Slavery - Slave societies | Britannica | INTELLIGENT WORLD TODAY |
Slavery - Slavery - Historical survey: The origins of slavery are lost to human memory. It is sometimes hypothesized that at some moment it was decided that persons detained for a crime or as a result of warfare would be more useful if put to work in some way rather than if killed outright and discarded or eaten. But both if and when that first occurred is unknown. Slavery is known to have existed as early as the Shang dynasty (18th–12th century bce) in China. It has been studied thoroughly in ancient Han China (206 bce–25 ce), where perhaps 5 percent of the population was enslaved.