Slavery in medieval Europe  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Slavery in early medieval Europe was relatively common. It was widespread at the end of antiquity. The etymology of the word slave comes from this period, the word sklabos meaning Slav. Slavery declined in the Middle Ages in most parts of Europe as serfdom slowly rose, but it never completely disappeared. It persisted longer in Southern and Eastern Europe. In Poland slavery was forbidden in the 15th century; it was replaced by the second enserfment. In Lithuania, slavery was formally abolished in 1588.

Throughout this period slaves were traded openly in most cities, including cities as diverse as Marseille, Dublin and Prague, and many were sold to buyers in the Middle East. The town of Caffa in the Crimea was called the capital of the medieval slave trade, but an overland route to Caliphate of Córdoba took pagan and dualist Slavs from Kiev through Lviv and Prague, at that time the borderlands of Christianity, this arduous land route competing with the North-South route by river which led to the Black Sea.

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