Slavery in the history of Venice

There was a thriving trade in human flesh.  By the twelfth century the slave trade in Venice far surpassed that of other cities and other countries.  The Venetians were incorrigible slave traders, and the markets of the Rialto and S. Giorgio were centres of slavery.  They were eager for this particular source of income, since the profit on each item was said to be 1,000 per cent.  They sold Russians and even Greek Christians to the Saracens.  Men and women and children were bought or captured in the region of the Black Sea — Armenians and Georgians among them — before being despatched to Venice where they were in turn sold on to Egypt and Morocco and Crete and Cyprus.  They sold boys and young women as concubines.  One doge, Pietro Mocenigo, had in his seventies two young Turkish men in his entourage.

Many of them were consigned to Venetian households.  No patrician family was complete without a retinue or three or four slaves; even Venetian artisans owned slaves, and used them in their shops or workshops.  Venetian convents possessed slaves for domestic service.  The galleys were stocked with slaves.  But the city always needed a fresh supply; servile status was not inheritable.  Many slaves were freed in the wills of their masters or mistresses.  Marco Polo manumitted one of his slaves, Peter the Tartar, before his own death in 1324.  In 1580 there were three thousand slaves in the capital.  The black gondoliers in Carpaccio’s paintings of Venice are all slaves.

That is from Peter Ackroyd’s Venice: Pure City.


Well known Italian salutation ciao comes from Venetian word for slave, which, in turn, comes from Slav

A strange way of greeting.

According to Origin section of Apple Dictionary on my Mac:

ciao: Italian, dialect alteration of schiavo ‘(I am your) slave’, from medieval Latin sclavus ‘slave’.

slave: Middle English: shortening of Old French esclave, equivalent of medieval Latin sclava (feminine) ‘Slavonic (captive)’: the Slavonic peoples had been reduced to a servile state by conquest in the 9th century.

All Italians should be made to [par reparations.

Vaccines cause autism, and so does hate. That’s why we need love in this world.

It sounds like Venice's slave trade was noteworthy, but what of its use of slaves in general? According to wikipedia, the population of Venice was 124,000 in 1581.

So with 3,000 slaves in 1581, less than 2.5% of the population was enslaved.

In comparison, in 1860 almost 13% of the US population was slaves. And that includes the northern, non-slave states. The deep south was over 40% slaves.

They were a trading empire. Most of their dealings in slaves didn't involved permanent ownership within the city itself, so that % in the city at any time isn't that important.

Slavery in the American South was driven by the climate. If you aren't resistant to tropical diseases, you tend to die when working the way the slaves did. It's why they abandoned indentured white servants early on, they died every summer while the Africans didn't.

Slavery in America was noteworthy for the fact that they treated their slaves well enough for a natural increase in the population. In the Caribbean and other areas they simply worked them all to death and imported new ones. That's why the American portion of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was such a small % overall.

It's noteworthy that before cotton got real big there were actually debates over whether slavery would continue in America. Virginia took up the matter in 1831. I think part of the reason slavery wasn't more hotly debated in the early USA is that people really did legitimately think that maybe it would become obsolete. The gin and king cotton ended that.

And of course it's worth noting that nearly all of the slaves imported to America were already slaves in Africa. They sold their own to outsiders, clearly a reprehensible act.

Also, after reviewing records on convict labor in Australia, I'm of the opinion that very few of these people were genuine criminals. It was more the case that the British Empire decided settling there was important, and the only way to get the initial colonies off the ground was to import what was effectively slave labor under the excuse of conviction. Since this was British doing this to other British (though often welsh and Irish) I think we can conclude that irrational hatred of the drakes isn't the driving force behind slavery.

That’s jumping through a lot of hoops to minimize the enslavement of sentient beings, buddy. Let’s not pretend that Americans would have ever imported millions of blonde Pollock slaves and whipped and raped them to death in hot and humid fields, then whipped and raped their kids. Get out of here with that bullshit.



Freudian slip! Xenophobe!

Being an economics blog you may wish to explain why slave owners would have "whipped and raped them to death" being that individual slaves were worth more than the income of 99% of the White population. That is a real waste of a valuable resource. Not to mention, slaves had recourse in the courts for egregious acts against them.

Yes, bad things happened to slaves. That happens when people are placed outside some laws. On the other hand, a slave owner who mistreated his slaves, especially to the point of killing them, was unlikely to keep his plantation a going concern. Not to mention, the entire society had cause to stop egregious abuse as it would inflame a slave revolt which was a constant fear given the relative numbers of Whites vs Blacks.

As you seem interested in facts about slavery rather than the incendiary crap taught in schools, you may find the following of interest on the Maryland state website

"Blacks before the Law in Colonial Maryland"
Ross M. Kimmel
Master's Thesis
January 24, 1974

It reviews the legislative and judicial record of 17th and 18th century slave laws and cases in Maryland which is aligned with that of other Southern slave states.

One key element is that White indentured servants and Black slaves were treated similarly. The key difference being the indentured servant had a contract end which the slave's condition was life long and also inherited by offspring. Often the indentured servants were treated worse as their indentures came to an end since the master had no liability for injuries or debilitations after the indenture ended. And injured slave, however, is a capital loss and even financial drain.

Stop making sense!

"One doge, Pietro Mocenigo, had in his seventies two yoiung Turkish men in his entourage."
Ah yes, the Venetian Epstein of his day. The Mediterranean, in particular their elites, failed to outgrow its pedo habits just like our elites today.

Wait, so the Clintons killed the Doge too?

Epstein ain't a pedo. "Young men" suggests the doge wasn't either.

"They sold Russians and even Greek Christians to the Saracens."
Catholics selling Orthodox Christians to Muslims. Maybe the decline of religion these days isn't so bad after all.

I had a snort of laughter at "even Greek".

The Greeks aren't know for their work ethic. Maybe they were marketed as British.

Religion is a disease of the soul. - Some Really Smart Guy

No need for you to worry - you don't have any soul.

Well, at least the Venetian slavetraders weren't ... racist.

Did someone say they were racist? Or do you enjoy giving free rent in your head to imaginary SJW?

The sjws are real.

More like a broken head, unable to grasp into adulthood(!) the co-evolution of slavery and racism in America.

What changed over time was the industrial use of human slave labor. These conditions as described were bad, but not that different from the conditions of indentured workers or serfs. These slaves were used for the common household tasks, leaving time and leisure for their owners to develop a culture. Slavery up to a short time ago in historical terms was the norm, and the driver of progress.

Two things to remember. The first black president of the US implemented a policy that re-established slave markets in North Africa.

And the solution to the impossible task of two adults with children with two careers is slave labor. It takes about half of one person's time to run the household, and another name will be conjured to describe the enlightened practice of some preferably exotic young woman doing it under what would be called at any other time in history slavery. Watch for it.

'to describe the enlightened practice of some preferably exotic young woman doing it under what would be called at any other time in history slavery'

Not even close to slavery. Indentured servitude might be at least conceivable, but an au pair is in no way, shape, or form a slave.

Starting with the fact that they are able to go home without being considered a runaway property.

"starting with the fact that they are able to go home without being considered a runaway property."
that is not a "fact" when the trafficker/employer holds their passport!

If we are talking about au pairs - and not diplomatic staff as happens in DC or NYC - they can always go to the embassy/consulate, and return home, without fear of being considered stolen property and returned to their owner.

mebbe we are not talking about aupairs
mebbe we are talkin about trafficking!

Things like this are fun because you have to back-track to find some semblance of sanity:

"The first black president of the US implemented a policy that re-established slave markets in North Africa."

There was a revolution in Libya? The UN supported it? Obama supported the UN decision?

And then there were reports of slavery?

Clearly The Obama wanted The Slavery all along!

I presume derek's post went downhill from there. Not that I really looked.

Best way to describe it: “it is ironic that one if the many unintended consequences of the first black president’s policies re: Libya is that sectarian and tribal strife in a lawless sh*thole “state” resulted in the reinstitution of slave markets.

Amen Brutha, you be testifyin!

I just had to say thanks for bringing sanity back to derek's meandering.

I didn't detect much meandering. He was pretty clear, though maybe a little too straight to the point.

My point is simply that slavery has been and still is a natural state of affairs, and when Obama and Hillary (remember she paraded her brilliance after Qaddafi was overthrown) knocked over the Libyan state and essentially left a mess, it is almost inevitable that slavery would be one of the characteristics of the turmoil and chaos. The idea that slavery is blacks shipped over from Africa to pick cotton is rather shallow and ignorant. It is one of the rather egregious manifestations of a very nasty human trait.

I'm sure that the event surprised both Hillary and Obama. I suppose that could make us all feel better if we really worked at it.

"I was ignorant and short sighted and took actions that resulted in the establishment of slave markets. I didn't mean it. I hope everyone forgets how ignorant and short sighted I was. I was after all the first black President of the US."

"slavery has been and still is a natural state of affairs"

lol, comments. From a guy who doesn't expect to be snatched up, presumably. Maybe even from a guy who assumes, just assumes, that he'd be "owner" in any such scenario.

He would be. White privilege is real, yo.

You silly idiot. Why do you think we have labor laws? What happens if you are an employer and don't pay your employees? To stop people from taking advantage of people, owning their time without paying for it. Without protection either through the state or family or force these things would happen, and they do even with the laws in place.

All civilizations had slaves. Some more, some less, some extremely abusive, some less so. We don't anymore in civilised countries, and it took a long time, a civil war in the US, and vigorous enforcement to stop it from happening.

Without the societal structures to prevent slavery, slavery re establishes itself. Oddly enough.

Seriously, if you feel the need to go clutch your pearls when trigger words are uttered, you should get some help.

Employer stiffing your pay isn't slavery. You make foolish points foolishly. That's why everyone is on your case.

If he was a Christian in any Greek or Italian Mediterranean fishing village between 1480 and 1570 it is highly likely he would have been enslaved by Muslim pirates and made a galley slave. A commodity whose shelf life expired in months, if not weeks. You can read about this in Roger Crowley’s excellent “Empires of the Sea”.

Don't confuse them with facts. They only eat da propagandi!

Excluding modern times and primitive societies, societies with some slavery at the margin have been the norm. On the other hand, societies whose economy is fundamentally based on slavery, where the best proxy for the worth of an individual is the number of slaves he owns, rather than land, gold, factories, or titles -- the societies are rare in history.

The historian Moses Finley, who insists on the importance of this distinction, sees only three societies really based on slavery in history: Athens (and a few other smaller similar cities in Greece) at its classical time (sixth-fourth century BC), Rome during the late Republic, and the antebellum American south.

In these societies, slavery tends to be permanent, the slaves tend to be ethnically distinct from the non-slave, and their conditions is incredibly harsh. In societies with slavery at the margin, on the contrary, slavery tend to be temporary (with periodic jubilees freeing all slaves for instance).

Coincidentally or not, Finley observes, the three societies based on slavery listed above were democratic (for non slave people of course), an other rather improbable feature for a society before 1900.

What about the Caribbean and South American colonies like Brazil in the colonial time period?

Central and South America had large indigenous populations so had far less imported African slaves. They are "forgiven" by the "scholars" as the slaves were more aligned with serfs and also continued in the indigenous slave practices such as the Incan "mita" system. Of course, even in Mexico, the peasant system remains even today although muted.

Consider this gloss for the slavery used at Potosi (Peru) by the Spanish.

"Native-American laborers were conscripted and forced to work in Potosí's silver mines through the traditional Incan mita system of contributed labor. Many of them died due to the harsh conditions of the mine life and natural gases."

Totally incorrect. About 6 million African slaves were imported into the Americas. Two million to Brazil, 2 million to the Caribbean, 500,000 to the US, all the rest elsewhere.

Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and the USA are all still dealing with the downstream effects of that hideous practice. The more slavery, the worse the problems. Brazil's heinous crime and poverty are a direct result of slavery. The USA has a big problem but Brazil's is far far worse, as any observant person can plainly see.

EdR, I have read about 14 million slaves, of which 300 thousand sold directly in the US and another 100 thousand resold from the Caribbean. All in all, about 400k slaves in the US, according to Robert :Louis Gates. That this population grew to 40 million in 350 years is astounding.

"In these societies, slavery tends to be permanent, the slaves tend to be ethnically distinct from the non-slave, and their conditions is incredibly harsh. "

He listed Athens but not Sparta? Sparta had so many slaves (aka Helots) and treated them so poorly that they organized their entire society to hold them down.

“Moses” Finley which is a bit like calling t.s. Eliot Thomas Eliot- it suggests at best a glancing familiarity with his work (he went by M.I. Finley) was a Marxist or the of the supposedly non-existent Frankfort School.
In other words a cultural Marxist. And wouldn’t you know it but it was extremely popular to analogize the US to Athens and the Soviet Union to Sparta. There was quite a bit wrong with this superimposition of Thuycidies onto the Cold War but it was extremely popular one at the time. as such Finley tailored his writings to emphasize the role of slavery in Athens.

That isn’t to say that Finley is worthless World of Odysseus is an interesting if deeply flawed book and far more engaging than Ancient Economy his later work.


Joel's comment was quite good, but I was gonna say the same thing about Sparta. The distinction between Helot and Slave was significant but not huge, if that makes any sense.

I think you have to add the various Caribbean colonial states to that list as well. Even more than the Old South they were one trick economies where sugar was king and slavery was the basis of the economy.

Not that far-fetched to me. I can attest that the neighborhood forum lights up with responses when the subject of compensation of the help that pours in from the south of us comes up. "I just want to make sure what I'm paying her is on par with what everyone else is ..." Seldom, I think, is the import "I worry I am paying too little." As long as there are people with plenty of money who pipe up and say, "I treasure Juana and Maria and so I give them $150 to clean my house for 4 hours," that sets the tone. People genuinely do want to know what's current and follow the norm, I think. And with open borders, I can easily see the answer returned becoming, "Our nanny, who also does "light" housework and "light" meal prep, is just so happy to be here that all she wants is room and board ..." For a woman, it is chiefly important that she feel she is doing what other women in her circle are doing.

$18.75/ hr, most likely under the table, for house cleaning? Juana and Maria aren't doing so bad. Like the ladies in your neighborhood, though, I have no idea what the going rate is.

Ha, no, I just made that figure up having no strong desire to search through NextDoor. I don't know what they get, surely less. But a lot of people seem to like the idea of a pair of ladies coming into their house and cleaning the whole thing top to bottom in three or 4 hours. I have my doubts about the feasibility of this, but whatever.

I imagine the state of those houses, especially those with children, that get no attention in between those four-hour stints, and then I think of my ordinary middle-class grandmother - who by virtue of who she was, when she was born, where she lived - automatically falls under suspicion as with other past people - and her arrangement with her housekeeper of decades.

After arriving by bus, Frances would change into her uniform, for which purpose she had her own room (where she occasionally spent the night if my grandmother was ill, say, or after helping with a party).

Then she and my grandmother would settle down with their coffee, and Frances would read the paper and work the crossword.

After that she would set about cleaning the house, which, as my grandmother kept it spotless, and in any case Francis herself would have cleaned it two or three days prior, was more or less a housekeeper's dream job. Except perhaps, when I was infrequently there, and wanted very much to "help" her, as by cleaning the bathroom mirror with toothpaste.

Meanwhile my grandmother would fix lunch for the both of them - or the three of us if I was there - which they ate together. A couple hours later, Francis got back into her nice street clothes, and returned home.

Now my grandmother was a bit of a virtue-signaller herself, and for some reason - perhaps I had asked about Francis's other jobs, how she had enough to live on (she worked for one other gentleman) - she made sure I knew that she had always paid into Social Security for Frances, not paid her under the table.

But I would never mean to suggest she was enlightened as we are now; please don't think I'm pleading that.

The real question is, when are the Italians going to start paying reparations?

Some of the slaves became Mamluks, the warrior caste of the Levant, who held considerable political power and status. And as mentioned, many slaves were freed. The more I read about slavery, the more it appears to me that the New World slave trade was especially brutal- heritable slavery, hard labor, and short lives.

Aw cheer up. The Moslem slave caravans across the Sahara prepared for their journey be castrating the male slaves and then pausing to see how many survived the operation.

Uh-huh. I'd rather pick cotton than get galley work. Just sayin'.

The more I read about slavery, the more it appears to me that was pretty awful everywhere. But that undermines the uniqueness narrative for US grievance studies.

'the more it appears to me that was pretty awful everywhere'

However, as noted in the Ventian, it was not an inherited condition - a slave's children were not considered slaves, certainly through most of Europe's history.

That was the critical aspect that distinguished the North Atlantic slave trade - slaves were nothing but property, and of course, so were their children. And at least in the U.S., skin color was the distincuishing feature between owners and property. To the extent that in a number of southern states through the 1800s, the very idea of any black person not being property became essentially meaningless.

"the very idea of any black person not being property became essentially meaningless."

And yet there were many black slave owners. How did that work?

Many? No. Some few, yes, especially early on when the racial justification for slavery hadn't yet been enunciated.

'How did that work?'

In the American South, by 1840? Not at all is a pretty straightforward answer. Here is an example from North Carolina - 'Should a North Carolina resident wish to emancipate his slaves, he must file a petition in one of the Superior Courts; the Courts would grant the request only if the requestor had given public notice of his intentions, provided "bond with two securities . . . payable to the State of North Carolina, in the sum of one thousand dollars for each slave" in order to ensure the slave's proper behavior in the state upon emancipation (p. 7). Regardless of the payment, however, freed slaves had 90 days to "leave the State of North Carolina, and never afterwards come within the same" (p. 7). Failure to leave the state, or any return to the state, would result in the arrest of the freed slave; if found guilty of violating the terms of his or her emancipation, the freed slave could be "ordered to be sold" back into slavery (p. 7). Slaves freed in other states, or any other "free negro, or mulatto" were prohibited from migrating to North Carolina (p. 8). Any "free negro or person of colour who may be a resident of this State" was prohibited from leaving the state for more than 90 days; upon leaving for more than 90 days, that person's residency was revoked and he or she could no longer legally return, provided he or she had not been unable to return due to "sickness or other unavoidable occurrence" (p. 9). Any free "person of colour" was also required to avoid "idleness and dissipation" in order to avoid arrest and a subsequent "term of time to service and labour."'

You can decide for yourself how many African-American slaveowners there were in North Carolina after those laws were in place around 1831. If you wish to talk about black slaveowners in 1740, sure - of course, they were not American slaveowners in the sense that the U.S. did not exist yet.

"That was the critical aspect that distinguished the North Atlantic slave trade - slaves were nothing but property"

It was in no way unique to the North Atlantic. The unique part it that it was recent, and there's a group willing to take blame (especially for others) for it.

Well, the idea that was fairly unique is that the children of property were also owned property. Generally, slavery was not an inherited condition in most European contexts.

Plus, the institution of European slavery antedated Venetian medieval and proto-modern practices by some four or five millennia (slavery was a rude fact of proto-Indo-European-speaking populations' cultures as early as the beginning of the fourth millennium BCE, slave trading one common consequence of conquest).

The first IndoEuropean language attested in written form was Hittite in the 2nd millennium BC. We can't say with any true certainty what IE-speakers were up to earlier than that.

I took my cue from the introductory essay "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans" by Calvert Watkins (Amer. Herit. Dict. of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed., 2000), p. xxix, "Economic Life and Technology".

Watkins cited one root for "exchange" that furnished a later term for "captive", two concerning "fetching a price" and "buying or selling" that "refer in the oldest texts to traffic in people", with the root des- underlying the Greek doulos, slave.

So-caled Proto-Indieuropean is based on a huge amount of guess work since itcus MIT an attested language. We should be wary of basing too many further assumptions on top of that scaffold.

Venice as capital lasted between years ~800 and 1800. Slavery, serfdom and indentured servitude were quite common at the time.

The Black Sea is on the other side of the Bosphorus strait. Any slave trade in that part of the world required the approval of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. Of course, demand was there with Saracens/Arabs, Egypt and Morocco willing to buy slave. Cyprus and Crete were part of Venice at it's peak, don't know why they are treated as sovereign states.

The true reason for the merchant republic's prosperity rears its ugly head.

If Venice got rich with slavery, then the Ottomans and Mamluks must have held 10x their coin from the same source...

So the Venetians, like practically everyone else at the time, kept and dealt slaves. They also killed people. But post-moderns are more upset by servitude than murder. The destruction of native American societies by Europeans draws yawns from those obsessed by the fact that these same Europeans purchased Africans from other Africans for the purpose of labor. In comparison, the current attitude toward sex trafficking is to condemn the procurers and suppliers the most. The ante-bellum American south is portrayed as the epicenter of evil because of slavery but nary a syllable is uttered in regard to the Africans at the heart of the slave trade that enabled it and the Muslim culture that embraces it even to this day.

On August 12, we ponder the meaning of the Venetian slave business of hundreds of years in the past while ignoring the use of atomic weapons to incinerate Japanese teen-age girls walking to school on Aug. 6 and 9, just 74 years ago, to general American acclaim.

Chuck, my father was among the American troops waiting offshore for the invasion of Japan. Casualty estimates for the Americans range from a quarter of a million to a million and a half. Casualties for the Japanese in that invasion would have been three to five times greater (based on the ratios from earlier battles at Okinawa and the Philippines). That would have included a great many teen-age girls, since the Imperial Japanese Army was issuing them sharpened hand tools and bamboo spears for suicide attacks against the Americans.
I'm sorry you think the atomic bombs were unsporting. Would you have been happier if a much greater number of people on both sides were killed conventionally?

There was no practical reason for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. They had been defeated. The general population of Japan were the subjects of their warrior caste and, at least in some measure, coerced into fighting. Do you, or others, believe that the Japanese felt that further resistance after early August, 1945 would have brought more atomic bombing on the islands, which would have been in the course of being occupied by allied troops? No, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were examples of the modern nation-state strategy of collective punishment for the ordinary citizens for the misdeeds of their elites. Sadly, the architects of American adventures overseas will never be held to account for their actions. But their innocent descendants might well be.

"Hiroshima and Nagasaki were examples... of collective punishment"

While I agree with many of your points, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not more effective as collective punishment than the preceding fire bombing of other Japanese cities. I suspect that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were more for the benefit of the Soviets than the Japanese.

There was no practical reason for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. T

Thanks for the ex cathedra pronouncement. Been an education.

The fact that Japan would not surrender after Hiroshima and we had to bomb Nagasaki belies your beliefs.

They were willing to end the war as early as 1943. Shit, they would have ended the war in 1942 if we had agreed to drop our claims on the Philippines, which we should never have claimed in the first place. The war would not even have occurred except for the 100% oil embargo imposed upon Japan by FDR.

The US managed to ignorantly stomp its way into a world war for no real reason and turn half of Asia communist in the process. (Specific to Pacific theatre. European theatre turned half of Europe communist and almost resulted in nuclear war several times).

That led, of course, to the Cultural Revolution, the ever repeating Korean Juche Holomodor, the Great Leap Forward and massive starvation of millions, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Khmer Rouge and killing fields/genocide, Indonesia mass killings of students.....

Meanwhile the two long term Japanese colonies, AKA our worst fear in 1942 from Imperial Japan, are Taiwan and South Korea.

Yeah. Great call dudes.

It’d be a total shame if Japan brought the literacy rate of East Asia up to 99% in 1942 and developed rail, telegraph, and transit lines. And developed self governance over time and created a greater Japan.

Killing everyone with glasses, napalming children, nuking cities, and starving tens of millions “for the worker” is like way better.

But hey, we have a dystopian social credit system and Beijing might send the PLA into Hong Kong. Tens of millions are dead for no reason. And a million+ of Muslims are in concentration camps. Koreans will go hungry tonight. Many Laotians and Cambodians will be kidnapped and beaten tonight for facebooking anti government messages.

Conservatives love to say “thanks Obama!” When he did literally nothing against their interests.

Asia looks to us and says “thanks America!” And we set almost every fire.

"On August 12, we ponder the meaning of the Venetian slave business of hundreds of years in the past while ignoring the use of atomic weapons to incinerate Japanese teen-age girls walking to school."

Maybe Americans should have showered the Japanese with flowers for their atrocities. Or awarded them Olympic records for their death marches. Or awarded them medals for having terrorized their fellow Asians.

It is a shame that even today Japanese totalitarianism still has apologists and stooges in the West. Even worse: even today, the Japanese are uncapable to show any regrets.

Andrew, there's a whole Wikipedia page documenting nothing but Japan's hundred or so apologies. Several of them I added myself, since as a long time resident of Japan I've seen them live on television. I stopped bothering, but take my word for it: that page is not complete.

Japan is the gift that keeps on giving for Korean and Chinese politicians, and they are not inclined to "accept" any apology or reparations, since they need Japan as a misdirection whenever there are domestic troubles. I'm not sure how it's being covered outside of Asia, but Korea is having a little hissy fit at this very moment over some obscure matter, and nobody in Japan can figure out what their problem is.

One thing to keep in mind is that Japan was simply a colonial power, doing what colonial powers do. Read an impartial account of the U.S. In the Philippines, for instance.

The real truth about Japan:

. There is barely any moral difference between Japan's post-war leadwrship and, say, German neonazi groups.

Oh dear. Have you been reading the Rising Wasabi again?

What matters is that Japan teaches its youth that WW2 was when Japan was innocently minding its own business and the US atom-bombed them. It is nothing like the sincere contrition taught in Germany.


Odd. About 3 years ago I was in conversation with some recently graduated young women visiting North America. The conversation took to history and I had heard tell of white-washing WWII, so I asked what they had learned about the conflict.

They were from a typical high school, and their knowledge of WW II was much more thorough than anything taught in North America, although not particularly deep (maybe AP history level?). Seemed quite accurate as well.

There wasn't a big sense of responsibility, as it was "ancient" history. (Pretty typical for most young people. Anything more than 25 years old is irrelevant.)

So, I strongly suspect this tale of hiding World War II history is like many tales, massively out of date, or found in some private schools with specific curricula.

Sort of like claims that US schools don't teach evolution. Makes a for good outrage, but is statistically claptrap. (Whether the students retain any of what they're taught might be a different matter...)

American historical accounts (composed since c. 1876) also seem to conveniently downplay the role of New England's maritime industry in wresting the closing decades of the Atlantic slave trade from the British shipowners of Liverpool.

Shipowners of Newport and Bristol, Rhode Island, came to dominate American management of the Atlantic trade. Profits from slaving voyages of nine or ten months were estimated at about thirty percent after deductions of expenses.

Just as English management of the Atlantic trade for its colonies helped pay for English industrialization, so lucrative New England participation helped pay for the American industrialization.

Slave trade to South America? There was no U.S. slave trade after the early 1800's, was there? Or is that what you mean?

There was an internal slave trade in the US right up until emancipation. Importing slaves from abroad was banned in 1808.

I was referring to the Atlantic slave trade serving British New World possessions in the colonial era and the successor American trade after the colonies won independence.

New England slavers shipped casks of Massachusetts-distilled rum to Africa (c. 200 gallons per male slave), slaves were exchanged in the West Indies for molasses, the molasses went back to Massachusetts to become rum. Each leg of the route had its own profit margin, the highest being the transit from Africa to the West Indies.

I suspect that part of the reason Trump's description of immigrants and dark-skinned people as "invaders" or "animals" resonates more in the South than elsewhere is the result of the South's brutal history of slavery. In some Southern states slaves outnumbered whites, and even if not, the large numbers of slaves and the risk of slave rebellion were an ever-present threat. I've mentioned before the Stono Rebellion of 1739, the slave rebellion outside Charleston (Stono refers to the Stono River) that left 25 dead whites and up to 50 dead slaves. But here's the thing: I grew up in the South, and I never heard of the Stono Rebellion. Indeed, I didn't learn about it until family members purchased a house on the Stono River in Charleston. Children in the South were not taught very much about slavery or events such as the Stono Rebellion. Moreover, mass race riots in the modern era were mostly outside the South, in places such as Newark, Detroit, and LA. What's happening now, especially with Trump's rhetoric, is that people in the South are becoming more aware of the history of slavery, including the threat of slave rebellion, which is easily transformed into a feeling of threat from all black and brown people.

There are not many widely known historical episodes from the british-american colonial era in general. Pocahontas, pilgrims, maybe bacons rebellion. What else?

Trump is losing his grip, in more way than one!

"To those asking, 'what took so long?' You’re right. I tried to see best in
@realDonaldTrump based on private interactions and select policy alignment. But his increasingly divisive rhetoric - and damage it’s doing to fabric of our society - outweighs any short-term economic gain. In the end, ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ convinced me. It never was TDS, after all. It was just a clear read of the situation. We should all have seen this coming." - Anthony Scaramucci

"Trump's description of immigrants and dark-skinned people as "invaders" or "animals""

A wee bit too much CNN, rayward? Your brain is turning to mush.

Trump is right. Importing cheaper, browner people to do work you can't pay your own countrymen enough to do never works out in the long run.

"even today, the Japanese are uncapable to show any regrets."

Irrelevant. It's not like contemporary Japanese chauvinism, whether real or imagined, is going to lead to the recreation of the Japanese empire.

Because the West learned its lesson and won't llow it. It neither changes what they are nor changes what they want. To keep whining about Hiroshima and Nagasaki only emboldens the fascists.

"the West"

Again irrelevant. China, Korea, and Russia can fend for themselves, and each of them have more or less normal relations with Japan.

It is not what the apologists of Japan, whining about China and Korea, say. Let us be blunt: Japan is thr aggressor. There is no moral difference between Japan and Nazi Germany.

I got the impression that everyone in Japan understands what happened during WWII was bad. They are extremely pacifist for a reason.

The difference is that Japanese don't think they have some unique racial sin they can never get rid of. They see what happened during the imperial era as pretty run of the mill compared to the other great powers. They are glad it's over and don't want to go through it again, and they are willing to apologize, but they aren't willing to engage in unlimited self masochism forever or see themselves as uniquely evil.

+1, of all the empires and regimes that have existed worldwide there is only one group that is currently trying to self-flagellate their guilt away. It's not a coincidence that happens to be the same group that attracts the lion's share of criticism. People can sense weakness and they know when to exploit it.

So that is it. Having a conscience is an unnafordable weakness, and fascism is great. Well, if it were up to me, I would annihilate Japan, really make them pay.

The pot calling the kettle fascist.

I see. Opposing fascism is... fascist. Instead of firebombing fascists, we should have bombed them with rose petals.

Well, we know that Antifa is more fascist than those they claim to oppose...

I see. So Japamese totalitarianism is wonderful.

As asdf notes, there is a distinction to be made between recognizing your past transgressions and apologizing for them, and, for example, throwing open your borders to millions of foreigners because you feel that your mere existence wrongs them in some fashion, or, for another example, campaigning to spend perhaps trillions (often of other people's money) for reparations for sins in which everyone involved has long passed. One is a normal human reaction, the other is a pathological disorder.

I see. You think Japanese fascism is wonderful.

Anything that is bad for Brazil IS wonderful, obviously. Japanese fascism is awesome!

The original point used the atomic bombing of Japan as an example of the odd idea that slavery is somehow worse than murder, that it's more reprehensible to make an African pick cotton than it is to kill a Sioux that's minding his own business somewhere in what is now South Dakota. In reality, the abolitionist fervor in ante-bellum America was centered in Massachusetts, the true epicenter of evil in the western hemisphere at that time and the capital of what remained of the Puritan movement. Ultimately rejected in whole by the English, the Puritans survived in the new world and carried on the British Wars of the Three Kingdoms, fomenting the American Revolution and the War Between The States. They didn't become abolitionists until importation of slaves became illegal and they were no longer able to profit from it.

Thankfully, Irish and Italian immigration have managed to pretty much breed the Puritans out of existence yet their influence on American culture remains significant to this day.

John Quincy Adams was an ardent abolitionist. About one in four (?) MA families owned a slave. As bad as that is, and it is very bad, that is much smaller that the number in Virginia and other tobacco and cotton growing states.

True about the Irish and Italians, my ancestors.

We are being outbred by people from Latin America. That, together with a continuing forcing - the open border with Latin America - ensures we shall become just like those sh*thole countries. Like LA today, the Central Valley in CA, AZ, CO, NV, NM, and soon Texas. Some, like the mouse, will celebrate the change and dance on our graves.

Do you love it
Do you hate it
Here it is
The way you made it ...
- Frank Zappa

There’s a wonderful book that places the origins of the Venetian slave trade in a broader economic context. The corresponding flow of gold into Europe had a major economic impact.

Michael McCormick, Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce AD 300-900.

"A Splendid Exchange" by Bernstein goes into detail on this subject as well. It's a great read for those interested in a history of trade.

Not just Venice: some of the Medicis owned slave girls, I think Cosimo had 4.

"only three societies really based on slavery in history": I think Sir Moses is wrong; there was a fourth. It may have been reasonable to refer to serfs in Russia in the 17th century i.e. to imply that their condition bore resemblance to the medieval serfs of, say, France or England. But by the 18th century they had been transformed into slaves. And then, boom! Alexander II freed them (slightly before the slaves of the US were freed).

There were some differences: serf marriages were formally recognized and respected. And since there was no ethnic differences between serf and noble there was no racialist nonsense underpinning the system.

That's what all this is about isn't it. It's OK that nearly all societies at all times were based on slavery (serfdom is basically slavery), but so long as you only brutalize people of the same skin color then its alright.

the problem for the sociologists is that the filet de pollo people are
just frankly more likeable than the smith college church ladies!

If every mention of slavery propels you to comment about the USA you need therapy. It's like someone responding to the topic of foot binding by telling us why their shoes don't fit. It's not on point.

Tyler reads book. Tyler posts quote. Trolls roar.

What are you trying to tell us, Tyler? So what, Tyler?

Comments for this post are closed