The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. Likewise, its victims have come from many different ethnicities and religious groups. The social, economic, and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.[1]

Slavery was relatively rare in pre-civilisation hunter-gatherer populations,[2] as it develops under conditions of social stratification

.[3] Slavery operated in the first civilizations (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia

,[4] which dates back as far as 3500 BC). Slavery features in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BCE), which refers to it as an established institution

.[5] Slavery was widespread in the ancient world. It was found in almost every ancient civilization, including the Roman Empire. It became less common throughout Europe during the Early Middle Ages, although it continued to be practiced in some areas. Both Christians and Muslims captured each other as slaves during centuries of warfare in the Mediterranean.

[6] Islamic slavery encompassed mainly Western and Central Asia, Northern and Eastern Africa, India, and Europe from the 7th to the 20th century.