In its most basic terms, slavery is a system in which a human is treated as property and forced to work without compensation.
Slavery has been part of the human experience for most of recorded history. In the 19th Century, various conscientious efforts were made to end the institution. While widespread chattel slavery was ended, most notably in Europe and the New World, the intuition does continue on.
In the New World in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, blacks were owned as property and forced to labor without compensation on their owners' plantations. It was introduced into what would later become the United States by Britain in 1619 and remained legal after the American Revolution. It was banned state by state in the Northern states and became a major divisive issue between northern and southern states throughout the first half of nineteenth century. When Abraham Lincoln, an opponent of slavery, was elected President in 1860, a number of slave states responded by seceding from the Union, forming the Confederate States, and starting the American Civil War. The war ended in 1865, with the abolition of slavery being a consequence. (See Slavery in the United States for more information on this aspect in Turtledove works.)
Slavery was initially unheard of in the uninhabited wilds of Atlantis; however, in time, the French and Spanish settlements began an active trade in African slavery. Additionally, following the Basque discovery of Terranova, copperskins were also forced into slavery. Dissatisfied slaves severely hampered both French and Spanish war efforts against England during the French and Spanish War. Victor Radcliff's closest military advisor was Blaise, an escaped black slave.
Slavery in Gunpowder EmpireEdit
Agrippan Rome, having never modernized, still used slavery as a fundamental part of its economy and society. The Solters found slavery repulsive, but also found themselves heavily burdened by the sheer number of domestic tasks they had to accomplish alone. Crosstime Traffic regulations specifically forbid agents from owning slaves; there had been quite the scandal a few years in the past.
Slavery in In High PlacesEdit
The slavery scandal that rocked Crosstime Traffic actually involved Annette Klein, a teenager from the home timeline who was captured by slavers and sold into slavery in Madrid in a medieval European alternate that never recovered from the Great Black Deaths. The Madrid slavers in turn sold her to an illegal Crosstime slave outpost where people owned and abused slaves freely, against government regulations. Annette Klein was eventually able to escape to the home timeline and alert Crosstime to this abuse of power. All major ringleaders were sent away for lengthy prison terms.