Slavery in Etrand
|Language:||English • magyar|
Slavery is a fully legalized practice in Etrand. It is estimated that there is a total of 57,650 slaves in Etrand out of the total population of 5,163,000, making up 1.12% of the kingdom's population.
Before the Kingdom of Etrand was founded, slavery was very much present in Etrand. Wars between rival tribes often resulted in the taking of prisoners of war. While sacrifice of prisoners to pagan gods like Hróthward and Mýrr definitely happened, sometimes the tribal chieftains acted more economically-minded and decides to enslave the POWs instead of sacrificing them. During succesful raids, survivors were usually enslaved rather than sacrificed. Some criminals were also punished via enslavement as an alternative to exile, execution or mutilation.
While technically not slaves (more like serfs), there was also an untouchable class in pre-unification Etrandish society - people who did work that was considered especially "unclean".
Eventually the untouchables, enslaved POWs and criminals all coalesced, merged, amalgamated into one nameless caste whose treatment depended on the particular region. In parts of Etrand, these bottom-caste people had a status more akin to that of serfs rather than actual slaves, while in other parts of Etrand, they were treated and sold like literal cattle - in South-Eastern Etrand, selling slaves to Hulra and Gabyr (usually indirectly via Hulra) was said to be one of the major sources of wealth for the local warlords.
Through much of history, the combined population of slaves and untouchables made up roughly 5-10% of every tribe's population.
During the first century of the kingdom's existence, the amount of slaves and slavery flactuated a lot. King Corlagon made an order that all slaves who convert to Titanism must be freed, and that the status of all untouchables who convert must be elevated to that of regular subjects. The transition from tribalism to feudalism also meant the decline of slavery - feudal lords now owned fiefs, and serfs living on their estates had to pay taxes for the privilege of living on their land - taxes which could be paid in the form of currency, produce (usually cerals) or labour.
The aftermath of both the Orcish Invasion of Etrand and Aelfwaird's Rebellion the under the reign of King Symon saw the swift revival of slavery in Etrand - the earlier depopulated Southern Etrand, causing a workforce shortage, while the latter provided an ample source of slaves to put to forced labour. While previously, the punishment for the crime of worshipping pagan idols was imprisonment or execution, during Symon's reign, it was changed to forced labour. At the same time, Etrand also saw the influx of Orcish slaves for the very first time, in the form of enslaved POWs.
Even though the laws said that those who convert to Titanism must be freed from slavery, this didn't always happen. In the south, where greedy lords wanted free labour, even converted slaves (and their descendants) were kept enslaved. That is, until the reign of King Tondbert, who ruled that all slaves must be freed, de facto making slavery illegal (de jure, slavery remained fully legal).
Roughly one centure later, slavery was once again revived in Etrand. The aftermath of the Hulran invasion of Etrand in 273 once again saw the influx of enslaved POWs put to forced labour, although they had no women to reproduce with - initially. Etrandish rule in former Hulra also saw some enslavement of the natives - men and women alike -, and deportation into Etrand for forced labour.
Starting from the fourth century, debt-slavery was gradually introduced in Etrand. As Etrand became economically more succesful, Orcish and Goblin slaves were often peacefully procured (bought) from traveling Goblin merchants. During Orcish raids - if the Humans succesfully defeated the raiders - it was (and still is) standard practice to enslave the survivors and sell them to the highest bidder.
With the exception of the mid-first century - when, at its height, slaves made up over 10% of the kingdom's total population - there was absolutely no other point in the kingdom's history where slaves made up more than 2% of the kingdom's population.
As of 831, it is estimated that there is a total of 57,650 slaves in Etrand out of the total population of 5,163,000, making up 1.12% of the kingdom's population.
Ever since the fourth century, not much has changed about Etrand's slavery-policy. They continued, and continue to this very day, to enslave orcs, to enslave indebted people, and to buy slaves from other sources. The number of humans in bondage have dropped heavily - aside from the debt-slaves, no human being is subject to enslavement in Etrand at all.
On the other hand, a new type of slave made its appearence in the late 7th century - Dark Elven, overwhelmingly female slaves. While every other type of slave in Etrand is primarily used for hard labour - whether it's mining, agricultural work, transportation of goods, or any other labour-intensive work - these slaves are primarily sex-slaves, or even de facto concubines, as they very often have privileges even free people lack.
Types of comteporary slaves
The majority of slaves in Etrand are either Orcs or Goblins. As of 831, there are 35,000 goblins and 12,000 orcs living in Etrand, the majority of which are slaves, making up a total of circa 46,400 Orcish/Goblin slaves. The majority of such slaves are males - usually, most male slaves are castrated, allowing only a few to reproduce.
The majority of Orcish and Goblin slaves in Etrand work as transporters, miners, mill-pushers and farm-slaves, under brutal conditions. The origins of these slaves varies - some are former Orcish and Goblin warriors who were captured after their failed attempts to raid in Etrand, some where caught by different Orcish tribes and sold in Etrand by Orcish and Goblin slave-traders. Selling Orcish and Goblin slaves to Etrand is a rich source of revenue for the Orcish tribes, and is considered to "a good way of getting rid of the weak and useless who don't do anything just consume food".
Dark Elven slaves
The number of Dark Elven slaves in Etrand is very low, estimated between 1,000 and 1,500, compared to the total of 26,000 Dark Elves living in Etrand. These slaves are overwhelmingly female, and are sold to or forcibly taken to Etrand by Dark Elven slave-traders or traffickers.
The vast majority of them are either sex slaves or household servants (maids). Due to their rarity and beauty, Dark Elven slaves are rather expensive.
The vast majority of Dark Elven slaves - at least 85% of them - are female, but there is rarer and even more expensive type of Dark Elven slave that is not female - the "Dark Elven she-men" are male (usually castrated) slaves who are forced to crossdress and may or may not be trained to be really good at acting female. The Dark Elven she-men - who double as singers and sex-slaves - for long have captured the imagination of the more immoral-minded slave-owners.
As these Dark Elven slaves are valued for their rarity and beauty, they are treated differently from Orcish and Goblin slaves - while the latter two are forced to work in brutal conditions, flogged to be disciplined, and may be often victims of summary executions, Dark Elven slaves are well-fed and bathed, have their own bedchambers and bodyguards, and often live in luxurious conditions that would make several noblemen green with envy. It is a common stereotype that these female slaves bathe in milk rather than water, drink the best wine and dress like noblemen, while actually being unfree on paper.
Debt slaves and Criminal slaves
Even though ever since Etrand has adopted the Titanist religion, enslaving fellow Titanists has been illegal - unless they have committed "heinous crimes" -, those follow the state religion - or any of the protected religions, such as the Dwarven religion or the Cult of Nature - still are at the risk of being enslaved because of their inability to pay a debt.
Additionally, being made a slave also exists as a form of punishment for certain offences, such as repeated thievery. Additionally, under certain conditions, prisoners that are given life imprisonment may be brought as slaves - usually, the condition is that they are never freed, they get executed for even minor offences and their captor has to compensate financially for all damages caused by the slave.
The number of debt slaves and criminal slaves together may be as high as 10,000. The majority of such slaves are Humans. These slaves are usually used to work in mines and other physically-intensive hard labour, mainly due to the overwhelming majority of debt-slaves being urban citizens rather than rural peasants. The usage of female debt-slaves as sex-slaves isn't unheard of - and may very well be a highly common practice -, even though it is illegal, as the enslaved criminals and indebted people are merely sentenced to forced labour for the highest bidder, rather than literal and complete ownership by the owner.