 1639.7

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The seclusion policy hugely contributed to internal stability of Japan— the country experienced unbroken peace and stability for more than two centuries, except some domestic disturbances and peasant riots as explained below. Because of the policy, Japan also never experienced a significant decline in its population like that of the European demographic collapse during 1300–1450. Great killer diseases that beset medieval Europe—the bubonic plague and typhus—never affected Japan, and the Chinese black rat that carried the f lea to Europe through overland caravan never reached Japan ( Jannetta 1987). But the isolation policy also cost Japan very dearly in terms of its industrial and technological progress, and religious intolerance. The country largely missed out the gains accrued from the rise of modern science in Europe, the commercial revolution in world trade, and the Industrial Revolution in the West (Reischauer and Jansen 1995). Secluded Japan also drew criticisms for its ban on Christianity and prosecution of Christians. In 1637–1638, the Shogunate crushed the Shimabara Revolt (in present-day Nagasaki Prefecture), the largest civil unrest in Japan’s entire history. The Shogunate sent 125,000 troops to suppress the revolt mounted by 27,000 Christian rebels, and beheaded an estimated 15,000– 37,000 of them, including rebel leader Matsukura Katsuie, the daimyo of the Shimabara domain (Bellah 1957). In the final years of its reign, the Shogunate however greatly increased Japan’s contact with foreign countries. Apparently, in the 1850s the shoguns came to realize the outcome of China’s withdrawal from the rest of the world during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries when it not only faced economic decline but also came close to being colonized by major European powers (Sanderson 1994). Such a realization forced the Shogunate, which prevented several intrusions of foreign warships in the early nineteenth century,8 to sign the Treaty of Peace and Amity (Treaty of Kanagawa) with Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States in 1854. Under the treaty, Japan opened two ports to American ships, in addition to allowing a US consul to take up residence in Shimoda in southwest Edo (current Tokyo). Then, five years later, in 1659, the Shogunate signed a commercial treaty with the US, opening still more areas to American trade. But intensely conservative and nationalistic Japanese people came to view such involvement with the Americans as a failure of the Shogunate to prevent foreign intrusions in their country.9 Internal transformation Internal transformation of Japanese society and economy also played a crucial role in the ultimate demise of the Tokugawa Shogunate. During its reign, Japan had achieved tremendous progress in respect to commercialization of agriculture, protoindustrialization, monetization of the economy, urbanization of the population, and literary, cultural, and philosophical developments.

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But the effects had not been uniform or equitable across different segments of the society for a number of reasons. First, the long absence of war forced the traditionally powerful class—the samurais—to join governmental bureaucracy on a fixed salary. As a result, while the income of peasants and merchants increased due to commercialization of agriculture and expansion of the economy, the samurais fell on hard times. As a result, the samurai class increasingly came to depend on the merchants and artisans for supplementing their income and livelihood. The samurais thus had good reason to seek overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Second, the long peace, stability, and economic growth of the Tokugawa period also led to great cultural, philosophical, and religious developments of the nation. The Shintoism—that spread widely during the period—placed the emperor in a more important political position compared with the shoguns, and many Japanese thus longed for restoration of imperial rule. Chinese Confucian philosophy also encouraged intellectual aspirations antithetical to feudal system. The Confucian philosophy emphasized rule by men of superior education and morality, while the Tokugawa’s reign was based on the status determined by birth. Third, the Tokugawa period also witnessed a movement called ‘national learning’ that emphasized early Japanese poetry and history that glorified the country’s unbroken imperial line of divine descent, which bore unfavorable sentiments to feudalistic institutions. The period also witnessed spread of something called ‘Dutch Learning,’ a school of thought that emphasized Western science, particularly medicine, metallurgy, and gunnery. Many Japanese scholars attached to this school became vocal critics of the Tokugawa Shogunate, especially its closed-door policy. Finally, instead of being reluctant observers of political governance, as many writers tend to suggest, Japanese peasants came to demonstrate keen political consciousness by the latter half of the eighteenth century. They mounted a series of protests, movements and riots against heavy taxes, f luctuating rice price, and issues involving natural disasters, droughts, and famines. The Tokugawa period experienced as many as 20 great famines between 1675 and 1837, and between 2,967 and 6,889 peasants’ uprisings (Asakawa 1912). Although commercialization of agriculture during the Tokugawa period pushed many peasants to rich echelon of the society and even helped some of them to become samurais, such processes turned many small peasants into tenant farmers, and forced many of them to move to urban centers in search of living. Many peasants also disapproved the protoindustrialization processes of the period which enticed many of them to move out of agriculture (Howell 1992). Thus, while the general political pattern remained rigidly unchanged during the period of the Tokugawa Shogunate, beneath the surface there were great undercurrents of tensions between Confucian and feudal values, between economic growth and a frozen class society, and between isolationist policies of the regime and the desire of the population to embrace Western

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scientific developments and integration into global economy. All these forces made Japanese society capable of making great changes which they came to demonstrate in the second half of the nineteenth century, during the era of the Meiji Restoration (Reischauer and Jansen 1995). Tokugawa Shogunate however has received mixed elucidations. In the early 1950s, many Japanese as well as Western scholars condemned the period as a prolonged period of economic and demographic stagnation when a politically conservative and highly bureaucratic regime pursued policies of rigid social order and economic, political, and religious isolation from the rest of the world, and thus kept the country largely underdeveloped by missing out the benefits of the Western Industrial Revolution as well as technological progress. Since the 1980s however a revisionist approach began to emerge that emphasizes that despite isolation from the rest of the word, and despite its reliance on feudal social and political institutions for several centuries, the Tokugawa era helped Japan to emerge as a relatively developed pre-­ capitalist society. The revisionist school emphasizes that, contrary to the views espoused by in the 1950s, the Tokugawa Japan had actually achieved high levels of commercialization of agriculture, large-scale urbanization, strong monetization, a vibrating merchant class, and advanced levels of ­protoindustrialization—all of which subsequently paved the way for rapid industrialization as well as transition of Japanese economy to capitalism during the Meiji era (1868–1912).10 The viewpoints of the revisionist school have been elaborated below. Commercialization of agriculture Records suggest that between the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries, the Tokugawa Japan experienced a rapid agricultural growth. Several factors contributed to such a rapid growth, such as: (a) granting of exclusive ownership rights to peasants, along with greater control over their land; (b) replacement of traditional agricultural surplus-based taxation system (kemi) with a fixed tax system ( jomen) that reduced burden on peasants; (c) shift from medium-sized farming that used semi-servile labor to a small family farming that led to substitution of human labor for animals; (d) increase in the irrigated and drainable acreage; (e) introduction of double cropping and the use of commercial fertilizer; (f ) introduction of labor-intensive cash crops, such as cotton, silk, cocoons, oil seed, tobacco, saff lower, and indigo; and (g) introduction of labor-saving technology in thrashing and auxiliary stages (Yamamura 1980; Yasuba 1987). Such developments pushed farmers away from subsistence farming toward more profitable commercialized farming and many of them joined the trading networks that shipped food to urban centers and began consuming goods produced in or channeled through the urban centers (Smith, 1988). This trend, in turn, gave rise to a class of independent and industrious

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farmers and large landowners who hired tenant farmers to raise income and productivity of their landholdings. As villagers made a transition away from subsistence farming to commercial farming, and concentrated on processing of foodstuffs, silk, and other agricultural products, the late eighteenth century Japan experienced an outburst of entrepreneurial activities throughout rural areas. By the early 1700s, sustained growth of protoindustrialization in both urban and rural Japan became inseparable from the production of rice as well as industrial crops like tea, fruit, mulberry, and cotton (Ohno 2006, 28), and among the processed cash crops, cotton became a lucrative enterprise all over Japan gradually paving the way toward the emergence of cotton textile industry and home-based handicraft business (Hanley 1974). These processes of commercialization of agriculture, protoindustrialization of farming, the rise of a rich peasant class and increasingly monetized economy not only prepared the peasantry for factory discipline, but also brought forth sweeping societal changes by weakening the hereditary bonds of dependency and re-stratification of the society, as many village elites turned into landlords, merchants, and moneylenders (Smith 1959). Growth of merchant class Despite the long-standing tradition of underrating the merchant and trader class as parasites and usurpers, the eighteenth-century Japan had witnessed the emergence of a vibrant merchant class as the economy went through substantial commercialization in both agriculture and industry. The country had many great merchant houses in textiles and clothing, sake brewing, retail trade of dry goods, money lending, and other sectors even in the seventeenth century.11 By the eighteenth century a great many commercial houses grew up in large cities like Osaka and Edo with diversified businesses, encompassing manufacturing, cottage industry, moneylending, and money-exchange. Such enterprises commanded at least 15 percent of Japan’s wealth during the period ref lecting an astonishing transformation of Japanese society and economy (Spencer 1958). Aside from commercialization of agriculture, development of agricultural processing industries and handicrafts, and monetization and integration of the national economy, the growth of such a powerful merchant class was also propelled by the Tokugawa policies of protecting merchants; eliminating restrictions on the operation of markets; development of roads, rivers, and sea transportation networks and facilities; and standardization of measurements (Hall 1970). The Shogunate also granted territorial monopoly privileges to many businesses, allowed them to form their own cartels, and delegated authority to selected merchants’ bodies to govern trade in their businesses. It was the Tokugawa Shogunate which introduced the first fiat currency in Japan—they

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printed both gold and silver coins themselves, but entrusted merchants with the minting of copper coins in the cities throughout the country (Masaki 2009). Growth of a vibrant merchant class also put upside down the traditional social structure of Japan that placed the samurais on the top and the traders at the bottom. As the farmers and merchants became rich, the samurais being tied to a fixed income increasingly became dependent on rich farmers and urban merchants. The Tokugawa Shogunate periodically attempted to reverse the growing indebtedness of the ruling class by scaling back their expenses and placing sumptuary laws and other restrictions on the merchants, but the crumbling of traditional social structure could not be halted. Spread of urbanization Incredible progresses in commercialization of agriculture as well as industry, development of a vibrant merchant class, and monetization of the economy during the Tokugawa period also led to extraordinary levels of urbanization. Studies suggest that urbanization of Japan in the seventeenth century was ‘astounding’ and ‘quite possibly without historical precedence’ (Hall 1970). Some scholars even assert that if any period of pre-modern history anywhere in the world could properly be labeled as urban-centered, it was Japan between 1600 and 1720 (Rozman 1974). Records suggest that in the eighteenth century, 10–14 percent of 34–35 million of the Japanese population lived in large towns or cities, whereas in 1790, only three percent of the US population, and in 1800, only three percent of European population lived in urban centers (Spencer 1958). By the late eighteenth century, Japan’s new capital Edo turned from a small fishing village into the world’s largest city with a population of over one million, while Osaka emerged as a great commercial and financial center in West Japan, and Kyoto, the old imperial capital, had a population close to a million. The city of Edo—the seat of the central government (bakufu)—housed the ruling families as well as government bureaucrats. On top of that, the Tokugawa Shogunate required all feudal landlords (daimyos) to maintain a residence in the city to spend every alternate year in the capital. This policy of the Shogunate brought forth considerable levels of urbanization and commercial development in the rest of Japan as well. The daimyos had to mobilize local resources to meet their expenses in Edo, travel to Edo with their entourages from various parts of the country, and such patterns of elite migration gave rise to a demand for goods and services commensurate with their positions throughout the country (Rozman 1974, 97–98). In addition, the development of protoindustrial crafts production by various merchant houses in the major cities also created diffusion effects in rural areas by increasing mobility among the military elite (the samurai) and the

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well-to-do peasantry, which, in turn, contributed to rapid urbanization of Japanese society in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Ohno 2006, 32–33). By then many small castle towns also sprung up in various parts of Japan, such as Nagoya, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, and Okayama which had populations exceeding 30,000. There were also scores of rural centers of commercial and industrial activities such as Takasaki, Narita, Kiriu, Kobe, and Hachioji with populations over 10,000 (Smitka 1988). Intellectual and cultural developments Feudal Japan also added a robust chapter in the nation’s intellectual and cultural developments. By the latter half of the Tokugawa period, mass education spread in Japan as the ruling class felt the need to educate capable commoners so that they could serve the society better. The number of public (Domain) and private schools increased sharply after the mid-eighteenth century. Consequently, not only the samurai class, merchants, and rich peasants, but also common peasants received education, and the male literacy rate of the country reached up to 40 percent by the end of the Tokugawa era—the highest in any Asian country at the time (Passin 1965). The Tokugawa Shogunate also gradually shifted emphasis of education away from classics to practical subjects, such as medicine, arithmetic, and Western studies, and such pragmatic and materialistic education prepared the Japanese population well to achieve rapid economic transformation during the subsequent period of Meiji Restoration (Yasuba 1987). During this period, Edo emerged as epicenter of Japan’s intellectual and cultural development. There was a great surge in the learning of Chinese language, Confucian philosophy, and historical scholarships. Growth of intellectual and scholarly activities was also furthered by the nationwide intellectual cross-fertilization made possible by the system of alternate residence of the lords and their retainers in Edo. As a result, scholars from all over Japan came into contact with each other, and a large f low of students and teachers developed between Edo and the various domains in the country. Japan also witnessed an architectural outburst of lavishly decorated buildings during the Tokugawa period—many schools of painting, ranging from Chinese styles to native concepts of design, f lourished at the courts of the shoguns and daimyos. As mentioned above, the period also witnessed a movement called ‘national learning’ that emphasized early Japanese poetry and history that glorified Japan’s imperial line of divine descent, and the ‘Dutch Learning’ that focused on Western science.12 Economic growth The presumption that isolated Japan during the Tokugawa period was economically stagnant has been roundly debunked since the early 1970s.

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Recent studies show that the Japanese economy rather grew throughout the Tokugawa period, although the growth rate had often been uneven and slow, and despite major famines, the overall economic growth rate of the period exceeded the rate of population increase, thus positively contributed to raising living standards of the country (Hanley and Yamamura 1977). At the end of the Tokugawa period, Japan had a population of about 26 million, which grew at a rate of about five per thousand. Both birth and death rates were low during the period as most people viewed more children as financial liability, and many even practiced infanticides and abortion to keep population down (Yasuba 1987). Also, the nature of economic activities of the population changed ­d ramatically—in more prosperous regions, most of the workers were employed in production of cotton textiles, sugar, paper, silk, tea, fruits, and so on (Hanley 1974). Such protoindustrialization, along with improvements in technology and growth of commodity and financial markets, contributed to significant improvement in their living standards (Hall 1970). Based on actual consumption baskets, price data, and real wage index, studies have found that the real purchasing power of unskilled laborers in Kyoto and Tokyo in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was comparable with that of Southern Europe but about a third of the level in London, but unskilled wages in Japan were closer to those in Southern and Central Europe than Northwestern Europe (Bassino and Ma 2004). Some studies also suggest that Japanese per capita output during the Tokugawa period was higher than other non-Western countries (Yasuba 1987). Even those who dispute such a rosy picture stipulate that at the time of the Meiji take-off, Japanese economy was not behind other developing countries (Ozmucur and Pamuk 2002). Maddison’s (2001, 255) calculations also show that in 1870, real per capita incomes in Japan and Britain were 737 and 3,191 international dollars, respectively. The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled the country with a bureaucratic centralized system but economically it had a highly decentralized system under which local authorities were allowed to adopt their own taxation, industrial promotion, currencies, and economic regulations as long as they did not overtly contradict the policies of the Shogunate (Ohno 2006, 13–28). Feudal lords were allowed to use their own currency in their own domains, while the Shogunate maintained its sovereignty over the fiat currency throughout the country.13 But as feudal lords transported rice to the capital for tribute payment, sold their agricultural surplus in large cities like Osaka and Edo, and had to maintain castles in the capital, national currency circulated across both local and national markets. By the end of the Tokugawa era, Japan became an increasingly impersonal and money-dominated economy with a larger and larger part of its labor force employed in protoindustrialization sectors and compensated in the form of wages. Such large-scale adoption of wage-compensation in both industrial and agricultural sectors helped the country to achieve a level of economic

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development which in turn provided the impetus toward achieving rapid industrialization and transition to capitalism during the subsequent Meiji period.

D  Concluding remarks The Japanese episode of feudalism has widely been viewed as a mirror image of the West European feudalism that flourished during the medieval period. In many respects, however, Japan had its own variant of feudalism. After all, unlike West European monarchs, Japanese shoguns did not represent a weak central authority. The bakufu—the central government of the Shogunate—­ exercised strong bureaucratic authority all over Japan and had absolute political power over the hans (local governments), and they could even remove them. The Shoguns granted the daimyos the land to rule in exchange of their absolute loyalty to them, and disobedience was severely crushed. Also, the Japanese vassalage did not involve contractual relations as was the case in Western Europe. Moreover, unlike in Western Europe, Japanese farmers were not tied to land—they belonged to the assigned land, but their mobility was not restricted, and they did not need passports from their manorial masters to move to other areas. Peasants formed a distinct class, but they were deemed higher in ranks than merchants and traders in the society. Peasants had no service obligations to manorial owners either. By the middle of the Tokugawa Shogunate, farmers became exclusive owners of their land, they had wide freedom to choose their crops and ran their affairs through self-government, and they paid their taxes in a fixed amount, and rich peasants often hired tenant farmers to cultivate their land. The Japanese feudal system also maintained a high degree of social mobility, despite the classification of the population based on economic status. The socio-economic progression of the peasants was f luid as well—many rich peasants became commercial agricultural producers. The feudalism also gave rise to a powerful merchant class, and their prominence was accompanied by simultaneous decline of the power of the nobility. Many of the samurais and daimyos joined the merchant class, becoming bankers, manufacturers, and other types of entrepreneurs. In the end, much like Western European serfdom, Japanese feudalism also experienced widespread wage-labor, large-scale urbanization and commercialization, and rise of a bourgeoisie class, which eventually paved the way for a transition to capitalism.

Notes 1 It was during the period of the Kamakura Shogunate that the Mongols had overrun Korea, Central Asia, much of the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, and slowly took over the powerful Chinese Empire. Mongols also attempted to invade Japan twice—in 1274 and 1281, but had to turn back facing a great typhoon called the kamikaze (‘divine wind’). Japanese believe it was their Shinto gods who sent the typhoon in their defense (Reischauer and Jansen, 1995).

170 Feudalisms 2 The Ashikaga Shogunate is also known as the Muromachi Shogunate, based on Muromachi area of Kyoto where they lived. 3 Some studies suggest that the arrival of the Portuguese traders in the mid-­ sixteenth century had also contributed to the reunification of Japan. The Portuguese traders landed in Japan in the early 1540s—during the reign of the Ashikaga Shogunate. Along with Christian missionaries, they also brought superior military technology. Many believe that such guns contributed to the efficiency of local warlords and landlords in defeating royalist forces that opposed the Ashikaga Shogunate (Reischauer and Jansen, 1995; Tamaki, 2011). 4 As discussed before, under Katanagari system, which became the foundation of Japan’s social ranking system for a long time, the samurais were ranked at the top, followed by peasants or farmers, then craftsmen, and then the merchant class. 5 Initially, various samurai groups aligned with relatives, neighbors, or some charismatic figures, but as Japanese society accorded greater prestige to hereditary authority, they lined up with noble families of imperial descent, and many royal nobles belonging to the family names Tiara and Minamoto moved out to the provinces to make their fortunes as members of the royal authority (Reischauer and Jansen, 1995). 6 Some studies suggest that as a result of such paternalistic control, Japanese peasants emerged out of the feudal system with sterling virtues of industry and remarkable capacity for discipline in their diminutive holding in land, but lacked active interest and training in the conduct of national affairs (Asakawa, 1912). 7 For greater details on such measures, see Atwell (1986), Pearson (1991), Reischauer and Jansen (1995), and Toby (1984). 8 For example, the Shogunate resisted Russian warships and traders that encroached on Karafuto (Sakhalin in Russia and the Kuril Islands in Hokkaido), a British warship that entered Nagasaki Harbor searching for enemy Dutch ships in 1808, and the US trading ships that entered Japanese shores in the 1810s and 1820s. 9 Such criticisms fueled anti-Tokugawa clans in the provinces of Satsuma and Choshu to mount an armed rebellion against the Shogunate. Ironically, the Meiji Restoration that the Satsuma and the Choshu clans backed—and under which Japan achieved rapid modernization and emerged as a powerful nation on the world stage—had opened Japan to Western trade and inf luence more than ever before. 10 Literature on the revisionist approach is simply voluminous. For greater details, see Bassino and Ma (2004), Hanley (1974), Hanley and Yamamura (1977), Hauser (1983), Hidetoshi (1981), Kazui (1982), Moulder (1977), Minami (1998), Rozman (1974), Smitka (1998), Toby (1977), and Yasuba (1987). Also see Bassino and Ma (2004), Ozmucur and Pamuk (2002), and Zanden and Luiten (2003) for a comparative discussion on the economic condition of Japan during the Tokugawa period. 11 One such business house that emerged during the period, Mitsui, still survives as one of the greatest private business enterprises in the world. It was during this period the Fujiwara Family of Ohshu (northeastern Japan) built a large port for long-distance domestic and international trades, which played an instrumental role in the growth of the merchant class in Japan (Masaki, 2009). 12 As discussed before, the learning of nostalgic historiography of Japan, the Confucian philosophy, and the Dutch Learning contributed to the growth of intellectual ideas largely antithetical to the feudal system. The Tokugawa period also contributed to the growth of so-called geisha culture—merchant culture—that centered on amusement through theater, art, and literature. Matured in Osaka and Kyoto in the late seventeenth century, geisha culture subsequently became common in Edo as well.

The Japanese feudalism  171 13 As mentioned before, the currency consisted of gold, silver, and copper coins, and while gold and silver coins were minted in Edo by the Shogunate, minting of copper coins was entrusted to merchants in the cities across the country.

References Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Asakawa, K. (1912). Some of the contributions of feudal Japan to the new Japan. The Journal of Race Development, 3(1): 1–32. Atwell, W. (1986). Some observations on the ‘seventeenth-century crisis’ in China and Japan. Journal of Asian Studies, 45(2): 223–244. Bassino, J., and Ma, D. (2004). Japanese wages and living standards in 1720–1913: An international comparison. Presentation at the Conference on towards a Global History of Prices and Wages, Utrecht, Holland—August 19–21, 2004. Bellah, R. (1957). Tokugawa Religion. New York: Macmillan. Bloch, M. (1961). Feudal Society. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press. Coulborn, R. (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Hall, J. (1962). Feudalism in Japan-A reassessment. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 5(1): 15–51. Hall, J. (1970). Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times. New York: Delacorte. Hanley, S. (1974). Fertility mortality and life expectancy in pre-modern Japan. Population Studies, 28: 127–142. Hanley, S., and Yamamura, K. (1977). Economic and Demographic Change in Preindustrial Japan, 1600–1868. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Hauser, W. (1983). Some misconceptions about the economic history of Tokugawa Japan. The History Teacher, 16(4): 569–583. Hidetoshi, K. (1981). The significance of the period of national seclusion reconsidered. Journal of Japanese Studies, 7(1): 85–109. Howell, D. (1992). Proto-industrial origins of Japanese capitalism. Journal of Asian Studies, 51(2): 269–286. Jannetta, A. (1987). Epidemics and Mortality in Early Modern Japan. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Kazui, T. (1982). Foreign relations during the Edo period: Sakoku reexamined. Journal of Japanese Studies, 8(2): 283–306. Leupp, G. (1992). Servants, Shop-Hands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Lyon, B. (1959). The Middle Ages in Recent Historical Thought. Washington (DC): Service Center for Teachers of History. Maddison, A. (2001). The World Economy: A Millennium Perspective. Paris: OECD Publishing. Marx, K. (1912). Capital. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press. Masaki, N. (2009). Institutions and economic development of early modern Japan-­ preliminary. ISS Discussion Paper Series. F-146. Institute of Social Science. University of Tokyo. Minami, R. (1998). Economic development and income distribution in Japan: An assessment of the Kuznets hypothesis. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 22(1998): 39–58.

172 Feudalisms Moulder, F. (1977). Japan, China and the Modern World Economy: Toward a Reinterpretation of East Asian Development. London: Cambridge University Press. Ohno, K. (2006). The Economic Development of Japan: The Path Traveled by Japan as a Developing Country. Tokyo: GRIPS Development Forum. Ozmucur, S., and Pamuk, S. (2002). Real wages and standards of living in the Ottoman Empire, 1489–1914. Journal of Economic History, 62(2): 293–321. Passin, H. (1965). Society and Education in Japan. New York: Columbia University Press. Reischauer, E. (1956). Japanese feudalism. In R. Coulborn (ed.), Feudalism in History (pp. 26–48). Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Reischauer, E., and Jansen, M. (1995). The Japanese Today. Boston (MA): Belknap Harvard University Press. Rozman, G. (1974). Edo’s importance in the changing Tokugawa Society. Japanese Studies, I(1): 91–112. Sanderson, A. (1994). The transition from feudalism to capitalism: The theoretical significance of the Japanese case. Review, 17(1): 15–55. Research Foundation of State University of New York. Smith, T. (1959). The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Smith, T. (1988). Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization, 1750–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press. Smitka, M. (1988). Japanese Economic Ascent. New York: Garland Publishing. Spencer, D. (1958). Japan’s pre-perry preparation for economic growth. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 27(2): 195–216. Tamaki, T. (2011). Japanese economic growth during the Edo period. Paper presented at a workshop on Early Modern Economy and Trade: Nordic and Portuguese Experiences held on December 13–14 at the University of Jyvaskyla. Available on internet. Toby, R. (1977). Reopening the Question of Sakoku: Diplomacy in the Legitimation of the Tokugawa Bakufu. Journal of Japanese Studies, 7(3): 323–365. Yamamura, K. (1980). The agricultural and commercial revolution in Japan, 1550– 1650. Research in Economic History, 5(1): 85–107. Yasuba, Y. (1987). The Tokugawa legacy: A survey. Economic Studies Quarterly, 38(4): 290–308. Zanden, V., and Luiten, J. (2003). Rich and poor before the industrial revolution, a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century. Explorations in Economic History, 40(2003): 1–23.

10 The Indian feudalism

Feudalism in the Indian subcontinent—today’s Bangladesh, India, and ­Pakistan—emerged during the period of the Mughal Empire (1526–1757) and matured under the British colonial rule (1758–1947) largely coinciding with the periods of the ‘second serfdom’ in Eastern Europe and Imperial Russia (1547– 1864), the consolidation of Japanese feudalism under the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603–1668), and the Chinese feudalism under the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). The Indian variant of feudalism, which some leading scholars describe as ‘pseudo-feudalism’ (Anderson 1974; Coulborn 1956), lacked some of the essential features of feudalism, such as seigniorial-manorial production relations where powers and authority devolved to the landed aristocracy under a ‘scalar’ or ‘parcelized’ sovereignty, and the whole social order rested on the supremacy of a class of military land-owning aristocracy, which controlled the rest of the society (Bloch 1961). Feudalism in India rather evolved under strong central authorities who utilized the landlords for collecting taxes for them without sharing sovereignty or drawing upon their military supports. Instead of conforming to the traditional model typified by the feudalist systems in Western Europe and Japan, the Indian variant of feudalism rather conforms to Bruce Lyon’s (1959) view that there were actually a variety of feudal systems around the world—they existed in different periods of the world history and were organized and developed on different principles to meet the demands peculiar to the regions in which they arose. The Indian variant of feudalism however was developed to serve the interests of colonial rulers, not those of the people of the region. This chapter explores the variant of feudalism that emerged in the Indian subcontinent (henceforth Indian feudalism). The next section focuses on its origin and development; Section three explores its nature and characteristics; Section four examines its demise and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Historical and religious literatures of the Indian subcontinent, beginning from the Upanishads which probably appeared between 800 BC and 500 BC, DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-10

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have depicted the rulers/monarchs as the ultimate owners of Indian land, while indicating that private ownership of land also existed in a very limited scale. Manu, the mythological author of the Sanskrit law code the Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), for example, mentions of private ownership of land, and even asserts that land belonged to the person who cleared it (Burnell, 1884). The Vedic literature also mentions of some revenue-free land grants to Brahmins, and Kautilya (350–275 BC) in his Arthashastra also mentions of public ceremonies through which the Mauryan Dynasty (322–180 BC) distributed private lands to its loyal servants (Majumdar et al. 1990). Historical records also suggest that although the ultimate ownership of all lands lied with the rulers, the land-tenure system of ancient India consisted of three separate types of ownerships: private ownership (land granted to private individuals and families), village ownership (land granted to a whole village), and royal ownership (land directly controlled by the rulers), and land surveys and settlements were used to partition individual landholdings and determine inheritance of land (Kumar 2010). The land-tenure system was also powerfully inf luenced by India’s stratified social structure called ‘caste system,’1 which led to creation of two distinct economic classes: a small group of non-agricultural higher castes and a larger group of peasants belonging to lower castes. While the lower castes toiled for agricultural production, non-agricultural castes received fixed shares of the produce, as the land belonged to the village communes, while rulers exercised only minimal control. The Gupta Empire, which ruled almost the entire Indian subcontinent during the third through the sixth centuries, had two forms of village communes: the Brahmadeya system controlled by upper-caste Brahmins, and the Periyandu system controlled by lower-caste commoners (Stein, 1969). The rulers or their intermediaries collected revenue from the villagers both in cash and kind, and the rest of the produce was deposited in a common pool as the land was regarded as aggregate wealth of the community (Neale 1969). Private landholding however emerged as a dominant basis of social and political status in India by the early medieval period. Indeed by the tenth century, consolidation of power by the landholding class led to the rise of smaller local kingdoms or chieftainships who extracted agricultural surplus from the peasantry to maintain military vassals and provide feudatory rights to local landlords, something resembling rudimentary form of feudalism (Ray 1990). Mughal period It was the Mughal period (1526–1857) that provided the foundation for the emergence of the Indian variant of feudalism.2 The Mughal rulers carried out major transformation in Indian agricultural production methods as well as land revenue system. They improved the subcontinent’s irrigation system and introduced several new crops, such as tobacco, maize, indigo, and opium. Mughals also made cultivators of the soil responsible for paying a fixed revenue, which was based on whether the land was irrigated, fertile, or

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productive. In addition, they provided peasantry with the security of the land that they tilted (Kumer 1982). The Mughals also divided India into several revenue districts, and appointed revenue collectors, called Mansabdars, Zamindars, or Talukders, to collect revenues on their behalf, and thus, laid the foundation for the emergence of the Indian variant of feudalism. But unlike some authors who claim these revenue collectors “owned the land as well as the people who lived on it,”3 these tax-­ collecting positions were non-hereditary and transferable, and they never owned land or the people who lived on the land. Instead, tax collectors themselves could be disposed of by the rulers whenever necessary. In the early eighteenth century, following the collapse of the Mughal Empire, some local tax-collecting officials in some parts of India however emerged as de facto hereditary landlords and petty chiefs in their local areas (Banerjee and Iyer 2002). British period The Indian pseudo-feudal system was fully developed during the British colonial rule (1757–1947). The British came to India in 1612 as traders under the banner of East India Company, and initially they obtained trading rights from the Mughals to export textiles, raw materials, and spices from the ports of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, but gradually they raised their own military and made inroads into Indian political power.4 In 1757, they overthrew the independent ruler of Bengal, the largest and richest province of India at the time, and about a decade later, in 1765, they obtained the rights from the Mughals to collect revenue in the states of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. By 1803, the British traders had taken over the provinces of Madras and Bombay and had driven out their European competitors from the Indian soil. Over the next five decades, the British traders brought the whole Indian subcontinent under their control by overthrowing the Mughals altogether. The rule of the East India Company however came to an end with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, which prompted the British Crown to take over the control of India next year. The British Crown’s rule in India ended in 1947 when the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent states—India and Pakistan. Although India was endowed with a tropical climate and fertile soil, and possessed a large reservoir of cheap labor, the British preferred not to develop extensive plantations in India as they did so in the New World. Among other things, military costs of taking over lands from the Indians deemed extremely prohibitive. They also did not try to enslave Indians—by the time they were able to establish their control all over India, the British Crown had already declared slavery illegal throughout its empire.5 Also, Indian society had arguably been far advanced than West Indies or Native Americans, where slavery seemed to be a viable option. Maddison (1971) argues that by then, the British imperialism was also more pragmatic— their motivation rather shifted to economic exploitation.6

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The British rulers thus concentrated on land tax as their principal source of revenue, and to raise land revenues, they introduced private ownership rights and English jurisprudence system in India. As different regions of India had different histories and traditions and they came under the British rule at different times, the British rulers adopted three broad land revenue systems: (a) a landlord-based system (Zamindari)—under which landlords became owners of large tracts of land in exchange of making fixed revenue payments to the government, and peasants were turned into tenants with the obligation to pay rent for the land they cultivated; (b) an individual cultivator-based system (­R aiyatwari)—under which individual cultivators were proprietors of land and in exchange they paid rent directly to British officials; and (c) a village-­ based system (Mahalwari)—under which the village community was the proprietor of land and the whole community was obligated to pay rent to the government.7 The land-tenure systems covered the Indian subcontinent unevenly. The Zamindari system, introduced in 1793, prevailed over most of North India, including present-day Uttar Pradesh (except Avadh and Agra), Bihar, West Bengal, most of Bangladesh, most of Orissa, and Rajasthan (except Jaipur and Jodhpur). The Raiyatwari system, introduced in 1792, was prevalent in most of South India, including present-day Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, most of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and the princely states of Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Some pockets of Zamindari-type tenure also existed in some of these Raiyatwari areas, particularly in the areas administered by local princes. The Mahalwari system, introduced in 1820, covered Punjab (in present-day Pakistan and India), Haryana, some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, and princely states of Avadh and Agra in Uttar Pradesh (Mearns 1999). In respect to cultivation of land, the Zamindari system covered around 57 percent of the cultivable area of the subcontinent, while the Raiyatwari system accounted for around 38 percent, and the Mahalwari system accounted for about five percent. But in terms of the total land area controlled by the British, the Zamindari system covered roughly 19 percent of the area, while the Raiyatwari system covered nearly 30 percent, and the Mahalwari system covered another 30 percent (Banerjee and Iyer 2002). The land-tenure system thus established constituted the Indian variant of feudalism—while the medieval India sowed the seeds of feudalistic institutions, the Mughal period nourished the seeds of feudalism, and the British took it to its fruition.

B  Nature and characteristics The nature and characteristics of the Indian variant of feudalism differed widely depending on which of the three types of land-tenure systems the area and the peasants in question were subjected to.

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Zamindari system Of the total area under the Zamindari system, about 80 percent were in the undivided Bengal and Bihar, and the rest was in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Madras (Bandyopadhyay 2004, 82–96). Under this system, zamindars enjoyed de facto property rights on land, peasants were turned into tenants, and the British rulers had no direct dealings with the peasants. The Zamindars’ revenue obligation to the British was a fixed amount, which they had to pay punctually—any failure could result in immediate auctioning off their estates. The award of Zamindari was based on Tax-farming policy, under which the Zamindari went to the highest bidder. Under the Tax-farming policy, introduced by Governor General Warren Hastings in 1769, initially the estates were auctioned off temporarily, not exceeding five years. The system however immediately resulted in ruthless exploitation of peasants by landlords—many of them imposed excessive tax on peasants to recover their investments. Numerous farmers, in turn, abandoned cultivation to avoid heavy taxation, and the country plunged into several successive famines. Zamindars also had no incentive for the development of the estates which they controlled only temporarily. Then in 1790, the next governor general of India, Lord Cornwallis, changed auctions of estates to decennial settlements, and finally, on March 22, 1793, adopted the Permanent Settlement Act, fully conceding ownership rights of the estates to Zamindars (Ray 1996).8 Raiyatwari system Under the Raiyatwari system, the British rulers made revenue settlement directly with the cultivators (raiyats). In the areas where it was implemented, an extensive cadastral survey of the land was conducted and a detailed recordof-right was prepared, and based on such records, the legal title of ownership of land was granted to the cultivators. Peasants’ revenue obligation was fixed based on the monetary value of the estimated average annual output, and such obligations typically varied depending on soil types and productivity of the land. As the British rulers directly dealt with the cultivators, there were no middlemen, and peasants’ land occupancy rights could be transferred and inherited. Consequently, various categories of tenants, ranging from ‘protected tenants’ to ‘occupancy tenants’ to ‘sharecropper tenant-labor,’ emerged in the areas where this system prevailed (Moreland 1968, 11). Mahalwari system This village-based Mahalwari system came as a hybrid of the Zamindari and Raiyatwari systems. Under the system, village bodies were put in charge of areas of land ranging from part of a village to several villages, but in most

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cases the village headman (Tahsildar) or a family was made liable for land revenue. It thus resembled the Zamindari system. On the other hand, each individual member of the village was held liable for a fixed share of revenue and the shares were determined either by ancestry (ci) or actual possession of land (bhaichara), which resembled the Raiyatwari system (Banerjee and Iyer 2002). Under the system, all villagers were held jointly and separately responsible for the revenue obligations of the village, and revenue demands were based on the value of the land, the price of the crops, and the recorded actual produce of the field. As the British rulers usually depended on middlemen to collect revenues from the villagers, middlemen came to dominate this system (Moreland 1968, 11). Landlords and peasants By the mid-nineteenth century, all three land tenurial systems were firmly in place throughout British India. Under the Zamindari system, landlords controlled the land and they could transfer it freely in the form of sale, gift, lease, and so on. Landlords had the right to increase rents, attach all moveable properties of peasants for failure to pay rents, and even sell their home to recover arrears. The Permanent Settlement Act, which underpinned the system, terminated the customary rights of tenants completely by placing peasants absolutely at the mercy of landlords. This legislation literally transformed the tillers of the soil into tenants. Although peasants could not be bought and sold, they could be oppressed, uprooted, and exploited without much of a recourse. Originally, the Zamindars’ right was limited to collection of revenues of their estates which could be bought in auctions, but gradually Zamindars came to proclaim proprietary rights to land with the aid of political and legal institutions. Not only had the British rulers, the courts also facilitated property rights in land of landlords and transition of peasants into tenants-at-will of the landlords. Despite several tenancy legislations enacted during the later period to protect occupancy and tenancy rights of peasants, the Zamindari system evolved into a hierarchical system between landlords, tenants, sharecroppers, and agricultural laborers (Reddy 1989, 275). In the areas under the Raiyatwari and Mahalwari systems, it was the British government that subjected peasants to excessive taxes and other oppressive measures, and in many cases, the manner of revenue collection was often more tortuous than the burden of tax. Peasants had to pay a fixed amount of land revenue by fixed dates even if the harvest were bad or failed completely because of bad weather. Failure to pay rent in time and in exact amount often resulted in auctioning off their land to collect the arrears, and often peasants had to meet their tax obligations by selling part of their land to money-­ lenders (Cohn 1961; Guha 1963). Among these variants of tenurial systems, the Zamindari came close to a feudalist system, although it was very unlike the West European model or the

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Japanese model. There was no contract between peasants and landlords, and landlords’ proprietorship of the estate and the peasants stemmed from a contract with the rulers, not with the peasants. Second, the British were not weak central rulers that depended on military support of local landlords or warriors. No ruler in the entire history of India had exercised greater centralized bureaucratic control over ownership of land, extraction of revenue, and monopoly of force in the Indian territories than the British (Frankel and Rao 1989). Moreover, under the Zamindari system there were many dominant families whose traditional rights were retained—they could not be evicted, their rights were heritable, and their obligations for rental payments could not be raised easily. While larger Zamindars conserved the Moghul lifestyle of maintaining hordes of retainers and mansions, many of the smaller landowners rather struggled to keep up with their revenue obligations to the rulers (Maddison 1971). After the British Crown took over the control of India in 1858, several legislations were enacted providing statutory occupancy rights to tenants and emphasizing fairness and equitable treatment of tenants. One of those legislations, enacted in 1885, granted occupancy rights to tenants who had the land in possession for 12 years either personally or through inheritance. They were also allowed to acquire the same rights in any new land that they might have brought under cultivation. The law also granted protection to the cultivating class from landlords’ effort to sell their land, subletting of their landholdings for a period not exceeding nine years, and prevented eviction by landlords on the ground of rent-arrears only (Mearns 1999). Peasant uprisings The feudal history of the Indian subcontinent was interwoven with the British colonial rule—it is the British who created the Zamindars as a land-­ owning aristocratic class, and thus the fate of Zamindars and that of the British rulers were inextricably interlinked. To most of the peasants, as well as most of the ordinary Indian people, the British rulers and the Zamindars were enablers of each other (Tinker 1993, 138–139; Wolpert 1982, 49). Consequently, many of the peasant uprisings in India were directed against both, at times simultaneously. In the eighteenth century—before the emergence of the major political parties—the All-India Congress, the party that represented Hindus, and the All-India Muslim League, the party that represented the Muslims—such uprisings were largely spontaneous and unorganized. But since the emergence of these political parties, most of the uprisings were organized by them as parts of their movements for independence from the British rule.9 Many of Indian nationalist movements were often colored by religious differences between the majority Hindu and minority Muslim populations, but as majority of the Zamindars were Hindus, peasant uprisings were also often molded by communal forebodings (Dowlah 2014; Gordon 1974).

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Records suggest that Indian peasants had staged numerous uprisings against landlords’ excessive rents and taxes, illegal levies, arbitrary evictions, and so on.10 Some of the peasants’ uprisings of the nineteenth century that left indelible marks on the Indian history include: (a) the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the first revolt of the Indians against the British colonial rule; (b) the Bengal Indigo Revolt (1859–1860), when peasants refused to grow indigo as dictated by British instead of producing more profitable traditional crops like rice; (c) the movements against Zamindars in Eastern Bengal (1870– 1885), which led to the passing of the Bengal Tenancy Act, 1885; and (d) the Deccan Riots (1870s), which led to the enactment of the Deccan Agriculturists Relief Act in 1879 providing relieves against oppression of landlords and money-lenders. Some of the twentieth-century peasant uprisings that deeply inf luenced Indian nationalist movements against the British rule included: (a) the Kisan Sabha Movement against high rents, summary evictions, illegal levies, and renewal fees in the 1920s; (b) the Mappila Revolt (1929)—Muslim tenants’ uprising against Hindu landlords in Malabar—which sparked large-scale riots prompted martial law and amendment to the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929; (c) the Bardoli Satyagraha Movement of 1926 against increased land tax; (d) the Civil Disobedience Movement of the 1930s, the no-rent and no-­revenue movement; (e) All India Kisan Congress’s movements in Punjab, Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Central Provinces, and North West Frontier Province in the late 1930s; (f ) the Tebhaga Movement of 1946, when sharecroppers in Bengal demanded two-third shares of their produce; and (g) the Telangana Movement of 1947–1948, a peasant-guerrilla war involving three million Muslim populations of the princely state of Hyderabad. It is notable that some of these movements and uprisings succeeded in achieving significant changes in the subcontinent’s agrarian economic system by enlarging protection for the tenant farmers, limiting the powers of the landed gentry, and contributing to the Indian nationalist movements.

C  Decline and consequences The Indian variant of feudalism is largely a creation of the British rulers. To sustain their colonial rule in India, they sought to build an elitist class of loyal collaborators. Although the British ruled this essentially agrarian subcontinent at a prime time when the Industrial Revolution swept Europe, they had shown little interest in the economic development or industrialization of the land. It was one of the richest lands on the face of the earth when they took over, and it was one of the poorest lands in the world when they left after 200 years of colonial rule. Available records suggest that in 1612, when British set their foot for the first time in the subcontinent, India’s economy was 12 times larger that of the United Kingdom, but by 1947, when they left, their economy was 25 times larger than that of British India. Although not all of this phenomenal growth

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of the UK can be attributed to the extraction of wealth from India, an argument can well be made that at least some of this wealth must have come at the expense of India (Anstey 1952; Kara 2012, 27). The British were however not totally apathetic to Indian economic ­development—they favored Indian economic development as long as it did not challenge their economic interests or political survival. They introduced private property rights in India but refrained from pushing it too far to upset vested interests; they favored India’s industrialization but did so as long as it did not challenge Manchester; and they sought to modernize India’s education system but did so as long as it produced “a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste;”11 they stamped out infanticide and abolished ritual burning of widows but did not disturb India’s age-old caste system; and they replaced the warrior class of the Moghul Empire with a bureaucratic-military establishment to direct a bigger share of India’s exchequer to landlords, British capitalists, and the new professional classes (Maddison 1971). The pseudo-feudalism that the British established in India paid them off handsomely—on top of loyal collaboration, the system ensured a large and steady f low of land revenue to the fodders of the British exchequer. Decade after decade, no matter whether the harvests were lost due to earth-­scorching droughts or devastating famines, inf lows of land revenue were largely undisturbed. The land tax was indeed the largest source of revenue for the British Indian government throughout its rule over India—it amounted to about 50 percent of governmental revenues in 1858 when the British Crown took over India, and rose to more than 60 percent during the subsequent decades before sliding down slightly with the emergence of other major taxation sources (Banerjee and Iyer 2002). All three countries that emerged in the Indian subcontinent with the departure of the British in 1947 have abolished feudalism (Zamindari)—­ Bangladesh abolished it in 1950, India did so in 1951, and Pakistan followed suit in 1959. Many of the consequences of the system are inseparable from the overall consequences of the British rule in the subcontinent. After all, the land-tenure systems not only brought forth sweeping changes in property rights and relations but also contributed to the rise of new classes of landlords, money-lenders, merchants, bureaucrats, and politicians, powerfully affecting nationalist movements that brought an end to the British colonial rule. Some of these consequences have been elaborated below. Land-tenure system reformed Fundamental transformation of the Indian land-tenure system must have been one of the most far-reaching consequences of the pseudo-feudalism established by the British rulers. The legal private ownership rights that established in India not only fundamentally altered the traditional property and class relations among the Indian people, but also brought forth substantial

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changes to the subcontinent’s socio-economic and politico-cultural development. The nature of property relations varied greatly from region to region depending on the type of land-tenure systems put in place, but the Zamindari system, which covered almost 60 percent of the subcontinent’s cultivable area, had the most profound feudalistic consequences. The Zamindari system’s impact was paramount because it emerged in more fertile, densely populated, rain-fed, rice-based areas such as Bengal and Orissa, not in the sparsely populated, drier, millet-based areas, such as Madras (Banerjee and Iyer 2005). The Zamindari system also had a built-in mechanism for encouraging exploitation of peasants. As the tax obligation of landlords remained fixed, they often resorted to oppressive measures to extract excessive rents from peasants even when they were unable to make such payments due to harvest failures. The Zamindari system placed landlords under constraints too—they had to meet their revenue obligations to the British in a timely manner, otherwise they would lose their estates. Between 1794 and 1807, 41 percent of estates in Bengal were sold out in auctions as Zamindars failed to meet their ­obligations—the share was 51 percent in Orissa between 1804 and 1818 (Dhanagare 1983, 31–32). Agriculture stagnated Most of the zamindaries in the Indian subcontinent lacked large landholdings that could be suitable for commercial agriculture or generating industrial capital. In 1872, there were 154,200 zamindari estates in India, of which only 533, one-third of one percent, had landholdings of 20,000 acres or more; 15,747 estates, about ten percent, had areas ranging between 500 and 20,000 acres of land; and 137,920 estates, almost 90 percent, had less than 500 acres of land (Maddison 1971). Obviously, the Zamindars overcrowded themselves—in the absence of other lucrative investment options, too many of them chased too few lands. Moreover, many of them did so to enhance their social standing, and many of them were absentee landlords without having roots in the estate they controlled and took no personal interest in the estate beyond collecting rent. On top of that, too many of them preferred to increase their income by further squeezing their tenants, rather than by making productive investments in their estates. On the other hand, actual tillers of the soil had no right to the land. The Permanent Settlement Act gave landlords the ownership of land, the right to fix their own terms of tenancy, and also granted them judicial and administrative powers to coerce peasants. The British government fixed only the amount that landlords must pay to them, not the amount that the tenants must pay to landlords. Peasants, devoid of any ownership in land, and being subject to arbitrary treatment by landlords, had little incentive to improve land’s productivity or their performance.

The Indian feudalism  183

By the late nineteenth century, the British rulers undertook some measures to limit landlords’ unbridled power over peasants, and provided some protections to the tenancy rights of peasants and restricted the right of landlords to increase rents arbitrarily.12 But such restrictions, coming on top of increased revenue obligations of landlords to the British government, also resulted in negative consequences. Records suggest that such measures not only increased landlords’ indebtedness but also lowered their ability to invest in agriculture, contributing to stagnation in agriculture. In 1922–1923, for example, less than two percent of all cropped land in India used improved seeds, and by 1938–1939, this share increased to about ten percent. In 1951, there were only 930,000 iron ploughs in use in India, while the number of wooden ploughs was 32 million. Although plantations of cash crops, such as indigo, sugar, jute, and tea, made significant contribution to British Indian exports, their share in the Indian agriculture was very insignificant. In 1946, tea and jute together contributed about three percent to the gross value of crop output of British India (Blyn 1966). Also, overall, agriculture received a trif ling share of governmental spending. In 1936, for example, more than half of the British government spending was allocated to the military and law enforcement, and less than three percent went to agriculture. At the end, agriculture in British India remained backward, and growth in agricultural output barely kept up with the population growth (Maddison 1971). Growth of moneylenders One of the major offshoots of the British land-tenure systems in the Indian subcontinent had been the phenomenal growth of rural moneylenders who made inroads in farm economy mainly through two channels. First, peasants had to pay a fixed amount of land revenue by a fixed date irrespective of their harvests, and failure to do so resulted in auctioning away of their land. As a result, defaulting peasants often had to sell part of their land or borrow money by mortgaging their land to rich landlords or moneylenders. Many poor farmers also borrowed money for production of cash crops at exorbitant interest rates. Often, they had to sell their produce immediately after the harvest at whatever price available to meet the demands of government, landlord, and moneylenders. In 1874, for example, a million acres of land were mortgaged by poor farmers to moneylenders and rich peasants in the state of Punjab alone, and the number increased fourfold by next 15 years (Loveday 1914, 113–114). Second, many moneylenders took advantage of illiteracy and ignorance of poor peasants through false accounting and by forging their signatures, and the British legal system still enabled them to recover their arrears by taking possession of defaulting peasants’ land. As a result, many peasants became subtenants of moneylenders, something occurred frequently in the

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areas under the Raiyatwari and Mahalwari systems. In 1924–1925, the British Royal Commission on Agriculture reported that 86 percent of the cultivated land in Bombay was held by 12 percent of the cultivators, and two percent of the land-owners in Punjab held 38 percent of cultivated land in the state (Baden-Powell 1892).13 Ravage of poverty and famines The Indian subcontinent was ravaged by a series of devastating famines in the second half of the nineteenth century. For example, in 1860–1861, a famine in western Uttar Pradesh took a toll of over 200,000 lives; another famine in 1865–1866 that spread simultaneously in Bengal, Bihar, Madras, and Orissa had a toll of nearly two million lives; and another famine in western Uttar Pradesh, Bombay, and Punjab in 1868–1870 cost more than 1.4 million lives. One of the worst famines in the entire Indian history occurred in ­1876–1878, when Maharashtra lost over 800,000 lives, Madras lost 3.5  million lives, Mysore lost nearly 20 percent of its population, and Uttar Pradesh lost over 1.2 million lives. Then, the famine of 1899–1900 took a toll of over 2.5 million lives. Overall, approximately 30 million Indians lost their lives during famines that took place between 1854 and 1901 (Maddison 1971).14 Many of these famines resulted from the British land-tenure system and the resultant exploitation of the peasants by the landlords. Such devastating famines forced millions of destitute villagers to move to urban areas in search of food and livelihood, while millions more were pushed to bonded labor domestically as well as indentured servitude across the British and other European colonies. Stunted industrialization During the second half of the nineteenth century, the British rulers established large-scale machine-based industries in cotton textile, jute, and coal-mining in the Indian subcontinent.15 Most of these industries were however owned or controlled by British capital—cheap labor and raw materials of India lured them to take advantage of captive markets in India and neighboring British colonies. Although the Zamindari system did create a small segment of rich and leisurely class who had capital for investment, their involvement in industrial activities was very limited (Cotton 1885, 80–81). Apparently, the banking and credit facilities, controlled by British financiers, charged higher interest rates to Indian native investors than foreigners to make it difficult for them to channel agricultural surplus capital into industrial capital. In 1914, for example, foreign banks held over 70 percent of all bank deposits in India—the share dropped to only 57 percent by 1937 (Bandyopadhyay 2004, 82; Buchanan 1967).

The Indian feudalism  185

Paltry urbanization Growth of urbanization in the Indian subcontinent primarily depended on the growth of settlements of British officials and bureaucratic establishments. Then, only a very small number of British lived in India, and they lived in segregated suburbs. There were only 31,000 British citizens in India in 1805, including 22,000 in the army and 2,000 in civil administration. Not many British people migrated to India—apparently tropical diseases and density of the native population deterred them to settle in India.16 The nineteenth-century Indian subcontinent was not a land of robust business, industry, and commerce either.17 The subcontinent did have a feudalist leisurely class, and many of these absentee landlords lived in urban areas, but almost 90 percent of them were small landholders and incapable of pursuing lavish urban life.18Even in the late nineteenth century, urbanization was extremely low in the Indian subcontinent. The 1872 Census had 238 million people in the subcontinent, of which about three million, or less than five percent, lived in urban areas.19 Indian urbanization however picked up by the first half of the twentieth century as business, trade, and commerce began to grow, and by then, the size of British people had also increased. In 1911, there were 164,000 British citizens in India (including 66,000 in the army and police, and 4,000 in civil government), and by 1931, the number rose to 168,000 (including 60,000 in the army and police, and 4,000 in civil government), but still they constituted only 0.05 percent of the subcontinent’s population (Maddison 1971). By then however many ordinary Indians, landlords, merchants, industrialists, businessmen, and new professional elites—lawyers, doctors, teachers, and journalists—also came to live in urban areas. Records suggest that between 1901 and 1951, Indian urban population increased from 10.8 to 17.3 percent of its population. In 1901, India’s largest city Calcutta (currently Kolkata) had a population of 1.5 million, while other major cities with half-a-million or more population were Bombay (currently Mumbai), Madras (currently Chennai), and Hyderabad. In 1950, Kolkata was the tenth largest city in the world with 4.6 million people, while Mumbai ranked 19th with a population of ten million, Madras ranked 47th with a population of 1.4 million, New Delhi ranked 57th with a population of 1.2 million, Hyderabad ranked 62nd with a population of 1.1 million, and Karachi ranked 63rd with 1.1 million people.20

D  Concluding remarks The variant of feudalism that emerged in the Indian subcontinent had few elements in common with other feudal systems around the world. Although the Indian land-tenure system displayed some feudalistic norms even in the early medieval period, it was during the Mughal period that some prototypes of feudal system emerged in the subcontinent. The Indian variant of

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feudalism emerged more fully under the British rule, especially under its land-tenure system called the Zamindari system. The system however covered only one-fifth of the British Indian territory and about 60 percent of the subcontinent’s cultivable land. The pseudo-feudalism that eventually f lourished in the Indian subcontinent did not lead to industrialization or capitalist transformation of the society as happened in medieval Western Europe and eighteenth-century Japan. Most of the Indian landlords owned small estates and were incapable of generating commercial or industrial capital, and on top of that, the finance and banking system, controlled by British financiers, often restrained channeling of agricultural and commercial capital to industrial investment by the natives. At the time of the abolition of feudalism, the subcontinent remained predominantly agrarian and backward—lacking productive forces capable of making a transition to industrialization and capitalistic development.

Notes 1 The Manusmriti stipulates that the Hindu God Brahma created four distinct social classes from different parts of his body: Brahmins (teachers, scholars, priests) created from his mouth; Kshatriya (royalty, warriors) created from his arms; Vaishya (traders, land-owners) created from his stomach; and Shudra (craftsman, farm workers) created from his thighs. No mobility between the castes was possible; however, people born in lower castes could expect to be born into higher castes in their reincarnation, provided that they properly performed the duties for which they were ordained. 2 During the intervening period, between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, the Sena Kings of Bengal (1070–1230) and the subsequent Turkish Sultanate (1290–1320) revamped land revenue system under which peasants were allowed to make cash payments, instead of payments in terms of produce. However, the subsequent Tughlaq Dynasty carried out a large-scale intervention in land-­tenure system and introduced an egalitarian policy of raising tax on the rich and fertile lands while providing the poor with credit for investment in land and irrigation (Majumdar et al., 1990). 3 Kara (2012, 4–26), for example, claims that the Mughal land-tenure system constituted an “Indian variant of traditional European feudalism,” like the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan. The author also claims that “the Zamindars during the Mughal period owned the land as well as the people who lived on it, and it is the British who reduced them into revenue collectors.” But records suggest the opposite. Zamindars/Mansabdars during the Mughal period had no right to land ownership; they were neither owners of the people who lived on the land—it is rather the peasants who had the land-ownership rights and they were not slaves to be owned by others. Moreover, as discussed below, the British did not reduce the zamindars into revenue collectors, but they granted them land-ownership rights as well. Also, the Mughal land-tenure system was much different from the European model—the Mughal rulers were very powerful, not like weak monarchs who depended on local warriors as in the West European feudalism. 4 It was Mughal Emperor Jahangir who permitted the East India Company to build their business base in Surat in 1613, where they also built a military base. 5 The British Parliament banned slave trade in 1807, and abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1833. But slavery still continued in India as the British Slavery Abolition Act (1833) excluded the territories controlled by the East India Company from its jurisdiction.

The Indian feudalism  187 6 Maddison (1971) however argues that British did not demonstrate any dedication to Christian fanaticism in India either, which the Portuguese and Spanish had demonstrated earlier in Latin America. Also, British showed less enthusiasm for cultural diffusion than the French (or the Americans) had shown in their colonies. The British ruled India, he argues, in much the same way as the Romans ruled Africa some 2,000 years earlier. With elite classical education and contempt for business, they established law and order to keep ‘barbarians’ at bay and developed their own brand of self-righteous arrogance, considering themselves purveyors not of popular but of good government. 7 For greater details, see Baden-Powell (1892), Banerjee and Iyer (2002), Mearns (1999), and Sharma (1992). 8 Lord Cornwallis, who earlier lost British colonies in America, served British India twice as Governor General—in 1786 and 1802. He also died in India as Governor General, and was buried on the banks of the Ganges near New Delhi. 9 Although sounds paradoxical, the leadership of both parties were dominated by zamindars. The All-India Muslim League was founded by Nawab Salimullah Khan—one of the biggest landlords of British India. Similarly, many leaders of the Indian Congress, such as M. K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, also came from aristocratic land-owning families (Fisher, 1993). 10 The discussion is primarily based on “Peasant Movements of India (1857–1947): Natures, Weakness, Activities, Post-War Phase,” by Puja Mondal. Available at https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/history/peasant-movements-of-india1857-1947-natures-weakness-activities-post-war-phase/23720, accessed on April 25, 2020. Some other peasant movements that also deserve mention include the uprisings in Northern India (1807), Varanasi (1814), Orissa (1817 and 1855), Poona (1830–1831), Nagpur (1831–1832 & 1855), Mysore (1835–1837), Madras (1835–1837), Bombay (1846), and Bihar (1855). 11 Words of British historian Lord Macaulay, cited in Edwardes (1967). 12 The Permanent Settlement Act (1793) that fixed landlord’s revenue obligation was, however, applicable only to the Zamindari/landlord areas, not throughout the Indian subcontinent. In areas where it was not applicable, revenue obligations of landlords, village communes, and ordinary peasants were fixed temporarily for a certain number of years and revised subsequently. In northern India, for example, where the Act was not in force, landlords were able to attain proprietary rights to land by using their alliance with the British rulers. For greater details, see Baker (1976); Chaudhari (1975), and Reddy (1989, 275). 13 In 1911, the total rural debt in India was three billion Indian rupees, but by 1937, the amount rose to 18 billion rupees. In 1950–1951, land rent and money-lenders’ interest amounted to 140 billion Indian rupees, which equally roughly one-third of the total agricultural produce of the year (Maddison, 1971). 14 For greater details on famines in the Indian subcontinent, see Dowlah (2002 & 2006) and Sen (1981 & 1990). 15 India, however, had attained considerable protoindustrialization before the end of the British rule. By the 1930s, there were scores of cotton gins and presses; rice, f lour, and timber mills; leather tanneries and woolen textiles; sugar mills; iron and steel works; mineral industries of salt, mica, and saltpeter; and cement, paper, matches, and glass industries. Even in the 1900s, India had 36 jute mills, 206 cotton mills, and many coal-mining industries (Cotton, 1885, 80–81). 16 Some scholars, however, believe that geographic factors played important roles. Engerman and Sokoloff (1997), for example, argue that plantation economies emerged in the Caribbean, Brazil, and the southern United States as geography and climate suited plantation economies, whereas geography and climate favored small-scale farming in the northern United States and Canada. Acemoglu et al. (2005), however, argue that in places where mortality rates and population

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17

18

19

2 0

density were high, such as Mughal India, the Aztec, and Inca empires in Latin America, Europeans chose not to settle in large numbers. It was rather a backward agrarian society which prompted Karl Marx (1970: III, 331–332) to frame his ‘Asiatic mode of production’ in which “the vast society was held in thrall by a despotic ruling clique, residing in central cities and directly expropriating surplus from largely autarkic and generally undifferentiated village communities.” Indian peasants, however, were not “held in thrall by a despotic ruling clique”; rather, they mounted numerous uprisings and revolts against the ruling cliques. During the Moghul period, land revenue constituted 15 percent of Indian national income, but by the end of the British colonial period, the share dropped to only one percent. Also, while the Moghul land tax was about 30 percent of the crop, in 1947, the land tax was only two percent of agricultural income in India. In 1952, when the Zamindari system was abolished, zamindari rental income constituted only about two percent of farm income in the relevant areas. Apparently, Indian zamindars had not squeezed a big surplus out of their tenants (Maddison, 1971). For greater details, see Henry Waterfield (1875). Memorandum on the Census of British India 1871–1872. Retrieved from http://arrow.latrobe.edu.au/ store/3/4/5/5/2/public/pagec981.html?title=1871&action=next&record=3, ­accessed on January 22, 2020. Based on http://demographia.com/db-1950metro.htm, accessed on April 27, 2020.

References Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., and Robinson, J. (2005). Institutions as the fundamental cause of long-run growth. In P. Aghion and S. Durlauf (eds.), Handbook of Economic Growth (pp. 385–472). London: Elsevier. Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Anstey, V. (1952). The Economic Development of India. London: Longmans Green. Baden-Powell, B. (1892). The Land Systems of British India. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Baker, C. (1976). Tamilnad estates in the twentieth century. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 13(1): 1–44. Bandyopadhyay, R. (2004). Land system in India: A historical review. Economic and Political Weekly, 28(52): A149–A155. Banerjee, A., and Iyer, L. (2002). History, Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press. Banerjee, A., and L. Iyer. (2005). History, institutions and economic performance: The legacy of colonial land tenure systems in India. American Economic Review, 95(4): 1190–1213. Bloch, M. (1961). Feudal Society. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press. Blyn, G. (1966). Agricultural Trends in India, 1891–1947. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Buchanan, D. (1967). The Development of Capitalist Enterprise in India. London: Routledge. Burnell, A. (1884). The Ordnances of Manu. London: Trubner & Co. Chaudhari, B. (1975). The land market in Eastern India, 1793–1940: Part I: The movement of land prices. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 12(1): 1–42. Cohn, B. (1961). From Indian status to British contract. Journal of Economic History, 21(4): 613–628.

The Indian feudalism  189 Coulborn, R. (1956). Feudalism in History. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Datta, R. (1989). Agricultural production, social participation and domination in late eighteenth century Bengal: Towards an alternative explanation. Journal of Peasant Studies, 17(1): 68–113. Dhanagare, D. (1983). Peasant Movements in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Dowlah, C. (2002). Dynamics of food-assisted development strategies in Bangladesh. International Journal of Social Welfare, 11(1): 3–21. Dowlah, C. (2006). Politics and economics of food and famine in Bangladesh in the early 1970s: With special reference to Amartya Sen’s interpretation of the 1974 famine. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15(3): 344–356. Dowlah, C. (2014). Factors responsible for disintegration of Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Bangladesh Political Economy (pp. 19–103). Booksurge (Amazon). Edwardes, M. (1967). British India 1772–1947. London: Sidgwick and Jackson. Engerman, S., and Sokoloff, K. (1997). Factor endowments, institutions, and differential paths of growth among New World economies: A view from economic historians of the United States. In S. Haber (ed.), How Latin America Fell behind: Essays on the Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico 1800–1914 (pp. 260–304). Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Fisher, M. (1993). The Politics of the British Annexation of India 1757–1857. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Frankel, F., and Rao, M. (1989). Dominance and State Power in Modern India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Gordon, L. (1974). Bengal: The Nationalist Movement 1876–1940. New York: Columbia University Press. Guha, R. (1963). A Rule of Property for Bengal: An Essay on the Idea of Permanent Settlement. Paris: Mouton & Co. Husain, M., and Sarwar, F. (2012). A comparative study of Zamindari, Raiyatwari and Mahalwari land revenue settlements: The colonial mechanisms of surplus extraction in 19th century British India. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science ( JHSS), 2(4): 16–26. Kara, S. (2012). Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia. New York: Columbia University Press. Kumar, D. (2010). The Cambridge Economic History of India. Paperback edition. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Loveday, A. (1914). The History and Economics of Indian Famines. London. G. Bell and Sons. Lyon, B. (1959). The Middle Ages in Recent Historical Thought. Washington (DC): Service Center for Teachers of History. Maddison, A. (1971). Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls. New York: W. W. Norton. Majumdar, B., Roy, C., and Datta, K. (1990). Advanced History of India. Calcutta: Macmillan. Marx, K. (1970). Capital, Vol. 3. New York: International Publishers. Mearns, R. (1999). Access to land in rural India: Policy issues and options. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 2123. Washington (DC). Moreland, W. (1968). Agrarian System of Moslem India. London: Coronet Books.

190 Feudalisms Neale, W. (1969). Land is to rule. In R. Frykenburg (ed.), Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (pp. 92–123). Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Press. Ray, H. (1990). The Dynastic History of Northern India. Early Medieval period. Calcutta: University Press. Ray, S. (1996). Land system and its reforms in India. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 51(1&2): 220–237. Reddy, G. (1989). The politics of accommodation: Caste, class and dominance in Andhra Pradesh. In F. Frankel and M. Rao (eds.), Dominance and State Power in Modern India. (Volumes 1, pp. 265–321). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and Famines: An Essay in Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Sen, A. (1990). Food entitlement and economic chains. In L. Newman (ed.), Hunger in History: Food Shortage, Poverty, and Deprivation (pp. 374–386). Cambridge (MA): Basil Blackwell. Sharma, H. (1992). Evolution of agrarian relations in India. Journal of Indian School of Political Economy, 4(1): 80–105. Stein, B. (1969). Integration of the Agrarian systems of Southern India. In R. ­Frykenberg (ed.), Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (pp. 53–91). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Tinker, H. (1993). A New System of Slavery: Export of Indian Labor Overseas, 1830–1920. New Delhi: Hansib Publishing Ltd. Waterfield, H. (1875). Memorandum on the Census of British India 1871–72, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, Available at: http://arrow.latrobe.edu.au/store/3/4/5/5/2/ public/pagec981.html?title=1871&action=next&record=3, accessed on Jan 22, 2019. Wolpert, S. (1982). Roots of Confrontation in South Asia. New York: Oxford University.

11 The Latin American feudalism

This chapter explores feudalism in the context of Latin America,1 which in this study comprises of the post-Columbian countries in the New World that were once parts of the Spanish, French, and Portuguese empires, and thus include Mexico, and most of Central and South America.2 At the time Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, millions of aboriginal people, whom Columbus erroneously described as ‘Indians,’ lived in the land. The exact number of the aboriginal people—henceforth Amerindians—currently labeled as Amerindians, who lived in the land at that time has not yet been ascertained definitively, but recent consensus estimates suggest the number would be around 100 million.3 Before Columbus’s arrival, the New World was home to at least four major civilizations—the Olmec (1200–600BC), the Maya (250–900AD), the Aztec (1200–1521), and the Inca (1438–1533), of which the last two co-existed brief ly. Records suggest that the Olmecs lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, the Mayans inhabited the tropical lowlands of south-east Mexico (the Yucatan Peninsula—today’s Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador), the Aztecs lived in the Valley of Mexico in the milder region of central and southern Mexico, and the Incas lived in the rugged mountains and the Amazon forests along the western side of South America. Each of these civilizations had their distinct cultural and intellectual achievements, but the Olmec civilization is considered to be the mother of all Mesoamerican civilizations. Originally, the Amerindians indigenous peoples were known as Shuar, Guarani, Qulla, and so on. A major segment of the population, known as Arawaks, consisted of­two major tribes—: the Borinquen and the Taino. Three countries—Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru—the core of the Central Andean ­region—had the largest concentration of Amerindian indigenous population. Along with Mexico and Guatemala, they constituted the main concentrations of ‘witness’ peoples (Darcy Ribeiro), who shared centuries of common history as part of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu), which had its capital in Cusco (in Peru). The Amerindians spoke mainly two languages: Quechua and Aymara (Albo 2008).4 Apparently, European colonial powers preferred to colonize Latin America before North America as they believed the region had great reserves of gold DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-11

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and silver and vast areas of land suitable for highly profitable sugar plantations (Scott, 2011).5 Two of the Iberian countries—Portugal and Spain—were the first among the European colonial powers to establish their control over Latin America.6 While the Portuguese colonized only Brazil, the Spaniards controlled most of Mesoamerica, over 400,000 square miles encompassing southeastern Mexico and northern Central America, including the entire Yucatán Peninsula and all of the territory now incorporated into Guatemala and Belize, as well as the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. The European colonial rule survived in Latin America more than 300 years—longer than in other European colonialism anywhere in the world. Within the first hundred years of their conquest, much of the Amerindian population was decimated, and a society of ‘whites’ (European descendants) and ‘mestizos’ (mix of Amerindian and European ancestry) emerged (Angeles and Elizalde 2017). Also, the colonial powers transplanted an entirely new fabric of life in their colonies following their own traditions of Church-State authoritarian-absolutism and feudal institutions to subjugate and exploit Amerindian indigenous labor-power for the purposes of empire building and capital accumulation (Crow 1992). The rest of the chapter is organized as follows: the next section explains the evolution of feudalistic institutions in Latin American countries following the European conquest; Section three explains the dynamics of treatment of Amerindian peasants and workers under various forms of feudalistic institutions in Latin American societies; Section four explores divergent interpretations of feudalistic institutions of Latin America from the perspectives of both Latin and non-Latin, and both Marxian and non-Marxian scholars; Section five sheds light on the consequences of feudalist institutions for the subsequent developments of Latin American societies; and Section six concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development All three Amerindian population groups that the Europeans came to interact in Latin America—the Aztecs, the Incas, and the Mayas—had complex land-tenure systems. The Aztecs had a hierarchical land-tenure system under which the emperor, who is the ultimate owner of land, granted land to communities, who, in turn, allotted land to individuals and families based on needs. While individuals and communities possessed land, nobles and warriors were allowed to own land as a gift or in exchange of their service to the state. Institutions such as the army, temples, and public offices also owned land as grants. Property ownership by warriors and nobles often came with control over the people on the land and their labor, but after their death, such properties were usually reverted to the communities. As many elites altered such redistribution of land at their death in favor of inheritance, the Aztec societies had seen growth of latifundia-type institutions (Ankersen and Ruppert 2006). The Incas had a land-tenure system called ayllu (communal property), under which a community had usufruct rights to land. Usually, local chiefs

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managed such lands and served as intermediaries between the community and the state which owned all lands. Outputs of lands granted to ayllu were distributed in three ways: a part of the output belonged to the state, another part went to priests and religious ceremonies, and another part was earmarked for the community. Community members worked for the land, in addition to providing military service and unpaid labor to the state (Klein 1993). Under the Mayan land-tenure system, the elites and state representatives held a privileged status with regard to land. A small but powerful noble class—those who served for the priesthood, government, courts, or as town rulers, tribute collectors, and military leaders—was entitled to reallocate land to their families. The Mayas also had communal lands and permitted commoners to own small parcels of land for subsistence agriculture, and such land could be passed down to the owners’ sons. Commoners were, however, required to pay tribute to the ruler, local lords, and to the gods in the forms of labor, goods, and a portion of their harvests from communal and private lands, in addition to work for temples, palaces, and causeways (Foster 2002). Spanish feudalistic reforms Records suggest that while appointing Columbus the Viceroy, the Spanish Crown as well as the Spanish Catholic Sovereigns insisted on him to win over the native populations and abstain from doing them any harm. As discussed in Chapter 3, subsequently however the Spanish Crown demonstrated considerable vacillation in defending liberty of the Amerindians, and only after confronting an uproar against atrocities on the Amerindians in mainland Spain, the Crown finally banned slavery of the Amerindians throughout Spanish America in 1542. But taking the advantage of vacillations of the Crown, conquistadors (Spanish warriors) not only hardly enforced the ban but also kept on forcibly enslaving the Amerindians without sparing even females and children. Thus, the land-tenure systems of Spanish America evolved through a complex interface of interrelated forces, such as: (a) measures undertaken by the Crown to consolidate the empire and gear up instruments of colonial production and capital accumulation; (b) interaction between the conquistadors, mestizos, and the Amerindian populations on the ground; and (c) customs and traditions of the Amerindian populations. Eventually, colonial Latin America’s land-tenure systems manifested in three major forms: the Encomienda, the Hacienda, and the Repartimiento—they all had the authority for conscription but in varied degrees. Encomienda The encomienda system, introduced in the early colonial period by Christopher Columbus, was a hybrid land-tenure system that combined features of traditional Spanish feudal system with the traditions of the Aztec civilization. Under this system, conquistadors were granted landed property along with

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the right to exploit labor-power of the Amerindians who lived on the land. To encourage conquest, the Crown granted the encomendados—owners of encomiendas—the right to receive tribute from the Amerindians in exchange of protecting and Christianizing them. The Crown also co-opted indigenous tenure regimes which allowed the Amerindian population to retain their personal freedom and use their own land, but refrained from granting encomendados the ownership of the land. As Amerindians had long been accustomed to paying tributes to those who controlled them, conquistadors had little difficulty in imposing the encomienda system over significant segments of the population. By the 1550s, conquistadors established control over major regions of the Americas as well as the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean—including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica—a densely populated area where millions of Amerindians lived. By the 1570s, the encomienda system was firmly implanted throughout the colonies to force the Amerindians to produce crops for Spanish trade in addition to supporting its military and governmental establishments as well as religious institutions. Although a large number of Amerindians perished because of slavery, exposure to European diseases, and outright extermination, by the 1570s, approximately 1.9 million households—called tributaries—registered with the Spanish authorities and paid tributes in the forms of precious metals such as gold and silver, foodstuffs such as chicken and eggs, and crops such as maize and corn (see Table 11.1). Table 11.1  Tributary indigenous households in Spanish America, 1574 Territory

Tributarios Vecinos Territory

Tributarios Vecinos

Hispaniola Cuba Jamaica Puerto Rico Venezuela Margarita Trinidad Northeast Brazil Guatemala El Salvador Honduras Nicaragua Costa Rica Panama Nuevo Reino de Granada Santa Maria Cartagena Popayan Sub-Total Grand Total

     100      292 – –    53,150 –     4,000 –    53,694    14,202    16,155    11,337 –      169   1,34,200     2,400     7,514    69,800   3,67,013 18,76,996

  1,02,200    21,217    49,973    49,582    46,875   1,10,220    21,725   1,24,000 – –    80,000    95,400   3,38,872   2,01,185   1,06,815    52,371    96,158    13,390 15,09,983  

  962   326 –   280   203    50 – –   760   710   360   420    83   745 1,425   137   308   298 7,067  

Quito Lima Huánuco Trujillo Huamanga Cuzco, Puno Arequipa Charcas, Santa Cruz Tucuman Buenos Aires Paraguay Chile Mexico Tlaxcala, Puebla Oaxaca Yucatan, Tabasco Michoacán Nueva Galicia    

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 1 of Potts (1990, 18).

   859   2,115    300    670    600    900    425    853    200      0    380   1513   4020   3150    380    278    815   1099 18,557 25,624

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The Crown banned slavery of the Amerindians throughout Spanish America as early as in 1542, but the networks of vested interests—local government officials and conquistadors who made enormous profits from illegal slave trade, involuntary servitude, and forced labor of the Amerindians— barely implemented the ban. Eventually, the encomienda came to serve as the foundation of the Spanish colonialism in Latin America by permitting the most extensive appropriation of Amerindian labor-power, which survived for more than two hundred years until its abolition in 1720. Hacienda The haciendas—large real estates comprising 1,000 to 100,000 hectares— was, however, the master institution of Spanish colonization of Latin America. To encourage further conquest and consolidate its colonization, the Crown began to grant haciendas to conquistadors as early as in the 1520s. Most of the hacendados—owners of haciendas—were absentee landlords who managed their estates through hired management by employing mostly local chiefs of indigenous communities. Initially such grants were limited to conquistadors but in later years ordinary Spaniards of modest means were also granted haciendas. Most of the haciendas were used for mining, factory, or plantation works, but some of them carried out all such activities. Ordinarily, the haciendas forced the Amerindians to work like slaves as in the plantations of the American South, although officially they were paid laborers. This theoretical distinction was, however, blurred more often than not as Amerindian workers were paid very poorly and kept in perpetual debt-bondage, making it impossible for them to operate as wage-laborers. The hacienda system, which embodied many traditional feudalistic characteristics, continued in some of the post-colonial Latin American countries well into the twentieth century (Gibson 1964; Simpson 1929/1950). Repartimiento The repartimiento system was introduced in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. Although often the concepts of haciendas and repartimientos have been used interchangeably, they were actually different in many respects. Rights of repartimientos varied from grant to grant, but usually in addition to the right to deploy Amerindian labor in mines, plantations, ranches, and construction works as in the haciendas, repartimientos also had the right to divide and parcel out land and appoint public officials. But like their ­counterparts—the haciendas and the encomiendas—the repartimientos also lacked clear title to the land. Apparently the repartimiento system was introduced with the aim to reform the hacienda system that resulted in widespread abuse of Amerindian labor and to curb growing power of the colonial elites—the growth of power

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centers in the colonies which posed threats to the Spanish Crown. The repartimiento system also came at a time when the Crown needed commercial agricultural producers to feed and supply food for growing populations, more loyal landed gentry, and new sources of revenue from a fee-based land title regularizations (Ankersen and Ruppert 2006). The Crown thus stripped of encomendados and hacendados of their direct access to tribute and labor drafts, required them to obtain governmental approval for deploying indigenous labor in mines, plantations, or factories, and demanded of landlords to use the estates within two years or return those to the Crown (Keith 1976). Many of the repartimientos were large independent plantations that produced staples for European consumption. They used European capital and technology for production, shipping, processing, and marketing facilities, and like plantations in the American South, they specialized in one crop and utilized income from exports to import goods and services for their specialization, and their products—foodstuffs as well as metallurgical products—were prohibitively expensive for domestic consumers. The repartimiento system was also frequently abused much like in the encomiendas and haciendas, but despite such problems, the system remained in effect almost up until the end of the Spanish colonialism (Stein and Stein 1970, 40–41). Mita System In the early 1570s, coinciding with the period when gold and silver mining came to form the backbone of the Spanish colonialism in Latin America, the Crown revived the Incan draft-labor system called Mita, which was originally designed for obligatory military service and public works. The system was introduced as the existing encomienda and hacienda systems failed to keep up with the supply of labor for mining explorations which required a large number of laborers within the mobilization distance (Bakewell 1977). The first large-scale deployment of Amerindian labor under the Mita system began in 1572, when they were deployed to serve the colonial administration as well as mining explorations of Peru, but subsequently the system was extended to other parts of Spanish Latin America, including Mexico and Bolivia. Most of the mitayos (Mita laborers) were employed in mines but some were also employed in agricultural works (Stern 1988). The Mita system was based on wage-labor, and mine proprietors preferred the system over other laborers as mitayos were available at significantly lower wages (Bakewell, 1977). Some of the Mita workers were naborios (free Amerindians) who received wages on top of board and lodging (Potts 1990, 25–26). But overall, the Mita wage was so paltry that it barely provided sustenance for the workers. It was rather widely dubbed as a form of ‘forced paid labor,’ which ensured the supply of underpaid draft-labor for mining, while subjecting workers to coercive and hazardous working conditions to maximize profits for miners and merchants (Garner 1988).

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Also, the system, as elaborated below, turned out to be a gateway to death—only about 30 percent of the indigenous workers deployed in the Peruvian mines survived. At the end, the Mita system alone was responsible for over eight million deaths before it was abolished 230 years later, in 1812 (Resendez 2016, 37–39). Linkage between the land regimes The Spaniards built massive agricultural and ranching estates—such as encomiendas, haciendas, and repartimientos—to ensure supply of foodstuffs and raw materials to mining enterprises, governing establishments, and urban centers. The Crowns grants for such estates complemented interrelated processes of coerced conscription of Amerindian labor-power, imported slaves, and development of a marketing and transportation infrastructure aimed at facilitating exports to European destinations (Bauer 1975). While such land grants enabled the Crown to consolidate its geopolitical and military preeminence, it also enabled the conquistadors and other Spaniards to establish their control over food supplies through sophisticated labor-intensive agriculture, and recreate feudalist status symbols of southern Spain (Stein and Stein 1970). In this grand scheme, the encomiendas came first during the early stage of colonialism, then came the haciendas, and finally came the repartimientos, a variant of haciendas. For a long time, the haciendas were viewed as a derivation and continuation of the encomiendas. For example, in their studies on Guatemala, Zavala and Simpson (1940) and Zavala (1945) have emphasized the linkages between the haciendas and the encomiendas as some encomendados curved out haciendas within the borders of their encomiendas. Similarly, in his study on the Valley of Mexico, Gibson (1964) also found that holding of encomiendas facilitated the acquisition of haciendas. Lockhart (1969) has also argued that the haciendas and the encomiendas had familial, functional, and phenomenological links as they basically employed the same labor systems with similar hereditary and aristocratic characters, and had served as a bridge between rural and urban sectors of early Spanish American society and divided their activities and residence between town and land. Lockhart maintains that the hacienda system, geared toward production of commodities for local and regional markets, gradually replaced encomiendas and served in a larger system that mobilized supplies, people, and ideas vital to the growth of Spanish America. Lockhart also argues that it was not the Crown or the Church, as envisaged by earlier historians, but the rapid decline of Amerindian populations and the greater market needs of the growing Spanish populace that were mainly responsible for the demise of the encomiendas. But the thesis of the shared origins of the haciendas and the encomiendas has increasingly been debunked as many legislative and political documents indicate that they rather evolved as legally separate entities (Gill 2018).7 Based on his studies on the haciendas along the southern coast of Peru, Keith (1971,

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1976) maintains that while both these institutions had similar roots and were fundamentally connected, the encomiendas were useful political-military instruments in the early years of the Spanish conquest, but outlived their usefulness as the Crown sought to exert control over the newly conquered territories and create incentives for loyal soldiers to settle down. To Keith, while the encomiendas required the survival of the Amerindian population without radical change, the haciendas required that the indigenous society be largely destroyed and its members be transformed into agricultural proletariat.8

B  Treatment of peasants and workers The Spaniards attempted several land-tenure systems and labor regimes in Latin America to ensure sustained f low of involuntary labor for colonial exploitation, capital accumulation, and empire-building. Their policies and schemes were always guided by the Iberian Church-State authoritarian absolutism and feudalistic traditions that turned conquistadors, their descendants, and others in the landed gentry into the exploiters of coerced indigenous labor-power (Crow 1992). Typically the functions of recruiting, transporting, and monitoring of labor f lows and tributes were however entrusted to local leaders or headmen who enjoyed privileges such as ownership of land and exception from taxation (Angeles and Elizalde 2017; Lang 1975). Also, by the early seventeenth century, the Spaniards were able to shred away their sole dependence on indigenous labor as imported African slave-labor became increasingly more available. As a result, at least five different but interlinked regimes of involuntary and coerced labor systems prevailed in Spanish America—Tributarios, Mitayos, Inquilinos, Yanakunas, and Peons. The Tributarios System Records suggest that the encomienda system was firmly in place throughout Spanish America by the 1550s, and by the 1570s, approximately 1.9 million Amerindian households—called Tributarios (Tributaries)—and over 25,000 vecinos (heads of households) were registered with the Spanish authorities (see Table 11.1). In a predominantly non-monetary economy, the Tributarios generally paid tributes (tax) to the encomendados in precious metals such as gold and silver, foodstuffs such as chicken and eggs, and crops such as maize and corn (Potts 1990, 17–20). Although the institution of encomienda evolved differently in different parts of Spanish America, in general it allowed the Amerindians to retain their personal freedom and tilt their own land. It also circumscribed the authority of the encomendados to demand tributes only from the natives who lived on their land, and restricted the hereditary nature of the encomiendas up to three generations (Simpson 1929/1950). Some accounts also suggest

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that Amerindians were allowed to maintain their own socio-cultural life and follow their own traditional law in their own rural communities called ‘Republic of Indians,’ where no Europeans settled permanently (Lang 1975, 7). Overwhelming evidence however suggest that the encomiendas actually turned out to be de facto slavery for the Tributarios as they were forced to produce crops for Spanish trade in addition to supporting religious, military, and governmental institutions and officials. Steenland (1975), for example, describes the encomienda system of Chile between 1540 and 1680 as an export-­oriented slave economy—where Amerindians were forced to extract precious metals and produce agricultural commodities, indigenous agricultural laborers were bought and sold as slaves, and due to disease and brutality, the Amerindian population shrunk to almost nothing. Similarly, Hurley (2011) also maintains that from their initial settlement, the Spaniards used the encomienda system to enslave and exploit large labor force of the native population in Peru to extract precious metals and produce foodstuffs. The encomienda system thus failed to protect Tributarios from forced and involuntary labor—the encomenderos frequently abused the native population and treated them as slaves. Moreover, as described above, the Crown’s attempts to curb such abuses through reforms also largely failed as the networks of vested interests that profited from slave trade and servitude of the indigenous population refrained from implementing the Crown’s ban on Amerindian slavery. The Inquilinaje system Widely used in Chile, the inquilinaje system involved a labor-tenant system under which the hacendados allotted a small piece of land to peasants, known as inquilinos, who worked on it with their own tools and labor. Typically, the inquilinos were paid a wage representing about half of their income, and in turn, they were required to work a certain number of days for the hacendados (Leon, 1982). Inquilinos were not slaves and could not be bought and sold, but ordinarily they did not have freedom to sell labor on the market either. They thus depended on a small plot of land for subsistence, and most of the time worked for the hacendados (Kay 1977). The system spread widely during the golden age of Chilean haciendas (1850–1874) when new export markets for Chilean wheat opened in California, Australia, and England. As land was abundant, landlords expanded production by bringing more land under cultivation by clearing and improving marginal land on their estates, and enlarged their agricultural labor pool through the inquilinaje system as well as by making sharecropping arrangements with outside workers (Bauer 1975).9 Inquilinos worked in all agricultural areas and comprised both seasonal and permanent/resident laborers. Although they were paid with a mix of fringe benefits and cash, their subsistence primarily depended on their income as

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resident workers, and wages typically represented about half of their income. Kay (1977) argues that instead of settling more inquilinos on the estates, hacendados gradually came to depend more on external supply of wage-labor to cut back dependence on the inquilinaje system. Such processes, along with technological improvements, eventually set in motion the dissolution process of the hacienda system itself as well as proletarianization of inquilinos (more on this below). The Yanakunas The yanakuna system of labor prevailed mainly in the regions currently in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. During the Inca period, the yanakunas were f loating workers who had cut or loosened ties with their native ethnic-kin groups and came to serve mainly as servants and craftsmen (Bauer 1971). Even in the early period of the Spanish rule, the yanakunas f loated independently from employer to employer and obtained lease to mine in exchange of providing a share of the ore to the employers (Stern 1988). Initially, encomendados forced them to work, but in 1549, the Crown prohibited them from using native workers for personal labor services and restricted their gains only to tribute collection. As such restrictions and the resultant labor crisis forced many encomenderos to abandon farming, the Crown then attempted to develop a free wage system in 1601, but such efforts also failed as many Amerindians refused to work on low wages. On top of that, many local administrators also largely ignored the royal decree and eventually the royal edict was abolished in 1632. But then in 1570, Viceroy of Peru, Francisco Toledo, brought these ‘rootless f loating proletariat’ under the control of encomiendas, haciendas, and the Mita system, and turned them into a permanent labor force. The system continued well into the eighteenth century as economic contraction forced yanakunas to comply with the dictates of the viceroyalty (Hunt 1972; Chevalier 1963). The Peonage system The Peonage system emerged gradually by encompassing the existing labor systems of yanakunas, mitayos, and other wage-based workers. Under the system, landlords paid wages in advance and required workers to buy ­essentials—clothes, foodstuffs, and alcohol—from company stores. These workers, called Peons, were usually free workers who were theoretically paid in cash, much like wage-workers, but in fact they were neither free nor paid in cash on a regular basis (Kay 1977). The system rather created their indebtedness to landlords (owners of a mine, a monastery, a priest, or a member of military), and with the legitimacy of passing debts on to the children established, such chronic indebtedness passed through generations effectively tying workers to land and making them hardly distinguishable from the yanakunas (Hunt 1972). In addition to

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encircling workers into chronic indebtedness, landlords also had many other ways of tying the workforce to their estates, mines, and plantations, and restrain workers’ access to consumer market (Romano 1984). The peonage system remained strong throughout the nineteenth century all across Latin America—from Mexico to Peru to Bolivia—when the peons and their families lived in the shadows of haciendas, chapels, or mansions (Wolfe 1966). By the end of the seventeenth century, Mexican economy was already organized on the basis of latifundia and debt-peonage, which quickly became the twin aspects of Mexican life, as debt-peonage was used systemically to tie scarce Amerindian workers to the land (Borah 1951). By the eighteenth-­century, debt-peonage was a general pattern of the hacienda system across Peru as well (Taylor 1972).10 The mitayos The Mita system of labor, deployed mainly in the mining sector to explore precious metals such as gold and silver for exports, provided the lifeblood of Spanish colonialization in Latin America. At the time of its introduction in the early 1570s, considering hazardous conditions of mining at great depth, the Crown mandated that every worker must be given a two-week break following one week’s work, and they must be granted a break for seven years after one year’s work in the mines. Most of the mitayos were drawn from the indigenous population—­ especially from the f loating yanakunas. As discussed above, theoretically the system was based on wage-labor, but actually the wage was so paltry and the conditions of work, productivity, and payment were fixed so coercively that some scholars described it as ‘coerced cash-crop labor’ (Garner 1988) and ‘virtual wage-slaves’ (Hurley 2011). The Mita system was propelled by the discovery of rich deposits of silver in the Peruvian city of Potosi (in current Bolivia) in 1545. The discovery was so phenomenal that within two decades, Potosi drew a population of 120,000, making it the second largest city in the world next to London.11 Between 1549 and 1555, Potosi produced 250 tons of silver annually, and between 1560 and 1685, the Spaniards exported between 25,000 and 30,000 tons of silver to the Atlantic World and beyond, and the amount of exports more than doubled during the second half of their rule (1686–1810). One-fifth of the proceeds of the Potosi mines, which held the title of the world’s largest silver producer for nearly two centuries, went to the coffers of the Spanish Crown (Garner 1988; Sluiter 1998). At the same time, the Mexican silver-boom also lasted for about three centuries and produced roughly 12 times as much metal as the California Gold Rush. Some of the silver shafts in Mexico were 250 to 635 yards deep requiring an untold amount of hard work to extract silver, and as the Crown prohibited foreigners to work in the silver districts of Mexico, most of the silver exploration was carried out by local indigenous labor (Resendez 2016,

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101–104). Mexican silver mines provided greater incentives to producers and merchants than Peru because of its long-term growth potentials, higher grades, and lower operational costs (Brading and Cross 1972). But the Mita system, which provided the backbone of highly profitable mining exploration in Latin America, turned out to be a gateway to death for workers. As mentioned before, only about 30 percent of the workers sent to the mines survived, and by the time it was abolished in 1812, it cost over eight million lives, most of them were Amerindians. Within the first 100 years of mining in Potosi, the neighboring regions lost almost 80 percent of their inhabitants. The replacements of those who died in the mines almost always came from the native population (Galeano 1973, 52). African slaves Along with the indigenous populations, the Spaniards also employed hundreds of thousands of African slaves. During the early Spanish rule, the number of African slaves imported to Spanish America was only about 15,000—­averaged at 500 annually during 1521–1550 (Curtin 1969), but by the end of the sixteenth century, with the native population in the main centers of the Spanish empire—Mexico and Peru—declining rapidly, imports of African slaves increased sharply (Bowser 1984). As Table 11.2 indicates, the imports picked up in the 1550s and continued up to the banning of slave trade in 1850, and by then, a total of 647,277 African slaves were imported to mainland Spanish America.12 Table 11.2  Imports of African slaves to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, 1501–1875 Period

Spanish America

Portuguese Brazil

1501–1525 1526–1550 1551–1575 1576–1600 1601–1625 1626–1650 1651–1675 1676–1700 1701–1725 1726–1750 1751–1775 1776–1800 1801–1825 1826–1850 1851–1875 Totals Share in the total

    6,363    25,375    28,167    60,056    83,496    44,313    12,601     5,860 – –     4,239     6,415   1,68,087   4,00,728   2,15,824 10,61,524 8.50%

    7,000    25,387    31,089    90,715   2,67,519   2,01,609   2,44,793   2,97,272   4,74,447   5,36,696   5,28,693   6,73,167 11,60,601 12,99,969     9,309 58,48,266 46.70%

Source: Author’s compilation based on the Emory University Slavery Database.

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Numbers

African slaves were employed by encomiendas and haciendas, and they worked in mines and plantations as well as domestic service. Although no particular region of mainland Spanish America was totally dependent on African slaves as a labor institution, the demand for African slave-labor was extremely high in the Caribbean islands and along the tropical coasts of the mainland where native population virtually vanished in the early stages of colonization.13 Deploying African slaves were however profitable only in the plantations that produced cash crops, and in the sixteenth-century Peru, only sugar estates and wineries, located near the capital Lima, were able to pay for African slaves (Hunt 1972). African slave market, however, developed very strongly in the Portuguese Brazil where indigenous population could supply only a small fraction of labor needed for plantations. Brazil thus ventured into importing African slaves early on, and such slaves soon formed the bulk of the workers in the colony’s sugarcane plantations. Between 1550 and 1850, Brazil imported a total of 3.5 million African slaves (see Figure 11.1) and almost all of them were deployed in sugar plantations, with the exception of about 600,000 who were employed in mines during the eighteenth century (Russel-Wood 1982). Spanish America and the Portuguese Brazil however traversed very different moral, legal, and religious plane in dealing with African slaves than the US and other European colonies.14 The Iberians had long been accustomed to slavery—at the time they landed in the Americas, there were many African, Moorish, Spaniard, and Jewish slaves in their native land. In Lisbon (Portugal), for example, African slaves outnumbered whites at that time. The Iberian rulers imposed their own customs, legal traditions, and the Catholic doctrine of equality of all men before God in the Americas, which eventually not only narrowed the gap between bondage and liberty for the slaves but also opened the gates for their freedom and manumission. 1,800,000 1,600,000 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000 -

Periods Spainish America

Portuguese Brazil

Figure 11.1  A frican slaves imported to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America, 1501–1875. Source: Author’s compilation based on the Emory University Slavery Database.

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For example, slaves in Brazil could free themselves by reimbursing the original purchase price, and in Cuba and Mexico, the price for freedom could even be negotiated by slaves, and the price could be paid back in instalments. Thus, financial competence on the part of slaves could wipe out slavery. Also, state laws in Latin America made it easier for the slaves to attain ­f reedom—a slave could be freed if unduly punished by his master; he was at liberty to marry a non-slave; and slave children born of a free mother was also free. Slaves could also free themselves by joining the independence wars—­t housands of slaves earned freedom in countries from Brazil to Venezuela, and Columbia to El Salvador by joining such wars. Also, freeing slaves was a part of honorific tradition for many slave-­masters, and many were such excuses and occasions. Often favorite wet nurses were freed, and slaves were granted manumission on the occasions of birth of master’s first son, marriage of master’s children, and so on. The labor system in Latin America also facilitated escape from slavery—slaves were often encouraged to hire themselves out, bring masters a fixed wage, and keep the rest—many artisans, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, tailors, and musicians took such advantage to gain freedom. Slaves were also allowed to sell the products from their plots and save money earned during holidays, which could be used to earn manumission. Moreover, churches of almost all denominations in Latin America condemned slave trade, prohibited their members’ participation in the trade, and encouraged the Spaniards to bring indigenous people as well as African slaves to churches. If married by the church, slaves could not be separated. Churches of different orders, such as the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Society of Jesus, treated and protected African slaves, promoted their religious and moral education, and they hardly sold their own slaves to others. Also, the taint of slavery was neither deep nor indelible—upon gaining freedom, blacks and their children could be employed in private and public offices, and once they were free, they broadly enjoyed a legal status equal to others. They were, however, not free from racial discrimination and social stratification, which impacted all downtrodden people including mulattos (mixed descendants of African slaves) and indigenous population.

C  Debate over feudalism A robust debate persists whether the Spanish institutions like the encomiendas and the haciendas had indeed been feudal institutions. As discussed in Chapter 5, the concept of feudalism itself has been highly controversial for many centuries, especially among the Marxian and non-Marxian scholars. In the context of Latin America, the debate has been even more complicated as Latin and non-Latin scholars have divergently interpreted the roles played

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by the encomiendas and the haciendas in the shaping of political, economic, and cultural relations in Spanish America as well as in post-colonial Latin America. As discussed before, an ideal form of feudalism was represented by the West European serfdom that sprung up in the third century from the relics of the Roman Empire and disappeared by the mid-eighteenth century with the emergence of the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Napoleonic Invasion. Another variant of feudalism, called the ‘second serfdom,’ thrived in Eastern Europe and Imperial Russia during the fifteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. In both cases, serfdom/feudalism signified a system of coerced labor under which peasants/serfs were tied to a piece of land while they worked for landlords/warriors/vassals, who, in turn, owed their obedience to a higher authority, such as king or emperor, who granted them a strip of land or territorial assignment as a reward for military and other services (Anderson 1974; Herlihy 1970).15 Theoretically, Marc Bloch (1914/1961), a widely cited authority on the subject, outlined five essential characteristics of feudalism: (a) extensive deployment of peasants in agricultural production; (b) in-kind payments to workers; (c) supremacy of the warrior class; (d) fragmentation of authority among the ruling class; and (e) a social order in which the rest of society, mainly peasants, are dominated by a military landowning aristocracy. Karl Marx (1967), on the other hand, emphasized that feudalism exists in a natural economy where: (a) wealth is based predominantly on privately owned land; (b) land owners extract the surplus from the peasantry by economic as well as extra-economic coercion; (c) production is primarily for use, not for the market; and (d) peasants own their own means of production, usually a small plot of land. A defining characteristic of feudalism, for Marx, is that it exists in a non-monetary economy where labor is not free and production is predominantly for consumption, and production involves both economic and extra-economic exploitation—appropriation of coerced labor on the demesnes, and extraction of additional unpaid services from workers through domestic and other services (Dobbs 1947). To world-system theorist Wallerstein (1974), ‘feudalism’ is not even a meaningful category for understanding colonies or peripheries drawn into the world economy in the sixteenth century. To him, in colonial societies, merchant capital was allied with imperial political power in a f luid environment in which merchant capital exerted aggressive and transformative social relations of production and labor relations dictated by needs of the core countries or the world-system as a whole. Thus, even the servile-labor of serfs in medieval Europe were ‘coerced cash-crop labor’ imposed by the Western European capitalism. Also, to him, capitalism itself does not necessarily entail the replacement of coercive labor relations by free wage-labor as Marx professed, but it rather entails an optimal combination of free and coercive labor relations beneficial to the capitalist system as a whole.

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Latin American Context In the context of Latin America, the encomiendas and the haciendas have been interpreted as feudal institutions throughout the nineteenth century, but in the twentieth century, especially since the 1940s, scholarly debate emerged whether Latin America had a stage of feudalism as a historical pattern of all societies or it skipped the stage altogether with the Spanish conquest and consequent integration of the region into Eurocentric global capitalism. Those who emphasize the feudal character of the encomiendas/haciendas interpret Spanish America as closed societies which were resistant to change and unintegrated into market economy. Arguing from the vantage point of the Marxian concept of feudalism, they emphasize that these institutions existed in a natural economy where wealth was based on privately controlled land, landlords extracted surplus from the peasantry by extra-economic coercion, production was not geared for the market, and peasants usually owned small plots of land. One of the staunchest advocates of this strand of thought, Romano (1984), maintains that grants of land and labor to encomendados/hacendados were always accompanied by feudatory obligation to offer a range of services, although not military services as Latin America was largely free of conf lict, but war service was used as a condition in southern Chile where such conf licts existed. Romano argues that with the emergence of a variety of labor systems such as peonage, inguilino, and yanakuna, encomiendas/haciendas lost much of their original character, but workers still had to work three to five days per week for landlords. Peons were paid in cash, but they were hardly free as they were entangled in indebtedness, and landlords had other capacities in their arsenal for tying workers to land and mines. Moreover, ordinary masses had no access to or exit from the labor or goods market—there existed no dependable internal market; lacking monetary economy, they used currencies of wood, leather, cooper, lead, and soap; and such situations survived throughout Latin America until the 1830s.16 The eighteenth-century colonial economy of Latin America thus essentially ref lected a feudalist character.17 The dissenters to the feudal thesis,18 on the other hand, emphasize the entrepreneurial drive and profit motive of colonizers, how mercantile exploitation structured and restructured the economic life and social relations in the colonial hinterlands, and how Iberian America’s subordination as provider of primary commodities and an economic surplus to the expanding world market of a Europe contributed to the rise of commercial capitalism in Latin America. For example, Prebisch (1950),19 a leading critic of the feudal thesis, has argued that Latin America’s backwardness and anachronistic economic structures resulted from the historic spread of international capitalism. The ‘dependency theory’ that Prebisch and his followers championed attempted to

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repudiate the comparative advantage theory of international trade as well as modernization theory by orchestrating an alternative vision of Latin American history and reality by emphasizing its external constraints under international capitalism. The dependency perspective gained further momentum with the writings of Frank (1969, 1975) and Cardoso and Faletto (1979) who underscored a chain of metropolis-satellite links that systematically transferred economic surpluses from Iberian America (periphery) to the metropoles of Europe (core), and thereby caused the underdevelopment of the periphery. Frank even argued that Latin American societies were integrated into capitalist mode of production and thrown into the orbits of external dependence and capitalism ever since Columbus’s landing in the Americas, and the encomiendas/haciendas were more commercialized in the eighteenth century than in the nineteenth. Frank argues that the exploitative chains of international commercial system linked with feudal-like regions of Latin America as early as the sixteenth century. Denouncing the thesis that Latin America had a dualistic society where dynamic zones integrated into modern capitalism and backward zones languished in feudal isolation, Frank argued that capitalism, understood as profit-driven production of commodities for large-scale markets on unequal terms that benefited capitalists and metropoles, was the quintessential colonial legacy of Latin America.20 Laclau (1971, 1977), on the other hand, has argued that both positions stipulated above have interpreted ‘feudalism’ and ‘capitalism’ from the narrow perspective of commodity exchange while ignoring another classic Marxian principle—the mode of production. To him, Latin American societies rather demonstrated a mix of feudal, slave, and capitalist ways of producing goods, and it was simplistic to lump together all these disparate modes of production under the single rubric of capitalism or feudalism. Laclau (1971, 1977) rather argues that it is perfectly possible for an economic system to be governed by an overarching capitalist mode of production and profit principle with various modes of production as constituent parts. To him, material progress in the twentieth-century Latin America did require the breakup of the feudalistic socioeconomic structures that dominated many backward regions, but European commercial exploitation had also blocked capitalist development of the region to retain a greater share of economic surplus. Joining the fora, Stern (1988) argues that the binary choice between ‘feudalism’ and ‘capitalism’ presents a ‘conceptual trap for colonial Latin America’ as it rather had a hybrid of pre-modern ‘feudal’ and modern ‘capitalist’ eras, which neither Frank nor Laclau had comprehended well. He maintains that while branding colonial Latin America as ‘capitalist’ obscures bitter traumas and conf licts associated with the transition to a capitalist mode of production at a subsequent stage, branding it ‘feudal’ and ‘seigneurial,’ or equating it to slaveholding societies also obscures the intensity of mercantile exploitation,

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labor relations, marketing patterns, and technological developments that characterized the structure and dynamics of colonial Latin America. Stern, however, maintains that colonial Latin America had never been a ‘feudal’ economy—it was rather a colony or periphery of the European world-economy.21 Although historically labor drafts, slavery, or peonage constituted labor relations in the mines, plantations, and the haciendas, in the long run, the mercantile exploitation of the region had prevented continuation of such ‘pre-capitalist’ mechanisms. He argues that even the mining economies of the eighteenth-century Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, which required ‘bonded’ labor for their profitability and expansion, yielded to land and labor arrangements which was more compatible with the imperatives of capitalist industry and production in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Wallerstein (1980), on the other hand, dismisses the concept of feudalism’ even as a meaningful category for understanding colonies or peripheries that were historically drawn into the world economic systems. To him, forced labor regimes that prevailed in the seventeenth century on the peripheries of the greater Caribbean region, which stretched from the southern colonies of British North America to the Northeast of Portuguese Brazil, later emerged as the ‘new’ American periphery on top of being the ‘old’ periphery of Spanish America. To him, the mine-­ owners in Mexico, for example, encumbered the laborers with coercive devices, including debt, and the periphery’s economic and labor patterns derived either directly from the world-system or its core, or indirectly through the rational response of local capitalists to the changing international market.

D  Consequences of feudalism Latin America had a unique experience of undergoing the processes of transition of nomadic indigenous populations, backward agrarian economy, traditional feudal institutions, colonial exploitation, and integration into Eurocentric global capitalism almost concurrently. The consequences of feudalism in the context of Latin America have thus been intermingled with the varied processes of colonization, economic development, modernization, urbanization, and integration into global economy. Processes of colonization The Spaniards built their colonial empire in Latin America on three major pillars. First, they assembled a massive enterprise of mining explorations concentrating mainly in Peru and Mexico and exported bulk of the extracted silver and gold back home by using a low-cost draft-labor system called Mita, which ensured the availability of a large coerced workforce within the mobilization distance of the mines.

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As mentioned above, despite extremely hazardous conditions in the mines that cost millions of lives, the Spaniards exported nearly 100,000 tons of silver to the Atlantic World and beyond between 1645 and 1810. On top of that, the Spanish Crown collected a 21 percent f lat tax on newly mined silver, which produced fairly consistent revenue streams from the Potosí treasury alone of approximately 200,000 to 300,000 pesos annually between 1556 and 1575, and 700,000 to 1,000,000 pesos between 1576 and 1600. The control over global silver and gold reserves also served as the principal support for Spain’s colonial position in Europe. Second, by taking advantage of the vast land masses of Latin America, the Spaniards built massive agricultural and ranching facilities—such as encomiendas, haciendas, and repartimientos—to ensure the supply of foodstuffs and raw materials to mining enterprises, governing establishments, and urban centers, in addition to exporting to European markets. Grants of such estates combined interrelated processes of coerced conscription of labor-power of indigenous populations and imported slaves, and development of a marketing and transportation infrastructure to facilitate exports. Such grants also permitted conquistadors to establish their control over food supplies in Latin America through sophisticated labor-intensive agriculture and enabled the Crown to consolidate its geopolitical and military preeminence throughout the region. Third, with the help of cheap and captive labor force, the Spaniards built an elaborate commercial and mercantile system to export raw materials to Spain and other European destinations to generate nineteenth-century forms of capital accumulation and industrial development—the so-called ‘old imperialism’ – exchange of raw materials and cheap labor for manufactured goods (Petras and Veltmeyer 2002). The commercial and mercantile system was also utilized to funnel silver and gold bullions to the Spanish Crown and to pay for imports from Western European countries. As early as the 1700s, the English, Iberian, and Latin American economies were interlocked as the Latin American colonies emerged as profitable market and source of raw materials for European countries (Frank 1975).22 The Crown also strictly controlled exports of precious metals as well as agricultural raw materials through state monopolies (Hurley 2011). Spanish colonization of Latin America has received widely varied interpretations over the centuries. Many believe that the Spaniards pursued a very different economic and institutional path in Latin America than what their British counterpart laid down in North America. They view Spanish America as an absolutist, interventionist, and bureaucratic state which had constitutionally disinclined itself from granting much of local self-government, whereas the British America granted colonies self-government and rarely interfered in their internal affairs (North 1989; Sokoloff and Engerman 2001). Some have even argued that the Spanish practice of mixing the races had retarded the advance of Latin America, whereas the English practice of liquidating the native population had served the cause of social progress (Moses 1965).23

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Some accounts accuse conquistadors of causing massive butchery (matanza) on Amerindian populations to destroy, capture, conquer, and enslave them (Potts 1990, 17). Some studies argue that conquistadors, armed with guns and attack dogs and intoxicated by the prospects of wealth of the new colony, forcibly enslaved nomadic native populations hardly caring about their skills or ability, whether the victims were male, female, or children, or friendly or hostile to them (Resendez 2016). Some studies even describe the massacre of the Amerindians in the hands of the Spaniards as a ‘genocide’ (Mann 2005; Stannard 1993).24 There are however others who have described the Spanish colonization of Latin America much less frighteningly. Davis (2006, 97–98), for example, asserts that although the term ‘genocide’ has often been used to refer to extermination of the Amerindians by the Spaniards, the Spaniards clearly had no plan or motive for systematic extermination of the Amerindians, and over a period of three centuries, the Spanish and Portuguese rulers rather enacted a large body of legislations intended to segregate and protect the Amerindians from the exploitative forces of colonization. Gallay (2009, 2–12) also maintains that while the extermination of the Amerindians during the Spanish colonization was “unfortunate consequences for the native population,” the conquistadors were not more intolerably or invariably cruel in their conquest of Latin America than other colonizing European powers in the Americas. Blackburn (1988, 5–31) also maintains that although conquest and exploitation of the Amerindians served as a source of Spanish wealth and power, outright slavery or extermination of the population had not been their prime motive. Some scholars have however interpreted the Spanish rule over Latin America as ‘white man’s burden.’ Prescott (1843), for example, maintains that the Spaniards were romantic, backward, and priest-ridden, but even the inferior Spanish variant of white civilization had a civilizing effect on the lesser breeds of people (Amerindians) in Latin America. Similarly, Bundleier (1885) also lauded the Spaniards for civilizing the Amerindians; Hanke (1949/2015) concluded that no other nation made so passionate an attempt to ensure fair treatment for the native population than the Spaniards. Bolton (1928) also described the Spaniards as harbingers of civilization in backward Latin America by ignoring or minimizing many negative and coercive aspects of their rule. Some scholars, however, took a mixed position. Bancroft (1883), for example, underscored the improvements that the Spaniards had made in material and spiritual state of the Amerindians while also conceding that some conducts of the Spaniards were cruel and unjust. Morgan (1877) downgraded the Aztec and Inca civilizations to absolve the Spaniards from the accusations of destroying such civilizations. Similarly, Simpson (1929) found the Spanish colonial conquest and exploitation of Latin America as unfortunate but inevitable, and conceded that although the Spaniards profited from coerced Amerindians labor initially, by the end of the sixteenth century, the Spanish rule transformed into a form of benevolent paternalism.

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Independence from colonialism Most of the Latin American nations earned independence suddenly—within just 15 years—between 1810 and 1825.25 A series of spectacular events that occurred between 1807 and 1814, such as the Napoleonic Invasion of Spain, the imprisonment and abduction of the Spanish King, the overthrow of Napoleon’s brother from the Spanish throne, and the Peninsular War, all had profoundly inspired the colonies across North, Central, and South America to declare independence in a breathtaking speed. For most of the Latin American countries, the independence however has largely failed to bring an end to feudalistic, semi-capitalistic, and colonial traditions that they inherited. While in the British North America, the United States emerged out of quasi-autonomous, self-governed, and fiscally independent colonies, in Spanish America a unified political and economic empire collapsed into a large number of poorly defined and legitimated nation states leaving an abject basis for state formation and institution building in the post-independence period (Grafe and Irigion 2006). The independence also had not propelled major social transformations in Latin American countries. It was largely because in most of the Latin American countries the Creole elites,26 who spearheaded the independence movements, were part of the agrarian landowner class who profited from the production and marketing of goods produced with coerced labor. They acquired their wealth and political power through royal sanctions and by establishing feudal or quasi-feudal rights over the peasants and workers who lived in their haciendas/repartimientos (Klaren 2000). Moreover, although the independence movements were powerfully inf luenced by the Enlightenment ideals, such as equality under the law, separation of church and state, and individual liberty, Latin American revolutionary elites had been highly selective in their pursuance of such ideals. They defended free trade and national sovereignty to fight against the colonial monopoly of trade but downplayed the ideals of individual freedom and equal rights of man to sustain their commercial interests based on coerced labor. The Creole elites also left untouched the colonial racial/ethnic hierarchies— the so-called ‘coloniality of power’—under which natives, blacks, mulattoes, and other racially oppressed groups were stationed at the bottom (Grosfoguel 2000). As a result, the colonial socio-political and economic structure, stratified by color and physiognomy, power and status, inequality and poverty, thrived throughout Latin American countries long after their independence from colonial rule. There was a class of whites or near whites; then there were masses of people of color—Amerindians and blacks, mestizos, and mulattos; and an intermixed group of Spaniards, natives, and blacks called the castas (Stein and Stein 1970, 57–59). While a new social hierarchy of European descendants and mestizos dominated political and economic structures and affairs, the Amerindians remained at the fringes of the economic and political power,

212 Feudalisms

although expropriation of their lands and conscription of their labor-power were central elements of the Spanish colonial enterprise in Latin America (Angeles and Elizalde 2017). Proletarianization of the peasants and workers Latin American elites were an agrarian landowner class who gained wealth and power through feudalistic grants of encomiendas, haciendas, and repartimientos, which also gave them quasi-feudal rights over the people who lived in their estates. The Spanish Crown indeed funneled into the hands of a small group of landlords an enormous amount of wealth and power at the expense of millions of poor peasants and workers who were forced to provide their labor-power (Klaren 2000). There is also little dispute that although landlords were obligated to grant certain rights and protections to peasants and worker, they were rather mistreated for hundreds of years and thus, peasant unrest and proletarianization had always been a part of the Latin American feudalism.27 Ortiz (2009) explains the proletarianization processes of Latin American peasants and workers in the context of Chile.28 According to him, during the early phase in the development of agrarian capitalism in Chile, hacendados expanded direct cultivation by using both inquilinos and sharecropping schemes. Then, they shifted to technological improvements—irrigation and mechanization—to increase the area of cultivation and reduce the dependence on labor. Facing labor-shortage bottlenecks, hacendados pursued such strategies during the 1850s through the 1870s when exports markets for Chilean wheat opened in California, Australia, and England. With greater availability of financial capital in the final decades of the nineteenth century, mechanization and cultivation of Chilean agriculture expanded further with the help of extensive systems of canals and irrigation that crisscrossed along the longitudinal valley from Aconcagua to the frontier region. Such a transition to agrarian capitalism concurrently also led to the formation of rural working class which over the course of several decades transformed the inquilinos from labor tenants into resident wage-workers, while at the same time integrating their family members and the rural poor into the hacienda system’s workforce as seasonal laborers. Although inquilinos were still paid in cash and fringe benefits, large part of their income came from wages. By the early twentieth century, large haciendas, which employed sizeable labor pools, enforced an extended division of labor rationalizing different production processes ranging from the preparation of the fields to harvests of various sorts. Many of the mechanized haciendas also brought the peasants and workers under capitalist work discipline, signaled by the bell at the property’s gate and the harvest machine’s whistle. The development of agrarian capitalism also transformed the collective action of rural workers which gradually assumed modern forms, such as strikes and unionization, and became significant in

The Latin American feudalism  213

national politics. The first wave of rural conf licts in Chile that took place in the early 1920s came as a response of the emerging rural working class to the agrarian expansion that the country experienced as part of the process of capitalist modernization. Similar transformation took place in many other parts of Latin America as marginalized peasants and workers staged rebellions and revolutions by challenging exploitation and repression. In colonial Peru, Haiti, and Mexico, for example, the enslaved and indentured rural labor force challenged colonial state power throughout the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries (Veltmeyer and Petras 2014). In Central America—El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala—rebellious peasants, indigenous peoples, and landless rural workers protested state actions and polices that shielded the landed oligarchy during both the colonial and post-colonial periods (Mahoney 2001). Post-Colonial land reforms Newly independent nations of Latin America thus not only inherited a highly unequal pattern of land ownership dominated by the latifundias, the repartimientos, and the haciendas, but also a powerful class of agrarian elites and growing class of proletariat workers and peasants, who pushed the issues of land reforms, inequality in the distribution of assets, political dominance of landed elites, and massive rural poverty and racial tensions to the forefront in the post-colonial period ( Janvry and Sadoulet 2002). As a result, the most far-reaching land reforms took place in the countries that were at the core of the former Aztec and Inca empires—in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. They were followed by countries in the peripheries, such as Ecuador and Chile, and countries where other advanced pre-colonial groups existed, such as Guatemala and Colombia. At the same time, the countries like Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, where pre-colonial groups were not organized beyond the village level, hardly experienced major reforms (Angeles and Elizalde 2017). In Mexico and Bolivia, reforms stemmed from armed conf licts, and the Amerindians played leading role in both the Mexican revolution (1910) and the Bolivian revolution (1952). Mexico had already confiscated large tracts of land from the Catholic Church in the mid-1800s, but following the armed conf lict in 1915 the country passed the General Agrarian Law which resulted in the expropriation of almost half of the hacienda lands for redistribution among landless peasants. Following the revolution, Bolivia also expropriated and redistributed about three-quarters of the country’s agricultural land. The reforms of Mexico and Bolivia inspired similar but less successful reform efforts throughout Latin America. During the 1960s through the 1970s, expropriation and redistribution of land ranged between one-third in Peru, one-fifth in Chile, and around one-tenth in Ecuador and Colombia (Ankersen and Ruppert 2006).29

214 Feudalisms

In Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, on the other hand, no major effort was undertaken for land reforms and redistribution (Kay 1998). Brazil abolished its landholding system called Sesmania in 1822, before its independence, but adopted a new law in 1889, after its independence, which allowed the state to keep large landholdings and protect latifundias by reviving the beneficial use doctrine as a basis for expropriation (Alston et al. 1999). The post-colonial Argentina not only shunned land reform and redistribution completely, but also adopted legal reforms further consolidating large landholdings and lowering rents (Ankersen and Ruppert 2006). By the mid-twentieth century, most of the post-colonial Latin American countries however incorporated in their constitutions something called ‘the Social Function Doctrine’ in order to manipulate private property rights and encourage agrarian reforms by breaking up the haciendas and the latifundias to alleviate landlessness. Since then, chain land reforms took place in Bolivia (1952), Cuba (1959), Nicaragua (1979), Chile (1964–1973), Peru (1969–1975), El Salvador (1980–1985), Ecuador (1960s–1970s), and Brazil (1962–1964), which resulted in the expropriation of about four-fifths of land in Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela; almost half of the land in Chile and Nicaragua; and between one-seventh and one-fifths of lands in Panama, El Salvador, and Dominican Republic. Most of the expropriated lands were distributed among cooperatives, collectives, and state farms, but a small share went to family farms as well (Kay 1994). In some of the Latin American countries, peasants’ protests and rebellions continued even up to the mid-1980s, and some of those took the form of guerrilla warfare against the forces of neo-liberalism and global capitalism (Veltmeyer and Petras 2014). Economic consequences At the time of Iberian conquest, Latin American countries had heterogeneous conditions in respect to land and labor, literacy and demographics, as well as economic development and productivity. While some parts of the region, such as Argentina and Chile, were closer to European levels of literacy, some other parts, such as Brazil and Colombia, lagged far behind.30 During the colonial period they also differed widely in respect to acquisition of skills, availability of labor, market demand, international integration, and industrialization processes. As discussed above, land distribution pattern was highly unequal in most of the Latin American countries even long after the end of the colonial period.31 Throughout the colonial period, Latin American countries also experienced stunted trade growth as they were subjected to strict trade restrictions—­ forbidden to trade with other European powers, they had to rely on inefficient colonial bureaucracy and centralized political system (Edwards 2009). Also, before the 1920s, during the ‘Belle Époque’ period,32 while some of these countries, such as Brazil and Argentina, had achieved outstanding levels

The Latin American feudalism  215

of indigenously generated industrialization, and even had faster labor productivity growth than the US, many other Latin American countries legged far behind (Haber 2006; Paolera et al. 2018). Per capita income In 1492, when the Spaniards first arrived in the Americas, the indigenous communities that lived in today’s Bolivia and Peru apparently had a higher standard of living than those in North America—even in the 1700s, per capita income in Latin America was roughly the same as in North America (Maddison 2001).33 Since then, however, Latin America countries consistently lagged behind the US—in 1820, per capita income of Latin American countries was about 60 percent of the US level, but by 1870, after most of these countries became independent, it declined to 31 percent. As T ­ able  11.3 indicates, in 1820, per capita income of five major Latin American countries—­A rgentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay—was approximately 40 percent that of the advanced nations, but by 1870, as a consequence of the disastrous post-­ independence years, their per capita income declined to 27 percent of the advanced nations (Edwards 2009).34 Industrialization Latin American countries geared up their industrialization processes in the 1870s, largely coinciding with the periods of industrialization of many advanced countries.35 As Table 11.4 indicates, manufacturing in the region grew by 6.2 and 5.0 percent annually during the 1870–1890 and 1890– 1913 periods, respectively. Argentina had been ahead of all Latin American countries—­the annual manufacturing growth rates in the country averaged Table 11.3  R  elative per capita GDP in Latin America between 1820 and 1925 (USA=1.0) Years

RLA5

RLA6

1820 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1913 1925

0.53 0.37 0.3 0.28 0.25 0.29 0.24 0.26 0.25

n/a 0.37 0.33 0.29 0.27 0.28 0.24 0.27 0.25

Source: Author’s compilation based on Paolera et al. (2018) and ­Sebastian (2009). Notes: RLA5=Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay RLA6=Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Uruguay, and Venezuela

216 Feudalisms Table 11.4  Manufacturing output growth per annum, 1870–1913 (in %) Countries/Regions

1870–1890

1890–1913

1920–1939

Latin America Argentina Brazil Chile Columbia Mexico Peru Uruguay

6.24 6.55 n/a 7.09 n/a 7.8 n/a 3.53

5.04 8.91 5.75 1.74 n/a 3.8 6.19 3.86

4.82 5.56 5.65 2.83 7.00 5.64 3.65 3.41

Source: Author’s compilation based on Paolera et al. (2018) and Williamson (2010).

at 6.5 and 8.9 percent, respectively, during these periods, and by the early twentieth century, the country registered double-digit growth rates. Argentina’s industrial boom was dominated by processing of primary products, such as food, beverages, textiles, wool and leather, tobacco, and glass. However, production of consumer goods represented over 70 percent of the country’s total manufacturing output. The endogenous, private-sector-led industrialization process however produced both forward and backward linkages contributing to the growth of urbanization and a new consumer class in the country (Rocchi 2005).36 Brazil’s industrialization process peaked in the 1890s, and continued rapid growth up until World War I. As Table 11.4 indicates, during 1890–2013, Brazil’s manufacturing sector grew by close to six percent annually, outpacing the growth rate for the region. Brazil’s industrial take-off was pioneered by the growth of textiles and industrial firms fueled by strong internal demand stemmed from the coffee booms and easy access to industrial capital (Haber 2006). Chile had rapid manufacturing growth during the 1870–1890, but then slowed down considerably during the 1890–1913 period. Chile, which had a virtual world monopoly in sodium nitrate exports however succeeded in avoiding the Dutch Disease by adopting protectionist import substitution strategies (Palma 2000). Mexico’s manufacturing sector also grew robustly during 1870–1890, but then slowed down during 1890–1913, largely because of the country’s revolutionary war. Uruguay’s manufacturing growth had been consistent throughout the 1870–1913 period, when the average annual growth rate in the country approximated around four percent. Peru’s industrialization process picked up during the 1890–1913 period when its manufacturing sector grew by more than six percent annually. In Colombia, the coffee booms in the early twentieth century led to the growth of long-lasting non-durable consumer products industry when the country’s manufacturing sector took advantage of a nascent financial and transportation infrastructure as well as protectionist policies (McGreevy 1971; Palacios 1979).37

The Latin American feudalism  217

Urbanization Spanish conquistadors initially settled down in urban centers upon their arrival in the Americas, but as they spearheaded new conquests and penetrated into new territories, many new urban settlements, religious, and military population centers soon emerged (Rodriguez 2005). Columbus built the first Spanish settlement in the New World—the La Villa de Navidad—in the island of Hispaniola (in today’s Haiti), and after it was destroyed by fire, he built the second Spanish settlement further east in the current Dominican Republic and named it La Isabela, after Spanish Queen Isabella.38 The Spaniards then expanded their conquest and colonization to the rest of the Greater Antilles and at a later stage, into the modern-day Mexico and Panama, but initiated consolidation of urban network after the 1850s, after concluding their colonial conquest and occupation. Overall urbanization of Latin America under the Spanish and Portuguese rules however had not been quite spectacular—it is largely because of the agrarian character of the colonial economy. As Table 11.5 indicates, between 1492 and 1820, the share of urban population increased from 11 to 15 percent throughout Latin America. The early industrializer Argentina was also the front-runner in urbanization in colonial Latin America—the share of its urban population increased from 41 to 54 percent between 1900 and 1920— most of them however lived in the larger Buenos Aires area, which had a population of 1.2 million in 1910. Chile came the second in terms of urbanization—between 1865 and 1920, the ratio of urban population of the country increased from 29 to 45 percent. In 1910, Chile’s capital Santiago had a population of 390,000. In Mexico, the share of urbanized population increased from 9 percent in 1790 to 9.6 percent in 1870. In 1910, the largest city of the country, the Mexico City had a population of around half-a-million. Table 11.5  Urbanization in Colonial Spanish and Portuguese America, 1492–1920 Territory

Year

Urbanization Ratio Territory

Year

Urbanization Ratio

Latin America           Mexico        

1492 1600 1700 1790 1820 1870 1790 1820 1844 1870  

11.0   9.0 12.5 14.2 13.9 15.0   9.1   8.9   9.2   9.6  

1900 1920 1900 1920 1872 1900 1920 1865 1900 1920 1876

41.0 54.0 n/a n/a 16.2 n/a n/a 29.0 43.0 47.0 15.0

Argentina   Columbia   Brazil     Chile     Peru

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 5 of Paolera et al. (2018) and Table 2 of Williamson (2015).

218 Feudalisms

The rest of Latin America was more rural with most population centers scattered around the countryside with poor communication and road networks. In Brazil, the share of urban population increased from 16 to 22 percent between 1972 and 1920. In 1910, the largest city of Brazil—Sao Paulo—had a population of 240,000. In Peru, urbanization ratio was 15 percent in 1876, and in 1912, Columbia’s capital city Bogotá had a population of only 120,000 (Paolera et al. 2018; Williamson 2015). Post-World War II debate As the processes of colonial exploitation based primarily on traditional feudalistic tradition as well as transition to agrarian capitalism and integration with Euro-centric global capitalism progressed almost simultaneously, the long-lasting tradition of concentration of land in few hands persisted in almost all Latin American countries well into the mid-twentieth century. Although many land reforms were carried out following the independence of these countries, subsequently many of those reforms were diluted or reversed, and in many cases, the colonial legacy of the encomiendas, the latifundias, and the haciendas continued, albeit without the right to exact tribute (Alexander 2003; Dell 2010). Consequently, even in the 1960s and 1970s, passionate debate raged among Latin American scholars as well as political leaders whether to characterize the land regimes of haciendas or latifundias as feudalist or capitalist institutions, and whether feudalistic traditions continued to dominate the economic, political, social, and demographic developments of most of the Latin American countries. Scholars and observers also fiercely debated whether Latin America had already smothered its feudalistic traditions and was ready to move to capitalism or socialism, and it was only in the 1980s that the debate shifted to whether landlords were subordinated to the forces of national and global capitalism due to globalization and modernization (Kay 1994). In the ensuing debate, while orthodox Marxists interpreted Latin America as feudal or semi-feudal societies, the Structuralist school emphasized historical and structural processes and the center-periphery relations both during and after the colonial period. A leading strand of the Structuralist school— the Dependentistas—emphasized that Latin America needed to eradicate the vestiges of feudalism to create conditions for the emergence of capitalism in order to make an ultimate transition to socialism. While another strand of the school—the Dependency theorists—argued that Latin American backwardness resulted from world capitalist system rather than internal factors, such as traditional or feudal structures (Grosfoguel 2000).39 As mentioned before, Frank (1975), a leading theorists of this strand of thought, even asserted that the capitalist mode of production became preeminent in Latin American economies from the onset of the Spanish conquest.40

The Latin American feudalism  219

E  Concluding remarks The core feudalistic institutions of Latin America—the encomiendas, the latifundias, and the haciendas—evolved under the Spanish and Portuguese colonialism through expropriation of community lands of indigenous Amerindians and forced conscription of their labor-power, which often involved massive brutality and carnage. Much of the gigantic explorations of gold and silver—the lifeblood of the Hispanic Empire—rested on the draft-labor of indigenous population, and indeed caused millions of deaths. During more than 300 years of colonial rule, the Spaniards built elaborate commercial and mercantile networks to export minerals and raw materials to Spain and other European destinations for capital accumulation and industrial development by pursuing ‘old imperialism’—exchange of raw materials for manufactured goods. Such processes led to the formation of hybrid feudal or feudalistic institutions in colonial Latin America where elements of pre-capitalist and capitalist systems co-existed, and landlords, mercantilists, and absolutist state exploited a predominantly agrarian labor-­power through a mix of slave-labor, wage-labor, servile-labor, and debt-peonage. Even in the 1960s and 1970s—long after the end of colonial rule—­ passionate debates raged among Latin American scholars as well as political leaders whether to characterize the colonial land regimes as feudalist or capitalist institutions, whether feudalistic traditions continued to dominate the economic, political, social, and demographic developments of these countries, and whether these societies had already smothered feudalistic traditions and were ready to make a transition to capitalism or socialism. Despite robust debates, it seems clear that colonial Latin America had a unique experience of undergoing several processes of transitions simultaneously. First, lands and labor-power of the nomadic indigenous Amerindians were forcibly conscripted to serve the purposes of colonial capital accumulation and empire-building. Second, backward agrarian economy was transformed into agrarian capitalism through deployment of traditional feudalistic institutions. Third, Latin American agrarian economies were integrated into Europe-centric capitalist world economy through ‘commercial capitalism,’ ‘feudal economic logic,’ ‘industrial capitalism,’ and ‘mercantile capitalism’ and so on. More importantly, for most of the Latin American countries, the processes of colonization, slavery and servitude, economic development and modernization, industrialization and urbanization as well as integration into global economy progressed concurrently, without passing through sequential patterns of development as envisaged by both Marxist and non-Marxist writers. Moreover, for most of the Latin American countries, the independence from colonial rule has so far largely failed to bring an end to the feudalistic, semi-capitalistic, and colonial traditions that they inherited.

220 Feudalisms

Notes 1 Apparently, an Argentinean jurist named Carlos Calvo and a French engineer named Michel Chevalier used the term ‘Latin America’ for the first time in 1862 to refer to the installation of Maximilian of Habsburg as the emperor of Mexico by Emperor Napoleon III and distinguish the peoples of this area from the English-­speaking peoples of North America. 2 Geographically, Latin America is a vast subcontinent which comprises of three major regions: (a) the Greater Antilles that includes larger islands such as Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico; (b) the Bahamas that include over 2,700 small islands, islets and cays, and mainland territories such as Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Belize; and (c) the Lesser Antilles that includes the Caribbean Sea extending from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Aruba. 3 See footnote number 5 of Chapter 4 of this book for various estimates and distribution of native population at the time of Columbus’s landing in the Americas. 4 The composition of the indigenous population has changed dramatically over the centuries. In 2001, Bolivia had the highest concentration in South America. Of the country’s 8.3 million people, 62 percent belonged to some indigenous groups, of which 31 percent were Quechua and 25 percent were Aymara. The same year, Ecuador has 13 million inhabitants, of which 77 percent described themselves as mestizos (people with mixed Amerindian and European ancestry) and only seven percent described them as indigenous, but estimates suggest that the real figure for indigenous people would be between 35 and 45 percent. The same year, of the 26 million people in Peru, 30 percent claimed to be Quechua and four percent claimed to be Aymara (United Nations 2006). 5 Estimates made by Maddison (2004) also suggest that in 1492, at the time Europeans landed in the Americas, the indigenous populations of Bolivia and Peru had higher standards of living than those in North America. The estimates also show that even in 1700, the average income per capita income in Latin America was roughly the same with as that in North America. 6 Neighboring countries of Spain and Portugal attained great ocean-going navigational capabilities by the fifteenth century. Portugal, the smaller neighbor, however, attained maturity before Spain as Portuguese navigators had already reached out into the dark Atlantic and colonized Madeira by 1418. By the end of the century, however, with the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, the table turned; while the Portuguese took over Brazil, the Spaniards took over most of Latin America. 7 Gill (2018) and Stern (1988) explore the debate focusing on major scholarly works published between 1969 and 1993, especially focusing on the works of James Lockhart and Robert Keith. The viewpoints of these historians have been explored below primarily based on these sources. 8 Referring to the Peruvian experience, Keith (1976) also maintains that maintaining a class of landlords lost rationale to the Crown when the need for commercial agricultural production became paramount to meet the demands of growing populations. The Crown thus granted a series of smaller land grants, known as chacras, to conquistadors and encomendados who were more closely aligned with the Crown and encouraged them to establish new towns and settlements, which led to the growth of prosperous vineyards in southern Peru. 9 Ortiz (2009) notes that even the 1935 Chilean Census categorized the largest group of agricultural workers of the country—one-third of all—as inquilinos who received housing from land owners as a part of their wage. 10 It is however notable that while most scholars agree that debt peonage played a key role in tying native workers from the villages to the estates, Gibson (1969)

The Latin American feudalism  221

11 12

13 14 15

16

17

18 19

2 0

claims that it was not the case in the Valley of Mexico where haciendas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offered native workers better livelihood. Similarly, some studies on mid-eighteenth-century Jesuit haciendas in Mexico also showed that workers were not tied to the estates by their debts (Morner 1969). By 1640, the city’s population swelled to 160,000. But in 1825, with the disappearance of silver, only 8,000 people lived there (Potts 1990, 21). As early as 1729, at least one-third of the population of Buenos Aires, numbering around 24,000, were African slaves. Argentina’s 1778 Census indicated that onethird of its population was also colored people. In 1817, out of a population of 3.6 million in Brazil, 843,000 were whites, 2.9 million were black freedman and slaves, 628,000 were mestizos (mixtures of whites, blacks, and natives), and the rest were indigenous population. Around the same time, blacks were 19 percent of Santo Domingo’s population, 27 percent of Cuban population, and 26 percent of Puerto Rican population (Tannenbaum 1947, 7–10). Between 1500 and 1850, over five million African slaves were imported to the Caribbean islands, but most of them were imported by the British, French, and Dutch colonists, while Spanish colonists had a very small share. The discussion on the treatment of African slaves in Spanish America and Portuguese Brazil is primarily based on Tannenbaum (1947) and Mallon (1995). For greater details, also see Cushner (1980). As discussed previously, some variants of feudalistic institutions also existed in China since the ancient times, in Japan during the medieval period, and in India during the late eighteenth century. As discussed in the previous chapters, while the Japanese variant has often been viewed as a ‘mirror image’ of the West European serfdom, the Indian variant has often been branded as ‘pseudo-feudalism,’ and the Chinese variant has remained highly controversial among both Marxian and non-Marxian scholars as well as Chinese and non-Chinese scholars. Romano (1984) maintains that three types of coins circulated in colonial Latin America: gold and large silver currencies which were used for capital accumulation and large economic enterprise; silver currency of medium value which was used for transactions of the bourgeoisie; and silver and copper currencies of smaller denominations which were used for popular needs. Romano (1984) also differentiates the Latin American feudalism from that of Europe on three major counts: (a) landlords in Spanish America inherited a strong state-controlled structure (from Aztec and Inca), such as the Mita system; (b) the European feudalism was characterized by unlimited supply of land (except in England which faced the problem of lack of land), whereas the Latin American feudalism never experienced unlimited supply of land—it rather had a dilemma of men without land and land without men; and (c) unlike the European feudalism, the Latin American feudalism confronted the external imposition of capitalism. Some of the prominent dissenters include: Andre Gander Frank, Raul Prebisch, Sergio Bagui, Jan Bazant, Alexander Marchant, Jose Miranda, and Caio Prado, Jr. Raul Prebisch was the founding Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and later he founded the Prebisch-CEPAL School which promoted intensive debate on the terms of trade of primary products vis-à-vis manufactures. The Prebisch-Singer thesis had profound effects across Latin America and beyond. Drawing upon the experience of Chile, German-born scholar Andre Gunder Frank (1969) has argued that Chile has been a capitalist country since the inception of the Spanish conquest, and that the Chilean agriculture had always produced for export, and at no time was the Chilean agriculture was a closed natural

222 Feudalisms

21

22

2 3 24

25

26

27

2 8

29

economy with production for subsistence alone, and the ‘latifundistas’—owners of latifundias—served as the intermediaries in the production of sugar and cotton for colonial capital, while Chilean mining, commerce, and transport had always been in the hands of foreign capital. Stern (1988) enumerates several developments in support of his proposition, such as: rise of profit making and commodity production as a central principle of economic organization; simultaneous deterioration and destruction of local subsistence economies; impressive capital expenditures undertaken in the mines, sugar plantations, and other enterprises; and growth of cities and mining regions where significant internal markets and relatively free forms of labor existed. The dependence on Western European countries was even more dominant for the Portuguese Brazil. By the end of the sixteenth century, the Dutch controlled about 66 percent of the shipping between Brazil and Portugal and owned a large part of the sugar exports from Brazil. As a result, Amsterdam, not Lisbon, had most of the sugar-refineries for utilization of semi-processed sugar (Stein and Stein 1970). For greater details, see Keen (1985), which provides an excellent summary of multifarious but evolving interpretations made by scholars and observers of the Hispanic rule of Latin America. In legal terminology, genocide is an international crime. The United Nations and associated charters define it as an act of deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. For greater details, see Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), available from . Among the Spanish colonies, Peru and Paraguay attainted independence in 1811, Chile and Argentina in 1818, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador in 1821, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia in 1822, Bolivia in 1825, and Uruguay in 1828. French colony Haiti gained independence in 1804 and Portuguese colony Brazil in 1825. Among other Spanish colonies, Puerto Rico became a US protectorate in 1898 and it took up to 1902 for Cuba to become an independent nation. Latin American creoles were pure-blooded Spaniards who were born in the Americas and remained connected to Europe through their ancestry and often received education abroad, and thus had appeals to enlightenment ideals. On the other hand, Peninsulares—people born in Spain, but who resided in the Spanish colonies—were tied to Spanish ancestry and allegiance. If the assertions of the Dependency theorists are taken seriously, then it would follow that Latin American economies and societies were integrated into Europe-­centric capitalist world since the beginning of the Spanish conquest, and the process of proletarianization of workers also started since the early sixteenth century. Ortiz (2009), however, acknowledges that most authors depict the Chilean agrarian history prior to the Great Depression as a society in which inquilinos and other hacienda workers were incapable of breaking through paternalistic domination to organize themselves and challenge landowners. Bauer (1971), for example, has argued that Chile did not modernize under export-led expansion. As land was abundant and labor cheap, landowners rather expanded production by bringing more land under cultivation by extending the labor tenant system, by employing the inquilinaje as well as seasonal peons. Bauer maintains that agricultural modernization, however, played a crucial role in Chile between the 1850s and World War I. In Peru, for example, continued concentration of land in the hands of wealthy latifundistas led to even further enlargement of landholdings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Powelson 1988, 238–239).

The Latin American feudalism  223 30 For example, in 1926, Australia had 27 times more technical graduates per capita than Argentina, the most educated country in Latin America (Paolera et al. 2018). Economic literature also indicates that poor literacy rates may be responsible for retarded economic growth and are an obstacle to industrialization process (Lucas 2009; Sokoloff and Engerman 2001). 31 For example, only 2.4 percent of the rural Mexican households owned land in 1910, and less than 20 percent of the Argentinean rural households owned land in 1895 (Engerman and Sokoloff 2002). 32 The often-cited ‘Belle Époque’ period of growth and industrialization of Latin America refers to the region’s economic performance prior to the 1920s compared with other periods in its history. 33 As mentioned before, one of the main reasons for the Iberians to settle down in Latin America was that they thought that it was more prosperous than North America. Apparently, they came to know that the region had great reserves of gold and silver, and vast areas of land suitable for highly profitable sugar plantations (Scott 2011). Also, many conquistadors believed that in Latin America, gold f lowed in rivers, mines were full of precious metals, vast areas of arable and exotic land had no limits, and a vast reservoir of labor was ready to be tapped into for profitable intercontinental commerce (Resendez 2016). 34 It is, however, notable that in the 1920s, most of the independent Latin American countries drew significant inf lows of migrants and capital from Europe, which contributed to rapid expansion of domestic productive capacity and integration to the world economy (O’Rourke and Williamson 1999). 35 According to Rostow (1960), the United Kingdom achieved industrialization during 1783–1802, France during 1830–1860, Belgium during 1833–1860, the United States during 1843–1860, Germany during 1850–1873, and Sweden during 1868–1890. 36 Much of the industrial performance of Argentina was, however, propelled by foreigners—in 1914, for example, more than 65 percent of the business firms in Argentina were initiated and owned by first-generation migrants (Diaz 1970). 37 During World War I, many Latin American countries were forced to adopt import substitution strategies due to the disruption in shipping and financial f lows which led to a shortage of foreign exchange and imported goods that created the conditions for domestic producers to substitute imports. Many of the neo-­ mercantilist and nationalist economic arguments made by the Prebisch-CEPAL school were thus inspired by the early twentieth-century experience of Latin American countries (Grosfoguel 2000). 38 Before Columbus named it Hispaniola, the native Taino population called the island Quisqueya (mother of all lands) and Ayiti (the land of high mountains). 39 They, however, also emphasized domestic factors that blocked development, such as inequality in asset distribution (particularly land), concentration in the commercial sector, the cultural behavior of the elites (rent-seeking and luxurious consumption patterns), the weaknesses of the State, and deficient educational system, among others. Frank (1975), for example, described Latin American underdevelopment and western development as the two sides of the same coin. 40 To Frank, feudalism is a closed economy, and capitalism is an open economy, and as colonial Latin America produced commodities for export since the sixteenth century, it was an open economy dominated by world capitalism. Obviously, Frank emphasized Marx’s commodity relations, while totally ignoring the other, and more important criterion, of a capitalist system—predominance of wage labor. While Latin America was integrated into capitalist economy from the inception of the Spanish conquest, it took long time for the region to develop economies based on wage-labor.

224 Feudalisms

References Albo, Xavier. (2008). Indigenous Movements in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Tallinn: CIPCA, October. Alexander, R. (2003). Introduction: Haciendas and agrarian change in rural Mesoamerica, Ethnohistory, 3(50): 3–6. Alston, L., Libecap, G., and Mueller, B. (1999). Titles conf lict and land use: The development of property rights and land reform on the Brazilian amazon frontier. American Historical Review, 55(2): 177–199. Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: Verso. Angeles, L., and Elizalde, A. (2017). Pre-colonial institutions and socioeconomic development: The case of Latin America. Journal of Development Economics, 124: 22–40. Ankersen, T., and Ruppert, T. (2006). Tierra y Libertad: The social function doctrine and land reform in Latin America. University of Florida Law Scholarship Repository. University of Florida Levin College of Law. Bakewell, P. (1977). A History of Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell. Bancroft, H. (1883). History of Mexico. Vol. 1. San Francisco, CA: Bancroft & Company Publishers. Available at: https://archive.org/details/worksof huberthow09bancrich. Bandleier, A. (1885). The Romantic School of American Archeology. New York: New York Historical Society. Available at https://archive.org/details/romanticschool i00socigoog. Bauer, A. (1971). Chilean rural labor in the nineteenth century. American Historical Review, 76(4): 1059–1083. Bauer, A. (1975). Chilean Rural Society from the Spanish Conquest to 1930. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso. Bloch, M. (1914/1961). Feudal Society. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press. Bolton, H. (1928). History of the Americas. Boston, MA: Ginn and Company. Borah, W. (1951). New Spain’s Century of Depression. Berkley: University of California Press. Bowser, F. (1984). Africans in Spanish colonial society. In L. Bethell (ed.), Economic and Social Structures: Spanish America. Part Two. London: Cambridge University Press. Brading D., and Cross, H. (1972). Colonial silver mining: Mexico and Peru. Hispanic American Historical Review, 52 (November): 545–579. Cardoso, F., and Faletto, E. (1979). Dependency and Development in Latin America. Berkeley: University of California Press. Chevalier, F. (1952/1963). Land and Society in Colonial Mexico: The Great Hacienda. Berkeley: University of California Press. Crow, J. (1992). The Epic of Latin America (4th ed.). Berkeley (CA): University of California Press. Curtin, P. (1969). The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. Madison: Wisconsin University Press. Cushner, N. (1980). Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600–1767. Albany: State University of New York Press. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Dell, M. (2010). The persistent effects of Peru’s mining mita. Econometrica, 78(6): 1863–1903.

The Latin American feudalism  225 Diaz, C. (1970). Essays on the Economic History of the Argentine Republic. New Heaven (CT): Yale University Press. Dobb, M. (1947). Studies in the Development of Capitalism. New York: International Publishers. Edwards, S. (2009). Latin America’s decline: A long historical view. NBER working paper 15171. Engerman, S., and Sokoloff, K. (2002). Factor endowments, inequality, and paths of development among new world economies. Economica, 3(1): 41–109. Fajardo, S. (2013). Losing the Hacienda: The agrarian reform’s effect on landowners in the Peruvian Andes. Senior Thesis, Linfield University. Foster, Lynn. (2002). Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World. New York: Oxford University Press. Frank, A. (1969). Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America—Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil. New York: Modern Reader. Frank, A. (1975). On Capitalist Under-Development. London: Oxford University Press. Galeano, E. (1973). The Open Veins of Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press. Gallay, A. (Ed.). (2009). Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Garner, R. (1988). Long-term silver mining trends in Spanish America: A comparative analysis of Peru and Mexico. American Historical Review, 93(4): 898–935. Gibson, C. (1964). The Aztecs under the Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519–1810. Sanford: University of California Press. Gibson, C. (1969). Encomienda and Hacienda: The evolution of the great estate in the Spanish Indies. Hispanic American Historical Review, 49(3): 426–429. Gill, N. (2018). Between two worlds: Andean Haciendas in colonial history. Southern Affairs (May 28). Available at https://southernaffairs.org/2018/05/28/ between-two-worlds-andean-haciendas-in-colonial-history/ Grafe, R., and Irigion, A. (2006). The Spanish empire and its legacy: Fiscal re-­ distribution and olitical conf lict in colonial and post-colonial Latin America. London: London School of Economics, Working Paper of the Global Economic History Network, No. 23/06. Grosfoguel, R. (2000). Developmentalism, modernity and dependency theory in Latin America. Nepantla: Views from the South, 1(2): 347–374. Duke University Press. Haber, S. (2006). The political economy of industrialization. The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America, 2 (2006): 537–584. Hanke, L. (1949/2015). The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America. University Park (TX): Southern Methodist University Press; Harris, C. (1968). A Mexican Latifundio: The economic empire of the Sanchez Navarro family, 1765–1821. A PhD dissertation of the University of Texas, cited in Moreno. Herlihy, D. (Ed.). (1970). The History of Feudalism. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hilton, R. (1976). The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London: Verso Books. Hunt, S. (1972). The economics of Haciendas and plantations in Latin America. Discussion Paper No. 29. Woodrow Wilson School. Princeton University, New Jersey. Hurley, D. (2011). Spanish colonial economies: An overview of the economy of the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1542–1600. Ezra’s Archives. Cornell University.

226 Feudalisms Janvry, A., and Sadoulet, E. (2002). Land reforms in Latin America: Ten lessons toward a contemporary agenda. Presentation at the World Bank’s Latin American Land Policy Workshop, Pachuca, Mexico, June 14. Kay, C. (1977). The Latin American Hacienda System: Feudal or capitalist? Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/314390979. Kay, C. (1994). Rural development and the agrarian issues in contemporary Latin America. Institute of Social Studies Working Paper No. 173. The Hague. Kay, C. (1998). Latin Americas agrarian reform: Lights and shadows. Land Reform, Settlement and Cooperatives, 2: 8–31. Keen, B. (1985). Main currents in the United States Writings on Colonial Spanish America, 1884–1984. Hispanic American Historical Review, 65(4): 657–682. Keith, R. (1971). Encomienda, hacienda and Corregimiento in Spanish America: A structural analysis. Hispanic American Historical Review, 51(3): 431–446. Keith, R. (1976). Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast. Harvard Historical Studies 93. Harvard University Press. Klaren, P. (2000). Peru: Society and Nationhood in the Andes. New York: Oxford University Press. Klein, H. (1993). Haciendas and Ayllus: Rural Society in the Bolivian Andes in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Laclau, E. (1971). Feudalism and capitalism in Latin America. New Left Review, 67 (May–June): 19–38. Laclau, E. (1977). Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory. London: Oxford University Press. Lang, J. (1975). Conquest and Commerce: Spain and England in the Americas. New York: Academic Press. Leon, R. (1982). The Hacienda system and the development of Chilean agriculture: 1850–1930. PhD thesis. University of Glasgow. Lockhart, J. (1969). Encomienda and Hacienda: The evolution of the Great Estate in the Spanish Indies. Hispanic American Historical Review, 49(3): 411–429. Lucas, R. (2009). Trade and the diffusion of the industrial revolution. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 1 ( January): 1–25. Maddison, A. (2001). The World Economy: A Millennium Perspective. Paris: OECD Publishing. Maddison, A. (2004). The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Paris: OECD Publishing. Mahoney, J. (2001). The Legacies of Liberalism: Path Dependence and Political Regimes in Central America, Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University Press. Mallon, F. (1995). Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru. Berkeley: University of California Press. Mann, C. (2005). New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf Publishing Group. Marx, K. (1967/1867). Capital, Vol.1: The Process of Capitalist Production. New York: International Publishers. McGreevy, W. (1971). An Economic History of Colombia, 1845–1930. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Morgan, L. (1877/2004). The Ancient Society. Available at: https://www.marxists.org/ reference/archive/morgan-lewis/ancient-society/index.htm. Morner, M. (1969). The Spanish American Hacienda: A survey of recent research and debate. Hispanic American Historical Review, 53(2): 183–216.

The Latin American feudalism  227 Morner, M. (1983). Economic factors and stratification in colonial Spanish America with special regard to elites. Hispanic American Historical Review, 63(2): 335–369. Moses, B. (1965/1898). The Establishment of Spanish Rule in America. Berkeley: California University Press. North, D. (1989). Constitutions and commitment: The evolution of institutions governing public choice in seventeenth-century England. Journal of Economic History, (59): 803–832. O’Rourke, H., and Williamson, J. (1999). Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press. Ortiz, C. (2009). Agrarian capitalism and rural labor: The Hacienda system in Central Chile, 1870–1920. Latin American Studies, 41: 493–526. Palacios, J. (1979). Chile: An Attempt at Historic Compromise. Chicago (IL): Banner Press. Palma, G. (2000). An Economic History of Twentieth-century Latin America: Latin America in the 1930s: The Role of the Periphery in World Crisis. Vol. 3. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Paolera, G., Amorocho, X., and Musacchio, A. (2018). The industrialization of South America revisited: Evidence from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, 1890– 2010. NBER Working Paper Series 24345. Petras, J., and Veltmeyer, H. (2002). The peasantry and the state in Latin America: A troubled past, an uncertain future. Journal of Peasant Studies, 29(3–4): 41–82. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London and New Jersey: Zed Books. Powelson, J. (1988). The Story of Land: A World History of Land Tenure and Agrarian Reform. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Amazon.com. Prebisch, R. (1950). The Economic Development of Latin America and Its Principal Problems. New York: United Nations. Prescott, W. (1843/2001). History of the Conquest of Mexico. New York: Penguin Classics. Resendez, A. (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. New York: Mariner Books (Houghton Miff lin Harcourt). Rocchi, F. (2005). Chimneys in the Desert: Industrialization in Argentina during the Export Boom Years, 1870–1930. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. Rodriguez, R. (2005). The foundational process of cities in Spanish America. International Journal of Regional and Urban Studies, 2(April): 47–59. Romano, R. (1984). American feudalism. Hispanic American Historical Review, 64(1): 121–134. Rostow, W. (1960). The Stages of Economic Development: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge (MA): Cambridge University Press. Russel-Wood, A. (1982). Blackman in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Scott, J. (1985). Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven (CT): Yale University. Simpson, L. (1929/1950). The Encomienda in New Spain: Forced Native Labor in the Spanish Colonies, 1492–1550. Berkeley: University of California Press. Simpson, L. (1940). The Repartimiento System of Native Labor in New Spain and Guatemala. Berkeley: University of California Press. Sluiter, E. (1998). The Gold and Silver of Spanish America: c. 1572–1648. Berkeley: University of California Press.

228 Feudalisms Sokoloff, K., and Engerman, S. (2001). Institutions, factor endowments and paths of development in the new world. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3): 217–232. Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press. Steenland, K. (1975). Notes on feudalism and capitalism in Chile and Latin America. Latin American Perspective, 2(1): 49–58. Stein, S., and Stein, B. (1970). The Colonial Heritage of Latin America—Essays on Economic Dependence in Perspective. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Stern, S. (1988). Feudalism, capitalism, and the world-system in the perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean. American Historical Review, 93(4): 829–872. Sweezy, P. (1950). A critique. In R. Hilton (ed.), The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (pp. 35–56). London: New Left Books. Tannenbaum, F. (1947). Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. New York: Vintage Books. Taylor, W. (1972). Landlord and Peasant in Colonial Oaxaca. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press. United Nations. (2006). UN Rapport on Ecuador by the Special Relater on the situation of human rights and fundamental liberties rights of indigenous population. New York: United Nations. Veltmeyer, H., and Petras, J. (2014). The New Extractivism: Model or Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century. London: Zed Books. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press. Wallerstein, I. (1980). The Modern World-System II: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600–1750. New York: Oxford University Press. Williamson, J. (2010). When, where, and why? Early industrialization in the poor periphery, 1870–1940. NBER Working Paper 16344. Williamson, J. (2015). Latin American inequality: Colonial origins, commodity booms, or a missed 20th century leveling? NBER Working Paper Series, 20915. Wolfe, M. (1966). Rural settlement patterns and social change in Latin America. Latin American Research Review, 1(2): 10–15. Zavala, S. (1945/1962). The Colonial Period in the History of the New World. Available at: https://www.amazon.com/Colonial-History-Savelle-English-translator/dp/ B00BMIW95S.

Part IV

The world of indentured servitudes Conceptual contexts By the early nineteenth century, all major European colonial powers had abolished slave trade in their respective empires, and a few decades later slavery itself was abolished.1 The cutting of the ‘umbilical cord’ of slave-labor however occurred at a time when the momentum of European colonialization, agricultural plantations, and capitalist accumulation across the world was at its zenith (Drescher 1987). By then however with the discovery of steamship and the opening of the Suez Canal the distance between the continents further shortened. But nowhere was the outreach of the European colonial powers more dominant and extensive than in the Indian Ocean World—the vast areas encompassing Africa to China, and all points in between (Campbell 2013). The urgency of discovering an alternative source of cheap and subservient labor soon shifted the attention of the European colonial powers to the vast reservoir of labor in the Asian continent, mainly in the densely populated countries, India and China. As large-scale slavery was no longer possible, the colonial powers revived the old and tested indentured servitude system which brought at least half of the Europeans to the New World during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. While the European indentured servitude was directed at populating colonies in the Americas, the revived indentured servitude system was however geared to deployment of coerced workers to colonial plantations across the world to produce highly profitable tropical commodities, such as sugar, coffee, and tea for global markets. All major colonial powers—the British, French, German, Danish, Spanish, and the Portuguese—joined the bandwagon of the revived indentured servitude system as the cost of the new indentured servants was less than half of African slaves; the shipment of labor was firmly under their control and the ships were larger and faster than those previously deployed to transoceanic slave transports; and the servants were recruited through contracts, which was deemed morally and politically superior compared with the African slavery that tarnished the image of colonial powers (Dowlah 2020, 119–140). Under the revived indentured servitude system, millions of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Javanese, Melanesians, and others were DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-4

230  The world of indentured servitudes

mobilized throughout the nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries to work on distant plantations, mines, construction sites, and other colonial enterprises across Austronesia, East and South Africa, the South Pacific, the southwestern Indian Ocean, and the Americas (Northrup 1995; Potts 1990). Indentured Indian servants began to arrive in French Mauritius in 1834, in British Guiana in 1838, and in Trinidad and Jamaica by 1840 and 1918, respectively, and approximately half-a-million indentured servants were shipped to the British West Indies (Galenson 1981). Shipments of indentured Chinese servants to the Spanish colonies of Cuba and Peru began in 1847, and tens of thousands of Chinese indentured servants labored in the South African mines during 1902–1910, while many Chinese migrated to Hawaii, to Californian gold mines, to Australian gold mines, and to the plantations of American south (Richardson 1984). While almost all Indian indentured servants were transported to their work-destinations under official supervision and with return passage, almost all Chinese indentured servants were transported without any return passage and numerous of them were shipped abroad as bonded labor by Chinese trade syndicates. Deceptive practices of recruitment were common in respect to both the Indian and Chinese indentured servants, and they were always shipped in inhuman conditions (Stewart 1951, 25–76). The treatment of indentured servants—no matter Indian, Chinese, or otherwise—was hardly different from that of slaves—they were denied of basic human rights and subjected to long work hours and harsh treatment, physical beatings, and unhygienic living conditions (Hu-Dehart 1994). This part of the study focuses on all major episodes of indentured servitude in the world: Chapter 12 focuses on the indenture servitude of the Europeans as an exemplar of the pre-African slavery phase of the indentured servitude system; and Chapters 13 and 14 focus on the indentured servitude of the Indian and the Chinese peoples as exemplars of the indentured servitude systems in the post-African slavery world.

Note 1 The British abolished slavery in 1807 and the slave trade in their empire in 1834; the French abolished slavery in 1818 and the slave trade in their empire in 1848; the Spanish Empire in America abolished slavery as early as 1558; the Russian Empire abolished serfdom in 1863; and the United States abolished slave trade in 1808 and slavery in 1865. The Dutch East Indies abolished slavery in 1860 but tolerated slavery in the Indonesian territory until 1910, and the French Empire abolished slavery in Indochina in 1897.

References Beaumont, J. (1871). The New System of Slavery: An Account of the Indian and Chinese Immigrants in British Guiana. London: W. Ridgway.

The world of indentured servitudes  231 Campbell, G. (2013). Servitude and the changing face of the demand for labor in the Indian Ocean world, 1800–1900. In R. Harms et al., (eds.), Indian Ocean Society in the Age of Abolition. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Dowlah, C. (2020). Indentured servitude: The saga of the Indians and the Chinese. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 119–140). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Drescher, S. (1987). Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Economist. (2017). 100 years since servitude; Indentured labor. The Economist Intelligence Unit, 24(9056). https://www.economist.com/international/2017/09/02/ the-legacy-of-indian-migration-to-european-colonies Eltis, D. (1987). Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Trade. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Galenson, D. (1981). White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Hu-Dehart, E. (1994). Chinese Coolie Labor in Cuba in the Nineteenth Century: Free Labor of Neoslavery. Contributions in Black Studies, Vol. 12, Article 5. Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cibs/vol12/iss1/5. Laurence, K. (1979). A Question of Labor: Indentured Immigration into Trinidad and British Guiana, 1875–1917. New York: St Martin’s Press. Northrup, D. (1955). Indentured Labor in the Age of Imperialism. New York: Cambridge University Press. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London and New Jersey: Zed Books. Richardson, P. (1984). Chinese indentured labor in the Transvaal Gold Mining Industry, 1904–1910. In K. Saunders, (ed.), Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920 (pp. 260–290). London: Croom Helm. Stewart, W. (1951). Chinese Bondage in Peru. A History of the Chinese Coolie in Peru, 1849–1874. Durham (NC): Duke University Press. Tinker, H. (1974). A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labor Overseas 1830– 1920. London: Oxford University Press. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave. Yun, L. (2008). The Coolie Speaks: Chinese Indentured Laborers and African Slaves in Cuba. Philadelphia (PA): Temple University Press.

12 The European indentured servitude

This chapter covers the indentured servitude of the Europeans in the New World. In addition to providing crucial labor power, the European indentured servitude also played a key role in populating the British colonies in the New World. Between one-half and two-thirds of all European settlers came to the American shores in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as indentured servants. It was a normal course of business—a booming competitive market for migrant labor f lourished on both sides of the Atlantic withstanding frequent interruptions such as wars and depressions, competition in the British colonies from slave labor and native-born free labor, and the American Revolution that gave birth to a new nation called the United States of America. European indentured servitude in the New World had been an exalted intercontinental expansion of the apprentice/husbandry system that had prevailed in pre-industrial England. Under the apprentice system of pre-­ industrial England, poor children used to move from village to village to live with well-to-do farmers and work in their farms for a short period of time, generally a year or less, in exchange of food and lodging. Under the indentured servitude system that British settlers adopted in the New World, the servants were however mostly adults and they were required to undertake a long and arduous oceanic voyage to work in plantations and other services on a contractual basis in a different continent (Galenson 1984). Mainland British American colonies used the indentured servitude system quite extensively. It was a predominant source of labor force in the Chesapeake colonies (Virginia and Maryland) between 1630 and the early 1700s, and in the Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey) between 1710 and the 1770s. In the other regions of British America, such as New England and the Appalachian back country (the middle Atlantic coastal region) the indentured servitude system was however less dominant. The long reign of the indentured servitude came to an end with the American Revolution, except in Pennsylvania and Maryland where it survived a few decades more. Most of the indentured servants settled in the colonies below the Mason-Dixon Line, and the terms of their contracts largely depended on their national origin, but once their contracts were signed and DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-12

The European indentured servitude  233

occupations were settled, they all were treated somewhat equally before the law (Miller 1940). The chapter is organized as follows: the next section explains the evolution and development of European indentured servitude in the New World; Section three focuses on its decline and consequences; and Section four concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Millions of Europeans—the Irish, the Scottish, the English, the Germans, and others—immigrated to the mainland British colonies, and more than half-a-million were shipped to plantations in the tropical Caribbean islands under a vastly institutionalized system of indentured servitude by the eighteenth century.1 Indentured servants were bound by legal contracts, and depending on their age, skills, and occupations, they generally served their masters three to seven years. The contracts placed them completely at the disposal of their masters for the period agreed to and masters could restrict their activities and mobility, including marriage. Masters also had the right to seek legal recourse if indentured servants ran away, and to sell indentured servants to another master at any time during the contract period. Indentured servants usually received subsistence and were promised freedom dues at the end of the contract, which generally varied from wages for their past work, and granting them a small parcel of land.2 The market for indentured labor was competitive in nature on both sides of the Atlantic. The price for indentured servants was based on the cost of the passage across the Atlantic and the discounted value of their net future earnings—the expected value of their output during the contract period as well as the expected cost of maintenance and training for the servants and the freedom dues to be paid to the servant at the end. As passage charges were more or less uniform for all indentured servants, and maintenance costs and freedom dues also varied little across individuals, the indentured contracts were largely uniform (Galenson 1984). Depending on the servants’ national origin and the contracts with the ship captain who brought them to the American shores, indentured servants were called either indentured servants, redemptioners, free-willers, convict laborers, or apprentices. Generally, the English and Irish servants were called indentured servants, and the German servants were called redemptioners. Such categories played an important role in the determination of their prices as well as their placement as farm laborers, domestic workers, or artisans. Ordinarily, English and Irish indentured servants were employed as domestic servants and skilled artisans, while German redemptioners worked on the farms. Once their contracts were signed and occupations were s­ettled— no matter they were transported as felons, infants, indentured servants, or alien apprentices—they all were largely equal before the law (Miller 1940).

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The redemptioner variant of indentured servants that evolved in the 1720s among the German-speaking immigrants in Pennsylvania was qualitatively different from the mainstream indentured servants. Their migration was based on sophisticated contracts between merchants in Philadelphia (American port of disembarkation) and Rotterdam (German port of embarkation) under which potential indentured servants signed contracts in Rotterdam to raise their passage money from Pennsylvania-based relatives and friends within a stipulated time, and after their arrival in Philadelphia, they were auctioned off as indentured servants (Fogleman 1998). Also, while under the indentured servitude system the prices of indentured servants were negotiated after the length of servitude was fixed, under the redemptioner system prices were fixed before the length and terms of service were negotiated (Grubb 1990). Moreover, under the indentured servitude system the contracts ranged between five and seven years but average contract for almost all redemptioners were much shorter—ranging between 2.5 and 3.9 years (see Table 12.1).3 It is widely believed that from the founding of Jamestown until the American Revolution, nearly three-fourths of all European immigrants to the British American colonies arrived in some condition of servitude. Estimates of their number however vary widely: Smith (1947) puts the number between a half and two-third of all white immigrants who came to the mainland British American colonies after the 1630s; Gemery (1980) claims majority of the British immigrants who arrived in the American colonies in the seventeenth century were indentured servants, and in Chesapeake colonies, they comprised between 70 and 85 percent of all English immigrants; Goodrich (1932) puts the figure at half of the total white migration to the mainland colonies; Galenson (1981) maintains that between 50 and 70 percent of approximately 600,000 Europeans migrated to mainland America during 1650–1780 were Table 12.1  G  erman immigration to Pennsylvania, 1772–1835 (selected years) Year

Total Immigration

Number of Indentured Servants

Share of Indentured Average Average Servants among Contract Contract Immigrants (In Percent) Length (Years) Price ($)

1772 1787 1790 1795 1800 1804 1817 1820

  863   363    61   744   466 1888  4481    118 8,984

  479   238    25   346    115   645 1,890    18 3,756

55.5 65.6 41 46.5 24.7 34.2 42.2 15.3 42%

3.94 3.52 3.04 2.57 2.89 3.23 3.14 2.5

58.62 78.14 78.43 62.33 85.03 82.41 77.53 91.62

Source: Author’s compilation based on Appendix Table 1 of Grubb (1994b, 818–819). Notes: Average contract lengths and average contract prices for single adults only. Married indentured servants usually had longer contract lengths and higher prices.

The European indentured servitude  235

indentured servants; and Morgan (1993) suggests that out of the total European migration of 750,000 during 1580–1775, two-thirds were indentured servants. There are other estimates as well: Davis (2006, 80) claims that by 1820, nearly 2.6 million Europeans were brought to the New World—even if only half of them were indentured servants, then the number would be more than a million; Fisher (2014) claims that at least half-a-million Europeans, mostly young men, were sent to the Caribbean islands alone as indentured servants to work on plantations; and Watson (1982), based on a survey of 20,657 indentured contracts signed during 1654–1775, suggests that the number of European indentured servants migrating to the New World should be around 413,140 during this period alone.4 Fogleman (1998) provides a detailed breakup of legal status of all European immigrants to the New World during 1607 to 1819—covering the periods both before and after the American Revolution. According to his estimates, a grand total of 885,400 European immigrants landed in the mainland British American colonies during the period, of which 279,300, or more than 30 percent, arrived as indentured servants (see Table 12.2). The share of indentured servants in total European immigration however f luctuated—between 1607 and 1699, the share was almost 60 percent, but during 1700–1775, the share fell to about 50 percent. After the American Revolution, the share of indentured servants fell to seven percent during 1776–1809, and then less than four percent between 1810 and 1819, indicating that the inf low declined precipitously after the revolution. Studies also suggest that many indentured servants landed in the British American colonies involuntarily—many were kidnapped while many others Table 12.2  Legal status and condition of servitude of immigrants to America, 1607–1819 Unfree Labor Slaves

Total Total Indentured Free Convicts and Indentured Europeans Labor Prisoners Servants

A. Before the American Revolution 1607–1699   33,240   2,300 1700–1775 278,400 52,200

Total Total Immigration European Immigration

  96,600 103,600

  98,900 155,800

  66,300 198,400 151,600 585,800

165,200 307,400

B. During and after the American Revolution   18,300 1776–1809 114,600   1,000 1810–1819   7,000 –   5,300

  19,300   5,300

253,900 387,800 134,300 146,600

273,200 139,600

279,300      21

606,700 1,318,600      46      100

885,400      67

C. Total Immigration 1607–1819 433,200 55,500      33 Share in total (%)

223,800

Source: Author’s compilation based on Fogleman (1992), Tables 1, A-1, A-3, A-5, and A-7.

236  The world of indentured servitudes

Numbers of Indentured Servants

1,80,000 1,60,000

1,03,600

1,40,000 1,20,000 1,00,000

96,600

80,000 60,000

52,200

40,000 20,000 -

18,300 2,300 1607-1699

1700-1775

Convicts and Prisoners

1,000 1776-1809

5,300 1810-1819

Indentured Servants

Figure 12.1  Share of convicts and prisoners among European indentured servants landed in the British American colonies, 1607–1819

were political exiles and convicted criminals. Available estimates indicate that during 1607–1819, one-fifth of all indentured servants that arrived in the British American colonies, numbering 55,500, were convicts and prisoners, and more than 94 percent of them arrived before the American Revolution, during 1700–1775 (see Figure 12.1). Several factors contributed to such a large share of convicts and prisoners among the European indentured servants, such as: (a) wars and rebellions in the eighteenth-century England resulted in large numbers of prisoners; (b) increasingly harsh penal codes resulted in overcrowding of jails and correction houses in England; (c) growing public resentment against summary executions of convicts grew stronger; (d) sending criminals to the plantations instead of execution—substitution of slavery for death—gained increasing popularity; and finally, (e) demand for labor in the plantations pushed the price of indentured servants up, which even led to infamous press-gang abuses—law officers illicitly arresting children and young persons on the slight pretext to sell them into servitude overseas (Mohler 1925, 546).5 Consequently, British convicts was the largest source of indentured servants from England to the British American colonies in the eighteenth century. Ekirch (1987, 26–27) puts the number of British convicts sent to North America during 1718–1775 at 50,000—well over one-half of all English and over one-tenth of all Irish immigrants that arrived during the period. Such convicts included Scots banished by Oliver Cromwell for their role during the English Civil War; the Scottish Covenanters who resisted the English rule; the Irish prisoners taken during 1651–1654; the English Quakers of the 1660s; and ordinary criminals (Fogleman 1998).

The European indentured servitude  237

Most of these convicts ended up in the Chesapeake colonies—in Maryland and Virginia. Being cramped in below deck, many of them also died during their long voyage to America as the death rate during the shipment was at times as high as 14 percent. Upon their forced arrival, British authorities marched them through the streets in chains and even auctioned them in chains much like livestock. After their purchase, vast majority of them were employed as field workers on plantations—the material conditions under which they lived and labored hardly differed from chattel slaves (Coldham 2007). After the American Revolution however the inf low of convicts and prisoners had declined substantially—their number dwindled to less than 1,000 during the 1776–1809 period, and no such immigrant landed in the US subsequently (see Table 12.1). The British government often tried to transport convicts and prisoners in disguise of indentured servants, but such practices stopped after the US government banned such exports in 1788—immediately after the Revolution. With exports of convicts to the US stopped, the Australian continent emerged as the favored penal destination for British convicts and prisoners (de Vito and Lichtenstein 2016). Most of the European indentured servants in mainland British colonies and the US were males—women made up less than one-fifth of them. Some of the indentured servants came in their early and mid-teen ages, but most of them were between 15 and 25, and most of them completed their servitude by the age of 25, although some remained in service well into their 30s. Flogging of indentured servants was common throughout the eighteenth century as they worked long hours with little food or clothing. They were often whipped for getting drunk, running away, or getting pregnant, and their contracts were extended for such offences. Their condition in the colony of Virginia improved only after Governor Howard granted them tracts of 50 acres of land by a special order in 1690 (Smith 1947, 22–27). Many of them—believed to be one-third of the Irish, Scots, French, and German indentured servants—did not survive the term of their indenture because of hard manual work in agricultural fields (Fisher 2014, 67). Almost 50 percent of the indentured servants in America faced mortality in the early decades of seventeenth century, and thus failed to survive their entire term to collect their freedom dues (Davis 2006, 132).

B  Decline and consequences The end of the indentured servitude system, which brought nearly threefourths of all Europeans to mainland British American colonies, had been a watershed event in the history of America’s socio-economic and politico-­ demographic developments. Obviously, most of them came in the early modern period of world history when free labor, nor coerced labor, was the ‘odd institution,’ but slavery, indentured servitude, and other forms of

238  The world of indentured servitudes

coerced labor were considered ‘normal,’ and few were concerned that their arrival in the New World meant a temporary or permanent loss of freedom (Eltis 1993). There is however no firm date when such a phenomenal episode of American history came to an end—no specific law abolished the system or banned indentured servitude. Records suggest that in 1788, the US Continental Congress passed a resolution recommending all states to pass legislations to prevent transportation of convicted malefactors from foreign countries to the country. Following the recommendation, six states—South Carolina, Connecticut, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New York—passed legislations the same year outlawing such transportation, and other states followed the suit soon after. Still indentured labors entered the US as late as in the 1830s. Finally, in the wake of the Civil War in the 1860s, the US Congress legislated that indentured contracts were as unacceptable as slavery ( Jung 2005; Miller 1940, 137). The natural death of the European indentured servitude in the British American colonies has prompted several hypotheses, such as: recalcitrant servants could not be put in debtors’ prison; interference from immigrant aid societies and state regulations became too burdensome; free wage-labor deemed to be superior; alternate source of abundant cheap labor emerged with the imports of African slaves; indentured servants could escape easily; superior methods of financing migration emerged; and just chance historical events brought this system to its extinction (Grubb 1994a). Among the exponents of the market theory some argue that European indentured servitude met a natural death due to supply constraints, while other say it was rather demand-driven. The proponents of the supply constraint theory argue that as passage fares fell and emigrant wealth rose, European immigrants were increasingly able to purchase passage for themselves or could borrow from family and friends upon landing in America, and thus, they increasingly preferred to finance their migration with their own cash rather than through servitude. They argue that by the late eighteenth century, the conditions of workers also began to improve in England, and thus, few of them wanted to immigrate to America (Grubb 1994b). Moreover, during the same period, the processes of small farms giving way to large plantations had expedited in the US, when to many planters importing African slaves emerged as a better option than importing more expensive indentured labor from Europe. As a result, imports of African slaves increased while that of indentured servants decreased (Galenson 1981, 126–140). Those who espouse the demand-driven theory, on the other hand, argue that a fall in American demand for immigrant servants drove down the price of indentured servants until Europeans were no longer willing to finance such emigration through servitude. They argue that by the late eighteenth century, many in the immigrant trade on both sides of

The European indentured servitude  239

the Atlantic came to realize that a large immigration of slaves, convicts, and servants was incompatible with the egalitarian ideas of the American Revolution and the cultural changes that occurred in the US (Fogleman 1998). Available records suggest that by the late eighteenth century the real price of indentured labor increased due to dwindling supply, and also, American planters had signed fewer indentured contracts. The average contract price of German indentured servants, for example, increased from $58.6 in 1772 to $91.6 in 1820, when the length of contract period also declined from four to 2.5 years (see Table 12.1). The same trend was also seen in respect to all other indentured servants. As Table 12.3 indicates, in 1772, the average contact price for single male indentured servants was $58.6, and then gradually increased to $91.6 in 1820, and during the same period, the average price for married indentured servants increased from $50.3 to $77.6. The average contract period for single adult males declined from 3.9 years in 1772 to 2.5 years in 1820, and during the same period, the contract length for single indentured servants dropped to 2.5 from 4.3 years. That price increased, while the contact period declined, at a time when planters needed a longer period to recoup their investment, indicates that supply constraint was more acute than demand pressure. This argument also sits well with those who argue that the American Revolution made Americans less willing to accept servitude and continue to play accustomed roles of the society. Records suggest that such a change in attitude prompted many apprentices to walk out on their obligations. Benjamin Franklin, a charismatic founding father of America, for example, walked out of his indenture. Many believe his widely read autobiography helped in the decline of the institution of European servitude in mainland America.6 After all, only two former colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland, continued indentured servitude after the American Revolution (Miller 1940). Table 12.3  Price of indentured servants in the United States, 1817–1820 Single Adult Male Servants

Married Servants

Year

Average Average Contact Length Contract Price

Average Length Average Contract of Contracts Price ($)

1772 1787 1800 1804 1817 1820

3.94 3.52 2.89 3.23 3.14 2.50

4.30 3.69 3.22 3.25 3.20 2.50

$ 58.60 $ 78.14 $ 85.03 $ 82.41 $ 77.53 $ 91.62

50.33 66.45 76.92 77.94 60.60 77.62

Source: Author’s compilation based on Appendix Table 1 of Grubb (1994b, 818–819).

240  The world of indentured servitudes

The abolition of European indentured servitude has had far-reaching consequences for American society and polity. America has a long history with coerced labor. Since the early years of colonial settlement up to the American Revolution, all mainland colonies of British America had deployed various forms of coerced labor under what Wood (1992) calls a ‘hierarchy of ranks and degrees of dependency.’ Southern planters, early national urban merchants, New South industrialists, and Sun-Belt employers—all had employed coerced labor and assigned them various social and legal statuses such as indentured servants, apprentices, hirelings, slaves, convict laborers, wageworkers, dependent children, unwaged women workers, almshouse inmates, and bound and undocumented immigrants ( Jones 2009). Among all these varieties, those workers branded as indentured servants apparently pared better, or at least they experienced less harsh treatment than slaves. Moreover, the US constitution, which granted a three-fifth status to slaves, specifically guaranteed full citizenship to all indentured servants.7 In addition to providing critical labor power to colonial American economy, European indentured servants also played critical roles in populating America and in shaping America’s demographic, socio-cultural, and politico-­ economic developments. Such a massively important chapter in American history obviously had many far-reaching effects, but some of the most profound ones must lie with the assimilation of immigrants in the American melting pot as well as with the framing of the country’s immigration policies in the decades after the abolition of the indentured servitude. Most of the seventeenth-century settlers in the mainland British American colonies were English, but by the end of the century, they numbered around 150,000.8 Among those who settled in the Chesapeake colonies, 75– 85 percent were indentured servants, while those settled in the New England colonies were predominantly free passengers (Gemery 1980). As Table 12.4 shows, the share of indentured servants in the labor force of the Chesapeake colonies was as high as 30 percent in 1640, which gradually came down to about ten percent in 1700. Table 12.4  T  he share of indentured servants in the Chesapeake labor force, 1640–1700 Decade Ending European Indentured Servant Indentured Servant’s Share Population (In Thousands) in Labor Force (In Percent) 1640 1650 1660 1670 1680 1690 1700

1.79 2.09 4.35 5.02 5.51 3.57 3.77

29.58 23.62 27.23 22.59 17.06 10.16   9.68

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 3 of Tomlins (2001).

The European indentured servitude  241

Most of the indentured servants who came to the US in the eighteenth century were however non-English—they were Germans, Scots, Irish, Italians, and other Europeans. During the Frontier Expansion (prior to 1880), about 90 percent of the immigrants came to the US were from three European countries—the United Kingdom (20 percent), Ireland (29 percent), and Germany (32 percent)—and only one-fourth of these immigrants were free passengers.9 Obviously, socio-economic background of the indentured servants and that of the free passengers were very different, and they also differed in respect to religious beliefs and languages. Considerable tensions also prevailed among them as the early European settlers, predominantly English-speaking protestant Christians, despised non-English speakers and people of other faiths.10 Such sentiments found their way into the young nation’s politics as well. In the 1850s, such anti-immigrant sentiments led to the launching of the Know-Nothing Movement, which succeeded in electing six governors and 75 members of Congress on a platform to end immigration to the United States (Archdeacon 1983, 81–82). Then, of the 22–25 million Europeans migrated to America during the period of Great Migration (1880–1930),11 more than 80 percent came from Southeastern Europe—four million from Italy; three million from the Russian Empire; four million from the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and others from Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Scandinavia. Such a huge inf lux of Southeastern Europeans brought down the share of Northwestern Europeans—the Anglo-Saxons—in the American population to 14 percent while raising the share of the Southeastern Europeans to more than 50 percent. Much of the expansion in immigration from the Southern European countries was prompted by the rising demand for European indentured servants, as the supply of indentured servants from the Northwestern Europe receded. Still, Anglo-Saxons found such a huge inf lux of Southeastern Europeans as a formidable threat to their ‘racial superiority,’ as new immigrants had allegedly undermined American political and cultural values and lowered the intelligence level of the American population.12 New immigrants were also blamed for myriad of social problems, such as crimes, radical politics, labor unions, and disease. Such concerns gave rise to the emergence of several anti-immigrant organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), and the Immigration Restriction League. In the aftermath of the World War I, the so-called ‘Red Scare’—attacks directed at socialists and communists—led to mass arrests and deportations of numerous immigrants—­many of them were from Southeastern Europe. Then in 1917, bowing to anti-immigrant pressures mounted by the original setters, US Congress adopted the English Literacy Test for new immigrants. Although the test was made mandatory for all new immigrants, many interpreted it as a measure to prevent undesirable immigration from Southeastern Europe.13 Continuing the same trend, US Congress in 1921 introduced a national-­quota system under which new immigration was restricted up to three percent for

242  The world of indentured servitudes

each nationality already in the US. As the calculation of the quota was based on the US Census of 2010, it all but ensured that half of the new immigration reserved for Northwestern European countries (Muller 1989). To further restrict immigration from Southeastern Europe, the Johnson-­ Reed Act 1924 lowered the national origin quotas to two percent of each nationality in the US, and even designated an earlier census—the Census of 1890—as the benchmark for future immigration. The new quota system envisaged by the Act practically earmarked more than 80 percent of new immigrants for Northwestern Europe while drastically curtailing immigration from Southeastern Europe. Then the Immigration Act 1929, further restricted immigration from Southeastern Europe by revising the ‘national origins’ quotas once again, which all but reserved more than 60 percent of available visas to immigrants from only two countries—the UK and Germany. Although indentured servitude may not be wholly responsible for such a sustained effort to restrain immigrants from Southeastern Europe, the emphasis placed on sustaining Anglo-Saxon purity, and the blames ascribed to illiteracy, cultural backwardness and crimes, and so on, may well relate to relatively inferior socio-economic background associated with the indentured servants compared with those who arrived as free passengers.

C  Concluding remarks It was the Europeans who served the first phase of transcontinental indentured servitude almost exclusively during the early seventeenth through the early nineteenth centuries. Massively institutionalized by the eighteenth century, the system brought several million Europeans to the mainland British colonies as well as the Caribbean islands. The demand for indentured servants stemmed mainly from booming plantations in the barely populated New World, and supply mainly stemmed from the desire of millions of Europeans to populate the newfound land as well as the British Empire’s imperative to dump its undesirable citizens—convicts, criminals, and rebels. The system worked like a credit system under which human labor was leased—what was bought and sold was the labor-power of workers, not the person of the workers. A competitive market prevailed on both sides of the Atlantic for mobilizing essentially millions of unfree labor by creditors and merchants under the supervision of colonial officials. European indentured servants faced various forms of coercion—they could be sold out during their contract period, whipped for running away, and their contracts could be extended for such offences. Many indentured servants failed to survive their term to collect freedom dues due to harsh working and living conditions. The magnitude of commodification and dehumanizing of human beings for the purpose of production and creating wealth under this phase of indentured servitude was however less severe than the African slavery that followed.

The European indentured servitude  243

Notes 1 Before the 1630s, many nonwhites, blacks and Native Americans, were also employed as indentured servants in British colonies, but since then, only the Caucasians could lawfully receive such contracts (Fessenden 2016). 2 Freedom dues of the indentured servants, however, increased significantly with the rise in their demand. For example, in 1606, the Virginia Company, which first introduced the system in America, offered potential settlers a share of its stocks and profits at the end of a five-year contract. In 1609, they added a small piece of land for private gardens to their contracts, and in 1613, they offered a much larger plot of land so that servants could farm on their own account. Then in 1618, indentured servants were offered a seven-year contract with 50 acres of land, and in 1619, new settlers were promised ‘headright’—50 acres of land for each individual freshly brought to the colony. For greater details, see Dowlah (2020, 120–124) and Galenson (1981, 17–20). 3 Of all German immigrants that landed in Pennsylvania between 1772 and 1820, approximately 42 percent came as indentured servants (see Table 11.1). 4 Some other estimates that deserve attention include Stanziani (2016), who puts the number of European indentured servants brought to the mainland British colonies and the Caribbean islands by the 1820s at 300,000; and Linebaugh and Rediker (2000), who put the number at around 200,000. 5 Mohler (1925, 546) notes that many high in English political life were also involved in such lucrative business. The British government eventually outlawed such practices, but the trend still continued as penalties provided were not prohibitive. Forced acquisition of indentured servants actually continued until imports of African slaves into the British colonies caused a decline in the price of white servants, and the American Revolution finally forced termination of this business. 6 At the age of 12, Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was indentured to his older brother for a nine-year term, when he was supposed to receive wages only in his last year. In his autobiography, Franklin described that his brother’s harsh treatment remained stuck with him throughout his life. Thomas Jefferson’s second draft of the Virginia constitution in 1776 also opposed all forms of servitude, including indentured servitude. George Washington, however, tried to buy skilled immigrant servants in Philadelphia and Baltimore in 1784 (Fogleman 1992, 63). 7 In its famous ‘three-fifths’ clause, Article I, Section II of the Constitution of the United States declares: “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.” Those “bound to service for a term of years” refer to indentured servants. For greater details, see Phan (2004). 8 In the seventeenth century, mainland British American colonies also had several thousand Dutch, Irish, Scots, and French settlers as well. By 1680, however, around five percent of the colonial population on the mainland was of African origin—almost all, numbering around 10,000, were slaves. 9 Among other Europeans, 2.5 percent were from Eastern and Southern Europe, and 3.6 percent from Scandinavia. About six percent of them came from Canada, and 2.3 percent came from Asia. In 1790, one-fifth of American population was of African origin, of which more than 90 percent were slaves (Archdeacon 1983, 25; Dowlah 2020, 207).

244  The world of indentured servitudes 10 Benjamin Franklin, for example, criticized ‘Palatine Boors’ of Pennsylvania—­ immigrants from the Middle Rhine region of Germany—for trying to Germanize the population instead of Anglifying themselves ( Jones 1992, 39–40). 11 The exact number still remains uncertain. Borjas (2000) puts the number at 25.8 million, while Blau and Mackie (2017) put the number around 22 million. See Dowlah (2020, 205–214) for greater details. 12 The original settlers envisioned an evangelical nation with Anglo-American values at its core and believed that their faith brought order and morality to America’s diverse population. They accepted Germans and other northern European immigrants because majority of them were non-Catholics—they were skeptical of Catholics and Jews. When Irish Catholic immigrants began outnumbering Protestants in America, admitting non-Protestant immigrants into the United States turned into a highly controversial issue. For greater details, see Dolan (2008). 13 Studies found that among the first-generation Italian immigrants, born between 1875 and 1884, about 36 percent men and 43 percent women were unable to read and write. Similarly, among Polish immigrants, 29 percent of men and 40 percent of women were found to be illiterate (Katz et al. 2007).

References Archdeacon, T. (1983). Becoming American: An Ethnic History. New York: Free Press. Blau, F., and Mackie, C. (Eds.). (2017). The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration. Washington (DC): National Academies Press. Borjas, G. (Ed.). (2000). Issues in Economics of Immigration. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press. Coldham, P. (2007). Emigrants in Chains: A Social History of Forced Emigration to the Americas of Felons, Destitute Children, Political and Religious Non- Conformists, Vagabonds, Beggars, and Other Undesirables, 1607–1776. Baltimore (MD): Genealogical Publishing Company. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. De Vito, C., and Lichtenstein, A. (2016). Writing a global history of convict labor. In A. Eckert et al. (eds.), Global Work Histories. Work in Global and Historical Perspective (pp. 49–89). Berlin: Gruyter. Dolan, J. (2008). The Irish Americans: A History. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. Dowlah, C. (2020). Indentured servitude: The saga of the Indians and the Chinese. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 119–140). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Dunn, R. (1983). Servants and slaves: The recruitment and employment of labor. In J. Greene and J. Pole (eds.), Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (pp. 157–194). Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University Press. Ekirch, R. (1987). Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718–1775. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Eltis, D. (1993). Europeans and the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas: An interpretation. The American Historical Review, 98(5): 1399–1423. Fessenden, M. (2016). Colonial America depended on the enslavement of indigenous people: The role of enslaving Native Americans in early American history is often overlooked. www.Smithsonian.com.

The European indentured servitude  245 Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Fogleman, A. (1992). Migrations to the thirteen British North American Colonies, 1700–1775: New estimates. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 22(Spring): 691–770. Fogleman, A. (1998). From slaves, convicts, and servants to free passengers: The transformation of immigration in the era of the American Revolution. Journal of American History, 85(1): 43–76. Galenson, D. (1981). White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Galenson, D. (1984). The rise and fall of indentured servitude in the Americas: An economic analysis. Journal of Economic History, 44(March): 1–26. Gemery, H. (1980). Emigration from the British Isles to the new world, 1630– 1700: Inferences from colonial populations. Research in Economic History, 5(1980): 179–231. Goodrich, C. (1932). Indenture. In Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. New York: Macmillan. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/referencework/97800 80430768. Grubb, F. (1990). German immigration to Pennsylvania, 1709 to 1820. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 20(Winter): 417–436. Grubb, F. (1994a). The disappearance of organized markets for European immigrant servants in the United States: Five popular explanations reexamined. Social Science History, 18 (Spring): 1–30. Grubb, F. (1994b). The end of European immigrant servitude in the United States: An economic analysis of market collapse, 1772–1835. Journal of Economic History, 54(4): 794–824. Jones, J. (2009). Labor and the idea of race in the American South. Journal of Southern History, 75(3): 613–626. Jung, M. (2005). Outlawing coolies: Race, nation, and empire in the age of Emancipation. American Quarterly, 57(3): 677–701. Katz, M., Stern, M., and Fader, J. (2007). The Mexican immigration debate: The view from history. Social Science History, 31(2): 157–189. Linebaugh, P., and Rediker, M. (2000). The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. London: Beacon Press. Miller, W. (1940). The effects of the American Revolution on indentured servitude. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 7(3): 131–141. Mohler, H. (1925). Convict labor policies. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 15(4): 530–597. Morgan, P. (1993). Bound labor. In E. Jacob et al., (eds.), Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies (vol. II, p. 18). New York: Scribners Sons. Muller, T. (1989). Immigration policy and economic growth. Yale Law & Policy Review, 7(1): 101–136. Phan, H. (2004). ‘A Race So Different’: Chinese exclusion, the slaughterhouse cases, and Plessy v. Ferguson. Labor History, 45(2): 133–163. Smith, A. (1947). Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 1607–1776. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Stanziani, A. (2016). The legal status of labor from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century Russia in a comparative European perspective. In A. Ekert (ed.), Global Histories of Work (pp. 239–270). Berlin: Gruyter.

246  The world of indentured servitudes Tomlins, C. (2001). Reconsidering indentured servitude: European migration and the early American labor force, 1600 ± 1775. Labor History, 42(1): 4–45. Walton, G. (1982). Review of White servitude in colonial America: An economic analysis by David W. Galenson. Journal of American History, 69(3): 679–680. Wood, G. (1992). The Radicalism of the American Revolution. New York: Alfred Knopf.

13 The Indian indentured servitude

In the post-African slavery phase of the indentured servitude system, the Indian subcontinent, with its vast reservoir of untapped labor power, emerged as the largest reservoir of coerced labor in the world. In the mid-nineteenth century, when all European colonies banned traditional slavery around the world, the Indian subcontinent had an estimated population of 240 million—one-fifth of the global population.1 For the British, a nation with a domestic population of about one-tenth of India, it was like the Spanish discovery of the Amerindians three centuries earlier. Just as Spaniards were struck by the inexhaustible reservoir of indigenous labor in the New World, the British also must have been struck by the vast reservoir of Indian labor. But unlike the Spaniards who chose to enslave Amerindians, the British colonists found it infeasible to enslave Indians. Although the British Parliament exempted the British East India Company from its empire-wide ban on slavery, British colonists understood that Indians were not as backward as the Amerindians. At the time they took over India in the mid-­ eighteenth century, the Indian subcontinent not only had a heritage of one of the oldest civilizations on earth, it was also one of the largest, richest, and mightiest empires in the world (Collins and Lapierre 1975). The Indian economy was also largely at par with the rest of the world in terms of industrialization, transports, and communication as well as urbanization (Maddison 2003). 2 The British took over India in 1757 by displacing the Mughal Empire and ruled the subcontinent up to 1947. During 200 years of the British rule, Indian economic growth smarted, colonial policies utterly crippled India’s indigenous industrialization processes, feudal or semi-feudal land-tenure systems chocked peasants and turned numerous of them into destitute, and repressive revenue measures caused a series of devastating famines costing not less than 30 million deaths between 1854 and 1901 alone (Maddison 1971).3 In addition, millions of impoverished and destitute Indians were pushed to debt bondage and other forms of servitude, and millions of them were sent DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-13

248  The world of indentured servitudes

abroad as indentured servants to toil in British plantations in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and even to colonies of other European powers (Dowlah 2020, 191–140; Potts 1990, 44–65). This chapter explores the indentured servitude of Indians—the peoples of current Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The next section explains the origin and development of the Indian indentured servitude system; Section three looks into the treatment of indentured servants; Section four looks into the demise and consequences of the system; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Strangely, it was not the British, but the French colonists, who introduced the indentured servitude system in the Indian subcontinent. They shipped the first batch of Indian indentured servants to their sugar plantations in the Indian Ocean colony of Reunion (east of Madagascar) as early as in 1826. Recruited mainly from the Pondicherry area of Uttar Pradesh, the indentured servants were given a five-year contract. In three decades, by 1856, the French colonists transported a total of 376,954 Indian indentured laborers to Reunion. Initially, Indian laborers were shipped without the approval of the British government, but in 1860, the French colonists received official sanction from the British Indian government to send up to 6,000 Indian servants per year to its colonies of Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana (Cayenne). Under the agreement, French colonists guaranteed a return passage to all Indian indentured servants (Richardson 1984). On its part, the British Indian government adopted the Indian indentured servitude, the so-called ‘Gladstone’s coolie system,’ in the mid-1830s,4 and quickly turned it into one of the largest mobilizations of indentured labor in the world history. The pace of indentured labor exports picked up by the late nineteenth century but gained even further momentum in the first two decades of the twentieth century just before its abolition. Estimates of such mobilization vary widely—one estimate suggests that over 30 million Indian indentured servants were transported by British colonials within a span of about 100 years (see Figure 13.1), and about two million Indian indentured servants were exported to the sugar plantations of the British colonies alone (Potts 1990, 70–71). Available estimates, based on disembarkation records, show that about 1.5 million Indian indentured servants were exported to plantations in scores of the British, French, and Dutch colonies during 1834–1917 (see Table 13.1). Among the largest recipients, Mauritius alone received more than 450,000, while the British Guiana, Natal (South Africa), Trinidad and Tobago, other smaller Caribbean British colonies, such as Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Guyana, and Jamaica, received around 430,000 (Ramsaran 2018). An earlier estimate made by Engerman (1983) showed the total number of Indian indentured servants shipped to the Indian Ocean islands and the

The Indian indentured servitude  249 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000

Emigrants

1936-37

1931-35

1926-30

1821-25

1916-20

1911-15

1906-10

1901-05

1891-95

Returned Migrants

1986-1900

1886-90

1881-85

1876-80

1871-75

1866-70

1861-65

1856-60

1851-55

1846-50

1841-45

1836-40

1834-35

0

Net Migraon

Figure 13.1  Estimated labor migration from India and returns, 1834–1937 (in ‘000). Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 3 of Potts (1990, 70), attributed to Davis (1951, 99). Notes: Rough estimates based on available migration data and census statistics in India and in the countries of destination.

Table 13.1  D  isembarkation records of Indian indentured servants, 1834–1917 Mauritius British Guinea Trinidad and Tobago Guadeloupe Jamaica Suriname (Dutch Guiana) Martinique French Guiana St. Lucia Grenada St. Vincent Belize (British Honduras) St. Kitts Nevis St. Croix Reunion Island Seychelles South Africa Fiji East Africa Total

   451,796   238,909    143,939    42,326    36,412    34,000    25,509     19,276     4,354     3,200     2,472     1,000       361       315       321   120,000     6,315   150,000    60,965    32,000 1,373,470

Source: Compiled from Indian Diaspora Council International (Ramsaran 2018). (Make it in two columns) Note: East Africa incudes Madagascar, Zambia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Malawi. The numbers are taken from Potts (1990, 67–69).

Caribbean islands during the same period totaled 1.2 million, of which an overwhelming majority was sent to the Caribbean islands, especially to Mauritius, West Indies, and Jamaica (see Table 13.2).

250  The world of indentured servitudes Table 13.2  Exports of Indian indentured servants to Indian Ocean Islands and the Caribbean, 1842–1920 Year

Total Emigration of Indian % Exported to % Exported to the Indentured Servants Indian Ocean Islands Caribbean Islands

1842–1845 1846–1850 1851–1855 1856–1860 1861–1865 1866–1870 1871–1872 1876–1877 1881–1882 1886–1887 1891–1892 1896–1897 1901–1902 1906–1907 1911–1912 1916–1917

   60,967    54,595    92,677   148,842   108,196    70,600    97,128    91,582    73,312    61,972    74,100    95,616    88,640    75,047    45,498    10,496 1,249,268

93.5 66.5 83.3 74.7 65.0 20.4 30.6 14.7 13.6 15.0   5.7   4.7 11.4   2.3

  6.5 33.4 16.7 24.5 30.7 78.9 62.5 71.0 62.3 60.7 63.0 29.6 34.2 42.5 51.3 29.3

Source: Engerman (1983, 646).

But Northup (2003) puts the total number of indentured servants that migrated to the Americas from the Indian subcontinent as well as eastern Africa and East Asia during the post-African slavery era of indentured servitude to about three million. Another estimate presented by Allen (2013) suggests that about 1.2 million indentured servants migrated in the Indian Ocean World5 alone between 1831 and 1938, of which more than 85 percent were Indians (see Table 13.3).6 Galenson (1981, 181) maintains that at least half-a-million of Indian indentured servants migrated to the Americas within seven decades during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and among them, several thousand—16,847 male and 3,809 female—were also exported to the mainland British American colonies between the 1650s and 1770s, and more than 50 percent of them ended up in the Chesapeake colonies (see Table 13.4). The British colonists also exported millions of Indian indentured servants to its other Asian colonies. Among them 4.5 million were exported to Rangoon (Myanmar) between 1913 and 1929; 1.95 million were exported to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) between 1843 and 1877; and about 623,000 were exported to Malaya between 1921 and 1930 (Potts 1990, 168–169).7 Also, 3.4 million Burmese workers were shipped overseas, and an estimated 60,965 Indian indentured laborers were exported to agricultural plantations in Fiji between 1879 and 1916 (Lal 1984).8 In addition, the British rulers also mobilized 1.2 million ‘coolies’ for their tea plantations in the Indian state of Assam (Sharma 2009).9

The Indian indentured servitude  251 Table 13.3  I ndentured immigration in the Indian Ocean World, 1831–1938 Destination

Africans

Chinese

Indians

Total

East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) Malaya Mauritius Natal (South Africa) Reunion Transvaal (South Africa) Total Share in total (%)

– –   4,133 34,219 – – 38,352      3

– –   3,555   63,695   1,265   63,695 132,210      12

  39,437 249,832 451,786 151,184   75,636 – 968,875      85

   39,437   249,832   459,474   215,879   111,120    63,695 1,139,437      100

Source: Allen (2013, 1763), Table 1.

Table 13.4  Estimated indentured servants and their destinations in Colonial British America, 1650–1780 (distribution in %) Barbados Jamaica Nevis Other West Chesapeake Pennsylvania Other Not Total Absolute Indies Mainland Known (%) Number 17 21

11  5

6 7

3 1

52 55

6 3

2 2

3 6

100 100

16,847   3,809

Source: Author’s compilation based on Tables 6.1 and 6.2 of Galenson (1981, 83–84).

Hundreds of thousands of Indian indentured servants were also exported to other European colonies. Available estimates suggest that between 1842 and 1870, a total of 15,005 Indian indentured workers were exported to the French colony of Reunion and about 30,000 more were exported to other French colonies. By the mid-nineteenth century, Dutch colonists also imported numerous Indian indentured servants to Natal (South Africa) for their sugar and tea plantations, and such importations increased further following the discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West in the 1870s for construction of railways, harbors, and other public works.10 Natal continued to recruit Indian indentured workers up to 1911, until the British government banned exports of Indian indentured servants. As Table 13.1 indicates, by then, Natal had already imported a total of 151,184 Indian servants (Richardson 1984).11 Such a massive migration of Indian indentured servants has evoked considerable debate among scholars about the motivation of the British colonists. Some argue that the British understood that a large number of Indians were desperate to leave their homeland to work even at vague promise of subsistence wage abroad (Wright 2017, 84), while some argue that many Indians looked at indentured servitude as a great opportunity to escape poverty, famines, and age-old caste system at home (Turley 1996, 188); some argue that Indians accepted such servitude to attain an unsavory personal liberty regardless of potential downside (Quirk 2011, 123); and still there are others who argue that indentured servitude was a better option for impoverished Indian people than slavery (Kale 1998, 172).

252  The world of indentured servitudes

Western scholars, however, tend to ignore that after the end of slavery by the 1830s, and of white indentured servitude by the 1820s, colonial plantations were in dire need to find a dependable source of cheap labor, when colonial powers consciously targeted densely populated India and China to rescue their profitable plantations. Also, despite the ban on slavery, sugar production in the British-owned Caribbean plantations continued their dependence on coerced labor throughout most of the nineteenth century, when nearly two-thirds of their sugar production and exports depended on exploitation of coerced labor (Sen 2016). Western observers also tend to ignore that although the iron-clad caste system was India’s own making, large-scale poverty of majority of Indians resulted largely from British exploitation and misrule—a series of famines that decimated Indian population was caused mainly by devastating taxation policies, land-tenure systems, and deindustrialization of India. Moreover, England was not only the largest slave trader but also the largest trader of indentured servants in the world history as well (Dowlah 2006, 131). Even the London-based Economist (2017) magazine has concluded that some ‘coolies’ f led poverty and hunger, but many others were coerced or deceived.12 Also, contradicting the claims made by some studies that most of the Indian indentured servants came from the lower castes, several studies have found that indentured servants actually came from both lower and upper castes as well as from both Hindu and Muslim religious backgrounds.13 In a study on a sample of 1,200 migrant workers shipped from Bihar in 1883, Tinker (1974, 48–54), for example, found that 22 percent were Muslims, 19 percent were high-caste Hindus, 36 percent were clean castes, and 23 percent were lower castes. In another sample of 7,695 indentured servants that embarked from Calcutta the same year, the same study found that 26 percent came from high castes, 32 percent from agricultural castes, six percent from artisan castes, and 36 percent from lower castes. Records suggest that most of the Indian indentured servants sent overseas by the French colonists originated from Southern India—from the Pondicherry area—and spoke Telugu, Malabari (Tamils), and Bengali. Most of the Indian indentured servants sent abroad by the British colonists embarked from three ports—about 60 percent from Calcutta, about 33  ­percent from Madras, and about seven percent from Bombay. Those embarked from Calcutta mainly originated from Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, and Bengal; those embarked from Madras were mainly Tamiland Telugu-­speaking South Indians; and those embarked from Bombay were mostly Marathi speakers, from the Deccan district (Tinker 1974, 48–54). Among the Indian indentured servants shipped to agricultural plantations in Fiji, 35 percent were from agricultural and artisan castes, 26 percent were from low menial castes, and four percent were from higher castes. Around three-quarters of them were Hindi speakers from North India, and the rest

The Indian indentured servitude  253

were mostly Tamil and Telugu speakers from South India. Most of the Indian indentured workers sent to Malaya also were from Southern India ( Jain 1984; Lal 1984).

B  Treatment of indentured servants The British colonists adopted the Indian indentured servitude program in the early 1830s, but it took more than three decades, up to 1864, for them to frame necessary regulations, and they did so only after about one million indentured servants had already been exported. During these decades, numerous Indians were misled by deceitful recruiting agents about their contracts, possible destinations, wages and working conditions, and return passages. Many rural illiterate Indians were apparently recruited deceptively—often promised a job in the cities and then shipped out to plantations overseas by recruiting agents who worked on commissions. The regulations that the British colonists put in place in 1864 mandated that all prospective indentured servants must be given a five-year renewable contract specifying the conditions of employment, pay, accommodation, provision of basic facilities, and a guarantee of free return passage. The contracts had to be written in three languages—English, Hindi, and Urdu— and signed before a magistrate. It was also mandated that one-fourth of all persons shipped as indentured servants must be females, and every emigrant vessel must maintain prescribed health standards and carry a medical officer. Finally, to eliminate fraud and deception by commission-based recruiting agents, the recruiting function of indentured servants was transferred to salaried employees (Tinker 1974, 48–54). Most of these requirements were however f louted openly. What actually transpired was that most of the Indian indentured servants placed their thumb imprints on the contracts without knowing the terms of contracts as most of them were illiterate and unable to sign their own names. Once their murky consent was obtained for deployment, they were then dispatched to distant lands without giving them any idea where they were being sailed to. Then during the sea-borne transportation, that took between 10 and 20 weeks depending on destinations, indentured servants were crammed in the decks in such hazardous conditions that the death toll during the shipments usually ranged between 15 and 17 percent, and in some years even rose as high as 31 percent (Campbell 2013). Once they reached their destinations, indentured servants were deployed in plantations, mineral explorations, construction, and infrastructure projects where they were routinely subjected to harsh working conditions, long working hours, low wages, and denied of basic human rights. Women workers were often abused as sexual objects, paid less, and their marriages were often considered invalid (Carter 1995). On top of the roughest of environments and toughest of working conditions, indentured servants had no choice of masters or nature of work, and

254  The world of indentured servitudes

subjected to draconian laws and regulations, both legal and illegal, and they also could be sold to others. Many plantations overtly f louted workers’ rights guaranteed by indentured contracts. Guiana in 1864, for example, made it a crime to be absent from work and not completing five tasks each week. Many plantations required indentured servants to carry passes all the time, and workers found outside their estates were subjected to arrest and deportation (Roopnarine 2011). Many plantations denied free return passages to indentured servants and doubled the contract period for attempted desertion capturing and imprisoning those who tried to escape. Inhuman treatment, along with tropical climate, took a heavy toll on the lives of indentured servants. By the end of their contracts in 1843, a quarter of the indentured servants (coolies) had died, and the death rates among British Guianese Indians ranged between 32 and 34 percent during 1908–1911 period ( Jung 2005; Sen 2016). Many observers described the treatment meted out to Indian indentured servants as ‘a new system of slavery’ (Tinker 1974), as ‘slavery under a different name’ (Cumpston 1953), and as ‘a relic of slavery’ ( Jung 2005). The Economist (2017) magazine, based on a survey on indentured servitude in the Caribbean, observed that many plantation owners treated them like slaves.14 Although any resistance to such abuses met with severe repression, records suggest that Indian indentured servants often mounted serious challenges against harsh treatments and tried to free themselves from the clutches of indenture. Some of them migrated to greener pastures, some organized radical movements, some simply deserted the plantation when life became unbearable, and some filed petitions with the agents of colonial governments. As a result, in 1844, the British colonists legalized emigration to many of the Caribbean islands and offered indentured servants small parcel of land and some cash incentives to lure them to stay back in the islands so that their plantations could survive (Roopnarine 2011; Jung 2005).

C  Decline and consequences The British colonials banned the indentured servitude in Malaya in 1878; in Trinidad and Natal in 1911; in Mauritius in 1915; in British Guiana in 1917; and in Fiji in 1920.15 In British India however it was the Indian Legislative Council which banned exports of Indian indentured servants in March, 1917. M. K. Gandhi, a prominent leader of the Indian freedom movement, picked up the campaign for the abolition of the Indian indentured servitude in the early 1900s while he was in South Africa.16 Then, both of the leading political parties of India—the All-India Congress and the All-India Muslim League—also opposed exports of Indian workers as indentured servants (Laurence 1979, 33).17 Unlike many Western writers and observers, Indian leaders obviously did not see indentured servitude as a great opportunity for millions of their

The Indian indentured servitude  255

fellow countrymen to escape large-scale poverty and age-old caste system at home under vague promises of subsistence wage abroad. But before it ran its course, the Indian indentured servitude system served its purpose—it had contributed rather significantly to the survival and expansion of British colonial plantations. Highly profitable sugar production nose-dived in the British Caribbean plantations following the emancipation of African slaves as many of them refused to work for plantations. Brazil and Cuba took the advantage to overtake the United Kingdom in global exports of sugar by continuing slavery, illegal slave trade, as well as supplementing their labor force by importing Chinese coolies.18 But with the imports of Indian indentured servants, sugar production in the British Caribbean islands picked up phenomenally. As Figure 13.2 indicates, the f low of Indian indentured workers to the Caribbean islands, especially to Mauritius and West Indies, peaked during the 1830s–1860s and during same the period sugarcane production of these islands also grew significantly. Mauritius, the largest of sugar colonies of the British Empire, for example, produced less than 500 tons of sugar in 1810. Then in the 1830s the country began receiving Indian indentured servants and by 1810, it received 451,776 Indian workers. During the same period, Mauritius’s annual sugar production increased from around 33,000 to 215,000 tons. By the mid-nineteenth century, Mauritius produced almost tent percent of global sugarcane output making the country the most important sugar-producing colony of the British Empire. 19 Another enduring consequence of the Indian indentured servitude, under which millions of Indian workers were exported to the British, Dutch, and French colonies for more than nine decades, is that it has produced many Indian Diasporas around the world. They can be seen everywhere—from the 90.0 80.0 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0

Figure 13.2  E  xports of Indian indentured servants to the Caribbean islands, 1842– 1920 (in percent). Source: Based on Engerman (1983).

256  The world of indentured servitudes

Indian Ocean (South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia, Zanzibar, Uganda, Malawi, Seychelles, Reunion, and Mauritius) to the Pacific Ocean (Fiji, Singapore, and Malaysia) and the Atlantic Ocean (the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Belize, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jamaica).20 Some of these Diasporas have been explained below. Mauritius was one of the largest recipients of Indian indentured servants. The British colonists began exporting Indian workers to the colony as early as 1835, and by 1922, nearly half-a-million Indians were exported there, of which only 160,000 returned home. In 1924, there were 255,000 Indians in Mauritius, of which 23,000 were still indentured servants. In 2017, Indo-Mauritians, who constituted two-thirds of the island’s 1.26 million inhabitants, were among the richest and most politically powerful in the society. While many of the largest businesses of the country were owned by Franco-Mauritians, the country’s public sector is overwhelmingly dominated by Indo-Mauritians (Economist 2017). Migration of Indian indentured servants to Guyana began in 1838 with only 396 Indian immigrants, but by 1917, the number swelled to 238,000, making it one of the largest destinations of Indian indentured servants in the world. The Indo-Guyanese are now the largest ethnic group in Guyana with about 40 percent share in the country’s 800,000 people, where Black Africans are the second largest group (almost 30 percent), and the others are mixed (20 percent) and Amerindians (ten percent). About one-third of Indian indentured servants returned back to India. Descendants of Guyanese Indian indentured servants however faced political marginalization for a long time, although in 1992, a descendant of Indian indentured servants, Cheddi Jagan, was elected the President of Guyana (Naipaul 1977; Roopnarine 2011). Another large Indian Diaspora can be found in Jamaica. Between 1845 and 1921, over 36,000 Indians were brought to Jamaica and employed in the plantations in Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Clarendon, and Westmoreland. More than two-thirds of them stayed back. In 2020, after 175 years, out of 2.9 people in Jamaica, only around 150,000 Jamaicans preferred to describe themselves as racially Indian. Although small in number, they came to form the third largest ethnic group in the country after the Africans and multiracial groups. Jamaican-Indians are however generally perceived to be less successful compared with their counterparts in other Caribbean countries, especially in Trinidad and Guyana,21 but they have been highly successful in manufacturing, wholesale, and retail business, as well as in some professional pursuits, such as farming, medicine, and politics (Roopnarine 2018; Shepherd 1994). In the Pacific, Indian indentured workers started arriving in Fiji in 1879, and by 1916, a total 60,553 Indian indentured workers (called Girmitiyas) were brought to the country. Most of the Indian indentured servants stayed back after the completion of their indentures. Even in the 1960s, the Indian Diaspora was the largest group in Fijian population with a share of about 50.5 percent, but their numbers declined over the years. Many of them

The Indian indentured servitude  257

migrated to countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Canada due to political marginalization in Fiji. In 2007, 57 percent of the country’s 800,000 population were native Fijians, while the share of the Indian Diaspora dropped to 37 percent (Gillion 1962; Lal 1993). Descendants of the Indian indentured workers have thus not done quite well in Fiji compared with their counterparts in some of the Caribbean countries. Also, although the British promised them ownership of land, many of the Indo-Fijians have ended up as tenant farmers. In 2013, Indo-Fijians were finally given equal status in Fiji’s constitution with native Fijians, but anti-­ Indian sentiment still prevailed (Economist 2017).22

D  Concluding remarks Indian indentured servants served as the largest source of coerced labor in the post-African slavery phase of global labor market. The episode lasted over eight decades when at least 30 million Indian workers were shuff led both within and outside the Indian subcontinent, both within the British Empire and non-British European empires, under shoddy contractual agreements. The whole episode occurred under the British colonial rule, when millions of impoverished, illiterate, and hapless Indian workers were deceived and coerced through fraudulent contacts and false promises. Most studies suggest that the scale of deception and coercion involved in the Indian indentured servitude and the magnitude of exploitation and oppression exercised made the Indian indentured servants victims of a ‘new system of slavery’ or ‘slavery under a different name.’ The system immensely helped colonial powers to mobilize cheaper and more palatable labor than slavery for survival of their plantations across the world after the abolition of African slavery. Arguably, the only gain out of the saga for the Indians must have been the growth of Indian Diasporas around the world where their ancestors toiled for colonial exploitation and capital accumulation.

Notes 1 Maddison (2003, Table 1) suggests that the Indian subcontinent had a population of 235 million in 1850. The Cambridge Economic History of India (Volume 2, Table 5.1), however, puts the Indian population between 183 and 247 million in 1850. The Indian Census of 1867–1871, the first in the subcontinent’s history, puts the estimated population of the subcontinent at 238 million in the 1860s. The United States Census Bureau suggests that in 1850, the global population was between 1.2 and 1.4 billion. Based on the lower estimate of the US Census Bureau, the Indian subcontinent must have been home for one-fifth of the global population in 1850. 2 In international dollars, Indian subcontinent’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $125.7 million in 1850, while that of the United Kingdom was estimated at $63.3 million. Per capita GDP in the United Kingdom was $2,334, much higher compared with $533 in India. See Maddison (2003), Tables 2 and 3, for greater details.

258  The world of indentured servitudes 3 For greater details on famines in the Indian subcontinent, see Dowlah (2002, 2006) and Sen (1981, 1990). 4 Named after John Gladstone (1764–1851), a Scottish merchant, a member of the British Parliament, and the father of British Prime Minister William Gladstone. John Gladstone acquired several large plantations in Jamaica and Guyana and inspired by the experience of France in the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius and Reunion), he procured several hundred Indian ‘coolies’ for his plantations in Demerara. Gladstone was, however, an absentee plantation owner who never set foot in Jamaica and Guyana, and thus depended solely on his managers. Although the plantations were mired by high mortality rates, disease, and abuse of servants, apparently Gladstone was unaware of such conditions as his managers rather painted a positive a picture of the plantations ( Jung 2005). 5 The Indian Ocean World has been described in various ways. Campbell (2013) describes it as vast areas encompassing Africa to China and all points in between. Harms (2013) refers to the area between the western Indian Ocean (dominated by the Arabian Sea) and the eastern Indian Ocean (dominated by the Bay of Bengal) and stretching into the South China Sea. 6 For greater details, see Allen (2013) and Northup (2003). The Economist magazine (2017) also maintains that between the 1830s and 1917, around two million migrants signed up for indentured servitude in European colonies. The magazine maintains that initially indentured servants signed up for a ten-year term, which was later cut to five years, and most of them were Indians, but there were Chinese and other Southeast Asian nationals as well. 7 It is notable that while the Malayan Archipelago received Indian workers, it also served as a source of indentured labor for the Dutch settlements in South Africa. Between the early seventeenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, for 150 years, the Malay population was the only Asian element within the Dutch settlements in this area (Richardson 1984). 8 Imports of Indian indentured servants to newly acquired British colony of Fiji began under Governor Arthur Hamilton-Gordon (1875–1880) who introduced large-scale agricultural plantations in Fiji based on his experience as the governor of Trinidad and Mauritius, which also heavily depended on Indian indentured servants for plantations. 9 By 1901, the British established as many as 164 plantations in Assam covering over 244,653 acres of land, and by the 1920s, they transported approximately 1.2 million coolies from different parts of the Indian subcontinent to these plantations. These coolies, marked by a complex history of racialization and displacement of indigenous population, still remain isolated and stigmatized (Sharma 2009). 10 Transportation of Indian labor to the Dutch colony Surinam began in 1873 following an agreement under which the Dutch transferred some of their old West African ports to the British, while the British withdrew its claims over Sumatra. The first ship carrying Indian indentured laborers arrived in Suriname in June 1873, which was followed by six more ships. In 1862, the British colonists also allowed transportation of Indian indentured workers to the Danish colonies as well. 11 Fisher (2014, 95), however, maintains that the British mobilized a total of 40,000 Indians to migrate to South Africa as indentured labor. 12 Referring to British exploitation of India, Marx (1978, 157) observed that India was “forced to send to England each year free of charge (what) comes to more than India’s 60 million agricultural and industrial workers’ total income!’ and “England receives it without giving anything in return.” 13 For greater details, see Benedict (1980, 148) and Tinker (1974, 48–54). 14 Some, however, argue that the indentured servitude of the Indians was a relatively free labor based on contacts that stipulated the conditions upon which

The Indian indentured servitude  259

15 16 17

18

19 2 0

21

22

migration of indentured labor was predicated upon and the laborers chose to enter into these contracts voluntarily, and their freedom was guaranteed by the imperial government and its agents who afforded impoverished Indian subjects an opportunity to make a living while balancing the interests of labor-hungry employers around the world (Kale 1998, 172–175). The indentured servitude system, known as Kangany system however continued in Malay up to 1936. The system however survived the longest in the Dutch colonies where it ended in 1941 in the midst of World War II (Potts 1990, 98). M. K. Gandhi lived in South Africa for 22 years, and apparently he himself served and assisted in recruiting other Indians as indentured servants to support British colonial wars (Fisher 2014, 95). Some, however, argue that the abolition of the Indian indenture system came largely because by then agricultural planters faced declining profitability. After the ban on the saga that lasted about nine decades (1834–1917), The Economist magazine remarked that the Indian Legislative Council finally ended indenture “.… because of pressure from Indian nationalists and declining profitability, rather than from humanitarian concerns” (cited in http://www.­indiandiasporacouncil. org/pdf/Documenting-our-Journeys-As-Guyana-Commemorates-180th-­ Anniversary-of-Indian-Arrival-Day.pdf ). Following the abolition of slave trade, during 1807–1847, global sugar production increased by 3.5 percent annually, mainly because of increased production in Brazil and Cuba, but during the same period, sugar production in the British West Indies grew negatively, by −0.3 percent annually. See Table 1.2 in Drescher (1987, 8). For greater details on sugar production in the colonial era, see Ballinger (1975), Deerr (1949), Drescher (1977), Engerman (1983), and Martin (2012). The Indian Diaspora Council maintains that almost 15 million descendants of Indian indentured laborers residing in these countries. For greater details, see http://www.indiandiasporacouncil.org/pdf/Documenting-our-Journeys-As-­ Guyana-Commemorates-180th-Anniversary-of-Indian-Arrival-Day.pdf. It is also notable that Indian Diasporas emerged in these countries despite more Indian indenture servants returned home, compared with their Chinese counterparts. Also, while almost all Chinese indenture servants lacked return passage, all Indian indentured servants were shipped to plantations with guaranteed return passage. More on this in Chapter 13. In the 1990s, top leaders of Guyana and Trinidad were descendants of Indian immigrants: Cheddi Jagan was elected President of Guyana in 1992, and Basdeo Panday was elected Prime Minister of Trinidad in 1995. In 2020, however, ­K amala Harris, a woman of Jamaican-Indian descent, was elected Vice-President of the United States. Thousands of Indian indentured servants were also shipped to the Malayan ­A rchipelago for employment in sugar and coffee estates, but most of them returned home mainly because of the close proximity of Malaya to their home country. Also, the Malayan government’s immigration policy discouraged family migration and encouraged male migration only ( Jain 1984).

References Allen, R. (2013). Indian Ocean indentured labor, 19th and early 20th century. In R. Harms et al. (eds.), Indian Ocean Society in the Age of Abolition. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. Benedict, B. (1980). Slavery and indenture in Mauritius and Seychelles. In J. Watson (ed.), Asian and African Systems of Slavery (pp. 135–168). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

260  The world of indentured servitudes Bush, M. (2000). Servitude in Modern Times. New York: Cambridge University Press. Campbell, G. (2013). Servitude and the changing face of the demand for labor in the Indian Ocean World, 1800–1900. In R. Harms et al. (eds.), Indian Ocean Society in the Age of Abolition. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. Carter, M. (1995). Servants, Sirdars, and Settlers: Indians in Mauritius, 1834–1874. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Chandra, B. (1993). The colonial legacy. In B. Jalan (ed.), Indian Economy: Problems and Perspectives (pp. 9–20). New Delhi: Penguin. Collins, L., and Lapierre, D. (1975). Freedom at Midnight. New York: Simon and Schuster. Cumpston, I. (1953). Indians Overseas in British Territories, 1834–1854. London: Oxford. Davis, K. (1951). The Population of India and Pakistan. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Deerr, N. (1949). The History of Sugar. New York: Springers. Derks, A. (2010). Bonded labor in Southeast Asia: Introduction. Asian Journal of Social Science, 38(6): 839–852. Dowlah, C. (2002). Dynamics of food-assisted development strategies in Bangladesh. International Journal of Social Welfare, 11(1): 3–21. Dowlah, C. (2006). Politics and economics of food and famine in Bangladesh in the early 1970s: With special reference to Amartya Sen’s interpretation of the 1974 famine. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15: 344–356. Dowlah, C. (2020). Indentured servitude: The saga of the Indians and the Chinese. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 119–140). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Drescher, S. (1977). Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition. Pittsburgh: University of Pennsylvania. Drescher, S. (1987). Capitalism and Antislavery: British Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Economist (2017). 100 years since servitude; Indentured labor. The Economist Intelligence Unit, 24(9056). Available at https://www.economist.com/ international/2017/09/02/. Engerman, S. (1983). Contract labor, sugar, and technology in the nineteenth century. Journal of Economic History, 43(3): 635–659. Engerman, S. (1986). Servants to slaves to servants: Contract labor and European expansion. In P. Emmer (ed.), Colonialism and Migration: Indentured Labor before and after Slavery (pp. 263–294). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff. Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Galenson, D. (1981). White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Gillion, K. (1962). Fiji s Indian Migrants: A History to the End of Indenture in 1920. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Guha, S. (2001). The population history of South Asia from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries: An exploration. In L. Cuirong et al. (eds.), Asian Population History (pp. 63–78). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Harms, R. (2013). Introduction: Indian Ocean slavery in the age of abolition. In R. Harms (ed.), Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition (pp. 1–20). New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.

The Indian indentured servitude  261 Jain, R. (1984). South Indian labor in Malaya, 1840–1920: Asylum stability and involution. In K. Saunders (ed.), Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920 (pp. 158–182). London: Croom Helm. Jung, M. (2005). Outlawing “Coolies”: Race, nation, and empire in the age of Emancipation. American Quarterly, 57(3): 677–701. Kale, M. (1998). Fragments of Empire: Capital. Slavery, and Indian Indentured Labor Migration in the British Caribbean. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Lal, B. (1984). Laboring men and nothing more: Some problems of Indian Indenture in Fiji. In K. Saunders (ed.), Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920 (pp. 126–157). London: Croom Helm. Lal, B. (1993). Broken Waves: A History of Twentieth Century Fiji. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Laurence, K. (1979). A Question of Labor: Indentured Immigration into Trinidad and British Guiana, 1875–1917. New York: St Martin’s Press. Maddison, A. (1971). Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls. New York: Norton. Maddison, A. (2003). The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Paris: OECD, Development Centre Studies. Martin, R. (2012). Statistics of the Colonies of the British Empire. London: Rarebooks. com. Marx, K. (1978). Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed. Edited by Robert C. Tucker. New York: W.W. Norton. Naipaul, V. (1977). India-A Wounded Civilization. London: Penguin Books. Northup, D. (2003). Free and unfree labor migration, 1600–1900: An introduction. Journal of World History, 14(2): 125–130. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London: Zed Books. Quirk, J. (2011). The Anti-Slavery Project: From the Slave Trade to Human Trafficking. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Ramsaran, A. (2018). Documenting Our Journeys: As Guyana Commemorates 180th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day. Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), New York. Richardson, P. (1984). Chinese indentured labor in the Transvaal Gold Mining ­Industry, 1904–1910. In K. Saunders (ed.), Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920 (pp. 260–290). London: Croom Helm. Roopnarine, L. (2011). Indian migration during indentured servitude in British Guiana and Trinidad, 1850–1920. Labor History, 52(2): 173–191. Roopnarine, L. (2018). The Indian Caribbean: Migration and Identity in the Diaspora. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and Famines: An Essay in Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Sen, A. (1990). Food entitlement and economic chains. In L. Newman (ed.), Hunger in History: Food Shortage, Poverty, and Deprivation (pp. 374–386). Cambridge (MA): Basil Blackwell. Sen, S. (2016). Indentured labor from India in the age of empire. Social Scientist, 44(1/2): 35–74. Sharma, J. (2009). ‘Lazy’ natives, coolie labor, and the Assam tea industry. Modern Asian Studies, 43(6): 1287–1324.

262  The world of indentured servitudes Shepherd, V. (1994). Transients to Settlers: The Experience of Indians in Jamaica 1845– 1950. London: University of Warwick Press. Tinker, H. (1974). A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labor Overseas 1830– 1920. London: Oxford University Press. Turley, D. (1996). Slave emancipation in modern history. In M. Bush (ed.), Serfdom and Slavery: Studies in Legal Bondage (pp. 181–196). New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave.

14 The Chinese indentured servitude

In their desperate search for alternative source of cheap labor in the post-­ African slavery world, European colonial powers also targeted the vast reservoirs of Chinese labor for deployment in their plantations, mines and other projects around the world. The process began in earnest in the early nineteenth century, and by the 1880s, Chinese indentured workers, also known as coolies, could be seen all over the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish colonies across Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Being mired in malaise and dislocations, hardship and desperation caused by the dynastic rule, civil wars, and lawlessness, millions of Chinese themselves also ventured abroad voluntarily to improve their lot, and many ­Chinese traders also shipped fellow countrymen abroad under their own variant of indentured servitude.1 Chinese laborers thus migrated around the world in various ways—as free labor, bonded labor, and indentured labor (Fisher 2014, 67). This chapter covers the saga of the indentured servitude of the Chinese people around the world. The next section explores the evolution of the servitude; Section three focuses on the treatment of Chinese indentured servants; Section four sheds light on the eventual decline of the servitude and its consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Apparently, the first international voyage of Chinese indentured servants began with a Portuguese Captain who brought 192 Chinese men and one Chinese woman from Macau and Penang (China) to Trinidad. His ship named ‘Fortitude’ landed in Trinidad on October 12, 1806, and deployed the Chinese workers at the Surveillance Estate in Cocorite (the western edge of Port of Spain). The voyage was however an unmitigated disaster—most of the Chinese workers abandoned the plantations and left Trinidad without completing their contracts (Higman 1972, 21–33).2 This botched experiment however did not deter massive deployment of Chinese workers in the ­future—by the second half of the nineteenth century, more than 20 million DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-14

264  The world of indenture servitudes

Chinese workers, indentured and otherwise, were deployed in colonial plantations and mines around the world. Chinese workers migrated as coolies, indentured servants, bonded labor, and free labor. Many of them were exported forcibly by Chinese traders who faced little restraints in such efforts (Watson 1980, 13). An Australian National University study (Wang 1969) suggests that a total of 2.35 million Chinese laborers were shipped abroad between 1800 and 1900 alone (see Table 14.1), but no comprehensive data is available on how many of them were shipped as indentured servants or otherwise. It is however discernible that some of the South American countries, such as Cuba and Peru, and some southern states of America, the West Indies, Australia, and South Africa, had been the major recipients of Chinese indentured servants (see Figure 14.1). Importation of indentured servants in the West Indies began immediately after the abolition of slavery. After their emancipation, many black slaves deserted sugar plantations, and those who still wanted to work for plantations demanded higher wages. As planters searched for alternative sources of cheap labor, the British government permitted them to import indentured servants from the Asian continent. As a result, between 1838 and 1918, approximately Table 14.1  C  hinese laborers shipped to foreign countries between 1800 and 1900 Countries

Number of Workers Shipped

Southwest Asia Cuba (17,000 during 1801–1850 + 135,000 during 1851–1875) Peru (10,000 during 1801–1850 + 110,000 during1851–1875) Australia (10,000 during 1801–1851 + 55,000 during 1851–1875 + 8,000 during1876–1900) United States (18,000 during 1801–1850 + 160,000 during 1851–1875 + 12,000 during 1876–1900) West Indies (15,000 during 1801–1850 + 30,000 during 1851–1875 + 85,000 during 1876–1900) Panama (during 1851–1875) Canada (during 1851–1875) New Zealand (during 1851–1875) Philippines (45,000 during 1851–1875 + 20,000 during 1876–1900) Malay Peninsula (350,000 during 1851–1875 + 360,000 during 1876–1900) East Indies (250,000 during 1851–1875 + 320,000 during 1876–1900) Hawaii (during 1876–1900) Canada (during 1976–1900) Others (50,000 during 1801–1850 + 85,000 during 1851–1876 + 21,000 during 1876–1900) Total (1800–1900)

  200,000   152,000   120,000    73,000   190,000    45,000    25,000    30,000     5,000    65,000   710,000   570,000     5,000     4,000   156,000 2,350,000

Source: Author’s compilation based on Appendix 1 of Wang (1969). Note: The numbers are based on shipment records, and do not exclude those who returned to China.

The Chinese indentured servitude  265 4,00,000 3,50,000 3,00,000 2,50,000 2,00,000 1,50,000 1,00,000 50,000 -

Cuba

Peru

Hondurus

US

Trinidad

Hawaii

South Africa

Malayan Australia Peninsula

Figure 14.1  Flows of Chinese indentured servants around the world, 1806–1890.

half-a-million Asian indentured servants landed in the British West Indies— most of them however came from India, and only about 3.5 percent of them were Chinese. Majority of the Chinese workers landed in the British Guiana, where their numbers peaked between 1853 and 1866 (Lutz 2009). One of the largest employers of Chinese indentured servants in South America was Cuba, the island rather heavily depended on African slaves before. The share of African slaves in its population grew from 22.8 percent in 1774 to 43.3 percent in 1841 (Knight 1970, 6–22). Chinese workers began to arrive in Cuba in 1847, and by 1874, in less than three decades, about 125,000 of them landed in the country of which over 80 percent were deployed in sugar plantations along with African slaves (Narvaez 2019). By the 1860s imports of African slaves in Cuba however slid down sharply while that of Chinese coolies spiked (see Figure 14.2). Cuban imports of Chinese coolies thus coincided with the phasing out of slavery in the country. Despite an intercontinental ban on slave trade, Cuba still continued to import African slaves illicitly to man its highly profitable sugar plantations (Dowlah 2020, 134). Imports of Chinese indentured servants into Cuba also coincided with increasing mechanization and industrialization of the country’s sugar plantations, and with a time period when the country had already surpassed the British West Indies as the preeminent sugar producer in the world and the survival of the plantations came depend on an alternate source of coerced labor (Hu-Dehart 1994). As Figure 14.3 indicates, Cuban sugar production increased significantly, and continued the trend for several decades, coinciding with the deployment of Chinese indentured servants. Peru was another major destination of Chinese indentured servants in South America. Planters in coastal Peru began importing Chinese indentured servants (called coolies) in 1849—just one year after Cuba and five years before the country abolished slavery in 1854, but the pace of its imports of

266  The world of indenture servitudes 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000

Import of Slaves

1874

1872

1870

1868

1866

1864

1862

1860

1858

1856

1854

1847

0 Import of Chinese Coolies

Figure 14.2  Cuban imports of African slaves and Chinese coolies, 1847–1878. 9,00,000 8,00,000 7,00,000 6,00,000 5,00,000 4,00,000 3,00,000 2,00,000 1,00,000 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882

-

Figure 14.3  Cuban sugar production, 1853–1882.

coolies gained momentum after the end of legal slavery. Chinese indentured servants in Peru, thus, supplanted black African slaves as planters preferred them over more expensive freed slaves. By 1874, Peru imported between 92,000 and 95,000 Chinese indentured servants, and deployed them in sugar and cotton plantations, on railroads, in mines and guano pits, and in urban and domestic works. As colonial masters in Spain did not enforce the ban on slave trade until the mid-1960s, like Cuba and Brazil, Peru also continued illegal slave trade, although its dependence on slave labor declined gradually (Roopnarine 2018). Another South American country, the British Honduras (Belize), also imported a significant number of Chinese indentured servants, along with Indian indentured servants, since the British Immigration Act of 1861 allowed

The Chinese indentured servitude  267

them to import indentured servants from South Asia, Africa, and China. Chinese indentured laborers in Honduras were primarily deployed in clearing of land for plantations and cultivating sugarcane (Sell 2017). The post-antebellum United States had also been a major employer of Chinese indentured workers. During California’s Gold Rush, 28,000 Chinese indentured workers were brought to California in the year of 1852 alone. Then 48,949 more Chinese workers arrived in California in the year of 1855.3 Following the 1868 Burlingame Treaty between the US and China, arrival of Chinese people in the US increased even further, and in all, between 1850 and 1870, the number of Chinese workers landed in the US crossed the mark of 100,000 (Cronin 2018; Saxton 1975). With the Civil War of the 1860s leading to the emancipation of about four million African slaves in the US, Chinese workers became attractive to southern planters. As many freed African slaves refused to work for low wages, southern planters found Chinese coolies more affordable, skilled, intelligent, hardworking, and physically and morally fit, and employed thousands of them to keep their plantations competitive in global agricultural markets (Foner 2014, 173–174; Jung 2006, 46–132). A significant number of Chinese workers were also employed in American railway construction. Southern railroad companies, for example, recruited thousands of Chinese indentured servants for the construction of Houston and Central Texas Railroad in Calvert (Texas), the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad, and the Selma and Gulf Railroad (Alabama) (Cohen 1984, 83–95; Jung 2006, 153–163).4 Much of these employment came during the Reconstruction Period (1863–1877)—after the US Congress banned any American participation in the coolie trade in 1862, and US immigration authorities steadfastly opposed any effort to import more Chinese coolies.5 Also, beginning in the early nineteenth century, many Chinese workers— indentured servants and otherwise—made inroads in the Hawaiian island. Records suggest that between 1850 and 1900, approximately 46,000 Chinese workers arrived in Hawaii, and in 1884 the Chinese constituted about 22 percent of the island’s population who held nine percent of the island’s plantation jobs.6 Most of the Chinese indentured servants were imported by the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society from Canton, Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao as profitable sugar industry expanded, while Hawaiian native population declined (Lutz 2009). In the 1880s, the Dutch colonists also began importing Chinese indentured workers for their African plantations and mines. Prior to that, for about 150 years, the Dutch colonists depended on cheap labor from the Malayan Archipelago in addition to the indigenous African population. But the discovery of coal and gold deposits in the northern areas of Natal and Witwatersrand, and the refusal of close to 50,000 black Africans to return to dreadful mines which caused thousands of fatalities during 1899–1902, the Dutch colonists then began importing Chinese mining workers to solve acute labor shortage problems in the mines (Higginson 2007).

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Imports of Chinese indentured labor to South Africa peaked during the period of 1902–1907—by then, over 60,000 workers were deployed in South African mines. Most of them were recruited from the northern provinces of Shantung and Chili and employed in Transvaal (northeastern province of South Africa), and they came to represent over 40 percent of the total unskilled mining workforce in Natal and Witwatersrand. As Chinese indentured workers were imported on three-year contracts, for a duration not exceeding five years, the Chinese source of mining workers dried up by 1910. With the departure of Chinese workers between 1907 and 1910, South African mining industry then made an effective and long-lasting return to black African labor (Richardson 1984). European colonial powers also deployed numerous Chinese indentured workers throughout East Asia. By 1925, an estimated 180,000 Chinese indentured laborers immigrated to the Straits Settlements and the Malaya states, and by 1931, another batch of 305,000 Chinese indentured workers were imported for the plantations of eastern Sumatra. More than 30,000 Chinese workers worked in the goldmines in Borneo, and thousands more worked in Malaya, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Siam (current Thailand), for example, employed thousands of Chinese indentured servants until 1939—in just one year, in 1927, more than 150,000 Chinese workers were imported to the country (Potts 1990, 85–97). By the 1850s, Australia also received thousands of Chinese workers—­ indentured and otherwise. With the discovery of gold in New South Wales and Victoria, 17,000 Chinese indentured workers were imported to Australia between 1854 and 1856, and thousands more joined them each year in the following decades up to the 1880s. Most of the indentured laborers came from the southern provinces of Kwantung and Fukhein, and Canton, and shipped from the ports of Macao, Hong Kong, Shantou (Swatow), Xiamen (Amoy), and Shanghai (Barth 1964, 54).

B  Treatment of indentured servants Records suggest kidnapping by gangs was so rampant in the recruitment of Chinese laborers that not many Chinese men were safe from the threat of being forcibly taken abroad by a coolie ship. Some studies suggest that out of an estimated 40,413 Chinese indentured servants exported to Cuba, about 80 percent were kidnapped, and barring ten percent who died during the voyage, all others were sold openly in the marketplace as slaves (Campbell 1923, 135). Trading of Chinese indentured servants, especially to South America, was often branded as ‘buying and selling of pigs;’ the camps in which the Chinese coolies were forced to eke out before transportation abroad was often called ‘pig-pens;’ and the conditions of transport vessels were so gruesome that they were often branded as ‘f loating hells’ ( Jianxin 2007). Such a scale of harsh treatment of Chinese indentured laborers does indicate that there was not much scrutiny or regulation at the ports of departure

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or disembarkation. Studies suggest that Chinese workers were recruited by private agents, called ‘crimps,’ who collected commissions from ship captains based on the number of workers they delivered to the ship. While the British colonials exported millions of Indian indentured servants under close governmental supervision and through salaried agents, most of the Chinese workers were supplied by notorious ‘crimps’ who deployed fraudulent tactics, including kidnapping, use of drugs and alcohols, and deceptive promises about work, wages, and destinations where the workers were being transported to (Guterl 2008). Worse still, much of the fraudulent recruitment and shipment practices occurred due to collusion between ‘crimps’ and state authorities. Spanish agents in Macao were required by law to ensure that all coolies had signed their contracts willingly; ships were not overcrowded and had proper ventilation and sufficient food and water; and ships had medical supplies including doctors. But state agents routinely ignored such requirements, and instead certified that all shipments had met required obligations (Stewart 1951, 33–34). As a result, the voyages of Chinese indentured workers to Latin American countries typically echoed the African slave trade—they were crammed in the decks; routinely subjected to beatings, malnourishment, and unhygienic conditions; and death toll during the shipment averaged 15 percent or more (Lutz 2009). On the plantations and factories in Latin America, working conditions of Chinese indentured workers were also hardly distinguishable from those of slavery. Numerous studies suggest that although on paper indentured workers sold their labor power voluntarily, in reality, they were always at a risk of being reduced to slaves (Scott 1985). They often faced long work hours and harsh treatments, including whippings, imprisonment, shackles, and death, and routinely denied of rights to bargain wages or working conditions (Narvaez 2019). Chinese indentured servants were generally given a five-year term, tied to their plantations during their contract, and made to work nine and a half hours six-days a week at a minimal wage. Overall working conditions cast chattel slavery’s dark shadow over the ‘free’ aspects of indentured servitude ( Jung 2005), and the overall treatment of the coolies was generally characterized by neglect, abuse, and systematic dehumanization (Sell 2017). Chinese coolies however often resisted inhuman treatments during their shipments. Studies suggest that out of the 736 recorded voyages from China to Latin America between 1847 and 1874, one in ten were struck by mutinies (Wright 2017, 87–88). In 1859, a mutiny on an American ship named Flora Temple resulted in the death of 850 Chinese coolies locked up in the deck. Another mutiny in 1870, in a ship named Hongkong which sailed with Spanish f lag and French crew, resulted in the death of 400 Chinese coolies (DeHart 2007, 177). Yet in another mutiny in a French ship named Nouvelle Penelope, which sailed from Macao for Peru, Chinese coolies killed the captain and several crew members. Similar killings took place in the mutinies occurred on the ships named Fatchoy and Maria Luz in 1872 (Chee-Beng 2010, 85).7

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Chinese indentured servants also repelled against harsh treatments by their employers on the plantations, mines and construction sites. In Trinidad, as mentioned above, following the very first shipment, most Chinese indentured workers abandoned their plantations and left Trinidad without completing their contracts. There had been numerous instances when they went on strikes and sabotage, petitioned officials, saved money to buy out contracts and purchase certificates of freedom, ran away, committed suicide, and attacked and murdered their superiors (Narvaez 2019). In South Africa, for example, Chinese mining workers deployed in deeplevel gold mines, mounted a serious challenge against lethal working conditions. As mentioned before, the Dutch colonists began importing Chinese workers when thousands of African workers refused to return to mine because of such dangerous working conditions. Records suggest that well over 1,000 of the 40,000 Chinese workers employed at the Rand mine were placed in prison in the year of 1904–1905, when more than 500 of them were killed or permanently injured in drilling accidents in the same mine between 1904 and 1910 (Higginson 2007; Richardson 1982).8 In the US also Chinese indentured servants had a turbulent history. Several studies suggest that their recruitment and voyage to the US were often controlled by Chinese business syndicates who acted as creditors, controlled their access to job opportunities and wages in the US, and often denied them freedom after the expiry of their contracts (Saunders, 1984). On top of that, Chinese workers also faced love-hate relationships in the US. Before the abolition of slavery, antebellum planters feared that Chinese workers were used by abolitionists as a ‘stealth weapon’ to overturn the institution of slavery, but after the abolition of slavery, they claimed that Chinese workers represented the best chance of reviving the South’s staple-crop economies. Records however suggest that Chinese workers worked very brief ly in southern plantations and thus provided very little reprieve to agricultural labor shortage following the Civil War ( Jones 2009). Most of the Chinese workers rather settled down in California where they were subjected to serious racial discrimination. The opponents of Chinese labor depicted them as a racially inferior people who were willing to work for inhuman wages and they posed threat to free society because of their inability to assimilate. Many viewed Chinese workers as a harbinger of a new form of industrial ‘wage slavery’ in America (Daniels 2015, 12; Foner 1995).9 Many also viewed Chinese workers’ attempt to make a transition from indentured servitude into free labor as a threat to American society. As a result, the US Constitution guaranteed citizenships to European indentured servants, not to the Chinese indentured servants ( Jung 2005). Also, the US government in 1863 barred Chinese immigrants from testifying against white people, and a few years later, in 1868, in one of the worst industrial clashes in the US history, about 40,000 Chinese mineworkers were massacred in Los Angeles.10 Then in 1880, US Congress branded Chinese laborers as a threat to American interests, and two years later, responding to American labor

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union’s concern of losing job to Chinese workers, US Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, the first such legislation in American history that banned immigration on the basis of race (Phan 2004). Thus, policies adopted by governments made a huge difference in the treatments of Chinese workers. While the US government took a more assertive anti-planter and anti-slavery stance, and even banned coolie trade and indentured servitude altogether, a strong colonial government in Cuba openly aligned itself with planters and supported continuation of slavery and coolie labor, and in Peru, even a liberal government lacked the ability to restrain planters in mistreating coolies (Narvaez 2019). Some Latin American governments also made it difficult for coolies to attain freedom after they completed their contracts. A Spanish royal decree in 1860, for example, granted only two months to coolies to sign a re-contract or leave the island, thus essentially sentencing them to perpetual servitude. The decree also made it difficult for the coolies to gain free status by requiring a number of documents, such as proof of having finished a contract, a  baptismal certificate, a letter of domicile, and by making many of these documents renewable every year (Stewart 1951, 33–34).

C Decline and consequences As the discussion above indicates, Chinese indentured servants were largely directed to the Spanish colonies of Cuba and Peru, southern US, the island of Hawaii, Australia, and South Africa, and their treatment by their employers differed widely. In the Spanish Cuba, the era of massive imports of Chinese indentured servants (coolies) was very short—lasted less than three decades.11 The factors that contributed to such a short life were as follows: (a) most of the Chinese workers were shipped to Cuba by American vessels, and f lagrant abuses of the workers during the shipment led American Congress to impose a ban on American participation in the coolie trade in 186212; (b) an investigation made by a Cuban Commission in 1870 into the mutiny on French ship Nouvelle Penelope declared the commerce in coolies as a slave trade, and following the findings, the UK, France, the US, and China pressured the Portuguese shippers, who controlled the shipment of Chinese coolies from Macao, to end the coolie trade13; and (c) based on the testimonies of almost 3,000 Chinese workers in Cuba about their mistreatment, the Chinese government in 1874 prohibited any further coolie trade to Cuba (Yun 2008, 1–36).14 Cuba however provides a glaring example of how indentured servants helped host countries to accumulate wealth by exploiting coerced labor. As Figure 14.3 indicates, Cuba’s sugar production climbed steadily between 1853 and 1874, when Chinese coolies constituted the largest source of labor replenishment as the slave trade came to an end. After 1875, when the coolie trade also ended, golden days of Cuba’s sugar trade also declined precipitously. The Spanish colony of Peru banned imports of Chinese coolies in

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1873, but as Peru’s post-colonial f ledgling young liberal republic was unable to withstand challenge from planters, employment of coolies continued in the country long after its official abolition. In Hawaii, Chinese indentured servitude ended on the day the island was annexed to the US—on June 14, 1900—as the US laws prohibited contracts and imports of indentured servitude and also replaced the Hawaiian Masters and Servants Act, 1850, which allowed such trade. With the annexation of the island, tens of thousands of Hawaiian plantation laborers earned freedom from slavery as well as indentured servitude.15 Planters in the American South also had to stop hiring Chinese coolies since the federal government banned any American participation in the coolie trade in 1862. At the same time, American immigration authorities’ steadfast refusal to approve import of Chinese coolies, the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War and the military occupation of the South, the Republican Party’s unwillingness to aid planters, and the 1866 Civil Rights Act—all these contributed to the end of Chinese indentured servitude in the US (Narvaez 2019). Some illicit employment of Chinese coolies, however, still continued, especially in the railroad construction in the American South (Cohen 1984). In South Africa, imports of Chinese indentured labor peaked during 1902– 1904, but as they came under a three-year contract, which could be renewed only for one term, the servitude came to an end by 1910. In Australia, where Chinese indentured servants began to arrive in the 1850s, imposed restrictions on Chinese immigration in the 1880s, soon after the US passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882.16 Throughout the early nineteenth through to the early twentieth centuries, Chinese workers—indentured and otherwise—had supplanted the loss of African slave labor for the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish colonies across the continents. Such deployment of Chinese labor, along with Indian indentured servants, helped colonial powers to dominate global markets for precious agricultural commodities, such as sugar and coffee and many minerals. Phenomenal rise in sugar exports of Trinidad, Cuba, Peru, Hawaii, and the British Guiana during 1839–1900 shows how crucial was the role of commoditized labor of the Indian and Chinese workers. Chinese workers also served as life-blood for gold mines in South Africa, Australia, and California, and provided critical labor for railway construction and plantations in post-antebellum southern America. Another obvious consequence of largescale Chinese indentured servitude has been that many countries around the world now have sizeable Chinese Diasporas.17

D  Concluding remarks In the post-African slavery world, the Chinese, like the Indians, also served as a major reservoir of cheap labor for European colonial plantations across the world. Unlike the Indian indentured servants, who migrated under supervision of the British government and with a guaranteed return passage, most

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Chinese indentured servants however migrated without return passage and without much regulation in respect to their recruitment, shipments, or employment. Many of them also landed abroad under the so-called credit-ticket system—as bonded labor, and thus subjected themselves to additional exploitation by trade syndicates on top of employers. Despite their treatments during the shipments and on the plantations hardly differing from that of African slaves, and despite their resistance to such maltreatments being often loud and clear, Chinese indentured servants provided life-blood to colonial plantations across the world at a time when the reservoir of slave labor from the African continent dried up. There is little doubt that colonial plantations and mines across the world not only survived, but also prospered and dominated global exports in agricultural commodities and precious minerals by commoditizing Chinese as well as Indian indentured labor. After completion of their indentures, lacking passage money and often facing draconian decrees from authorities to either leave or renew contracts, a great majority of Chinese indentured servants settled back in the countries where they were deployed. But evidently even freed Chinese workers faced stringent legal as well as social and political barriers in their efforts to assimilate in the host nations.

Notes 1 Chinese traders often used an alternative to the indenture system called the ‘credit-ticket system,’ under which brokers advanced the cost of passage and workers repaid the loan plus interest out of their earnings. Some source claims beginning in the 1840s, about 380,000 Chinese laborers migrated to the US mainland and 46,000 to Hawaii under the system (https://www.digitalhistory. uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3294). More on this below. 2 Between 1853 and 1866, only about 2,645 Chinese immigrants arrived in Trinidad as indentured labor for sugar and cacao plantations. Chinese Diaspora in Trinidad has also been very small—in 2011, only about 3,984 Chinese lived in Trinidad. 3 During the California ‘Gold Rush,’ which lasted for about 20 years, so many Chinese workers were imported that shipping Chinese workers to the United States became more profitable than shipping commodities. In 1853, for example, a ship carrying 450 tons of commodities to the United States from China cost $5,000, on top of $10,000 for repair, while a ship carrying 500 indentured workers yielded $37,000 just in fares (Barth 1964, 111). 4 By the end of Reconstruction, however, public sentiment in the United States turned against Chinese immigrants—Chinese workers were viewed as undesirable immigrants, which led to the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, the first legislative act in the history of the United States to ban immigration from any country (Dowlah 2020, 212). 5 Studies also suggest that in 1865, Southern labor speculators sought federal government’s permission to import more Chinese workers, but the Bureau of Immigration denied such requests on the ground that it would violate the 1862 Anti-Coolie Act of the US. 6 The largest group of plantation labor in Hawaii was, however, Japanese—more than 80,000 Japanese workers were imported to Hawaii between 1850 and 1900,

274  The world of indenture servitudes and many of them might have been imported under alternative indentured system under which traders paid their passages and they paid back passage money with interest. 7 Another coolie ship, named Don Juan, that sailed from Macao with Peruvian flag on May 4, 1870, carrying 665 coolies, caught fire two days later, which resulted in the death of 500 coolies confined in the lower deck of the ship (Chee-Beng 2010, 85). 8 Studies, however, suggest that some Chinese indentured servants were also involved in criminal activities. In 1906, in just one year, 8,000 Chinese workers, out of the total of 50,000 to 60,000 in South Africa, were convicted of various offenses ranging from assaults, desertions, forgeries, rapes, and robberies (Tinker 1974, 182). 9 Cronin (2018) chronicles how American media portrayed Chinese workers in the United States back then. When a Massachusetts shoe factory owner, named Calvin Sampson, brought 75 Chinese immigrants from San Francisco to North Adams as strikebreakers on June 13, 1870, the immigrants were greeted by a crowd of 500 to 2,000 angry workers and curious people who never saw someone from Asia before. The incident prompted so much racial tension that 24,763 articles and editorials were published in the nation’s newspapers within one year of their arrival in Massachusetts. 10 The massacre greatly strained relationship between Chinese immigrants and the American society at large. It was only in 2019 that the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, finally offered public apology for the massacre. 11 Immigration of Chinese workers as well as African slaves, however, still continued through illicit trade. Such trades stopped only after American taking over of Cuba, following which Cuba abolished slavery in 1886, and stopped importing of Chinese indentured workers in 1888. 12 The law, often referred to as the Anti-Coolie Act, 1862, was officially titled, “An Act to prohibit the ‘Coolie Trade’ by American Citizens in American Vessels.” The Act’s mandate, however, was far wider than the ships that carried Chinese coolies to the Americas or Americans involved in the coolie trade. It was rather aimed at appeasing anti-Chinese immigration sentiments among white laborers about salary competition created by the inf lux of Chinese immigrants at the height of the California’s Gold Rush, and to prevent southern plantation owners of America from replacing their enslaved African workers with ‘coolie’ laborers from China. For greater details, see Jung (2005). 13 An inquiry into the indenture system in the British Guiana led to the King Convention in 1873, and the new regulations limited re-indenture to one year, required better housing, and stipulated that Chinese, upon completion of their indenture, be given free passage home. 14 Many Chinese workers, however, still found other ways to migrate to various parts of North America, and as mentioned above, many Chinese businessmen and traders still continued to export forced laborers without much restraints. 15 With the US annexation, Hawaii became subject to the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882, as well as US contract labor law of 1885 which prohibited importation of contract laborers into the states and territories. See https://www. ­hawaii.edu/uhwo/clear/home/HawaiiLaborHistory.html accessed on August 10, 2020. 16 Like American white workers, native Australians also complained that Chinese workers out-competed them by accepting lower wages and poor working conditions. Australia also enacted several legislations in the 1860s through the 1880s restricting Chinese immigration to the country. 17 Voluminous literature is available on Chinese Diasporas around the word. Some recent publications, such as Miles (2020), provide comprehensive treatment of the subject. Also see Christopher et al. (2007) and Jung (2005).

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References Barth, G. (1964). Bitter Strength: A History of the Chinese in the United States, 1850– 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Campbell, P. (1923/2012). Chinese Coolie Emigration to Countries within the British Empire. London: Routledge. Chee-Bang, T. (Ed.). (2010). Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean. Boston (MA): Brills. Christopher, E., Pybus, C., and Rediker, M. (Eds.). (2007). Migration and the Making of the Modern World. Los Angeles: University of California Press. Cohen, L. (1984). Chinese in the Post-Civil War South: A People without a History. Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press. Cronin, M. (2018). When the Chinese came to Massachusetts: Representations of race, labor, religion, and citizenship in the 1870 Press. Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 46(2): 72–105. Daniels, R. (2015). Asian America: Chinese and Japanese in the United States since 1850. Seattle: University of Washington Press. DeHart, E. (2007). The yellow trade and the middle passage, 1847–1884. In E. Christopher et al., Migration and the Making of the Modern World (pp. 166–183). Los Angeles: University of California Press. Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. New York: Oxford University Press. Foner, E. (1995). Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Foner, E. (2014). Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877. New York: Harper Perennial. Guterl, M. (2008). American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Higginson, J. (2007). Privileging the machines: American engineers, indentured Chinese and white workers in South Africa’s deep-level gold mines, 1902–1907. International Review of Social History, 52(1): 1–34. Higman, B. (1972). The Chinese in Trinidad, 1806–1838. Caribbean Studies, 12(3): 21–44. Hu-Dehart, E. (1994). Chinese coolie labor in Cuba in the nineteenth century: Free labor of neoslavery. Contributions in Black Studies, Vol. 12, Article 5. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cibs/vol12/iss1/5. Jianxin, H. (2007). A discussion of the concept of ‘feudal.’ Frontier History of China, 2(1): 1–24. Jones, J. (2009). Labor and the idea of race in the American South. Journal of Southern History, 75(3): 613–626. Jung, M. (2005). Outlawing ‘Coolies’: Race, nation, and empire in the age of emancipation. American Quarterly, 57(3): 677–701. Jung, M. (2006). Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipation. Baltimore (MD): John Hopkins University Press. Knight, F. (1970). Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Lutz, J. (2009). Chinese emigrants, indentured workers, and Christianity in the West Indies, British Guiana and Hawaii. Caribbean Studies, 37(2): 133–154. Narvaez, B. (2019). Abolition, Chinese indentured labor, and the State: Cuba, Peru, and the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. The Americas, 76(1): 5–40.

276  The world of indenture servitudes Phan, H. (2004). ‘A Race So Different’: Chinese exclusion, the slaughterhouse cases, and Plessy v. Ferguson. Labor History, 45(2): 133–163. Potts, L. (1990). The World Labor Market: A History of Migration. Translated by Terry Bond. London: Zed Books. Richardson, P. (1982). Chinese Mine Labor in the Transvaal. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Richardson, P. (1984). Chinese indentured labor in the Transvaal Gold Mining Industry, 1904–1910. In K. Saunders, (ed.), Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920 (pp. 260–290). London: Croom Helm. Roopnarine, L. (2018). The Indian Caribbean: Migration and Identity in the Diaspora. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. Saunders, K. (Ed.) (1984). Indentured Labor in the British Empire 1834–1920. London: Croom Helm. Saxton, A. (1975). The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California. Berkeley: University of California Press. Scott, R. (1985). Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860–1899. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. Sell, Z. (2017). Asian indentured labor in the age of African American emancipation. International Labor and Working-Class History, 91(2017-Spring): 8–27. Stewart, W. (1951). Chinese Bondage in Peru. A History of the Chinese Coolie in Peru, 1849–1874. Durham (NC): Duke University Press. Tinker, H. (1974). A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labor Overseas 1830– 1920. London: Oxford University Press. Watson, J. (1980). Asian and African Systems of Slavery. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave. Yun, L. (2008). The Coolie Speaks: Chinese Indentured Laborers and African Slaves in Cuba. Philadelphia (PA): Temple University Press.

Part V

The world of guestworkers Conceptual context After the indentured servitude era came to an end following global condemnation for sustaining many of the features of slavery-like dehumanization and commodification of labor-power for colonial capitalist accumulation, industrialized countries came up with an updated version of coerced labor labelled as guestworkers programs. Like the indentured servitude schemes, the new programs also imported workers from abroad through governmentto-­government bilateral agreements, but temporariness of their right to stay in the host countries was carefully ingrained into their immigration status. Moreover, workers were no more degraded as servants—they were rather designated as migrant workers, and the contracts stipulated the terms of their employment and working conditions and the rules for their rotation and return. Also, overall working conditions ascribed to guestworkers marked a sharp departure from abusive and exploitative treatment of workers under the indentured servitude schemes. The United States initiated such a program at a small-scale during the World War I1 and in a much larger scale during the World War II. Both programs were launched in war time, when American agriculture suffered due to mobilization of American youth for war. The first one survived only five years—1917 to 1922, but the second one, called the Bracero Program, survived more than three decades—from 1942 to 1964. During the tenure of the Bracero Program, the US rotated more than half-a-million Mexican workers annually and employed most of them in the country’s southwest agricultural belt.2 The Western European countries—Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden—also adopted their own versions of temporary guestworker programs in the immediate aftermath of the WWII for post-war economic reconstruction. Under such programs more than 30 million workers were rotated from Southern and Eastern Europe as well as Mediterranean countries to Western European countries until such programs came to an abrupt halt with the Great Oil Shock of 1973. Unlike the US which employed guestworkers mainly DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-5

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in agriculture, the Western European countries employed guestworkers in wide-ranging activities—in agriculture to industry to service sectors. Labor-importing developed countries across both sides of the Atlantic had solid economic and political rationale for lunching such programs. Temporariness of the program allowed them to import foreign workers when they were needed, and they could do so without adding alien permanent residents to their domestic labor force. Ordinary citizens in developed countries loved the program as ‘temporariness’ was built into the structure of guestworker recruitment—the entry and length of stay of such workers preempted their permanent residency in the host country (Reichert and Massey, 1982). Moreover, an overwhelming majority of foreign workers came from former colonies and they were employed in jobs largely shunned by domestic labor forces in host countries. As most of the pejorative 3D jobs—dirty, degrading, and dangerous jobs—were filled by foreign workers, it also helped many domestic workers to move up in social echelons in their domestic job market (Castles and Kosack 1973). Developed country employers also loved a sustained f low of cheap and motivated foreign workers as they unfailingly filled positions in sectors in which native workers were unwilling to work, and dependence on market forces alone would have forced them to raise wages due to chronic shortage of domestic labor. The guestworker programs also enabled them to avoid or delay investments in new and advanced technology, and to employ foreign labor without major adjustments to wages and working conditions, and thus, boost their profits and reduce their costs of production (Mandeel 2014). Guestworker programs also bestowed the best of the world to the governments of developed countries. As temporary foreign workers could be recruited during the periods of economic expansion and released during the periods of economic downswing, labor-importing countries could use them as a buffer to protect native workers in times of recessions. Guestworker programs also allowed labor-importing countries to reap the benefits of lower consumer prices and higher rates of economic growth, export unemployment during periods of recession, and shift the costs to other nations (Massey and Liang 1989). Guestworker programs however had not been equally beneficial for all segments of the society. As such programs are usually pushed by interest-based immigration policy, they essentially resulted in concentrated benefits and diffused costs for the society. By importing temporary foreign workers for a certain sector, the state awarded benefits to that sectors, while the rest of the economy took the brunt. For example, in the US, farmers succeeded in importing guestworkers from Mexico in the 1940s through the 1960s, such imports obviously benefited farmers, but whether that also served the national interest remains an open question (Freeman 1995; Kessler 2001). For labor-surplus developing countries, labor exports provide a cushion against overpopulation, lack of employment opportunities, political instability, and lawlessness. On top of that, they gain workers’ remittances which

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help them in their balance of payments. Exporting labor also helps them in terms of fusion of knowledge and skill by repatriated migrants, often dubbed as ‘brain gain,’ which contributes to transfer of technology, accumulation of capital, and economic growth (Basu 2016; Bhagwati 1979). For millions of poverty-stricken workers in developing countries employment in developed countries provide a much higher source of income than in domestic economics. The incomes of Mexican Braceros in the United States, and South European and Mediterranean workers in Western European countries had indeed been many times higher than in their domestic economies (Dowlah 2012; Durant et al. 2000). But by the time the guestworker programs of the US and northwestern European countries came to an end, millions of guestworkers settled down in the host countries—instead of building their own nations by repatriating, they rather decided to build their own lives in host countries. Not only most Braceros stopped returning home, many of them brought their families and children, and more Mexicans entered the US illegally than legally during the lifespan of the Bracero Program. Similarly, in Northwestern European countries also only about one-fourth of guestworkers had returned home, and many of them brought their family members through family reunification programs and settled down as permanent residents. As a result, there was nothing temporary about the temporary labor program (Galarza 1964; Martin 2006). Then coinciding with the end of guestworker programs in northwestern Europe, a new variant of guestworker scheme emerged in the oil-exporting Gulf region in the early 1970s. Under the program, called Kafala system, the oil-exporting countries import millions of migrant workers each year, and return them back to their home countries through strict enforcement of contracts. While the US and northwestern European countries failed to stop guestworkers from settling down, the Gulf region has shown remarkable success in strictly enforcing temporariness of the program. The program however has been mired in numerous human rights violations, degradation, and dehumanization of migrant labor (Hanieh 2014; ITUC, 2017; Kapiszewski 2006). This part of the study consists of three chapters: Chapter 15 covers the Bracero Program of the US; Chapter 16 covers the guestworkers programs of northwestern Europe; and Chapter 17 covers the Kafala program of the Gulf states. The labor power derived under these programs have been deemed as coerced labor because coerced labor occurs whenever any of the following conditions exist: an individual is not freely recruited; faces some forms of coercion or deception at the time of recruitment; has to work and live under some forms of duress; and cannot leave the employer without penalty or retribution.3 The experience of guestworker programs in all three cases explained in the study indicates that labor-importing countries often sequestered guestworkers from their native populations; restricted their geographic and occupational

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mobility; prevented or discouraged them from bringing family members; subjected them to discriminatory measures related to health and safety protections, and compensation for work-related injuries and illness; and denied them rights to organize labor unions.

Notes 1 The program lasted only five years, from 1917 to 1922, and it was exclusively directed to importing farm workers from Mexico only. During its short life-span, a total of 76,982 Mexican workers were imported as guestworkers for employment in agricultural belt of American Southwest (Dowlah 2020, 151–152; Kiser, 1972). 2 Under the Bracero Program, the United States also imported guestworkers from the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, Spain, and Japan as well. For greater detail see Dowlah (2020, 151–152), Galarza (1964), and Samora (1971). 3 The Forced Labor Convention, 1930 (No. 29), of the International Labor Organization (ILO) defines coerced labor (forced labor) as “all work or service that is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” It is obvious that most of the workers employed by the guestworker programs were pushed by poverty, hopelessness, and lawlessness back home rather than voluntary decisions.

References Basu, K. (2016). Globalization of labor markets and the growth prospects of Nations, Policy Research Working Paper 7590, World Bank, Washington (DC). Bhagwati, J. (1979). International migration of the highly-skilled: Economics, ethics and taxes. Third World Quarterly, 1(3): 17–30. Castles, S., and Kosack, G. (1973). Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe. London: Oxford University Press. Dowlah, C. (2012). Can WTO-GATS Mode 4 Spur Greater Labor Mobility from the LDCs? Law and Development Review, 5(2): 56–82. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-border labor mobility in the twenty-first century. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 243–276). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Durand, J., Massey, D., and Zenteno, R. (2001). Mexican immigration to the United States: Continuities and changes. Latin American Research Review, 36(2001): 107–127. Freeman, G. (1995). Modes of immigration politics in liberal democratic states. International Migration Review, 29(112): 881–902. Galarza, E. (1964). Merchants of Labor: The Mexican Bracero Story. San Jose (CA): ­McNally & Lofti. Hanieh, A. (2011). Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ITUC. (2017). Facilitating Exploitation: A Review of Labor Laws for Migrant Domestic Workers in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Geneva: International Trade Union Confederation. Kapiszewski, A. (2006). Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries. Paper presented at the UN Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in the Arab Region.

The world of guestworkers  281 Kessler, A. (2001). Immigration, economic insecurity, and the ambivalent American public. Contemporary Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego. Working Paper No. 41. Mandeel, E. (2014). The Bracero program 1942–1964. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4(1): 171–175. Martin, P. (2006). Managing labor migration: Temporary worker program for the 21st century. International symposium on international Migration and Development. UN/POP/MIG/SYMP/2006/07. Massey, D., and Liang, Z. (1989). The long-term consequences of a temporary worker program: The US Bracero experience. Population Research and Policy Review, 8(3): 199–226. Reichert, J., and Massey, D. (1982). Guest-worker programs: Evidence from Europe and the United States and some implications for U.S. Policy. Population Research and Policy Review, 1(1): 1–17. Samora, J. (1971). Los Mojados: The Wetback Story. Notre Dame (IN): University of Notre Dame Press.

15 The Bracero Program of the United States

The United States launched its largest guestworker program, called the Bracero Program, in the midst of World War II to import temporary farm workers from its southern neighbor Mexico.1 President Franklin Roosevelt initiated the program as farmers of southwestern states projected a huge shortage of farm workers due to military mobilization of American youth for the war. They began mounting pressures on US Congress for such a program way back in 1936–1937, coinciding with the mass deportations of Mexicans during the Great Depression. By 1942 however the situation further worsened for the farmers as unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent from a peak of 25 percent during the late 1930s, and over one million rural workers already moved to military and factory jobs in the cities (Cohen 2015). The US had a similar program with Mexico during World War I as well, and it was also based on anticipated agricultural labor shortage because of mobilization of youth during the war. The program was however much smaller in size, and it lasted only five years—from 1917 to 1922—when a total of 76,862 Mexican farm workers were imported. The program received congressional authorization on the ground of national defense, and with the end of the war, lost its rationale. American labor unions also opposed continuation of the program arguing that it had undermined welfare of American workers by allowing farmers to tap a secure source of cheap and docile foreign workers. Moreover, less than half of the guestworkers actually returned to Mexico undercutting the premise that farm workers would return home after the expiration of their contracts (Kiser 1972). The Bracero Program, although originally billed as temporary, lasted 22  years, until 1964. By then roughly 4.6 million Mexican male workers were rotated with temporary non-immigrant visas and deployed on farms in more than two dozen states, principally in California, Texas, and Arizona (Martin 2003). The program impacted American economy and society far beyond the agricultural sector. Many braceros did not return home as promised, they rather brought their families into the US both legally and illegally. During the course of the program, as many as four undocumented Mexicans DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-15

The Bracero Program of the United States  283

entered the US for every documented bracero (De Genova and Ramos-Zayas 2003). At the end, the program also powerfully transformed America’s demographic configuration (Galarza 1964). This chapter covers the Bracero Program of the US as an exemplar of temporary migrant worker programs. The next section explains the evolution of the program; Section three focuses on the treatment of braceros in the US; Section four explains the program’s decline and consequences; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development The US and its southern neighbor Mexico have not been always in best of terms. Until the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which marked the end of the Mexican-American War, much of what is now the American Southwest—America’s agricultural belt—was part of Mexico.2 When the US introduced its first guestworker program in 1917, the border between the two countries was virtually open—any Mexican could cross the border at any time freely and American farmers also could recruit Mexican workers without any restriction. The situation changed only after the US established its Border Patrol in 1924, but even then Mexicans could easily cross the long porous border illegally. In the 1920s, when America sharply restricted immigration from Europe, while keeping legal immigration open to its neighbors, over halfa-million Mexicans immigrated to the US legally, while another million entered illegally. As a result, between the 1920s and 1930s, Mexicans’ share in legal immigration to the US jumped from less than four percent to 11.2 percent, and about 2.5 million Mexicans—approximately ten percent of Mexico’s total population—lived in the US (Ngai 2000, 55). During the Great Depression, such a massive entry of Mexican immigrants created heavy pressures on American welfare system as well as job market.3 The US responded to such pressures by indiscriminately rounding up Mexicans from their workplaces and off the streets, and sent back at least 415,000 of them, some of them were US legal residents and citizens. On top of that, another 85,000 ‘voluntarily’ repatriated to Mexico during the crackdown. Mexico, in its turn, retaliated by nationalizing its petroleum industry to root out American investments in the country (Alba and Nee 2003). Massive deportation of Mexicans however created a huge problem for American farmers mainly because despite sky-rocketing unemployment rates during the Great Depression not many American youths preferred to work on farms. For the farmers the situation became so alarming by 1936–1937 that they started lobbying US Congress and Labor Department to declare an emergency in the framing sector. The situation worsened further as coinciding America’s entry into the WWII in 1941, unemployment rate fell below five percent in 1942, and over one million rural workers moved to military and factory jobs in the cities. Desperate farmers then argued that they would

284  The world of guestworkers

face harvest-time disasters without immediate replacement workers from Mexico (Bickerton 2000). But given the tense relations between the US and Mexico following the indiscriminate crackdown on the Mexicans in the late 1930s, on top of the misgivings of the first round of guestworker program when Mexican workers faced overt racial discrimination, Mexico was reluctant to enter into another round of guestworker program. The situation changed only after Mexico joined the Allied Forces and decided to supply farm workers to the US as a part of the war effort. Mexico, however, agreed to the Bracero Program only after the US assured that braceros: (a) would receive prevailing wage as received by native workers and they would be employed for at least three-fourths of their contract period; (b) guaranteed of free housing, decent meals at reasonable prices, and occupational insurance at employer’s expense; (d) employed in the areas of certified domestic labor shortage and would not be used as strikebreakers; and (e) given free transportation back to Mexico at the end of their contracts (Keely 1979). Under the Bracero Accord—signed August 4, 1942—the Mexican government recruited workers from within their county for a term not exceeding six months, and sent them to special camps on the US side of the border where the terms of their employment, wages, and working conditions were determined, and then the US government transported the workers to their employment destinations. The contract specified the temporary character of employment, employers were held responsible for returning Braceros to Mexico after the completion of the contract period, and provide transportation benefits, minimal working conditions, and protection against wage depression (Galarza 1964). Although couched as a temporary program, the Bracero Program lasted more than two decades. In 1951, the program received Congressional sanction coinciding with America’s entry into the Korean conf lict. Withstanding Mexico’s occasional resistance in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s on the grounds of contracts, wages, and working conditions of Braceros,4 the US extended the program eight times up to 1964, largely vowing to the pressures from American farmers. During its lifetime, 4.6 million guestworker contracts were executed (see Table 15.1). Most of the braceros were employed by three agricultural states—California, Texas, and Arizona. The actual number of guestworkers, however, was less than 4.6 million as many of them returned to the US several times on different contracts (Martin 2006). The US guestworker program was however not limited to Mexican braceros only. In 1943, the US also initiated the British West Indies Program (BWI) on terms identical to the Bracero Accord, under which about 400,000 guestworkers were imported from the Caribbean countries—­ Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Dominica, Barbados, and the Bahamas—and most of them were deployed in sugar plantations along the American East Coast (see Table 15.1). The US also imported 156,000 guestworkers from Canada between 1945 and 1979; over 4,700 guestworkers from Spain during 1968–1979; and over 4,000 guestworkers from Japan and the Philippines during 1957–1964. The

The Bracero Program of the United States  285 Table 15.1  Guestworkers admitted to the United States during 1942–1979 Year

Total

Mexican

British West Indies (including the Bahamas)

Canadian Japanese and Spain Filipino

1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 Total

    4,203     65,624    83,206    72,900    51,347    30,775    44,916   112,765    76,525   203,640   210,210   215,321   320,737   411,966   459,850   452,205   447,513   455,420   334,729   310,375   217,010   209,218   200,022    35,871    24,080    23,959    13,704    16,221    17,937    14,235    12,847    13,551    14,197    12,426    12,325    12,266    11,581    12,791 5,238,468

    4,203    52,098    62,170    49,454    32,043    19,632    35,345   107,000    67,500   192,000   197,100   201,380   309,033   398,650   445,197   436,049   432,857   437,643   315,846   291,420   194,978   186,865   177,736    20,284     8,647     6,125 – – – – – – – – – – – – 4,681,255

–   13,526   19,622   19,391   13,771   3,722   3,671   2,765   6,225   9,040   7,910   7,741   4,704   6,616   7,563   8,171   7,441   8,772   9,820   10,315   12,928   12,930   14,361   10,917   11,194   13,578   10,723   13,530   15,470   12,143   11,419   11,712   11,625   11,245   11,568   11,661   10,955   12,246 390,991

– –   1,414   4,055   5,533   7,421   5,900   3,000   2,800   2,600   5,200   6,200   7,000   6,700   6,700   7,300   6,900   8,600   8,200   8,600   8,700   8,500   7,900   4,670   3,683   3,900   2,600   2,300   2,004   1,541   1,107   1,458   1,250     970     572     399     312     287 156,276

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –   390   685   315   405   863    40   404   923    25 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 4,050

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –   477   356   381   391   463   551   321   381   322   211   185   206   274   258 4,777

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 1 of Briggs and Vernon (1983, 612).

Bracero Program was also not limited to farm workers only—in January 1943, the US and Mexico expanded the program for railroads as well, and by the end of 1944, over 80,000 Mexican guestworkers worked on American railroads.5 The Bracero Program turned out to be highly advantageous for American farmers as it guaranteed a dependable and sustainable source of cheap and docile labor for several decades at a time when American workers largely shunned seasonal farm jobs. They kept on demanding further extensions of

286  The world of guestworkers

the program arguing that they were unable to raise wages for farm workers as they sold their products in competitive national and international markets, and braceros were actually ‘homing pigeons’ who would return home after their contracts and would not burden American welfare system by staying back (Martin 2003). At the same time, impoverished Mexican workers were eager to work in the US and they loved the program as they earned wages about 20 times higher than their income back home, and many of them made a move to settle down in the US and bring their family members.6 Also, the remittances they sent back home helped in raising the standard of living of their families and improving socio-economic advancement in their native communities (Durand et al. 2001). The program was also highly beneficial for Mexican government. After all, it provided jobs for millions of poor Mexicans who could otherwise be unemployed and cause social unrest in the country. Moreover, workers’ remittances served as a great source of external finance for the country to improve its balance of payments.7 The American government also benefitted from the program as underpaid braceros helped farms remain productive, enabled many Americans to join military service or move to better-paying jobs in urban centers, and the f lows of braceros could be controlled depending on domestic economic conditions (Cornelius 1978).

B  Treatment of Braceros As mentioned above, Mexican farm workers had a bitter experience during the first round of guestworkers program in the US. Studies suggest that during the tenure of the program, many employers f louted conditions stipulated in the contracts with complete impunity, paid Mexican farmers less than their American counterparts, overcharged them through company-owned stores, and subjected them to poor working and living conditions compared with their American counterparts (Galarza 1964). In many respects, the experience of braceros during the second time around was not strikingly different either. Despite stronger terms stipulated in the Bracero Accord, several studies suggest that the program also earned ‘notorious reputation’ for abusing and mistreating of braceros. Like before, many employers apparently violated their obligations by ignoring or circumventing the provisions related to protection of wage rates, working conditions, and workers’ rights (Calavita 1984). As a result, Mexican government made repeated attempts to halt the program whenever the issue of renewal of the program came up. Mexico particularly objected the inclusion of Texas in the Bracero Program for its ‘notorious racial practices’ toward Mexican nationals (Durand et al. 2001). Worse still, the US government was also accused of violating the provisions of the Bracero Accord. Apparently, America opened the Mexican border twice—in 1948 and 1954—to admit undocumented workers to meet the urgent demands of American farmers. Even US Congress, on April 20, 1943, passed

The Bracero Program of the United States  287

the Public Law 45, authorizing the Immigration and Naturalization Service to import Mexican workers without the permission of the Mexican government. Such practices violated the Mexican Constitution, which specifically prohibits unregulated hiring of Mexican citizens by foreign nations (Briggs 1983). Moreover, while renewing the Bracero Program in 1948, the US government named farmers as the employers on record, although the original Bracero Accord had both the US government and the farm-owners as employers. The employer takeover of the program resulted in further exploitation and abuse of braceros as employers negotiated directly with the braceros, moved the recruitment centers from the interior of Mexico to facilities closer to the US border, and denied to pay for the transportation of braceros from inside Mexico (Palmunen 2005). Officially braceros were imported to serve as stoop laborers, to provide physical labor for cultivation or picking of crops in farm fields. In practice however many braceros were employed in other activities, such as operating machinery, driving trucks, packing produce, or performing other non-­ manual work. The Accord required farmers to pay local prevailing wage to braceros for the type of manual labor that they performed and guaranteed a minimum salary for them, but it left it to the employer’s prerogative to determine whether to pay braceros hourly wage or piece rates. Several studies suggest that many employers switched to piece rates which enabled them to pay less to braceros (Fernandez 2010). Also, during the initial years of the program, between 1942 and 1949, American farmers withheld about ten percent of bracero wages as forced savings, and it took many decades for thousands of braceros and their dependents to recover those savings.8 Braceros were also apparently mistreated by their own government. Mexican government was directly involved in recruiting the braceros up to 1951, when applicants were required to provide documentation to the effect that they had agricultural work experience but no land, and their labor was not needed in their locality. Studies suggest that Mexican officials routinely demanded mordida (bribe) for issuing such certifications (Hernandez 2006).9

C  Decline and consequences The central rationale for the Bracero Program lied with the critical shortage of farm workers during the WWII, but the program survived more than two decades, long after the war came to an end. Studies often attribute such unusual longevity of the program to agricultural lobby’s power over US Congress. The end of the program however came in the early 1960s coinciding with the Civil Rights movement when scores of labor unions, churches, and human rights groups raised questions about the rationale as well as human rights issues involving the program. Many of these entities blamed the Bracero Program for slowing down upward mobility of Mexican-Americans, and pressured US Congress to tighten wage and housing standards for the braceros, as many of them were paid

288  The world of guestworkers

less than the prevailing wage and housed in unsanitary conditions. Also, labor unions claimed that no significant labor shortage actually existed in the country to justify continuation of the program and thus lowering of wages for ordinary American workers. Then, a major accident in a California farm on September 17, 1963, that resulted in the death of 32 braceros and injury of 27 others, set the stage for a decisive action by US Congress to bring an end to the program (Martin 2003).10 The Bracero Program had powerfully affected millions of workers and their families in Mexico: numerous agricultural as well as nonagricultural employers and workers in the US, the US-Mexico relations, Mexican Diasporas in the US, American agriculture, American immigration laws, and demographic composition of the US population. Some of these consequences are highlighted below. Agricultural wage declined The Bracero Program during its peak years brought in almost half-a-million braceros legally every year to America’s southwest agricultural belt—to the states of California, Texas, and Arizona. On top of that, numerous undocumented Mexican workers also poured in every year. Such a massive influx of cheap labor—both legal and illegal—had not only depressed the wage levels in the country’s agricultural labor market, but also forcefully tempered down wage increases that could have occurred in their absence. A Presidential Commission on Migratory Labor in 1952 upheld this commonsense economics by concluding that the wage trends for agricultural workers in the US during the bracero era were inversely related to the supply of alien labor (Briggs and Vernon 1983). Studies also suggest that between 1950 and 1960, average farm worker’s earnings in California rose by 41 percent—hourly wage increased from $0.85 to $1.20, while average factory worker’s earnings rose by 63 percent during the same period—from $1.60 to $2.60 (Martin 2003). It was thus clear that farm wages failed to keep up with the rise in industrial wages. A US Labor Department study in 1958 also found that between 1953 and 1958, US farm wages in general had increased by 14 percent, but in over half of the areas and crops which used braceros, farm wages had actually decreased or stayed the same (Mitchell 2012). Mechanization of agriculture increased Another major consequence of Bracero Program has been that it led to increased mechanization of agriculture and growth of agribusiness in the US. Factors like growing opposition from the labor unions in the employment of the braceros, uncertainty of political will for the continuation of the program, and rapid technological progress of the 1960s, all had prompted many farmers to adopt labor-saving mechanization processes for their economic survival (Vogel 2007).

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Such mechanization efforts also led to a drop in the demand for braceros by the early 1960s—while import of braceros averaged at 411,040 during 1955– 1960, the average dropped to 212,750 during 1961–1964 (see Table  15.1). Some studies argue that it was the availability of cheap Mexican workers, both legal and illegal, which helped growers to increase their acreage and output, which in turn enabled them to reduce their dependence on braceros by investing in machines, agricultural mechanization, and agribusiness (Mandeel 2014). Growth of illegal immigration Another major consequence of the Bracero Program has been that instead of limiting illegal immigration from Mexico, which was a key rationale for the continuation of program, the program indeed produced the opposite result. Some estimates suggest that as many as four Mexican workers entered the US illegally for every bracero that entered legally during the entire tenure of the program. Illegal entries of Mexicans began to increase in the early 1950s as the supply of bracero visas failed to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for such visas in Mexico. By the mid-1950s, so many Mexicans entered the US illegally that that the US launched a massive deportation program called ‘Operation Wetback,’ which resulted in the deportation of more than a million illegal Mexicans (De Genova and Ramos-Zayas 2003). But illegal crossing of border spiked again coinciding with the phasing out of the Bracero Program in the early 1960s and continued well into the 1980s, when border apprehensions of illegal immigrants along American southern border increased by 14 percent annually (see Table 15.2). Moreover, not even half of the braceros actually returned home, and by the time the program came to an end, significant numbers of braceros gained permanent immigration status in the US, and brought their family members under the family reunification programs (Reichert and Massey 1980). Table 15.2  I llegal alien apprehension along the borders of the United States, 1960–2018 Year

Total Apprehensions(all Apprehension along borders) Mexican Border

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967

28,966 29,384 29,897 38,861 42,879 52,422 79,610 94,778

21,022 21,745 21,103 29,644 32,519 40,020 62,640 73,973 (Continued)

290  The world of guestworkers Year

Total Apprehensions(all Apprehension along borders) Mexican Border

1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total

123,519 172,391 231,116 302,517 396,495 498,123 634,777 596,796 596,039 812,541 862,837 888,729 759,420 825,290 819,919 1,105,670 1,138,566 1,262,435 1,692,544 1,158,030 969,214 891,147 1,103,353 1,132,033 1,199,560 1,263,490 1,031,668 1,324,202 1,549,953 1,412,953 1,555,776 1,579,010 1,676,438 1,266,214 955,310 931,557 1,160,395 1,189,075 1,089,075 876,704 723,825 556,041 463,382 340,252 364,768 420,789 486,651 337,117 415,816 310,531 404,142 44,254,992

96,641 137,968 201,780 263,991 321,326 441,066 571,606 512,264 607,499 733,193 789,441 795,798 690,554 749,808 745,820 1,033,974 1,058,276 1,183,351 1,615,844 1,122,067 942,561 852,506 1,049,321 1,077,876 1,145,574 1,212,886 979,101 1,271,390 1,507,020 1,366,707 1,516,680 1,537,000 1,643,679 1,235,718 929,809 905,065 1,139,282 1,171,396 1,071,972 858,638 705,005 540,865 447,731 327,577 356,873 414,397 479,371 331,333 408,870 303,916 396,579 42,101,631

Source: US Department of Homeland Security website, accessed on April 20, 2019.

The Bracero Program of the United States  291

On top of that, the networks that the braceros had established between their jobs in the US and friends and family members back home allowed many US employers to tap into these informal networks to employ illegal workers, and in course of time, such networks emerged as a self-sustaining source for illegal migratory f lows into the US (Gomberg-Muñoz 2009). Overhaul of American immigration By the early 1980s, an estimated eight million illegal aliens lived in the US, of which over 80 percent were believed to be Hispanics, mainly Mexicans, and many of them depended on public welfare.11 In 1986, in just one year, the US Border Patrol apprehended 1.8 million illegal aliens at the US-Mexico border (see Table 15.2). In public discourse, illegal immigration of Mexicans was often described in apocalyptic terms, such as ‘tidal waves’ that could ‘inundate’ the US, or as an ‘invasion’ that could destroy the country.12 Responding to such concerns, US Congress enacted a broadbased legalization program called the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. The IRCA identified two groups of illegal aliens eligible for legalization— those who had resided continuously in the US since January 1, 1982, and those who had been employed in American agriculture for a specified period of time. But a little over three million illegal aliens, out of an estimated eight million, applied for legalization. Out of which 88 percent (about 2.9 million) received approval for immigration as temporary residents, of which over 93 percent (2.7 million) were granted legal resident status. Among those who obtained legal resident status, over 83 percent were Hispanics. Thus, instead of curbing illegal immigration, the IRCA turned out to be a great amnesty for illegal immigrants (Muller 1989). The amnesty however failed to halt inflows of illegal aliens through America’s southern border with Mexico. As Figure 15.1 indicates, illegal entry through this border remains a persistent problem for the US. Between 35,00,000 30,00,000 25,00,000 20,00,000 15,00,000 10,00,000 5,00,000 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018

-

Total Apprehensions

Apprehension along Mexcian Border

Figure 15.1  Border apprehension of illegal aliens along the US border, 1960–2018.

292  The world of guestworkers

1960 and 2018, for example, a total of 44.2 million illegal aliens were apprehended by the US Border Patrol along the American borders, of which 42.1 million—more than 95 percent—were apprehended in the southern border. Strengthening of Mexican Diaspora An inevitable offshoot of both legal and illegal immigration of Mexicans has been the phenomenal growth of Mexican Diaspora in the US. When the US took over the American Southwest following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, approximately 75,000–100,000 Mexicans came along with it. The Mexican Diaspora in the US therefore is not a creation of the Bracero Program, but it had definitely contributed to its further expansion and reinforcement. The Bracero Program brought in millions of Mexicans to the US both legally and illegally, and they had great opportunities to gain a valuable experience with American economic structure, cultural and social institutions, and build ties with Mexican-American communities in the US (Massey et al. 2002). Moreover, Mexico still remains the biggest source of illegal immigration to the US. The demand for illegal Mexican workers has also expanded from farms to many non-farm sectors, such as meatpacking and poultry industries, construction, grocery chains, and household services. During 2000–2016, an estimated 11.3 million illegal aliens lived in the US, more than half of them (53 percent) were from Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala, China, and Honduras. In 2018, Mexicans constituted the largest group of illegal aliens in 36 states in the US (Dowlah 2020, 230–237). Meanwhile, Mexico’s legal immigration to the US has also been rising very fast. Between the 1950s and 1990s, the share of Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean has increased from 22 to 47 percent of all immigration to the US—about half of them came from Mexico. Between 1971 and 1990, Mexicans have increased their share in legal immigration to the US from 14  to 19 percent, almost one-fifth of all legal immigrants to the country (Borjas 1994). In 2000, ten percent of individuals born in Mexico resided in the US, up from two percent in 1970, and the rates of emigration were the highest among young adults. During the 1990s alone, nine percent of all Mexicans between 16 and 25 years of age migrated to the US. In 1900, only about 0.5 percent of the US population had Latino/Hispanic/Spanish descent, in 2014, the share rose to 17.3 percent and most of them were Mexicans.13

D  Concluding remarks America’s largest guestworker program—the Bracero Program—was initiated as an emergency war-time measure to import Mexican unskilled labor to meet agricultural labor shortage in America’s southwest—a landmass that

The Bracero Program of the United States  293

Mexico conceded following the Mexican-American War in 1848. Such an emergency occurred because numerous American youths joined the military during the WWII, and many others shunned agricultural jobs and moved to industrial jobs in the cities. Under the Bracero Accord, nearly half-a-million Mexican workers were rotated annually during 1942–1964, and the program succeeded in meeting its original intent. No crops were lost due to labor shortages, and it also contributed to the mechanization of agriculture and the growth of agribusiness in the US by enabling farmers to accumulate capital by expanding acreage and output by employing low-cost Mexican labor. Numerous studies however suggest that the braceros were often mistreated by many American employers who f louted the conditions stipulated in the contracts in respect to wages, working and living conditions, and often subjected them to racial discrimination. The program however has also contributed to a phenomenal growth of illegal immigration to the US, strengthening of the Mexican Diaspora in the US, in addition to powerfully reshaping American demographic composition.

Notes 1 The name of the program was derived from a pejorative Spanish root ‘brazo,’ which means arm, and the term ‘bracero’ means ‘manual laborer’ or ‘one who works using his arms.’ 2 Southwest America is comprised of as many as 11 states—Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded these territories to the US along with 75,000–100,000 Mexicans (Gutierrez 1995). 3 Mexicans had dominant presence in farm jobs in the US since the 1920s as more than half of Mexican guestworkers brought under the 1917–1922 program did not return home. By the 1930s, Mexicans also became an important source of labor for non-farm sectors as well (Taylor 1987). 4 Mexico was specifically opposed to Texas being included in the Bracero Program for its ‘notorious racism against Mexican nationals.’ But excluding Texas could be useless as there were plenty of illegal Mexicans available in the state to draw upon, despite its bad reputation (Durand et al. 2005). 5 Recruitment for railroad workers was suspended at the end of WWII, in August 1945. Most of the railroad braceros, however, did not return to Mexico at the end of their contracts (Galarza 1964). 6 Mandeel (2014) provides an account how the very news of the Bracero Program in 1942 brought in thousands of desperate bracero job seekers from around the country to the Mexico City. Mexican officials had to call in firefighters to disperse large and unruly crowds in a stadium to process their applications. 7 The remittances from the braceros, though small and intermittent on a personal level, emerged as one of the largest sources of external finance for Mexico by the 1950s, and had been a prime source of external finance for Mexico ever since (Mandeel 2014). In 1975, Mexico received between $1.5 and $2 billion in remittance f lows, mostly from the US (North and Houstoun 1976). Since the 1990s, workers’ remittance has been the second largest source of external finance for Mexico, next to foreign direct investment. Remittance inf lows to Mexico

294  The world of guestworkers grew from $4 billion in 1996 to more than $26 billion in 2007—registering an average annual growth rate of 23 percent (Orozco 2010; RAND 2012). In 2017, Mexico was the second largest remittance recipient country in the world with $64 billion, only next to India which fetched $69 billion, and the US was the preeminent source of remittance for Mexico (Dowlah 2020, 268–269). 8 Apparently, US employers of braceros forwarded those savings via the Wells Fargo Bank and Union Trust Company of San Francisco to the Bank of Mexico and the Banco de Credito Agricola in Mexico but somehow the money disappeared. Following several lawsuits against the governments of Mexico and the US, and the banks that handled those savings, the Mexican government eventually created a fund to compensate braceros and their survivors. By March 10, 2006, approximately 250,000 former braceros and their relatives filed for compensation. For greater details, see Mandeel (2014) and Orozco (2010). 9 For greater details, see a Cato Institute Report: https://www.cato.org/blog/ enforcement-didnt-end-unlawful-immigration-1950s-more-visas-did. 10 The accident occurred when a bus carrying braceros from the fields to their labor camp collided with a train in Salinas Valley, California. Apparently bodies of the braceros were not claimed immediately, which prompted critics to point out that such lack of accountability was way too common in the Bracero Program. Following the incident, President John F. Kennedy moved to terminate the program in 1963, but Congress extended the program for an additional year. 11 For example, in 1986, the Los Angeles County, which housed the largest number of refugees and illegal aliens in the US, provided aid to 58,250 refugees under its Assistance to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, of whom about 40 percent were illegal aliens. While 20,606 children of illegal alien parents received AFDC benefits in the county in 1982, by 1986, the number more than tripled to 65,780, which was also 16 percent of all AFDC recipient children in the US (Papademetriou and Muller 1987). 12 President Ronald Reagan, for example, couched the apprehensions of illegals in the country’s southern border as “great national security concerns” and cautioned Americans that “… terrorists and subversives are just two days’ driving time from [the border crossing at] Harlingen, Texas” (cited in Massey et al. 2002, 89). 13 Another offshoot of the Bracero Program that scarcely received attention is that the program brought millions of Mexican men of working age to the US—no female was imported under the program. They entered the US under contracts not exceeding six months, but the contracts were renewable, and many stayed much longer leaving behind their women and children back home. Although remittance f lows back home were regular, one far-reaching effect of the program has been that seven years into the program, an estimated 385,000 Mexican men were officially separated from their families. Such separations affected Mexican women badly as the Mexican law did not recognize women as heads of household, and thus provided no support to the women and their children (Rosas 2011).

References Alba, R., and Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Bickerton, M. (2000). Prospects for a bilateral immigration agreement with Mexico: Lessons from the Bracero program. Texas Law Review, 79(4): 24. Borjas, G. (1994). The Economics of immigration. Journal of Economic Literature, 32(December): 1667–1717.

The Bracero Program of the United States  295 Briggs, V. (1983). Non-immigrant labor policy in the United States. Journal of Economic Issues, 17(3): 609–630. Briggs, V., and Vernon, M. (1983). Non-immigrant labor policy in the United States. Journal of Economic Issues, 17(3): 609–630. Calavita, K. (1984). S. Immigration Law and the Control of Labor: 1820–1925. Washington (DC): Academic Press. Calavita, K. (1992). Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration and the INS. London: Routledge. Cohen, E. (2015). The political economy of immigrant time: Rights, citizenship, and temporariness in the post-1965 era. Polity, 47(3): 337–351. Cornelius, W. (1978). The structural embeddedness of demand for Mexican immigrant labor: New evidence from California. In M. Suarez-Orozco (ed.), Crossings: Mexican Immigration in Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 114–144). Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Daniels, R. (2005). Guarding the Golden Gate: American Immigration Policy and Immigrants since 1882. New York: Hill and Wang. De Genova, N., and Ramos-Zayas, A. (2003). Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto ­Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship. New York: Routledge. Donato, K. (1994). U.S. policy and Mexican migration to the United States, ­1942–1992. Social Science Quarterly, 75: 705–729. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-border labor mobility: The United States. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 203– 242). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Durand, J., Massey, D., and Capoferro, C. (2005). The new geography of Mexican immigration. In V. Zuniga and R. Hernández-León (eds.), New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States (pp. 1–22). New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Durand, J., Massey, D., and Zenteno, R. (2001). Mexican immigration to the United States: continuities and changes. Latin American Research Review, 36(2001): 107–127. Fernandez, L. (2010). Of immigrants and migrants: Mexican and Puerto Rican labor migration in comparative perspective, 1942–1964. Journal of American Ethnic History, 29(3): 51. Galarza, E. (1964). Merchants of labor: The Mexican Bracero story. San Jose (CA): ­McNally & Lofti. Gomberg-Muñoz, R. (2009). Not just Mexico’s problem: Labor migration from Mexico to the United States (1900–2000). Journal of Latino-Latin American Studies, 3(3): 2–18. Gutierrez, D. (1995). Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Identity. Berkeley (CA): University of California Press. Hernandez, K. (2006). The crimes and consequences of illegal immigration: a cross-border examination of Operation Wetback, 1943–1954. Western Historical Quarterly, 37(4): 421–443. Keely, C. (1979). Illegal migration. Scientific American, 246(3): 41–47. Kiser, G. (1972). Mexican American labor before World War II. Journal of Mexican American History, 2(Spring 1972): 122–142. Mandeel, E. (2014). The Bracero program 1942–1964. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4(1): 171–175. Martin, P. (2003). Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and Farm Workers. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press.

296  The world of guestworkers Martin, P. (2006). Managing Labor Migration: Temporary Worker Programs for the 21st Century. New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. UN/POP/MIG/SYMP/2006/07. Massey, D., Durand, J., and Malone, N. (2002). Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Mitchell, D. (2012). They Saved the Crops. Athens: University of Georgia Press. Muller, T. (1989). Immigration policy and economic growth. Yale Law & Policy ­Review, 7(1): 101–136. Ngai, M. (2000). Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. North, D., and Houstoun, M. (1976). The Characteristics and Role of Illegal Aliens in the U.S. Labor Market: An Exploratory Study. Washington (DC): Liriton and Co. Orozco, S. (2010). Harvest of Loneliness [DVD]. New York: Films Media Group. Palmunen, A. (2005). Learning from the mistakes of the past: An analysis of past and current temporary worker policies and their implications for a twenty-first century guest worker program. Kennedy School Review, Harvard University. Papademetriou, D., and Muller, T. (1987). Recent Immigration to New York: Labor ­Market and Social Policy Issues Report 70. Washington (DC): National Commission for Employment Policy. Passel, J., and Cohn, D. (2011). A Nation of Immigrants. Washington (DC): Pew ­H ispanic Research Center. RAND (2012). United States and Mexico: Ties That Bind, Issues That Divide. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Reichert, J., and Massey, D. (1982). Guest-worker Programs: Evidence from Europe and the United States and some implications for U.S. Policy. Population Research and Policy Review, 1(1): 1–17. Rosas, A. (2011). Breaking the silence: Mexican children and women’s confrontation of bracero family separation, 1942–1964. Gender and History, 23(2): 18. Suarez-Orozco, M. (Ed.). (1998). Crossings: Mexican Immigration in Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. Taylor, E. (1987). Undocumented Mexico U.S. migration and the returns to households in rural Mexico. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 69(3): 626–638. Vogel, R. (2007). Transient servitude: for the U.S. guest worker program for exploiting Mexican and Central American workers. Monthly Review, 58(8): 22.

16 Guestworker programs of Western Europe

Historically, Western Europe has been a major source of labor emigration.1 Between 1800 and 1930, approximately 50 million Europeans left home— most of them originated from Western Europe and landed in the United States, while others migrated to other parts of the world, such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Africa. During the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, numerous British, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Germans, and Dutch also migrated to the continents of Asia and Africa in connection with their colonization efforts (Ferenczi and Wilcox 1929; Ueda 2007). The European continent also experienced a large-scale intra-European mobility of labor during the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries when relatively more developed Western European countries imported millions of labor from relatively less-developed Southern and Eastern Europe. Many people in this part of Europe indeed viewed Western Europe as a viable alternative to transoceanic migration to the New World (Lafleur and Veira 2017).2 Intra-European labor mobility received further momentum after the World War II. During the war, most of the Western European nations suffered major casualties and lost most of their colonies, and although they brought back millions of their natives from colonies around the world, post-war reconstruction needs required them to seek additional labor from abroad. As a result, all Western European nations, except Germany, embarked on bilateral agreements with southeastern European countries to import guestworkers in the immediate aftermath of the war.3 But by the early 1950s however the traditional reservoir of labor from southeastern Europe failed to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for labor in Western Europe,4 largely because by then Western Europe had not only fully recovered from the devastations of the war, but also entered a new phase of economic prosperity. Between 1953 and 1958, industrial production of Western European countries increased by 30 percent on average, while growth rates were remarkably higher in France and Germany (Harris 1995). Meanwhile, f low of labor from eastern European countries also dried up because of the rise of the Iron Curtain that in the late 1940s divided Europe into pro-American and pro-Soviet blocs. DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-16

298  The world of guestworkers

Initially, Western European countries attempted to address the resultant labor shortage through market-oriented measures—by raising wages, improving working conditions, encouraging greater participation of women in labor force, and so on, but eventually they had to seek labor from outside Europe. Accordingly, all these nations—the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden— adopted their own variants of guestworker schemes to import temporary labor from outside Europe (Fassmann and Münz 1994). This chapter covers the guestworker programs of Western European countries by focusing on two of the largest programs that prevailed in post-WWII Germany and France. The next section provides a broad context of the program; Sections three and four explain the programs of Germany and France respectively; Section five sheds lights on the treatment of guestworkers; Section six explores the consequences of the program; and Section seven concludes the chapter.

A  Conceptual Context The Western Europe’s guestworker programs were carefully designed, orchestrated, and institutionalized. Major colonial powers geared their programs to their former colonies—Germany brought workers primarily from Turkey, France brought mainly from Algeria, and the UK relied mainly on the Indian subcontinent, while non-colonial northern European countries, such as Sweden and Switzerland, continued their dependence on Southern European countries—Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Guestworker programs were carefully designed—foreign workers were brought in under strict condition that they must return home after completion of their contracts, and the programs had built-in mechanisms to prevent any unauthorized stay. The programs were also founded on sound economic and political rationale. Employers loved it as it ensured adequate supply of cheap and motivated workers who could easily be laid off in times of economic downswing, and as it allowed them to delay or postpone investments in new and advanced technology. Domestic workers welcomed the program as guestworkers were employed mainly for the jobs that they were unwilling to take, and it also helped them to move upward in social hierarchy as better employments were reserved for them. Native populations loved the program as workers were brought strictly on a temporary basis, not as permanent migrants (Hatton and Williamson 2004). Governments also loved the program as temporary labor contracts could serve as a buffer to protect native workers in times of recession by keeping the country’s unemployment rate low. Labor-sending countries also loved the program as its workers’ remittances would help them to improve balance of payments, and repatriated workers would be an asset for their economic development and modernization (Castles and Kosack 1973). The guestworker programs thus expanded rapidly. Between the 1950s and the early 1970s, over 30 million migrant workers were rotated from the Mediterranean littoral—Italy, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Algeria, Morocco,

Absolute Number

% of Population 1.1 4.2 0.8 6.1 4.3 4.7 1.0 1.8 0.5 1.5

Absolute Number

  532 1,737   392   285   368   323   104   124

   16 4,113

  4,090   3,442   1,436   1,039    835    271    350    411     91     71 12,555

1975

1950

  6.6   6.5   2.6 16.4   8.5   3.6   2.6   5.0   1.8   1.8   3.9

% of Population   5,242   3,608   1,875   1,100    905    456    692    484    161    143 16,409

Absolute Number

1990

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 6.3 of Bonifazi et al. (2008, 114). Notes: *Estimated total of foreign population in all European countries, not only those listed in the table.

Germany (until 1990) France United Kingdom Switzerland Belgium Austria Netherlands Sweden Denmark Norway Total*

Countries

  8.2   6.3   3.2 16.3   9.1   5.9   4.6   5.6   3.1   3.4   4.6

% of Population

Table 16.1  Foreign population in selected European countries, 1950–2000 (selected years, in thousands)

  7,297   3,263   2,301   1,384    797    862    699    668    259    184 21,052

Absolute Number

2000

  8.9   5.6   3.9 19.3   8.4   8.7   4.2   5.4   4.9   4.1   6.2

% of Population

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  299

300  The world of guestworkers

Spain, and Portugal. At the time the program came to an end due to the Great Oil Shock that brought Europe’s economic boom to a grinding halt, the guestworker programs grew so massive in size that migrant workers came to represent about ten percent of the entire labor force of northwestern European countries (Reichert and Massey 1982). Many guestworkers, however, stayed back, and in due course, brought their families and settled down in the host countries, and as a result, between 1950 and 1975, the number of foreign population in Western Europe increased more than threefold—rose from 4 to 12.6 million (Martin 2006). As Table 16.1 indicates, the share of foreign populations reached 24 percent in Luxembourg, followed by Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, and the UK. In absolute numbers, the largest foreign population could be found in Germany, France, and the UK. Germany had 2.6 million guestworkers or 12 percent of its labor force, while France had 2.5 million guestworkers or nine percent of its entire population, and in the UK foreign population constituted 3.2 percent of its population. The German and French guestworkers programs have been elaborated below.5

B  German Gastarbeiter program Germany, a traditional non-immigrant ‘ethnic nation,’ had the largest guestworker program in the post-WWII Europe.6 Understandably, Germany’s labor problem was more acute than others in the region—after all, it suffered massive casualties during the war, and on top of that, the fertility rate of its population plummeted in the post-war period. Germany, however, did not feel the need to adopt guestworker programs in the immediate aftermath of the WWII as millions of Germans returned home from the occupied territories in various parts of world, especially from former Czechoslovakia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, and former Soviet Union. During WWII, Germany had a population of around 70 million—despite millions of war casualties, in 1950, the country’s population still stood at approximately 68 million. This occurred because after the war approximately 25 million migrants moved into Germany—10 to 12 million of them were displaced persons, and around 14 million were German refugees from the east (Schunka 2016). Moreover, in 1945, after former Soviet Union annexed eastern parts of Poland and pre-war Germany, about 1.5 million Poles immigrated to West Germany, and several hundred thousand East Germans did the same each year (Baganha et al. 2005). Eventually however Germany introduced its guestworkers program, called Gastarbeiter, in 1955, when the country signed an agreement with Italy. By 1960 the program was extended to two other southern European nations— Greece and Spain. The program however expanded rapidly after the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 that abruptly snapped away the inf lux of East German workers. Before the construction of the Wall, 200,000–300,000 East Germans entered into Germany each year, and most of them were in their early working age and spoke the same language.7

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  301

With the inf lows of labor from East Germany cut off, Germany then signed a series of guestworker agreements with Turkey (1961), Morocco (1963), Portugal (1964), Tunisia (1965), Yugoslavia (1968), and South Korea (1973) to import guestworkers (Dietz and Kaczmarczyk 2008). There were however some other factors that also contributed to the meteoritic expansion of Germany’s guestworker programs in the 1960s. First of all, the post-WWII Germany reduced its weekly working hours from 48 hours to 40 hours, which significantly cut down availability of working hours of the population. Second, the country’s labor force also shrunk because of post-WWII emphasis on baby boom that discouraged efforts to raise female labor force participation. Third, many Germans chose to stay longer in colleges and universities due to availability of greater educational opportunities. Fourth, many Germans also took advantage of the country’s rather generous post-war pension plans. And finally, policy makers of the country were also reluctant to venture into further mechanization and rationalization of economy fearing that such efforts could derail fragile economic recovery (Hansen 2003; Ritzen at al. 2017). Studies suggest that the Gastarbeiter program expanded rapidly as labor-­ sending countries readily renewed agreements and the guestworkers themselves also renewed their work permit multiple times. The number of guestworkers increased from 279,300 in 1960 to 1.3 million in 1966 as the government increased its quota for foreign employment from 1.3 to 6.3 percent of the country’s labor force during the same period. Germany also used its Gastarbeiter program as a buffer to protect native workers in times of recession by cutting back on foreign employment and increasing their numbers during the boom years. During the recession of 1966–1967, for example, German government cut back recruitment of foreign workers by about 500,000 (46 percent), while during the boom years of 1968–1973, the number of imported foreign workers increased by a million—­ from 1.6 to 2.6 million (Heckmann 2009). Steering of the guestworker program to such a scale was possible as the German Aliens Act, 1965, granted the authorities necessary discretionary powers to use work and residence permits of guestworkers as a maneuverable resource in order to control and regulate the program suiting the needs of the nation’s economy. Guestworkers were required to possess permits for both residence and work—work permits were granted only as long as there was no German applicant available for the same job, and residence permits were granted for a very limited period so that authorities could check regularly whether a guestworker still had valid permit for staying in the country (Hammar 1985, 185). Germany’s post-war era of full-employment however came to an abrupt end with the Great Oil Shock of 1973, which also brought an end to the postwar economic boom for all northwestern European countries. As the economy came to a grinding halt, Germany’s unemployment rate jumped from one to five percent, wages plummeted, standard of living fell, and domestic workers began demanding an end to the guestworker program. As a result,

302  The world of guestworkers

Germany declared Anwerbestopp (banned recruitment of foreign workers) in November 1973, at a time when out of seven million guestworkers in northwestern Europe, 2.6 million, approximately 12 percent, were employed in Germany alone (Dietz and Kaczmarczyk 2008). Germany employed guestworkers in wide-ranging activities—in factories to mines, service sector to agriculture, and construction works to teaching in schools. Labor unions apparently did not oppose such widespread deployment of foreign workers as guestworkers were admitted into the country and employed on the official certification that German workers were not available for such positions (Martin 2006). At the end however millions of guestworkers preferred not to return home, and many employers also developed greater stake in keeping foreign workers on the job as it saved them the cost of recruiting and training a replacement.8 Then, during the consolidation phase after 1973, many immigrants were joined by their relatives through family reunification programs. As a result, the proportion of foreigners in Germany increased from 1.2 percent in 1960 to 4.9 percent in 1970, and from 6.6 percent in 1975 to 8.2 percent in 1990— much of these changes emanated from the Gastarbeiter policy (see Table 16.1). The Gastarbeiter policy thus transformed Germany into an immigration country. Germans had been a significant source of immigrants for the US— between 1820 and 2013, of the 74 million immigrants landed in the US legally, more than eight percent originated from Germany alone.9 It was after the WWII that Germany had changed into an immigration nation first by absorbing millions of displaced Germans from all over Europe, and then by accepting millions of guestworkers from the Mediterranean region. In the contemporary Germany, the four largest foreign Diasporas are the Turks, the Italians, the Polish, and the Greek. In 1973, when guestworker programs ended, approximately three million foreigners (mostly Turks) lived in Germany, a country with an overall population of slightly less than 60 million. The largest Diaspora, the Turkish, now constitutes 14 percent of foreign-­born population in Germany—a direct consequence of the guestworker program (Schunka 2016). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and revolutionary political changes that occurred in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, and with the massive refugee crisis of 2014–2016, the share of foreign population in Germany has risen further. Studies suggest that between 2007 and 2016, permanent migrant stocks in Germany increased by 534 percent—the largest among all developed countries in the world, and the share of foreign-born population in Germany increased from 12.8 to 15.5 percent during the same period (Dowlah 2020, 243–250).

C  French guestworker program France was among the firsts among Western European countries to introduce guestworker programs—it signed an agreement with Italy as early as

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  303

in 1946 to import temporary workers for its reconstruction. During the 1950s through the 1960s, France expanded its guestworker programs to other Southern European countries as well as to its former colonies—Algeria, Tunisia, and M ­ orocco—and imported more than one million guestworkers from its largest colony Algeria alone (Bonifazi et al. 2008, 115). On top of that, more than 90,000 French-born Algerians migrated to France just in one year after Algeria’s independence in 1962, adding 1.6 percent to the country’s labor force and 1.9 percent to its population (Hatton and Williamson 2007). In the 1960s, France also imported 150,000 seasonal workers from Spain—many of these workers were recruited directly by French employers who paid for their transportation and housing and regularized them with government authorities at a later point (Hansen 2003). Also, of more than 1.2 million Portuguese workers who moved abroad between 1965 and 1974, more than 60 percent landed in France (Baganha et al. 2005). Most of the guestworkers of France however originated from its former colonies in northern Africa—apparently they could freely migrate to France during the colonial period. France indeed tried to restrict immigration from former colonies in the 1960s, but such measures were largely ineffective. During 1946–1968, France experienced large-scale immigration from the Maghreb region—Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia—and the number of migrants increased more than 32 times during the period—jumped to 1.3 million from around 40,000. During the same period, Algerian labor migration to France increased by more than 48 times (see Table 16.2). Many of them however entered France illegally and stayed illegally until they were legalized either through employment or through the legalization programs. While all other guestworker programs of Western Europe came to a grinding halt in 1973, France halted its guestworker program in July 1974, mainly to recruit seasonal workers to support southern French’s labor-intensive agriculture (Berlan 1984). In 1977, France had approximately 1.6 million guestworkers, of which the five largest sources were Algeria (more than 20 percent), Portugal (19 percent), Spain (about 13 percent), Italy (12.5 percent), and Morocco (around nine percent) (see Table 16.3). The guestworker programs had profound effects on France’s demographic configurations. Like Germany and other guestworker-sponsoring countries, many guestworkers of France also did not return home; rather, they stayed Table 16.2  Labor migration from the Maghreb countries to France, 1946–1968 Year

Algerians

Moroccans

Tunisians

Total

1946 1954 1962 1968 Total

22,114 211,675 350,484 473,812 1,058,085

16,458 10,734 33,320 84,236 144,748

1,916 4,800 26,589 61,028 94,333

40,488 227,209 410,393 619,076 1,297,166

Source: Based on Table 13 of Potts (1990, 134) and Table 7 of Dowlah (2020, 149).

304  The world of guestworkers Table 16.3  Guestworkers in France and West Germany in 1977 (% of total workforce) Source Country

France

% of France Germany Labor Force

% of German Labor Force

Algeria Morocco Tunisia Turkey Greece Yugoslavia Spain Portugal Italy Total

  331,110   152,300    73,000    31,200   n/a    42,200   204,000   306,700   199,200 1,584,300

20.9   9.6   4.6   2.0   n/a   2.7 12.9 22.8 12.6

  n/a   n/a   n/a 27.2   9.2 20.1   5.7   3.3 14.3

    1,400    15,600    12,000   527,500   178,800   390,100   111,000    63,600   276,400 1,937,100

Source: Based on Table 2 of Miller and Martin (1982) and Table 7.2 of Dowlah (2020, 150).

back and brought their family members through family reunification programs. As a result, between 1950 and 1975, the share of foreign population in France’s total population increased from 4.2 to 6.5 percent (see Table 16.1). In 2011, about 7.4 million foreign-born people lived in France, about 11.6 percent of the country’s total population—more than 30 percent of them were migrants from the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco. Immigration f lows to France have long been dominated by family reunification related to its guestworker programs—in 2011, and only about 11.4 percent of immigration inf lows to France took place on the ground of third-country nationals seeking work in France (Rica et al. 2013). During the Refugee Crisis of 2014–2016, France was only second to Germany as the preferred destination of asylum seekers—about nine percent of them sought refuge in France. Due to guestworkers program as well as recent Refugee Crisis, France also has one of the largest concentrations of Muslims in entire ­Europe—in 2016, Muslims constituted about nine percent of French population.10

D  Treatment of guestworkers Unlike in the US, where braceros were almost exclusively employed in agriculture, guestworkers in Western European countries were employed in wide-ranging activities. As Table 16.4 indicates, guestworkers were also employed in service sectors, transports, commerce, construction, and industry. The shares of guestworkers in the service sector ranged from 15 percent in Germany to 20 percent in France to 27 percent in Switzerland, and their share in industry ranged from 39 percent in France to 45 percent in Switzerland, and more than 60 percent in Germany. Despite such a dominant share in the labor force, apparently guestworkers were viewed as disposable labor power—they were imported as long as there was a demand and sent home during economic downswings. Studies suggest that not much efforts were made to integrate guestworkers into the

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  305 Table 16.4  Share of guestworkers in employment in selected European countries, 1976 (% of total employment)

Agriculture Industry Building Commerce Services Transport

France

Germany

Switzerland

  5.7  38.7 26.8   6.6   19.7   2.5

  1.0 62.6 11.2   6.1 15.2 n/a

  1.0 45.0  11.5 13.3 27.0   2.6

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 3 of Martin and Miller (1980).

host societies—they were rather kept apart from the native population, often housed in barracks, and not allowed to bring their families; their geographic and occupational mobility was restricted; and they were barred from full participation in social welfare programs (Castles and Kosack 1973; Krane 1979). Also, guestworkers in general received lower wages compared with native workers—even unemployment benefits to natives often equaled or exceeded the wages paid to guestworkers. Moreover, certain positions in Western European societies acquired stigma due to their association with foreign laborers, although some of those were highly paid jobs in automobile, construction, and steel industries, especially in France and Germany (Martin 2006). At the end however many guestworkers, estimated to be around threefourths or two-thirds of all, stayed back, brought their families, and become permanent residents in their host countries. Also, the longer they stayed, the less they could be denied of basic human rights and hence integration into the society. After all, Western European countries could not rotate workers in inhuman ways that some other countries such as the Middle Eastern oil-rich countries could (Dietz and Kaczmarczyk 2008).

E  Decline and consequences Massive guestworker programs of the Western Europe, under which over 30 million workers were rotated from scores of countries, came to an abrupt end in 1973. Forced by the Great Oil Shock, consequent recession throughout the Western world, combined with rising domestic social and economic tensions, Germany halted its guestworker program by the end of 1973, and France and Switzerland followed the suit by mid-1974. There can be little doubt that millions of guestworkers from South and Eastern Europe as well as former European colonies in Asia and Africa played instrumental roles in post-WWII economic recovery and subsequent economic expansion of Western European countries. At the same time, another remarkable consequence of the program has been that millions of guestworkers did not return home. They instead settled down, brought their families, became immigrants, and thus, transformed Western European countries into multiethnic societies.

306  The world of guestworkers

By the time the guestworker programs ran its course, migrant workers constituted about ten percent of the entire labor force in host countries, and during the tenure of such programs, the number of foreign-born population in Western Europe increased more than threefold. The share of foreign-born population kept increasing even after the end of guestworker programs. Due mainly to family reunification and fresh immigration—foreign-born population in the region increased from 12.5 million in 1975 to 16.4 million in 1990, and 21 million in 2000. Thus, in the five decades between 1950 and 2000, foreign-born population in Western Europe increased more than fivefold (see Table 16.1). Following the suspension of guestworker programs, several Western ­European countries, finding it politically difficult and morally unjustifiable to deport their former guestworkers, or bar reunification of their families from abroad, adopted new policies to encourage the return of former guestworkers, but those inducements largely failed (Martin 1979). As a result, immigrant population grew enormously. As Table 16.5 indicates, the share of foreign-born population in France increased to 12.5 percent in 2015, and most immigrants hail from Algeria (19 percent), Morocco (12 percent), and Portugal (8.5 percent). In Germany, the share of foreign-born population increased to 15.5 percent in 2017, where the largest source was Turkey (14 percent), followed by Poland (10.6 percent) and Russia (9.4 percent). In the UK, the share of foreign-born population increased to 12.2 percent in 2017, where the largest Diaspora originated from India (nine percent), Poland (eight percent), and Pakistan (six percent). Since the abolition of the guestworker programs, several Western European countries have also adopted policies to better integrate former guestworkers and their families into the social and economic fabrics of their societies, but the outcome has been mixed at best. Recent studies on three countries with the largest foreign-born population—France, Germany, and the UK—have found that most of the immigrant groups have significantly lower employment rates than their native counterparts (Rica et al. 2013). Table 16.5  F  oreign-born population and their share in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom in 2011 Country

Share Foreign-Born in Main Countries of Origin Total Population in 2011

France

11.6%

Germany

13.1%

United 11.7% Kingdom

Share Foreign-Born in Total Population in 2017

Algeria (18.9%), Morocco 12.5% (2015) (12.2%), Portugal (8.5%) Turkey (14%), Poland 15.5% (10.6%), Russia (9.4%) India (9.2%), Poland 14.2% (8.3%), Pakistan (5.9%)

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 1 of Rica et al. (2013) and Table 10.2 of Dowlah (2020, 250).

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  307

In France, this is particularly the case for African and Eastern European immigrants, for whom the employment gap was between 16 and 18 percentage points during 2005–2007. For immigrant women, employment rate had been worse—it was 45 percentage points lower for Turkish women compared to their native counterparts. Studies also found that immigrants did not fare better in terms of wages as well—median wages in France, Germany, and Sweden were found to be around 7–10 percent lower for immigrants than the natives (Algan et al. 2010).

F  Concluding remarks Following the deaths and destructions of the WWII, several Western European countries adopted guestworker programs to import temporary labor from their former colonies as well as Southern and Eastern European countries, and during the course of these programs, that ended in the early 1970s, over 30 million workers were rotated. Unlike the Bracero Program of the US, which employed Mexican workers mainly in farms, the guestworker programs of Western Europe drew workers from various parts of the world and deployed them in wide-ranging economic activities from agriculture to industry to service sectors. But like the US, Western European countries also found it extremely difficult to maintain temporary character of the guestworker programs. An overwhelming majority of their guestworkers chose to settle down in the host countries, and eventually they brought their families as well by taking advantage of the processes of family reunification and family-formation. The longer they stayed, the harder it became politically and morally to deny them basic human rights and integration into society. At the end, the guestworker programs of Western Europe also showed that there was nothing temporary about temporary labor. Massive guestworker programs helped Western European countries to recover from war-time destruction and sustain post-war recovery for more than two decades, but during the process, their demographics and ethnic configurations have also changed quite dramatically. They have indeed been transformed from nations of emigration into nations of immigration, and multi-ethnic composition of their populations will most certainly continue to have far-reaching effects on their social and moral fabrics as well as economic and political policies in the future.

Notes 1 The contemporary European continent consists of four geographical regions: (a) Eastern and Central Europe—comprising Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, and Ukraine; (b) Northern Europe—comprising current Channel Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland;

308  The world of guestworkers (c) Western Europe—comprising Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and Switzerland; and (d) Southern Europe—comprising Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Gibraltar, Greece, Holy See, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In this study, Western Europe refers to Western and Northern Europe. 2 Between 1876 and 1920, about 15 million Italians emigrated, but about half of them—6.8 million—went to Western European countries. Similarly, West ­European industrialization in the nineteenth century resulted in large-scale intra-­European labor migration. Between 1870 and 1914, several Western European countries, such as Germany, France and Switzerland developed temporary labor recruitment systems, and made considerable efforts to prevent temporary workers from settling in their countries. During the period, up to 2.4 million Polish workers migrated to Germany as seasonal workers and helped build the mines and steelworks of the Ruhr. But they were forced to leave the country for a certain period of time each year so that they could not claim long-term settlement rights. For greater details see Lafleur and Veira (2017), Castles (1986), and Castles and Kosack, (1973). 3 As discussed below, post-WWII Germany introduced guestworkers program in 1955. 4 Supply of guestworkers from Southern Europe, however, had been substantial— Northwestern Europe imported over 2.3 million Italians by the 1960s, over 1.5 million Spaniards during 1956–1971, and about 1.2 million Portuguese during 1965–1974 (Akgündüz 2012). 5 The case of the UK is not discussed in greater details here mainly because of most of the migrant workers of the country came as migrants, not as guestworkers. The UK however had something called European Voluntary Worker Scheme, but it was geared recruitment to refugee camps and prevented temporary workers from settling down in the country. For greater details see Castles (1986). 6 Germany however had a long experience with guestworker programs. During the country’ industrialization in the nineteenth century it imported more than two million Polish workers as seasonal workers, and forced them to leave the country for a certain period of time each year so that they could not settle down in Germany. Also, the Nazi Germany had developed the largest and most exploitative temporary labor program in the entire history of Europe to fuel its war economy. For greater details see Castles and Kosack (1973). 7 The total migration from East Germany (known as German Democratic Republic) stood around approximately 2.7 million before the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 (Schunka 2016). 8 Under the provisions of the guestworker program, employers could also directly hire foreigners as guestworkers without requiring them to come through government-­to-government bilateral agreements. Apparently, many German employers recruited many Turk and Yugoslav tourists taking advantage of this provision, which helped them to save other costs of importing labor from the country of origin of the workers (Miller and Martin 1982). 9 Germans were also dominant among the original settlers in the United States. Between 1880 and 1994, while 6.1 million British immigrated to the United States, the number of Germans stood at 4.3 million. During the same period, 3.2 million immigrated from Austria-Hungary and 0.3 million emigrated from Switzerland—many of them were Germans. For greater details, see Tables 9.2 and 9.3 of Dowlah (2020, 208–211). Germans also migrated in large numbers throughout Europe, including Imperial Russia (Livi-Bacci 2012). 10 Based on Table 8.5 (p. 188) and Table 8.7 (p. 195) of Dowlah (2020).

Guestworker programs of Western Europe  309

References Akgündüz, A, (2012). Guest worker migration in post-war Europe (1946–1974): An analytical appraisal. In M. Martiniello and J. Rath (eds.), An Introduction to International Migration Studies. European Perspectives (pp. 181–209). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Algan, Y., Dustmann, C., Glitz, A., and Manning, A. (2010). The economic situation of first and second-generation immigrants in France, Germany, and the UK. Economic Journal, 120(2010): 4–30. Baganha, M., Gois, P., and Pereira, P. (2005). International migration from and to Portugal: What do we know and where are we going? In K. Zimmermann (ed.), European Migration: What Do We Know? (pp. 415–457). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Berlan, J. (1984). Labor in Southern French agriculture. In P. Martin (ed.), Migrant Labor in Agriculture: An International Comparison (pp. 61–71). Berkeley (CA): Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Bonifazi, C., Okólski, M., Schoorl, J., and Simon, P. (Eds). (2008). International Migration in Europe: New Trends and New Methods of Analysis. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Castles, S. (1986). The guest-worker in Western Europe – An obituary. The International Migration Review, 20(4): 761–778. Castles, S., and Kosack, G. (1973). Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe. London: Oxford University Press. Dietz, B., and Kaczmarczyk, P. (2008). On the demand side of international labor mobility. The structure of the German Labor Market as a casual factor of seasonal Polish migration. In C Bonifazi et al. (eds.), International Migration in Europe: New Trends and New Methods of Analysis (pp. 37–64). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-border labor mobility: Europe. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 169–202). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Fassmann, H., and Münz, R. (1994). European east-west migration, 1945–1992. International Migration Review, 28(3): 520–538. Ferenczi, L., and Wilcox, W. (1929). International Migrations, Vol. 1. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research. Frey, M., and Mammey, U. (1996). Germany. In L. Kosinski (ed.), Impact of Migration in the Receiving Countries. Geneva: International Organization of Migration. Hammar, T. (Ed.). (1985). European Immigration Policy: A Comparative Study. New York: Cambridge University Press. Hansen, R. (2003). Migration to Europe since 1945: Its history and its lessons. Political Quarterly, 74(1): 25–38. Harris, N. (1995). The New Untouchable: Immigration and the New World worker. London: I. B. Tauris Publishers. Hatton, T., and Williamson, J. (2007). The impact of immigration: Comparing two global eras. World Development, 36(3): 345–361. Hatton, T., and Williamson, J. (2004). International migration in the long-run: Positive selection, negative selection and policy. NBER Working Paper 10529. Washington (DC).

310  The world of guestworkers Heckmann, F. (2009). Guest worker programs and circular migration: What works? Immigration Paper Series No. 9. German Marshall Fund of the United States. Washington D.C. Krane, R. (Ed.), (1979). International Labor Migration in Europe. New York: Praeger. Lafleur, J., and Veira, A. (2017). South-North labor migration within the crisis-­ affected European Union: New patterns, new contexts and new challenges. Chapter 11 in J. Lafleur and M. Stanek (eds.), South-North Migration of EU Citizens in Times of Crisis, IMISCOE Research Series (pp. 193–214). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Livi-Bacci, M. (2012). A Short History of Migration. Translated by Carl Ipsen. Malden (MA): Polity Press. Martin, P. (1979). Guestworker programs: Lessons from Europe. Paper Prepared for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. Martin, P. (2006). Managing labor migration: Temporary worker program for the 21st century. International symposium on international migration and development. UN/POP/MIG/SYMP/2006/07. Martin, P., and Miller, M. (1980). Guestworkers: Lessons from Western Europe. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 33(3): 315–330. Miller, M., and Martin, P. (1982). Administering Foreign Worker Programs. Lexington (MA): Lexington Books. Reichert, J., and Massey, D. (1982). Guestworker programs: Evidence from Europe and the United States and some implications for U.S. Policy. Population Research and Policy Review, 1(1): 1–17. Rica, S., Glitz, A., and Ortega, F. (2013). Immigration in Europe: Trends, policies and empirical evidence. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7778. November. Ritzen, J., Haas, J., and Kahaneck, M. (2017). EU mobility. IZA Policy Paper No. 125. Schunka, A. (2016). Migrations in the German lands: An introduction. In J. Coy, et al. (eds.), Migrations in the German Lands, 1500–2000 (pp. 1–34). Boston (MA): Berghahn Books. Ueda, R. (2007). Immigration in global historical perspective. In M. Waters and R. Ueda (eds.), New Americans (pp. 14–18). Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

17 Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States

This chapter focuses on the temporary migrant labor programs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that comprises of six countries—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Coincidentally, while the guestworker programs of Europe came to a grinding halt because of the Great Oil Shock of the early 1970s, the countries that were behind the shock—the oil-exporting countries of the GCC ­region—embraced similar programs around the same time to import millions of temporary migrant workers for their oil exploration and infrastructural development.1 Between 1975 and 2017, in the course of just four decades, the stock of migrants in the region increased from about 2 to 32 million, making it the largest destination of temporary migrant labor in the world, and the third largest destination of migrant population in the world next to North America and Europe (ILO 2018). But unlike the Bracero Program of the United States or the guestworker programs of Western Europe, which were conducted through government-­ to-government bilateral agreements, temporary migrant labor programs of the GCC, known as the Kafala system, are employer-driven systems.2 Under the system, foreign workers are described as ‘temporary contractual labor,’ not as guestworkers or migrant labors, and the workers’ tenure, return and repatriation, working conditions, and wages and benefits all depend on employers (Winckler 2010). Under the Kafala system, governments play minimal roles in the recruitment, transportation, and employment of temporary foreign workers. Instead, licensed employers import migrant workers either directly or through their intermediaries, and treat them as disposable labor—they import them whenever they need and expel them whenever they do not need. The system entails almost complete ‘privatization of migrant governance’ (Vora 2010) under which an elaborate network of private recruiters, brokers, and intermediaries commercialize migrant visas often seriously compromising the well-being of migrant workers (Baldwin-Edwards 2011). Migrant workers are employed in wide-ranging economic activities but essentially in low-paying and low-skill jobs, and predominantly in the DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-17

312  The world of guestworkers

private sector. The system serves ruling monarchs well to consolidate their power under the Gulf variant of capitalism by ensuring continuous supply of migrant labor for oil exports and infrastructural development (Hanieh 2011). Despite repeated attempts made by human rights organizations and international bodies, such as the United Nations, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the US State Department, the use of coercive methods—such as requiring migrant workers to surrender their passports to the employers, restricting mobility of migrant workers, and human trafficking—are but too common in the region (Hertog 2014; ITUC 2017).3 The chapter is organized as follows: the next section sheds light on the evolution of the Kafala system in the Gulf States; Section three focuses on the treatment of migrant workers in the region; Section four explains some of the consequences of the system; and Section five concludes the chapter.

A  Evolution and development Although the Gulf region discovered massive crude oil reserves as early as in the 1930s, the region emerged as a dominant oil exporter only following the Great Oil Shock of 1973, when oil-producing cartel—the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)—raised oil prices fourfold overnight holding hostage heavily oil-dependent Western developed countries who had little option not to pay the price. By the mid-1970s, soaring oil revenues came to dominate state budgets of all GCC countries—the share rose up to 90 percent in Saudi Arabia and up to 88 percent in Kuwait. Much of these budgetary expenditures were directed at building of massive infrastructures, plants, military and civilian airfields, hospitals, and educational institutions, which required a huge number of workers in the scarcely populated region. In 1975, Saudi Arabia’s population totaled 4.6 million, Kuwait had only half-a-million, Bahrain had less than 200,000, and Qatar had only about 45,000 people. Even by the end of the 1970s, the native population of the GCC region was just about seven million (Dowlah 2020, 156). The Gulf States thus embarked on massive programs of importing temporary migrant workers from other developing countries, and in just five years, between 1976 and 1980, imports of migrant workers in the region swelled from 1.6 to 2.8 million. Saudi Arabia imported more than one million foreign workers, Libya came second with 545,000 workers, while the UAE imported 411,000, and Kuwait imported 378,700 (Potts 1990, 158). The imports of migrant workers was so massive that three of the Gulf States—Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE—had more foreigners in their countries than their native populations. Most of these workers came from the neighboring countries—Egypt alone supplied about 700,000 workers, while other labor-sending countries were Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, India, and Pakistan (see Table 17.1).

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  313 Table 17.1  M igrant Workers in Arab Countries, 1980 Country of Origin

Number of Workers

Country of Origin

Number of Workers

Egypt Pakistan South Yemen India Palestine Sudan Yemen Total

695,650 371,630 336,145 280,450 250,350   89,220   83,845

Syria Other Arabs Lebanon Iraq and Jordan Oman Somalia Others

   83,150    66,520    61,050    44,760    33,450    19,700   405,800 2,821,720.00

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 13 of Potts (1990, 158); Table 7.4 of Dowlah (2020, 158), and ILO (1984).

During the next two decades, there had been a remarkable shift in the sourcing of migrant workers as geopolitical matters came to play a role. While in the 1970s, GCC countries largely relied on neighboring Arab countries, which shared their own linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions, in the 1980s through the 1990s, they increasingly directed their labor imports toward the South and East Asian countries.4 As a result, the share of Arabs in the migrant population of the region decreased from 72 percent in 1975 to 56 percent in 1985 and then to 31 percent in 1996 (Kapiszewski 2006, 9).5 On the other hand, by 2005, the f low of migrant workers from Asian countries exceeded those of Arab countries as countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Nepal emerged as major sources of migrant workers. As Table 17.2 indicates, the share of South and East Asian countries in the GCC labor force increased to 81 percent in Bahrain, 65 percent in Kuwait, more than 90 percent in Oman, 46 percent in Qatar, 60 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 87 percent in the UAE. Studies suggest that such a dramatic shift in the sourcing of migrant labor was driven by political and economic calculations on the part of the monarchies who were worried about leftist, secularist, and anti-­colonialist sentiments of Arab workers. Apparently, many of these workers were critical of political and economic structures of the Gulf States, and sympathized with the pan-Arab ideas that viewed the borders of the Middle East as artificial lines drawn by Western imperialists, and espoused for a single Arab nation. The monarchs of the Gulf States apparently believed that migrant workers from Asian sources would be less interested in political processes of the GCC region, could be paid less, and would be more manageable and more productive compared with their Arab counterparts (Hanieh 2011; Baldwin-Edwards 2011). Such sentiments of the monarchs were in full display during the first Gulf War (1989), following which the f lows of migrant workers from South

314  The world of guestworkers Table 17.2  Composition of migrant labor force in the GCC region, 2005 Country

Source of Labor

Absolute Number

% of Labor Force

Bahrain

Total Arab Asian Others Total Arab Asian Others Total Arab Asian Others Total Arab Asian Others Total Arab Asian Others Total Arab Asian Others

  306,000    38,000   245,000    23,000 1,302,000   403,000    861,000    48,000   605,000    34,000    559,000    12,000   315,034    126,013   144,915     44,106 4,894,000  1,527,000 2,902,000   465,000 2,738,000   238,000 2,386,000    114,000

58.58 12.42 80.07   7.51 81.70 30.95 65.36   3.69 66.13   5.61 92.40   1.99 56.69 40.07 45.64 14.29 64.57 31.2 59.3   9.5 82.26   8.71 87.14   4.15

Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

UAE

Source: Author’s compilation based on Baldwin-Edwards (2011, 25). Note: ‘Asian’ refers to migrants from South and East Asian countries, and ‘others’ refers to both Arab and non-Arab migrant workers.

and East Asian countries accelerated. Then, during the second Gulf War (1991), Saudi Arabia expelled more than one million Yemenis as the Yemeni government extended its support to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Similarly, Kuwait expelled over 200,000 Jordanians and 150,000 Palestinians as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) supported the Iraqi invasion (Yalcin 2015). The vacuums resulted from such large-scale deportations were quickly filled with migrants from South Asian countries—India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. By the end of the 1990s, out of an approximately 12.5 million migrant workers employed in the GCC region, the largest source was India (3.6 million), followed by Pakistan (1.7 million), Bangladesh (about one million), Sri Lanka (over 700,000), and the Philippines (about 700,000) (Dowlah 2020, 159–160; Rahman 2010).6 By the 2000s, the Gulf region has emerged as the largest destination of temporary migrant workers in the world, and the largest home of foreign population only next to the US and Europe. In 2017, the region had an estimated 32 million foreign migrants—over ten percent of all migrants in the world (Dowlah 2020, 250), and in 2019, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  315

were among the top ten countries that had the largest migrant populations in the world (UNDESA 2019). As Table 17.3 indicates, in 2017, foreign-born population comprised more than 88 percent of domestic population in the UAE, 65 percent in Qatar, 56 percent in Kuwait, 48 percent in Bahrain, and 37 ­percent in Saudi Arabia. As Table 17.3 shows, between 1990 and 2017, the share of female migrant workers has also increased from 59 to 88 percent in the UAE, from 46 to 58 percent in Kuwait, and from 42 to 58 percent in Qatar. The share of female migrants in the GCC region had thus surpassed all previous records in guestworker programs—the share of female migrants in the guestworker programs of Western Europe was around 30 percent, while the Bracero Program of the US was an all-male program. Even during the previous round of coerced labor—the indentured servitude—­the share of female migrants had been less than 20 percent. Moreover, in the contemporary world, females comprise less than half of international migrants—in 2019, their share was 47.9 percent, compared with 49.1 percent in 2000 (UNDESA 2019).7

B  Treatment of migrant workers As mentioned above, the Kafala system serves as the central legal framework for all labor migration to the GCC region. Migrants can work in the region only if they have a native sponsor/employer (Kafeel) who assumes full legal and economic responsibility during their stay in these countries.8 Under the system that evolved in the 1950s, coinciding with large-scale imports of migrant workers for oil exploration, Kafeels recruit migrant workers directly or through their intermediaries with permits granted by the state. Table 17.3  M igrant stock as a share of total population and the share of female migrants in the Gulf region, 1990–2017 Countries

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

2015

2017

Bahrain Female Kuwait Female Oman Female Qatar Female Saudi Arabia Female UAE Female

34.9   5.5 19.4 46.3 16.8   7.7 65.0 53.2 30.6 23.3 70.2 58.6

36.5   4.9 20.1 48.9 24.5 13.6 70.4 52.4 27.3 20.5 74.5 62.5

36.0   4.5 21.4 43.0 27.5 13.6 60.7 41.5 25.3 18.5 77.6 67.2

45.4   3.9 19.0 44.5 26.5 12.7 74.7 52.6 27.2 19.2 71.6 65.5

53.0   3.2 18.9 44.4 26.8 13.0 81.8 58.1 30.7 20.8 88.5 87.9

51.3   2.8 33.7 58.4 43.2 21.3 68.0 44.4 34.1 24.2 87.3 82.3

48.4   2.7 31.9 56.8 44.7 21.0 65.2 42.1 37.0 27.2 88.4 81.2

Source: Author’s compilation based on Table 3 of UN Population Division and DESSA. December 2017 issue. Note: Female International Migrants stock as a percentage of the total population.

316  The world of guestworkers

The relationships between the workers, the employers, and the authorities are regulated by the Kafala, which operates essentially as a privatized foreign employment recruitment system under which it is the Kafeel, not the state, who provides the worker with a job and a visa, and the Kafeel remains responsible for any changes in the employment or residence of migrant workers during their stay in the host country.9 The Kafala systems hardly vary in the region—they all grant temporary resident status to migrant workers and protect native labor force from unintended competition. The system has apparently served the region well by ensuring a continuous supply of temporary migrant labor for many decades. As mentioned above, the number of migrant workers in the region has increased from 1.3 million in 1975 to over 22 million in 2017. Migrant workers have, however, no right to stay back, most of them cannot bring their family members, and they have no right to invest in the host country, although they have guaranteed right to remit their earnings back home (Naufal and Termos 2009). The Kafala system has long been criticized for being responsible for significant vulnerabilities of migrant workers. First, privatization of recruitment of foreign workers has generated a multi-million-dollar visa trading business in both labor-sending and -receiving countries. The system allows GCC nationals to obtain state permit to import a certain number of ­workers—they can use those for their own businesses or sell to other employers for profit. Over the course of time, such commercialization has degenerated into clandestine operations and corrupt practices with the involvement of recruitment agents and intermediaries as well as government officials in both labor-­sending and -receiving countries. Studies suggest that irregularities and abuses involved in all stages of the migration process have made migrants and their families vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.10 Second, private recruitment agencies (PRAs) and brokers and intermediaries involved in recruitment of migrant workers often do not explain the terms of employment to the migrant workers,11 and as migrant workers’ immigration status—their entry, residence, and exit—entirely depends on their sponsors, the employers often exploit them during their stay in host countries. They usually restrict mobility of migrant workers by requiring them to surrender their passports and other documents upon their arrival, and subject them to servitude and slavery-type treatment when they sell employees to others without migrants’ consent and withheld their passports to prevent any possible escape ( Jarallah 2009; Shah 2004). Third, the legal framework of the GCC countries grants few rights to migrant workers while explicitly protecting employers. The contracts are legally binding—once arrived, a migrant worker cannot leave before completion of his/her contract period. Migrants are required to work only for the sponsor, and they are not legally permitted to switch from one employer to another without the current employer’s explicit authorization.12

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  317

Female migrants are especially vulnerable to such lack of legal protection—most of them are employed in domestic works, which fall outside the purview of labor laws of the region. Also, migrant workers are temporary aliens—they lack any right to adjust their immigration status or obtain citizenship. Most of them are not even allowed to bring their families or own property. (ITUC 2017; Fargues et al. 2019). Segregation of employment

Percent of employment

The GCC countries—through both direct and indirect measures—have institutionalized a segregated labor market under which a distinction between the nationals and migrant workers is maintained systemically (Surak 2018). Programs like ‘Emiratization’ or ‘Saudization’ promote the employment of citizens in the public sector (in state services) and ban migrant workers from such employment, and migrant workers are overwhelmingly directed to low-skill construction, manufacturing, and services jobs of the private sector.13 In 2017–2018, for example, public sector employment of GCC nationals ranged up to 95 percent, while employment of migrant workers in private sector ranged up to 99 percent (see Figure 17.1). Such institutionalization of segregated employment patterns has also been strengthened further by reserving free access to socio-economic benefits and public services such as education and healthcare for the nationals, while denying such rights and benefits to migrants (Thiollet 2019). The GCC States pursue such policies apparently to consolidate citizen supports behind the ruling monarchs and promote the Gulf variant of capitalism (Hanieh 2011).

120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Bahrain

Kuwait

Oman

Saudi Arabia

Qatar

UAE

Private Sector Share of nationals

Private Sector Share of migrants

Public Sector Share of nationals

Public Sector Share of migrants

Figure 17.1  Share of migrants and natives in private sector and public sector employments in Gulf States, 2017–2018. Source: Author’s compilation based on Thiollet (2019, 20).

318  The world of guestworkers Agriculture Secondary Construcon

Percentage Share

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Services Construcon and Services

Saudi Arabia

UAE

Kuwait

Qatar

Bahrain

Figure 17.2  Sectoral share of migrants’ employment in Gulf States, 2009. Source: Author’s compilation based on Baldwin-Edwards (2011).

Most of the migrant workers in the GCC countries are deployed in construction and services sectors which command between 82 and 92 percent of employment in the region (see Figure 17.2). Migrant workers toil for roads and buildings, factories and offices, food production and domestic service, hotels and restaurants, hospitals and airports, and so on. Studies also suggest that migrant workers face both formal and informal discrimination. For example, they often receive lower wages, and are trapped into appalling living and working conditions. They are also subjected to discriminatory housing policies and are often openly discriminated in public spaces such as streets, squares, and shopping malls. On top of that, police in the region are notoriously accustomed to working along gender, racial, and class lines. Although slavery is illegal in all GCC States, many migrant workers live in slave-like conditions and are often subjected to physical and verbal harassment as well (Colton 2010; Thiollet 2011). Treatment of domestic workers Nowhere in the Gulf region have employment conditions of migrant workers been more appalling than in the domestic service sector. Demand for domestic service has grown rapidly in the region due to a sharp rise in the wealth and standard of living of the people. Between 1995 and 2017, the number of domestic workers more than tripled in the region, increasing from 1.1 to 3.4 million (ILO 2018). In 2014, Kuwait had 620,539 domestic workers, followed by Oman (160,998), Qatar (154,000), and Bahrain (105,203), and Saudi Arabia had 828,425 domestic workers in 2012 (HRW 2014). Most of the domestic workers in the region are females. In 2017, the Gulf States hosted 23 million migrant workers, of which nine million (39 percent) were female and more than 70 percent of them were employed as domestic

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  319

workers. Most of them originated from Asian and African countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Egypt (ILO 2018). The same year, only 5.3 percent of migrant workers around the world were females. What is still more remarkable in the GCC region is that although a significantly large proportion of females are employed in the domestic sector, this sector remains outside the purview of the labor laws in all these countries as domestic service has long been considered non-market activity. Also, recruitment for domestic work is largely based on social relations, political beliefs, and social formation, not on any particular skill (Gardner et al. 2013; ITUC 2017). Moreover, domestic workers’ entry and stay have solely been left with discretion of their sponsors (Kafeels), making them vulnerable to harsh working and living conditions. A recent study found that in the UAE, where migrant workers constitute 88 percent of the resident population, zero percent female domestic workers and only five percent of male domestic workers reported fair treatment by their employers. Non-payment, incomplete payments, and delayed payments to domestic workers have been found to be very common. Moreover, the hours of work for domestic workers depend on the employers—some GCC countries even do not have any law that limits maximum hours of work per day for such workers (Fargues et al. 2019). On top of that, vast majority of female migrant workers are extremely vulnerable to physical abuse, such as beatings, rapes, and sexual assaults, and such abuses often last for months or even years. Any attempt of escape by the domestic workers is subject to administrative and criminal fines, imprisonment, and deportation. Studies suggest that many female migrants were raped and sexually assaulted by their male employers and they were kept as “virtual prisoners in workshops, private homes, and the dormitory-style housing that labor subcontracting companies provided to them” (Brown and Saunders 2004, 2). Migrant domestic workers also have very limited access to justice due to language barriers, lack of material resources, and lack of legal assistance. In recent years, such f lagrant violations of human rights have also prompted some of the domestic worker-sending countries in Asia and Africa to refuse to send their citizens to work in some or all of the GCC countries (HRW 2014; ITUC 2017). Workers’ resistance Despite extremely limited rights afforded by the laws in the GCC region, migrant workers have demonstrated considerable resistance against poor working and living conditions, especially since the mid-2000s. Studies suggest that among the GCC countries, the UAE has experienced the largest number of workers’ protests and strikes. In 2006, about 2,500 migrant workers at the

320  The world of guestworkers

construction site of the Burj Khalifa—one of the largest shopping malls in the word—staged protests against poor working conditions, low wages, and other labor rights. In 2007, about 1,500 migrant workers went on a strike in the labor camps of Sagaa on similar grounds, and in 2008, there were similar protests and strikes at the Jebel Ali Free Zone. During 2011–2013, migrant workers also staged several strikes at one of the largest construction firms of the UAE called the Arabtec. Although these strikes resulted in increasing workers’ wages by an average of 20 percent, dozens of workers who organized the strikes were however deported. Earlier just in 2007 alone, the UAE deported about 4,000 Asian migrant workers for organizing strikes and protests. Migrant workers have also staged many protests and strikes at several construction as well as services work stations in Saudi Arabia since 2010, demanding proper payment and improvements in working and living conditions. In 2013, 6,000 cleaners stayed away from work for five days demanding payment of arrears and renewal of residence permits. Similar strikes and protests have also taken place in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar since 2005. While employers responded to such strikes and protests through arrests and deportations, migrant workers, on their part, pressed on their employment conditions and wage issues, did not demand any social or political rights.14 Reforms in labor and immigration laws Gulf countries have also been known for ignoring international conventions on the rights of migrant workers and lacking adequate domestic labor legislations to protect migrants. Over the years, however, scores of human rights organizations—such as the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Amnesty International, the ILO, and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)—have exposed many of the abuses of the Kafala system and raised concerns that migrant workers had no recourse but to oblige their contracts regardless of the abuses committed by their employers.15 Despite such pressures, the GCC countries, until very recently, showed little interest in curbing such abuses (Naufal and Termos 2010). In recent years, however, facing pressures from migrant workers as well as labor-sending countries and watchdog institutions, some GCC countries have carried out some reforms in their labor and immigration laws. For example, in 2015, Saudi Arabia adopted laws prohibiting confiscation of migrant workers’ passports and raising fines for employers who violate labor laws, such as failing to pay salaries on time. Saudi Arabia, however, still continues the exit visa requirement that prevents migrant workers from leaving the country without employer’s permission, and migrant workers who change jobs without employer’s approval may still risk becoming illegal in the country. Qatar pledged to replace the Kafala system altogether by a introducing a contract-based system in 2015, coinciding its sponsorship of the World

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  321

Cup and negotiations with the ILO. Since then, the country has carried out sweeping reforms, such as granting statutory labor rights to domestic migrant workers; limiting maximum work per day to 12 hours; instituting an end-of-service benefit of one month per year at the end of the contract; prohibiting retention of passports by employers unless agreed to by workers; and establishing a dispute resolution system, worker welfare standards, and a workers’ insurance fund to move the risk of late payment from workers to the state. Finally, in August 2020, Qatar has abolished its Kafala system altogether moving to institute a non-discriminatory minimum wage for migrant workers (Cockayne 2020, 209). Similar changes were also made in Oman in 2006 and Bahrain in 2009. Several watchdog organizations as well as several studies, however, indicate that most of the reforms are still cosmetic in nature.16

C  Consequences of migrant labor programs The GCC is now one of the wealthiest regional blocs in the world bestowed with almost half of the world’s proven oil and gas reserves. Even in the 1960s however the region had traditional economies dominated by fishery, pearl, and date trade. All that changed since the early 1970s. Over the decades, vast revenues from oil and gas exports allowed this labor-scarce region to build massive economic infrastructures depending almost solely on temporary migrant labor. Backward Gulf States have now been transformed into highly developed modern economies—a feat that could not have been possible without the sustained f low of compliant migrant labor from poorer parts of the world. The region is now the largest destination of temporary migrant labor in the world. It is also the third largest bloc of immigrant destination in the world next to North America and Europe. Migrant labor comes from scores of countries in Asia and Africa—­ including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda. The region thus not only casts a wide network of migrants, but also has become home of one of the largest concentrations of foreign-born population in the world. By the 2010s, about half of the region’s total population comprised of foreign workers, and in 2017, the top three countries in the world with the largest share of foreign-born in their populations were from this region—the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar, while Bahrain ranked the seventh (Dowlah 2020, 250). In recent decades, the region has also been one of the largest sources of remittance outf lows in the world. All migrant workers of the region are strictly temporary contract workers—they all must return home, most of them cannot bring family members or own property, and they do not have any investment opportunities either. They are however allowed to remit their remittances.

322  The world of guestworkers

By the early 2010s, annual remittance outf lows from the region crossed $75 ­billion—one-fifth of all official remittance outf lows in the world. The relative sizes of remittance outf lows in the GDPs of the GCC countries have also been among the highest in the world. In 2013, the shares of remittances in GDPs were 6.6 percent in Bahrain, 8.7 percent in Kuwait, 11.7 percent in Oman, six percent in Kuwait, 4.7 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 4.6 percent in the UAE (see Figure 17.3). The same year, approximately 23 percent of the world’s $400 billion remittances outf lows originated from the GCC region—Saudi Arabia ranked the first, followed by the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. In 2015, three of the six GCC countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar—ranked second, seventh, and ninth respectively among the top-ten remittance-­ sending countries in the world (see Table 17.4). Saudi Arabia has been the second largest remittance-sending country in the world next to the USA since 2000 (Dowlah 2020, 270). Bahrain

Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Aarbia

UAE

14 PERCENTAGE OF GDP

12 10 8 6 4 2 0

2004

2007

2010

2013

Figure 17.3  Share of remittance in the GDPs of Gulf States, 2004–2013. Source: Author’s compilation based on Kaabi (2016).

Table 17.4  Remittance outf lows from Gulf States, 2004–2015 Remittance Outflow in US$

Bahrain Kuwait Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia UAE

2013

2014

  2.2 15.2   9.1 11.3 34.0 18.0

  1.5 12.0   7.5   8.0 35.0 16.0

2015 15.0 12.0 39.0

Source: Author’s compilation based on Tables 10.9 and 10.10 of Dowlah (2020, 269–270).

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  323

D  Concluding remarks The Kafala system of the Gulf States has been the largest guestworker program in the world history. More workers have already been imported under the program than the Bracero Program of the US and the guestworker programs of Western Europe combined. Unlike its counterparts in the US and Western Europe, the Kafala system has been remarkably successful in denying any adjustment of immigration status of migrant workers—they must toil on their soil for remittance only and must return home after completion of their contracts. The program has served the Gulf States quite well—it has already transformed an economically backward region of the world into one of the highly developed regions in the world. But the Kafala system has some serious drawbacks as well. It keeps migrant workers almost solely dependent on their employers, and workers are almost exclusively employed in low-paying and low-skilled jobs. They can be imported and expelled at the will of the employers, their working and living conditions have consistently been substandard, their basic human rights as well as labor rights are routinely denied, and they are often subjected to arbitrary arrests and deportations. Domestic workers, most of whom are females, remain extremely vulnerable to violations, abuses, and exploitation by their employers. The Gulf States also keep migrant labor segregated from their citizens by maintaining sharp difference between citizen and non-citizen along the racial and cultural lines, employment and housing polices, as well as in sharing of public places. In recent years, the Gulf States made serious reforms in their repressive Kafala system as well as domestic labor laws, but they have not yet ratified many international conventions that codify human rights, trade unions rights, and equal rights for migrant workers.

Notes 1 This study does not cover Iraq, another Gulf country which does not belong to the GCC. Thus, the term ‘Gulf region’ in the study refers to the six GCC countries—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 2 As discussed in Chapters 15 and 16, the US and Europe also allowed employers to recruit guestworkers directly but did so only occasionally. 3 As discussed in next chapter—Chapter 18—human trafficking involves three elements: (a) actions—recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons; (b) means—the threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim; and (c) purpose—exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices, and the removal of organs (UNODC 2018). 4 In this chapter, Asian countries refer to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey. Arab countries refer to Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, State of Palestine, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic,

324  The world of guestworkers Tunisia, the UAE, and Yemen. African countries refer to Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Somalia, and South Sudan. 5 Rahman (2010) points out that Saudi Arabia began the process of directing more recruitment of migrant workers from South and East Asia in the late 1970s. As a result, the share of Arab migrant workers in Saudi Arabia declined from 43 ­percent in 1975 to 37 percent in 1980. 6 In the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, Gulf countries also received a sizeable number of migrant workers from China, and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union but dominance of South and East Asian migrant workers had not diminished. 7 It is notable that while sex composition of migrant workers in Northern America and in Europe is nearly equal, it is substantially tilted toward men in the Arab States, where eight out of every ten migrant workers are men. This region has only 5.3 percent of female migrant workers worldwide, but the high proportion of female migrant workers in the labor force of the region results from the substantially higher labor force participation rate of migrant women (45.7 percent) in this region compared to non-migrant women (13.6 percent). See ILO (2018) for greater details. 8 The literal meaning of the Arabic word ‘Kafala’ is ‘guaranteeing and taking care of.’ The employer (Kafeel) is the one who is obligated to assume full economic and legal needs for all immigrants. Apparently, the system originated from the historical Bedouin tradition of hospitality that governed the treatment and protection of guests in Arab societies for many centuries. Initially however, labor immigration in the region was handled through government-to-government bilateral agreements, but over the course of time, governments took a back seat by allowing employers to enter contracts directly with intending migrants (ITUC 2017; Shah 2009). 9 The Kafala system provides four types of visas: house, company, sponsorship by state institutions, and sponsorship for business partnership ( Jarallah 2009). 10 Recently, a study on three transnational migrant worker recruitment corridors— Nepal to Qatar, Myanmar to Malaysia, and Myanmar to Thailand—conducted by Verite (2016) has shown how recruitment agencies, travel agencies, and construction companies play pivotal roles in corrupting government officials involved in the labor migration processes, and how intensely littered are the corridors with illegal kickbacks and bribes both in the labor-sending and -receiving countries. The study found that the amounts of corrupt payments ranged between $300 and $500 per migrant worker depending on their nationality, occupation, and destination country, aside from $115 to $600 per worker paid to recruitment agents in both labor-receiving and -sending countries for approving fraudulent transports and entries, issuing visas, and work permits. Such transactions also saved employers (Kafeels) between $500 and $1,400 per worker for recruiting illegal migrants. For greater details, also see Baldwin-Edwards (2011), Dowlah (2019), Shah (2018), Thimothy and Sasikumar (2012), and World Bank (2009). 11 In a recent survey in the UAE, where migrant workers constitute more than 95 percent of the country’s workforce, 85 percent said that they had signed contracts upon their arrival in Dubai without understanding the terms of the contracts written in Arabic and were not sure whether they had received a copy, and only ten percent of them reported that their salary was the same as written in the contract (Fargues et al. 2019). 12 The rules pertaining to the transfer of a migrant worker to another sponsor differ from one country to another. In Qatar, the transfer must be arranged between both sponsors (the former and the new employers) in the form of a written agreement which must be approved by the government afterward. In Saudi Arabia, transfer of services is allowed when the migrant worker owns a valid residence

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  325

13

14 15 16

and work permit; has spent at least one year working for his/her current employer; has at his/her disposal an officially certified waiver from the current employer; and has written an approval to work for the employer requesting his/ her services. In Kuwait, the conditions are more or less the same, but may vary depending on the level of education of the foreign worker—holders of a university degree, for instance, enjoy an exemption from these conditions (Zahra 2014). In Saudi Arabia, for example, any company that hires more foreign workers than local Saudi workers are required to pay $52 per excess foreign employee per month based on the government-mandated localization requirement (Saudization) (Malit and Naufal 2016). For greater details on workers’ resistance in the GCC countries, see Allers and Russeau (2008), Chalcraft (2010), Gardner et al. (2013), ITUC (2011, 2012, 2017), Mednicoff (2012), Modarres (2010), and Yalcin (2015). See http://www.bpb.de/gesellschaft/migration/laenderprofile/150976/ migration-patterns. For greater details in recent labor and immigration law reforms in the GCC countries and their implementation, see Hertog (2014), HRW (2014), ITUC (2017), and Mahdavi (2012).

References Al Khouri, R. (2004). Arab migration patterns: The Mashreq. In International ­Organization for Migration and League of Arab States (eds.), Arab Migration in a Globalized World (pp. 21–34). Geneva: International Organization of Migration. Allers, J., and Russeau, S. (2008). The sleeping giant: Foreign workers in Dubai. Menassat, (6 June). Retrieved from http://www.menassat.com/?q=en/ news-articles/3877-sleeping-giant-foreignworkers-dubai. Baldwin-Edwards, M. (2011). Labor immigration and labor markets in the GCC countries: National patterns and trends. Research Paper No. 15. Kuwait Program on Development, Governance and Globalization in the Gulf States. Brown, W., and Saunders, J. (Eds.). (2004). Bad dreams: Exploitation of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. New York: Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from http://www. hrw.org/en/node/11999/section/1. Chalcraft, J. (2010). Monarchy, migration and hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula. Research Paper No. 12. Kuwait Program on Development, Governance and Globalization in the Gulf States. Cockayne, J. (2020). Developing Freedom: The Sustainable Development Case for Ending Modern Slavery, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking. New York: United Nations University. Colton, N. (2010). The International Political Economy of Gulf Migration. In Migration and the Gulf (pp. 34–37). Washington (DC): The Middle East Institute. Dowlah, C. (2019). Development and modern slavery: A literature review. Paper Commissioned by the Center for Policy Research of the United Nations University, New York. Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-border labor mobility in the twenty-first century. In C. Dowlah (ed.), Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 243–276). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Fargues, P., and Bel-Air, F. (2015). Migration to the Gulf States: The political economy of exceptionalism. In D. Arcarazo and A. Wiesbrock (eds.), Global Migration: Old Assumptions, New Dynamics (pp. 139–166). Santa Barbara (CA): Praeger.

326  The world of guestworkers Fargues, P., Shah, N., and Brouwer, I. (2019). Working and living conditions of low-income migrant workers in the hospitality and construction sectors in the United Arab Emirates. Gulf Research Center. GLMM-RR-No. 2/2019. Gardner, A., Pessoa, S., Diop, A., Al-Ghanim, K., Trung, K., and Harkness, L. (2013). A portrait of low-income migrants in contemporary Qatar. Journal of Arabian Studies, 3(1): 1–17. Hanieh, A. (2011). Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hertog, S. (2014). Arab Gulf states: An assessment of nationalization policies. Explanatory Note. Gulf Labor Markets and Migration. Retrieved from http://­ gulfmigration.eu. HRW (Human Rights Watch). (2014). I already bought you, Abuse and Exploitation of Female Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Arab Emirates. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/10/22/ialready-bought-you. ILO (International Labor Organization). (1980). World Labor Report. Geneva: ILO. ILO. (2018). Ending Forced Labor by 2030: A Review of Policies and Programs. Geneva: International Labor Organization. ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation). (2011). Hidden faces of the Gulf miracle. Behind the gleaming cities of Doha (Qatar) and Dubai (UAE): Stories of migrant workers with few rights and inhuman living conditions. Union View, No. 2. ITUC. (2012). Internationally Recognized Core Labor Standards in Saudi Arabia. Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Saudi Arabia. Geneva: ITUC, 25–27 January. ITUC. (2017). Facilitating Exploitation: A Review of Labor Laws for Migrant Domestic Workers in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Geneva: ITUC. Jarallah, Y. (2009). Domestic Labor in the Gulf States. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 7: 3–15. Kaabi, F. (2016). The Nexus between remittance outf lows and GCC growth and inf lation. Journal of International Business and Economics, 4(1): 76–85. Kapiszewski, A. (2006). Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries. Paper presented at the UN Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in the Arab Region. Mahdavi, P. (2012). Informality and its discontents: Mapping migrant worker trajectories into Dubai’s informal economy. In M. Kamrawa and Z. Babar (eds.), Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf (pp. 85–103). London: Hurst & Company. Malit, F., and Naufal, G. (2016). Asymmetric Information under the Kafala sponsorship system: Impacts on foreign domestic workers’ income and employment status in the GCC countries. International Migration, 54(2016): 76–90. Mednicoff, D. (2012). The legal regulation of migrant workers. Politics and identity in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In M. Kamrawa and Z. Babar (eds.), ­Migrant Labor in the Gulf (pp. 187–215). London: Hurst & Company. Modarres, A. (2010). Migration and the Persian Gulf. Demography, identity and the road to equitable policies. Anthropology of the Middle East, 5(1): 1–17. Naufal, G., and Termos, A. (2009). The responsiveness of remittances to price of oil: The case of the GCC. OPEC Energy Review, 33(3–4): 184–197. Naufal, G., and Termos, A. (2010). Remittances from GCC countries: A brief outlook. In Migration and the Gulf (pp. 37–41). Washington (DC): Middle East Institute.

Migrant labor programs of the Gulf States  327 Rahman, A. (2010). Migration and human rights in the Gulf. In Migration and the Gulf (pp. 16–18). Washington (DC): Middle East Institute. Shah, M. (2009). The Management of Irregular Migration and Its Consequences for Development: Gulf Cooperation Council, ILO Asian Regional Program on Governance of Labor Migration, Working Paper No. 19, ILO, Bangkok. Shah, N. (2004). Arab migration patterns in the Gulf. In Arab Migration in a Globalized World (pp. 91–113). Geneva: International Organization for Migration and League of Arab States. Shah, N. (2018). Emigration policies of major Asian countries sending temporary labor migrants to the Gulf. In P. Fargues and M. Shah (eds.), Migration to the Gulf: Policies in Sending and Receiving Countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Surak, K. (2018). Migration industries and the state: Guestwork programs in East Asia. International Migration Review, August, imre.12308. https://doi.org/10.1111/ imre.12308. Thimothy, R., and Sasikumar, S. K. (2012). Migration of women workers from South Asia to the Gulf. New Delhi: UN-Women and VV Giri National Labor Institute. Thiollet, H. (2011). Migration as diplomacy: Labor migrants, refugees, and Arab regional politics in the oil-rich countries. International Labor and Working-Class ­History, 79: 103–121. Thiollet, H. (2019). Immigrants, markets, brokers, and states: The politics of illiberal migration governance in the Arab Gulf. International Migration Institute Working Papers No. 155. UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). (2019). International Migration Report 2019. New York: United Nations. UNODC (United Nations Office on Crime and Drug). (2018). Global Report on Human Trafficking. Vienna: United Nations. Verité. (2016). Strengthening Protections against Trafficking in Persons in Federal and Corporate Supply Chains—Research on Risk in 43 Commodities Worldwide. London: Anti-­ Slavery International. Vora, N. (2010). Business elites, unofficial citizenship, and privatized governance in Dubai. In Migration and the Gulf (pp. 46–48). Washington (DC): Middle East Institute. Winckler, O. (2010). Labor migration to the GCC states: Patterns, scale, and policies. In Migration and the Gulf (pp. 9–12). Washington (DC): Middle East Institute. World Bank. (2009). Human Trafficking: A Brief Overview. Social Development Notes No. 122, December. Washington (DC): World Bank. Yalcin, S. (2015). Migrant labor in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council–A ‘fix’ for Gulf capitalism? Paper prepared for the BRISMES Annual Conference 2015: Liberation Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science, 24–26 June. Zahra, M. (2014). The legal framework of the sponsorship systems of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait: A comparative examination. Explanatory Note. Gulf Labor Markets and Migration. Retrieved from http://gulfmigration.eu.

Part VI

Neoslavery in the twenty-first century Conceptual contexts Coerced labor—the use of force to make workers take part in employment and to fix the terms of their employment—has been the most dominant form of labor transactions throughout world history. Such practices still continue well into the twenty-first century—albeit in different shapes and forms. However, humankind has made tremendous progress over the centuries as well—workers can no longer be officially subjected to complete dehumanization as a property of a master; physical ownership of a human being by another human being has been made illegal throughout the world.1 But another essential element of coerced labor—commodification and exploitation of labor power for creation of wealth—still thrives around the world. Still many slavery-like practices, such as forced labor, human trafficking, and other forms of labor exchanges in which the victims are physically or mentally constrained to exercise freedom of movement for the purposes of exploitative production practices, have been on the rise in many parts of the world. The United Nations has coined a catch-all term called ‘Modern Slavery’ to refer to such coerced labor practices and suggests that in 2016, more than 40 million workers around the world were enslaved in some forms of unfree labor (ILO 2017).2 Frederick Douglass’s (1818–1895) prophetic statement that slavery “will call itself by yet another name; … better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume, in what new skin this old snake will come forth” seems to be agonizingly true.3 The Palermo Protocol of the UN, adopted in 2000,4 has identified three broad categories of slavery-like practices in the contemporary world: (a) forced labor exploitation by private agents through bonded labor, forced domestic work, and work imposed in the context of slavery or vestiges of slavery; (b) forced labor exploitation by states—works exacted by the public authorities, military and paramilitary, and prison labor; and (c) forced commercial sexual exploitation of adults and children, such as procuring or offering of adults and children for prostitution or pornography. The UN has also identified several forms of ‘Modern Slavery’ such as: (a) bonded labor—whereby workers are forced to work for free until they repay DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-6

330  Neoslavery in the twenty-first century

the lender; (b) descent-based slavery—whereby workers born into slavery because their families belong to a certain class or caste in hierarchical societies; (c) forced labor—whereby workers are forced to work at no or inadequate payment through violence or intimidation; (d) forced marriage—whereby individuals are forced to marry without consent, including marriage through physical, emotional, or financial duress, deception by family members such as the spouse and others; (e) child marriage—when children, usually girls under the age of 18 years, are married without their consent and forced into sexual and domestic servitude; and (f ) human trafficking–when individuals, both adults and children, are exploited through the use of violence, deception, or coercion, and forced to work against their will (Dowlah 2020, 252–253). Among the 40 million workers found to be enslaved in 2016, over 25 million were entrapped in forced labor and about 15 million tricked into forced marriages (ILO 2017). There were 5.4 victims of Modern Slavery for every 1,000 people in the world—5.9 victims for every 1,000 adults and 4.4 victims for every 1,000 children—and over 70 percent of the victims were women and children. Most of the victims of forced labor were employed in domestic services, construction works, clandestine factories, farms and fishing boats, and the sex industry. Over 60 percent of them were employed by private individuals and businesses, and the rest were employed by state authorities. Among the 16 million forced labor employed by the private sector, 58 percent were females—one-fourth of them were employed as domestic workers, followed by construction (18 percent), manufacturing (15 percent), and agriculture and fishing (11 percent). Region-wise, the highest prevalence of forced labor was noted in the Asia and the Pacific region, followed by Europe and Central Asia, Africa, the Arab States, and the Americas. The products and services produced by them end up in many legitimate commercial channels, such as food and clothing items, and construction materials. In 2016, the US Department of Labor identified 148 goods from 176 countries that were produced by child labor or forced labor.5 This study, however, takes exception with the coinage of the term ‘Modern Slavery’ by the UN to describe slavery-like practices in the contemporary world. Such a term is inordinately misleading—even the Transatlantic Slave Trade that brought 12.5 million African slaves to the Americas was a highly sophisticated modern institution. As discussed in Chapter 4, that slavery lasted almost 400 years involving massive transoceanic transportation connecting thousands of slave-ships, slave-traders, and slave-masters across four continents. The African slavery in the New World also involved incredible transcontinental networks of investment, finance, and governmental agencies strewn across dozens of countries. Even in the historical timeline, the African slave trade took place in the post-Columbian world—during the early modern and the modern eras. Thus, scholars have dubbed all subsequent phases of slavery-like practices, such indentured servitude or guestworkers programs as exemplars of ‘neoslavery.’ Viewed from the same perspective, the slavery-like practices of the contemporary world can be considered as yet another chapter of ‘neoslavery.’

Neoslavery in the twenty-first century  331

This study also finds the UN classifications of various types of slavery-like practices in the contemporary world as incredibly overlapping, ambiguous, and confusing. To begin with, none of the categories designated by the UN as various forms of modern slavery are operationally separable. For example, ‘forced labor’ is defined as a separate category, but all other categories of slavery-like practices such as forced marriage, bonded labor, child marriage, and human trafficking—must all involve forced labor as well. Also, the ILO Forced Labor Convention (1930) defines forced labor as “all work or service that is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” Forced marriage, bonded labor, child marriage, and human trafficking all conform to this definition, although the degrees of coercion may well vary. This Part of the study, that focuses on the neoslavery practices in the contemporary world, consists of three chapters: Chapter 18 covers trafficking in persons; Chapter 19 covers forced labor in global value chains (GVCs); and Chapter 20 focuses on the policies and measures undertaken by global community, governments, and businesses to combat neo-slavery in the contemporary world.

Notes 1 Traditional forms of slavery, as exemplified by the African slavery in the New World however has not yet disappeared completely. Some countries, such as Mauritania and Niger, have adopted anti-slavery legislations only recently (Quirk 2011, 167–192), and in many parts of the world, traditional-style slavery is still being practiced in many military conf licts (ILO-WFF, 2018; UNODC, 2011). 2 The Walk Free Foundation’s 2016 Global Slavery Index however estimates that there were 45.8 million people living in ‘Modern Slavery’ in the contemporary world (ILO-WFF, 2018). 3 Cited by Gabriella Ramos at the G20 Conference in 2017. Retrieved from http:// oecdinsights.org/2017/06/29/abolish-modern-slavery. 4 The Palermo Protocol refers to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, 2000. 5 For greater details, see https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/reports/child-labor/ list-of-goods, accessed on March 16, 2019.

References Dowlah, C. (2020). Cross-Border Labor Mobility: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ILO. (2017). Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labor and Forced Marriage. Geneva: International Labor Organization. ILO and WFF (Walk Free Foundation). (2018). Global Slavery Index 2018. Geneva. International Labor Organization.Quirk, J. (2011). The Anti-Slavery Project: From the Slave Trade to Human Trafficking. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. UNODC. (2011). Issue Paper: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking Persons. Vienna: United Nations.

18 Human trafficking around the world

This chapter covers human trafficking, a growing menace of slavery-like practices in the contemporary world that involves exploitation of adults and children for profit through forced labor or sexual exploitation, or both. The Palermo Protocol of the United Nations (2000) defines the concept of human trafficking very broadly, embracing all persons trafficked for forced prostitution, forced labor, forced servitude, forced marriage, and forced organ removal, irrespective of whether such trafficking takes place domestically or internationally, and no matter whether such activities involve commercial sexual exploitation or not.1 The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) designates human trafficking as a crime on the grounds of: (a) actions— recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons; (b) means—the threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim; and (c) purpose—exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices, and the removal of organs (UNDOC 2009).2 The United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000) has also adopted a similar definition of human trafficking.3 The definition of human trafficking adopted by the UN is however very unclear and misleading. First of all, the elements of human trafficking as specified by the Palermo Protocol have been left to interpretations of UN member states. There are also questions whether: (a) human trafficking must involve some movement of the trafficked victims either within or across national borders together with the process of recruitment, or whether the focus should be only on the exploitation of victims that occurs at the end; and (b) trafficking for the purpose of exploitation involves an element of coercion necessarily, and if it does, how to identity those victims who might take part in trafficking activities voluntarily (ILO 2009; World Bank 2009).4 Moreover, if forced labor, forced servitude, forced marriage, debt bondage, and all such labor can be considered as acts of human trafficking, then all forms of coerced labor that involves either sexual or non-sexual exploitation of labor should also be considered human trafficking (Dowlah 2019).5 There are also legitimate questions about the methodologies being used to identify victims of trafficking. Studies suggest that human trafficking has different DOI: 10.4324/9781003160182-18

Human trafficking around the world  333

meanings in different places, and the existing estimates of human trafficking may be based on false or unfounded assumptions, insufficient and unreliable data, and inadequate or different processes of identifying trafficking victims (De Vries and Dettmeijer-Vermeulen 2015). Given such limitations, operationalization of crimes involving human trafficking as well as the methodologies used to identify trafficking victims must be viewed as a hodgepodge. Until a more definitive framework is constructed, human trafficking should be viewed broadly as a process of acquiring coerced labor that violates basic human rights; denies right to personal liberty and security; restricts freedom of movement through physical or psychological means; and subjects workers to cruel or inhumane treatment, and unsafe and unhealthy working and living conditions. The chapter is organized as follows: the next section explains the nature and magnitude of human trafficking in the contemporary world; Section three focuses on the major drivers of human trafficking across the world; and Section four concludes the chapter.

A  Nature and magnitude The issue of human trafficking catapulted into global stage in the early 1990s due to large outf lows of migrants from the formerly socialist countries of the erstwhile Soviet Union and the Eastern and Central Europe. Evidently, transnational criminal organizations took advantage of the exodus by engaging in sex trafficking and exports of forced labor from the region (USDS 2020, 3). Such concerns led the UN to adopt the Palermo Protocol in 2000 and establish the United Nation’s Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) to monitor human trafficking around the world. The UNODC published its first Global Report on Trafficking in Persons in 2009. Based on the data collected from 155 countries, the report found that 79 percent of instances of human trafficking in the world involved sexual exploitation involving mostly women and girls, and 18 percent cases involved forced labor. The share of forced labor was believed to be an underestimation as such cases were less frequently detected and reported than the cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The report also found that almost 20 percent of all trafficking victims in the world were children, and in some parts of the world, such as West Africa, the share was up to 100 percent. The report detected most of the trafficking victims in their own countries while others were moved intra-regionally as well as intercontinentally. Among the domestic victims, on average 65–75 percent were women, while child victims ranged between 15 and 25 percent, and male victims were around 15 percent.6 Among the intra-regional and intercontinental victims, East Asian victims were found in more than 20 countries in Europe, the Americas, Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa; African victims were found in many locations in Europe and North America; Latin American victims were found in North America and Europe; the victims of Central Europe,

334  Neoslavery in the twenty-first century

Eastern Europe, and Central Asia were found in Europe and Middle East; and South Asian victims were mostly found in the Middle East (UNODC 2008). In its most recent Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, UNODC (2018) found 59 percent of all trafficking victims involved in sexual exploitation, 34 percent in forced labor, and the rest in other categories. In sexual exploitation, the share of women was 83 percent, while men’s share was ten percent. On the other hand, in forced labor, women’s share was 13 percent and that of men was 82 percent. Among the girls, 72 percent was involved in sexual exploitation and 21 percent in forced labor. Among the boys, 27 percent was found in sexual exploitation, while 50 percent was found in forced labor. Like previous reports, most of the victims were detected in their domestic countries and regions, and wealthy countries were found to be major destinations for victims trafficked from distant and diverse origins. Once again, Western Europe, North America, and the Middle East recorded sizable shares of victims trafficked from other regions. The UNODC reports thus suggest that the most common form of human trafficking in the world has been sexual exploitation, and most of the victims were women and girls. On the other hand, forced labor has been the most common form of human trafficking for men and boys. The reports also indicate that the share of women in all human trafficking cases has declined from 74 to 49 percent between 2004 and 2016, while that of men has increased from ten to 21 percent during the same period (see Figure 18.1). With regard to destination of trafficking victims, the reports suggest that most of the victims were trafficked domestically or within neighboring countries, but intra-regional trafficking was very high in almost all regions, except North Africa and the Middle East (see Table 18.1). The reports also suggest that the share of sex trafficking, among all human trafficking cases, ranged between 53 and 61 percent during the 2004–2016

2016

Boys Girls Male Female

2014 2011 2009 2006 2004 0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

Percentages

Figure 18.1  S hare of males and females in human trafficking around the world, 2004–2016 (in %).

Human trafficking around the world  335 Table 18.1  Shares of regional and intra-regional trafficking victims, 2010–2016 2010–2012

2016

Regions

Within the Region or Outside the Within the Outside the the Country (in %) Region or the Region or the Region or the Country (in %) Country (in %) Country (in %)

East Asia and the Pacific Western and Central Asia South Asia Eastern Europe and Central Asia Sub-Saharan Africa North Africa and the Middle East North America South America Central America and the Caribbean

97 61 96 99

3 39 4 1

97

3

93 100

7 0

97 32

3 68

99 51

1 38

58 94 58

42 6 42

76 93 75

13 1 25

Source: Author’s compilation based on various editions of Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (UNODC 2008–2018).

period,7 but less than ten percent of the sexual victims were trafficked to another region. Among those who were trafficked to another region, however, the most likely destinations were European and Middle Eastern countries. Among the sexual victims, East Asian victims found to be trafficked to the widest range of destinations. In the United States, for example, 41 percent of sex trafficking victims detected in 2007 were from East Asia. The same year, East Asian sexual victims—Chinese, Filipinos, Thais, and Vietnamese—­ were found in all over Europe as well (UNODC 2008). Apparently, human smuggling also plays an important role in international human trafficking. For the UN, human smuggling occurs when a person is procured for financial or other material benefits and trafficked illegally into a country in which that person is not a national or a permanent resident. On the other hand, human trafficking involves prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and similar practices. The distinction that the UN makes between human smuggling and trafficking, however, ignores the fact that human smuggling may also be aimed at sexual exploitation.8 Many migrants who move safely from one country to another may subsequently be trafficked in the country of their destination. A recent study, for example, found that 71 percent of human trafficking victims in the US entered the country legally.9

B  Drivers of human trafficking10 Numerous people are being trafficked around the world every day. They are tricked into work by coercive or deceptive recruitment practices; their

336  Neoslavery in the twenty-first century

movements are restricted and identity documents are confiscated; their wages are being withheld and forced to work in abusive working and living conditions; and subjected to threats of physical or sexual violence; and denied of any right to express grievances. Worse still, the share of sex trafficking has consistently been more than 50 percent among various forms of human trafficking, and it has also been the fastest growing criminal industry in the world which fetches over 100 billion dollars annually.11 On top of that, traffickers have been involved in lucrative business of illegal trade of human organs.12 Wide-ranging socio-­ economic, psychological, and political forces and factors contribute to this thriving global criminal enterprise. Labor vulnerabilities Studies suggest that human traffickers target individuals with a high level of vulnerability, such as new immigrants, minorities, and other socially marginalized groups, who serve as a ready arsenal for ‘3D jobs’ (dirty, dangerous, and degrading)—jobs that require physically arduous manual labors, such as mining, farm work, and construction; prolonged periods of repetitive motion, such as assembly jobs and meatpacking; and undesirable stigmatized jobs, such as janitorial work and personal care (Crepeau 2014; Polaris 2020). Studies also suggest that traffickers exploit economic vulnerabilities of the victims though force, fraud, and coercion and lure them with promises of work, shelter, food, and support (UNODC 2008; USDS 2015), and they target individuals vulnerable to debt bondage, force them to perform labor or services to repay debt, and often impose high interest rates (Litam 2017; Minderoo Foundation 2019).13 Several studies have also found that socio-economic factors, such as level of poverty, landlessness, household food insecurity, income shocks, and high degree of gender inequality, serve as powerful push factors for human trafficking (ILO 2014; Verite 2012). Several surveys have found that many victims themselves also turn to traffickers due to conditions such as sustained unemployment, unpaid debt, and desperation to provide for themselves and their children (Polaris 2015). Many supply chains and global value chains (GVCs) requiring a large number of cheap vulnerable laborers, seasonal or short-term workers, also turn to labor brokers for recruiting such laborers, as workers in relatively high-­ income countries with higher education and skill levels are generally unwilling to accept low-paid and unpleasant jobs (Autor 2015; Verite 2010). Nature of job and work Human trafficking has also been associated with the types of products and industries involved; sourcing patterns, types of labor involved, and the nature of the workforce; specific circumstances in the country in which

Human trafficking around the world  337

production or service delivery takes place; and the country that supplies the labor. Some economic factors thus are more prone to human trafficking, especially forced labor, more than others just by their nature and mode of operation (Verite 2015). The agricultural sector, for example, employs over one billion people worldwide, about 35 percent of global labor force.14 Agriculture is by nature a highly labor-intensive sector—labor needed for planting, harvesting, packaging, and distribution. It is also one of the most hazardous sectors of work—globally this sector accounts for approximately half of all fatal accidents. Specific risks vary depending on the crop or sector, but general risks include physically demanding work, exposure to extreme weather, carrying heavy loads, repetitive motions, use of dangerous tools and equipment, exposure to pesticides and agrochemicals, animal attacks, and working at heights. Although small farmers dominate the agricultural sector worldwide, there are a large number of farms and plantations around the world who employ a large number of laborers and they depend on labor contractors, brokers, and recruiters to supply labor. About 40 percent of agricultural workers in the world are wage-workers, and most of their employment arrangements are based on informal agreements. As a result, they generally earn lower wages than industrial workers, and are often excluded from legal protections for wages, hours, and working conditions. About 60 percent of all child labor in the world is also engaged in agriculture (ILO 2009). The Trafficking-in-Persons Report, 2018, of the US State Department lists over 100 countries where evidence of forced labor exists in agriculture, including the US itself and almost all developed countries. Moreover, most of the agricultural workers in developed countries are transnational migrants from poorer countries—the majority of migrant farm workers in the US come from Latin American countries and majority of farm migrant workers in the EU come from Sub-Saharan Africa (Verite 2015). Construction is another major sector that draws forced labor by its nature. The sector accounts for more than ten percent of global GDP involving a wide variety of economic activities, such as construction of industrial facilities, airports, roads, bridges, and stadiums. Construction is also among the most hazardous sectors for workers—workers perform extremely physical work, haul heavy loads, stack materials, and operate specialized equipment, and are often exposed to adverse weather conditions and dangerous chemicals. Every year at least 108,000 workers are killed on construction work sites worldwide—about 30 percent of all occupational fatal injuries in the world. In developed countries, a construction worker is three to four times more likely to die on the job than workers in other sectors, while in developing countries, this likelihood increases to three to six times more likely (ILO 2009). The sector also draws highly vulnerable temporary, seasonal, or casual workers, most of them work ‘at-will’ of the employees, which discourages any expression of grievance and acceptance of poor working conditions.

338  Neoslavery in the twenty-first century

Studies suggest that migrant workers make up a significant proportion of the workforce on most construction sites and they are particularly vulnerable to labor exploitation and human trafficking. The sector extensively uses contractors and subcontractors to complete jobs as most construction activities involve supply chains, materials suppliers, and international engineering firms. Lack of social or legal protections, and confiscation of passports and high recruitment fees are some of the numerous risks that make migrant workers highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Similarly, highly competitive industries with low barriers to entry may also encourage human trafficking. When costs for inputs other than labor have already been cut to a bare minimum, industries in highly competitive sectors continually facing downward pressure on prices may come under strong pressure to reduce labor costs to remain competitive. For example, garment supply chains enjoy a great deal of leverage over their suppliers— many sewing contractors retain contracts with global supply chains by paying sub-minimum wages and forcing workers to work in hazardous conditions. They cannot negotiate upward with supply chains because competing sewing contractors will accept the job at the given profit margins.15 Weak governance Countries characterized by weak labor standards, ineffective legal protections to workers’ rights and civil rights, often create fertile grounds for human trafficking. Studies suggest that countries plagued with high level of crime and violence, where the presence of organized crime syndicates freely traffic guns, drugs, or other illicit goods, often facilitate delivery of workers to factories, farms, brothels, mines, or other sites of production (Hunter and Kepes 2012). Incidence of human trafficking also spikes in countries involved in political instability or civil conf licts. For example, Verite (2015) found higher incidence of human trafficking associated with high level of crime and violence in Guatemala, and political instability and civil conf licts associated with higher incidences of forced labor in the Dominican Republic. Offshore manufacturing industries that rely heavily on overseas production in countries with lower labor standards or limited enforcement capacity often elevate the risk of human trafficking in their supply chains. Such vulnerabilities elevate further when workers depend on brokers for their wages, visas, work permits, housing, and so on (Minderoo Foundation 2019). Similarly, industries with long, complex, and non-transparent supply chains, and those which lack industry-level corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to protect workers, elevate the risk of human trafficking (Oxfam 2018). Some countries with export processing zones often lower their labor standards or relax trade union regulations to attract foreign investment. Similarly, some labor-sending countries that supply workers for remittance often push

Human trafficking around the world  339

workers to exploitative situations. As discussed in Chapter 17, migrant workers in the Gulf States routinely face restrictions on their mobility, confiscation of their passports, and many other human rights and labor rights violations, still many developing countries routinely send millions of workers each year to the region for the sake of remittance. Exorbitant profits For the human traffickers and their enablers, however, the most important driving force has been exorbitant profits. An ILO (2014) study has estimated that annual profits from forced sexual exploitation alone were $99 billion worldwide in 2014—two-thirds of these profits are generated by the human trafficking (see Table 18.2). The estimates suggest that traffickers made an annual profit of $21,800 per victim in sex trafficking, which is 4.5 times larger than the profits made from trafficking of forced labor for construction, manufacturing, and such other activities. In 2014, the Asia-Pacific region topped the list in respect to the number of human trafficking victims and the total amount of profit, while profits per victim were the highest in Western developed countries followed by the Middle East, where the average price of illicit sexual encounters was the highest (see Figure 18.2). Nexus of corruption Another enabling force for human trafficking has been the close-knit nexus of corruption among traffickers, private sector businesses, and governmental agencies. The network plays a pivotal role in making human trafficking a highly lucrative global criminal enterprise, next only to illegal drugs and arms (World Bank 2009). Under the network, government officials abuse their power to facilitate illegal human trafficking both actively and passively in exchange of bribes collected from private sector agents, such as travel agencies, model agencies, marriage bureaus, and construction companies.16 Table 18.2  A  nnual profits of human trafficking in the world, 2014 Regions

Profits per Region Profits per Victim Profit per Sector

Asia-Pacific Developed economies Central and Southeastern Europe Africa Latin America and the Caribbean Middle East Total

$51.8 $46.9 $18.0

$5,000 $34,800 $12,900

Sexual exploitation $21,800 Labor exploitation $4,800 Agriculture $2,500

$13.1 $12.0

$3,900 $7,500

Domestic work

$8.5 $150.30

$15,000

Source: ILO (2014).

$2,300

340  Neoslavery in the twenty-first century

World Developed Economies Central and Southeastern Europe Middle East Africa Latin America and the Caribbean Asia-Pacific $-

$20,000

$40,000

$60,000

$80,000

Figure 18.2  A nnual profit from sexual trafficking in different regions of the world (per person).

Consequently, bribes now constitute the largest overhead cost of pay-to-play kickbacks in the illegal trade called ‘human trafficking’ (PACO 2002; UNODC 2011). Studies show that corrupt practices stretch across a wide range of official positions and branches of government in both developed and developing countries, and in both labor-sending and -receiving countries. Instances are galore that show how corrupt immigration officials forge passports, issue fraudulent residency permits, and facilitate illegal departures and entries; corrupt border police facilitate illegal border crossing and human smuggling; corrupt criminal justice authorities obstruct the investigation and prosecution of cases and impede adequate protection of victims; corrupt judges dismiss trafficking cases or reduce sentences for traffickers; and corrupt political brasses facilitate cover-up of trafficking activities (see Dowlah 2019; and Table 18.3). Studies also found that among the governmental agencies, the most notorious role in promoting human trafficking has been played by the police authorities, followed by border patrol and immigration officials (Figure 18.3). There exists also a strong nexus between governmental corruption and human traffickers. By juxtaposing the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) map on the TIP Report of the US State Department, Zhang and Pineda (2008) have showed that majority of the most corrupt countries in the world were also among the worst offenders of human trafficking. The study found that Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and the Philippines,