From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain persons — known as slaves — are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to perform labour or services. The term also refers to the status or condition of those persons, who are treated as the property of another person or household. Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase, or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation in return for their labour. As such, slavery is one form of unfree labour.
Chattel slavery is the absolute legal ownership of a person or persons, including the legal right to buy and sell them. Tax slavery is the absolute legal ownership of the ruler over a person's labour or income. Slavery has been a prominent feature of many civilizations throughout recorded human history.
Slavery ended during the Medieval West, only to be revived after the Renaissance and its appreciation of the organisation of classical society (i.e. ancient Greece and Rome). Following its western revival, slavery was opposed by abolitionist movements in the Americas and Europe.