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Slavery is an age-old social institution defined by law and custom as the most absolute involuntary form of human servitude. The humiliating practice of slavery dates to prehistoric times, although its institutionalization probably first occurred in early historical times, when advances in agricultural systems made possible more highly organized societies. The infamous Atlantic slave trade, carried out in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa, Europe, and the Americas, began in Africa in the mid-1400s but did not become a huge enterprise until after European nations began colonizing the Americas during the 1500s. This inhuman practice generated sociopolitical as well as legal concerns. It gave rise to a widespread abolitionist movement. Because of the abolitionist movement, the institution of slavery ceased in Europe and the Americas by ...

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