Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
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Have other countries ever had slavery?

Throughout history, many other countries in all parts of the world have also had slavery. Often those enslaved were captives of war. When one nation fought and defeated another nation, the victors seized some people and brought them home with them. When the Romans conquered Britain, for example, they took English slaves back to work in Italy. When the Romans conquered Greece, they brought Greek slaves back to Italy. Sometimes enslaved people are individuals that have been captured when there wasn't a war. Even today, in some parts of the world, people are kidnapped, taken away from their homes, and forced to labor for strangers. The United Nations is working hard to stop this terrible practice.

American slavery was particularly cruel for several reasons. Enslaved people were brought here from Africa, over 3000 miles away. There was no hope that they could ever return home. They were enslaved for life. No matter how hard they worked, they would not become free. Children of the enslaved were also enslaved for life. They had no right to appeal to the courts to change this. They had few legal protections of any sort. No laws prohibited the separation of families. No laws protected enslaved persons from physical violence. No laws guaranteed enslaved persons the rights that modern people expect all individuals to enjoy. Life under slavery was particularly cruel in the United States.

Did all enslaved people in the United States come from Africa?

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