Penal labour is a generic term for various kinds of unfree labour which prisoners are required to perform manual labour. The work may be hard, depending on the context. Forms of sentence involving penal labour have included involuntary servitude, penal servitude and imprisonment with hard labour; the term may refer to several related scenarios: labour as a form of punishment, the prison system used as a means to secure labour, labour as providing occupation for convicts. These scenarios can be applied to those imprisoned for political, war, or other reasons as well as to criminal convicts. Large-scale implementations of penal labour include labour camps, prison farms, penal colonies, penal military units, penal transportation, or aboard prison ships. Punitive labour known as convict labour, prison labour, or hard labour, is a form of forced labour used in both past and present as an additional form of punishment beyond imprisonment alone. Punitive labour encompasses two types: productive labour, such as industrial work.
Sometimes authorities turn prison labour into an industry, as on a prison farm or in a prison workshop. In such cases, the pursuit of income from their productive labour may overtake the preoccupation with punishment and/or reeducation as such of the prisoners, who are at risk of being exploited as slave-like cheap labour. On the other hand, for example in Victorian prisons, inmates were made to work the treadmill: in some cases, this was productive labour to grind grain. Similar punishments included carrying cannonballs. Semi-punitive labour included oakum-picking: teasing apart old tarry rope to make caulking material for sailing vessels. Imprisonment with hard labour was first introduced into English law with the Criminal Law Act 1776 known as the "Hulks Act", which authorized prisoners being put to work on improving the navigation of the River Thames in lieu of transportation to the North American colonies, which had become impossible due to the American Revolutionary War; the Penal Servitude Act 1853 substituted penal servitude for transportation to a distant British colony, except in cases where a person could be sentenced to transportation for life or for a term not less than fourteen years.
Section 2 of the Penal Servitude Act 1853 abolished the sentence of transportation in all cases and provided that in all cases a person who would otherwise have been liable to transportation would be liable to penal servitude instead. Section 1 of the Penal Servitude Act 1853 makes provision for enactments which authorise a sentence of penal servitude but do not specify a maximum duration, it must now be read subject to section 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1948. Sentences of penal servitude were served in convict prisons and were controlled by the Home Office and the Prison Commissioners. After sentencing, convicts would be classified according to the seriousness of the offence of which they were convicted and their criminal record. First time offenders would be classified in the Star class. Habitual offenders would be classified in the Recidivist class. Care was taken to ensure. Penal servitude included hard labour as a standard feature. Although it was prescribed for severe crimes it was widely applied in cases of minor crime, such as petty theft and vagrancy, as well as victimless behaviour deemed harmful to the fabric of society.
Notable recipients of hard labour under British law include the prolific writer Oscar Wilde, imprisoned in Reading Gaol. Labour was sometimes useful. In Inveraray Jail from 1839 prisoners worked up to ten hours a day. Most male prisoners picked oakum. Female prisoners knitted stockings or sewed. Forms of labour for punishment included the treadmill, shot drill, the crank machine. Treadmills for punishment were used in prisons in Britain from 1818 until the second half of the 19th century. Prisoners had to work six or more hours a day, climbing the equivalent of 5,000 to 14,000 vertical feet. While the purpose was punitive, the mills could have been used to grind grain, pump water, or operate a ventilation system. Shot drill involved stooping without bending the knees, lifting a heavy cannonball to chest height, taking three steps to the right, replacing it on the ground, stepping back three paces, repeating, moving cannonballs from one pile to another; the crank machine was a device which turned a crank by hand which in turn forced four large cups or ladles through sand inside a drum, doing nothing useful.
Male prisoners had to turn the handle 6,000–14,400 times over the period of six hours a day, as registered on a dial. The warder could make the task harder by tightening an adjusting screw, hence the slang term "screw" for prison warder; the British penal colonies in Australia between 1788 and 1868 provide a major historical example of convict labour, as described above: during that period, Australia received thousands of transported c
Slavery in antiquity
Slavery in the ancient world, from the earliest known recorded evidence in Sumer to the pre-medieval Antiquity Mediterranean cultures, comprised a mixture of debt-slavery, slavery as a punishment for crime, the enslavement of prisoners of war. Masters could free slaves, in many cases such freedmen went on to rise to positions of power; this would include those children born into slavery but who were the children of the master of the house. Their father would ensure; the institution of slavery condemned a majority of slaves to agricultural and industrial labor and they lived hard lives. In many of these cultures slaves formed a large part of the economy, in particular the Roman Empire and some of the Greek poleis built a large part of their wealth on slaves acquired through conquest; the Sumerian king Code of Ur-Nammu includes laws relating to slaves, written circa 2100 – 2050 BCE. The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, dating to c. 1700 BCE makes distinctions between the freeborn and slave. Hittite texts from Anatolia include laws regulating the institution of slavery.
Of particular interest is a law stipulating that reward for the capture of an escaped slave would be higher if the slave had succeeded in crossing the Halys River and getting farther away from the center of Hittite civilization — from which it can be concluded that at least some of the slaves kept by the Hittites possessed a realistic chance of escaping and regaining their freedom by finding refuge with other kingdoms or ethnic groups. In Ancient Egypt, slaves were obtained through prisoners of war. Other ways people could become. One could become a slave on account of his inability to pay his debts. Slavery was the direct result of poverty. People sold themselves into slavery because they were poor peasants and needed food and shelter; the lives of slaves were better than that of peasants. Slaves only attempted escape. For many, being a slave in Egypt made them better off than a freeman elsewhere. Young slaves could not be put to hard work, had to be brought up by the mistress of the household.
Not all slaves went to houses. Some sold themselves to temples, or were assigned to temples by the king. Slave trading was not popular until in Ancient Egypt. Afterwards, slave trades sprang up all over Egypt. However, there was any worldwide trade. Rather, the individual dealers seem to have approached their customers personally. Only slaves with special traits were traded worldwide. Prices of slaves changed with time. Slaves with a special skill were more valuable than those without one. Slaves had plenty of jobs; some had domestic jobs, like taking care of children, brewing, or cleaning. Some were gardeners or field hands in stables, they could be craftsmen or get a higher status. For example, if they could write, they could become a manager of the master's estate. Captive slaves were assigned to the temples or a king, they had to do manual labor; the worst thing that could happen to a slave was being assigned to the mines. Private ownership of slaves, captured in war and given by the king to their captor occurred at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
Sales of slaves occurred in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, contracts of servitude survive from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty and from the reign of Darius: such a contract required the consent of the slave. The Bible contains several references to slavery, a common practice in antiquity; the Bible stipulates the treatment of slaves in the Old Testament. There are references to slavery in the New Testament. Male Israelite slaves were to be offered release after six to seven years of service, with some conditions. Foreign slaves and their posterity became the perpetual property of the owner's family, except in the case of certain injuries; the Bible was cited as justification for slavery by defenders. Abolitionists have used text from the New Testament and the Exodus story in the Old Testament to argue for the manumission of slaves; the study of slavery in Ancient Greece remains a complex subject, in part because of the many different levels of servility, from traditional chattel slave through various forms of serfdom, such as Helots and several other classes of non-citizen.
Most philosophers of classical antiquity defended slavery as a necessary institution. Aristotle believed that the practice of any manual or banausic job should disqualify the practitioner from citizenship. Quoting Euripides, Aristotle obedience. By the late 4th century BCE passages start to appear from other Greeks in Athens, which opposed slavery and suggested that every person living in a city-state had the right to freedom subject to no one, except those laws decided using majoritarianism. Alcidamas, for example, said: "God has set everyone free. No one is made a slave by nature." Furthermore, a fragment of a poem of Philemon shows that he opposed slavery. Greece in pre-Roman times consisted of each with its own laws. All of them permitted slavery, but the rules differed from region to region. Greek slaves had some opportunities for emancipation, though all of these came at some cost to their masters; the law protected slaves, though a slave's master had the right to beat him at will, a number of moral and cultural limitations existed on excessive use of force by masters.
History of slavery in Asia
Slavery has existed all throughout Asia, forms of slavery still exist today. The early Arab invaders of Sind in the 8th century, the armies of the Umayyad commander Muhammad bin Qasim, are reported to have enslaved tens of thousands of Indian prisoners, including both soldiers and civilians. In the early 11th century Tarikh al-Yamini, the Arab historian Al-Utbi recorded that in 1001 the armies of Mahmud of Ghazna conquered Peshawar and Waihand after Battle of Peshawar, "in the midst of the land of Hindustan", captured some 100,000 youths. Following his twelfth expedition into India in 1018–19, Mahmud is reported to have returned with such a large number of slaves that their value was reduced to only two to ten dirhams each; this unusually low price made, according to Al-Utbi, "merchants from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Central Asia and Khurasan were swelled with them, the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, mingled in one common slavery". Elliot and Dowson refers to "five hundred thousand slaves, beautiful men and women.".
During the Delhi Sultanate period, references to the abundant availability of low-priced Indian slaves abound. Levi attributes this to the vast human resources of India, compared to its neighbors to the north and west; the Siddi are an ethnic group inhabiting Pakistan. Members are descended from Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa that were brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by Arab and Portuguese merchants. Much of the northern and central parts of the subcontinent was ruled by the so-called Slave Dynasty of Turkic origin from 1206 to 1290: Qutb-ud-din Aybak, a slave of Muhammad Ghori rose to power following his master's death. For a century, his descendants ruled presiding over the introduction of Tankas and building of Qutub Minar. According to Sir Henry Bartle Frere, there were an estimated 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 slaves in Company India in 1841. In Malabar, about 15% of the population were slaves. Slavery was abolished in India by the Indian Slavery Act V. of 1843. Provisions of the Indian Penal Code of 1861 abolished slavery in India by making the enslavement of human beings a criminal offense.
There are an estimated five million bonded workers in Pakistan though the government has passed laws and set up funds to eradicate the practice and rehabilitate the labourers. As many as 200,000 Nepali girls, many under 14, have been sold into sex slavery in India. Nepalese women and girls virgins, are favored in India because of their fair skin and young looks. In 1997, a human rights agency reported that 40,000 Nepalese workers are subject to slavery and 200,000 kept in bonded labour. Nepal's Maoist-led government has abolished the slavery-like Haliya system in 2008. According to a report of an expedition to Afghanistan published in London in 1871: "The country between Caubul and the Oxus appears to be in a lawless state. A slave, if a strong man to stand work well, is, in Upper Badakshan, considered to be of the same value as one of the large dogs of the country, or of a horse, being about the equivalent of Rs 80. A slave girl is valued at from four horses or more, according to her looks &c..
When I was in Little Tibet, a returned slave, in the Kashmir army took refuge in my camp. In Lower Badakshan, more distant places, the price of slaves is much enhanced, payment is made in coin."In response to the Hazara uprising of 1892, the Afghan Emir Abdur Rahman Khan declared a "Jihad" against the Shiites. His large army defeated the rebellion at its center, in Oruzgan, by 1892 and the local population was being massacred. According to S. A. Mousavi, "thousands of Hazara men and children were sold as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Qandahar, while numerous towers of human heads were made from the defeated rebels as a warning to others who might challenge the rule of the Amir"; until the 20th century, some Hazaras were still kept as slaves by the Pashtuns. Slavery throughout pre-modern Chinese history has come in and out of favor. Due to the enormous population and high development of the region throughout most of its history, China has always had a large workforce; the Tang dynasty purchased Western slaves from the Radanite Jews.
Tang Chinese soldiers and pirates enslaved Koreans, Persians and people from Inner Mongolia, central Asia, northern India. The greatest source of slaves came from southern tribes, including Thais and aboriginals from the southern provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Guizhou. Malays, Khmers and black Africans were purchased as slaves in the Tang dynasty. Many Han Chinese were enslaved in the process of the Mongols invasion of China proper. According to Japanese historian Sugiyama Masaaki and Funada Yoshiyuki, there were certain numbers of Mongolian slaves owned by Han Chinese during the Yuan dynasty. Moreover, there is no evidence that Han Chinese, who were considered people of the bottom of Yuan society by some research, were suffered a particular
Serfdom is the status of many peasants under feudalism relating to manorialism. It was a condition of debt bondage, which developed during the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century; as with slaves, serfs could be bought, sold, or traded, abused with no rights over their own bodies, could not leave the land they were bound to. Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the lord of the manor who owned that land. In return they were entitled to protection and the right to cultivate certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence. Serfs were required not only to work on the lord's fields, but in his mines and forests and to labor to maintain roads; the manor formed the basic unit of feudal society, the lord of the manor and the villeins, to a certain extent serfs, were bound legally: by taxation in the case of the former, economically and in the latter. The decline of serfdom in Western Europe has sometimes been attributed to the widespread plague epidemic of the Black Death, which reached Europe in 1347 and caused massive fatalities, disrupting society.
The decline had begun before that date. Serfdom became rare in most of Western Europe after the medieval renaissance at the outset of the high Middle Ages. But, conversely it grew stronger in Central and Eastern Europe, where it had been less common. In Eastern Europe the institution persisted until the mid-19th century. In the Austrian Empire serfdom was abolished by the 1781 Serfdom Patent. Serfdom was abolished in Russia in the 1860s. In Finland and Sweden, feudalism was never established, serfdom did not exist. According to medievalist historian Joseph R. Strayer, the concept of feudalism can be applied to the societies of ancient Persia, ancient Mesopotamia, Muslim India and Japan during the Shogunate. James Lee and Cameron Campbell describe the Chinese Qing dynasty as maintaining a form of serfdom. Melvyn Goldstein described Tibet as having had serfdom until 1959, but whether or not the Tibetan form of peasant tenancy that qualified as serfdom was widespread is contested by other scholars.
Bhutan is described by Tashi Wangchuk, a Bhutanese civil servant, as having abolished serfdom by 1959, but he believes that less than or about 10% of poor peasants were in copyhold situations. The United Nations 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery prohibits serfdom as a practice similar to slavery; the word serf was derived from the Latin servus. In Late Antiquity and most of the Middle Ages, what are now called serfs were designated in Latin as coloni; as slavery disappeared and the legal status of servi became nearly identical to that of the coloni, the term changed meaning into the modern concept of "serf". Serfdom was coined in 1850. Serfs had a specific place in feudal society, as did barons and knights: in return for protection, a serf would reside upon and work a parcel of land within the manor of his lord, thus the manorial system exhibited a degree of reciprocity. One rationale held that a serf "worked for all" while a knight or baron "fought for all" and a churchman "prayed for all".
The serf was the worst fed and rewarded, but at least he had his place and, unlike slaves, had certain rights in land and property. A lord of the manor could not sell his serfs. On the other hand, if he chose to dispose of a parcel of land, the serfs associated with that land stayed with it to serve their new lord; this unified system preserved for the lord long-acquired knowledge of practices suited to the land. Further, a serf could not abandon his lands without permission, nor did he possess a saleable title in them. A freeman became a serf through force or necessity. Sometimes the greater physical and legal force of a local magnate intimidated freeholders or allodial owners into dependency. A few years of crop failure, a war, or brigandage might leave a person unable to make his own way. In such a case he could strike a bargain with a lord of a manor. In exchange for gaining protection, his service was required: in labour, produce, or cash, or a combination of all; these bargains became formalized in a ceremony known as "bondage", in which a serf placed his head in the lord's hands, akin to the ceremony of homage where a vassal placed his hands between those of his overlord.
These oaths bound the lord and his new serf in a feudal contract and defined the terms of their agreement. These bargains were severe. A 7th-century Anglo Saxon "Oath of Fealty" states: By the Lord before whom this sanctuary is holy, I will to N. be true and faithful, love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns, according to the laws of God and the order of the world. Nor will I with will or action, through word or deed, do anything, unpleasing to him, on condition that he will hold to me as I shall deserve it, that he will perform everything as it was in our agreement when I submitted myself to him and chose his will. To become a serf was a commitment
Children in the military
Children in the military are children who are associated with military organisations, such as state armed forces and non-state armed groups. Throughout history and in many cultures, children have been involved in military campaigns. For example, thousands of children participated on all sides of the First World War and the Second World War. Children may be trained and used for combat, assigned to support roles such as porters or messengers, or used for tactical advantage as human shields or for political advantage in propaganda. Children are easy targets for military recruitment due to their greater susceptibility to influence compared to adults; some are recruited by force while others choose to join up to escape poverty or because they expect military life to offer a rite of passage to maturity. Child recruits who survive armed conflict suffer psychiatric illness, poor literacy and numeracy, behavioural problems such as heightened aggression, leading to a high risk of poverty and unemployment in adulthood.
Research in the UK and US has found that the enlistment of adolescent children when they are not sent to war, is accompanied by a higher risk of attempted suicide, stress-related mental disorders, alcohol misuse, violent behaviour. A number of treaties have sought to curb the participation of children in armed conflicts. According to Child Soldiers International these agreements have helped to reduce child recruitment, but the practice remains widespread and children continue to participate in hostilities around the world; some economically powerful nations continue to rely on military recruits aged 16 or 17, the use of younger children in armed conflict has increased in recent years as militant Islamist movements and the groups fighting them recruited children in large numbers. History is filled with children who have been trained and used for combat, assigned to support roles such as porters or messengers, used as sex slaves, or recruited for tactical advantage as human shields or for political advantage in propaganda.
In 1814, for example, Napoleon conscripted many teenagers for his armies. Thousands of children participated on all sides of the Second World War. Children continued to be used throughout the 20th and early 21st century on every continent, with concentrations in parts of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East. Only since the turn of the millennium have international efforts begun to limit and reduce the military use of children. Since the adoption in 2000 of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict the global trend has been towards restricting armed forces recruitment to adults aged 18 or over, known as the Straight-18 standard. Most states with armed forces have opted in to OPAC, which prohibits states that still recruit children from using them in armed conflict. Nonetheless, Child Soldiers International reported in 2018 that children under the age of 18 were still being recruited and trained for military purposes in 46 countries. States that still rely on children to staff their armed forces include the world's three most populous countries and the most economically powerful.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and others have called for an end to the recruitment of children by state armed forces, arguing that military training, the military environment, a binding contract of service are not compatible with children's rights and jeopardise healthy development during adolescence. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates hired child soldiers from Sudan to fight against Houthis during the Yemeni Civil War; these include non-state armed paramilitary organisations, using children such as militias, terrorist organizations, guerrilla movements, ideologically or religiously-driven groups, armed liberation movements, other types of quasi-military organisation. In 2017 the United Nations identified 14 countries where children were used by such groups: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. Not all armed groups use children and 60 have entered agreements to reduce or end the practice since 1999.
For example, by 2017, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines had released nearly 2,000 children from its ranks, in 2016, the FARC-EP guerrilla movement in Colombia agreed to stop recruiting children. Other countries have seen the reverse trend Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where Islamist militants and groups opposing them have intensified their recruitment and use of children. In 2003 P. W. Singer of the Brookings Institution estimated that child soldiers participate in about three-quarters of ongoing conflicts. In the same year the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that most of these children were aged over 15, although some were younger. Today, due to the widespread military use of children in areas where armed conflict and insecurity prevent access by UN officials and other third parties, it is difficult to estimate how many children are affected. In 2017 Child Soldiers International estimated that several tens of thousands of children more than 100,000, were in state- and non-state military organisations around the world, in 2018 the organisation reported that children were being used to participate in at least 18 armed conflicts.
Arab slave trade
The Arab slave trade was the intersection of slavery and trade in the Arab world in Western Asia, North Africa, East Africa and Europe. This barter occurred chiefly between the early 20th century; the trade was conducted through slave markets in these areas, with the slaves captured from Africa's interior and Southern Europe. Walter Rodney argues that the term Arab Slave Trade is a historical misnomer since bilateral trade agreements between myriad ethnic groups across the proposed'Zanj trade network' characterized much of the acquisition process of chattel, more than not indentured servants; the Arab slave trade, across the Sahara desert and across the Indian Ocean, began after Muslim Arab and Swahili traders won control of the Swahili Coast and sea routes during the 9th century. These traders captured Bantu peoples from the interior in present-day Kenya and Tanzania and brought them to the coast. There, the slaves assimilated in the rural areas on the Unguja and Pemba islands; some historians assert that as many as 17 million people were sold into slavery on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, North Africa, 5 million African slaves were transported by Muslim slave traders via Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Sahara desert to other parts of the world between 1500 and 1900.
The captives were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labour on plantations in the region. Tens of thousands of captives were being taken every year; the Indian Ocean slave trade was changed over time. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantu slaves bought by Arab slave traders from southeastern Africa were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Egypt, the Persian Gulf, European colonies in the Far East, the Indian Ocean islands and Somalia. Slave labor in East Africa was drawn from the Zanj, Bantu peoples that lived along the East African coast; the Zanj were for centuries shipped as slaves by Arab traders to all the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs recruited many Zanj slaves as soldiers and, as early as 696, there were revolts of Zanj slave soldiers in Iraq. A 7th-century Chinese text mentions ambassadors from Java presenting the Chinese emperor with two Seng Chi slaves as gifts in 614, 8th- and 9th-century chronicles mention Seng Chi slaves reaching China from the Hindu kingdom of Sri Vijaya in Java.
The Zanj Rebellion, a series of uprisings that took place between 869 and 883 AD near the city of Basra, situated in present-day Iraq, is believed to have involved enslaved Zanj, captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa. It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over "tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq"; the Zanj who were taken as slaves to the Middle East were used in strenuous agricultural work. As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabs became richer and other manual labor work was thought to be demeaning; the resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market. It is certain. There is little evidence of what part of eastern Africa the Zanj came from, for the name is here evidently used in its general sense, rather than to designate the particular stretch of the coast, from about 3°N. to 5°S. to which the name was applied. The Zanj were needed to take care of:the Tigris-Euphrates delta, which had become abandoned marshland as a result of peasant migration and repeated flooding, could be reclaimed through intensive labor.
Wealthy proprietors "had received extensive grants of tidal land on the condition that they would make it arable." Sugar cane was prominent among the products of their plantations in Khūzestān Province. Zanj worked the salt mines of Mesopotamia around Basra, their jobs were to clear away the nitrous topsoil. The working conditions were considered to be harsh and miserable. Many other people were imported into the region, besides Zanj. Historian M. A. Shaban has a revolt of blacks. In his opinion, although a few runaway slaves did join the revolt, the majority of the participants were Arabs and free Zanj. If the revolt had been led by slaves, they would have lacked the necessary resources to combat the Abbasid government for as long as they did. Ibn Battuta who visited the ancient African kingdom of Mali in the mid-14th century recounts that the local inhabitants vie with each other in the number of slaves and servants they have, was himself given a slave boy as a "hospitality gift." During the Middle Ages, the main regions from where slaves were transported to Muslim lands were Central Europe asides from Central Asia and Bilad as-Sudan.
Slaves of Northwestern Europe were favoured. This slave trade was controlled by Western slave traders; the Slavs captured by Christians were sent to Muslim lands like Spain and Egypt through France and Venice. Prague served as a major centre for castration of Slavic captives. Emirate of Bari served as an important port for trade of such slaves. After the Byzantine Empire and Venice blocked Arab merchants from European ports, they started importing in slaves from Caucasus and Caspian Sea. Arabs enslaved Europeans directly. According to Robert Davis, between 1 million
Circassian beauties is a phrase used to refer to an idealized image of the women of the Circassian people of the Northwestern Caucasus. A extensive literary history suggests that Circassian women were thought to be unusually beautiful and elegant, as such were desirable as concubines; this reputation dates back to the Late Middle Ages, when the Circassian coast was frequented by traders from Genoa, the founder of the Medici dynasty, Cosimo de' Medici, had an illegitimate son from a Circassian slave. During the Ottoman Empire and Persian Safavid and Qajar dynasties, Circassian women living as slaves in the Sultan's Imperial Harem and Shah's harems started to build their reputation as beautiful and genteel, which became a common trope in Western Orientalism; as a result of this reputation, in Europe and America Circassians were characterised as ideals of feminine beauty in poetry and art. Cosmetic products were advertised, from the 18th century on, using the word "Circassian" in the title, or claiming that the product was based on substances used by the women of Circassia.
In consequence, most wives of several Ottoman Sultans were ethnic Circassians converted to Islam, e.g. Valide Sultans, including Perestü Valide Sultan, Pertevniyal Valide Sultan, Şevkefza Valide Sultan, Tirimüjgan Valide Sultan, Nükhetseza Başhanımefendi, other important Hatuns and Sultans like Şemsiruhsar Hatun and Saçbağlı Sultan, Haseki sultans such as Mahidevran Haseki Sultan, Hümaşah Haseki Sultan, Hatice Muazzez Haseki Sultan, Ayşe Haseki Sultan besides numerous Başkadınefendis, including Bedrifelek I, Bidar II, Kamures I, Servetseza I as well as Kadınefendis such as Bezmara VI, Düzdidil III, Hayranıdil II, Meyliservet IV, Mihrengiz II, Neşerek III, Nurefsun II, Reftaridil II, Şayan III, amongst many others, or İkbals, most notable of them being Cevherriz II, Ceylanyar II, Dilfirib I, Nalanıdil III, Nergis IV in addition to Gözdes, including Dürdane I, Hüsnicenan III, Safderun IV, amongst others; the "golden age" of the Circassian beauty may be considered to be between the 1770s, when the Russian Empire seized the Crimean Khanate and cut off their slave trade in Eastern European women, which increased the demand for Circassian women in Near Eastern harems.
In the 1860s the showman P. T. Barnum exhibited, they wore a distinctive curly, big hair style, which had no precedent in earlier portrayals of Circassians, but, soon copied by other female performers in the United States, who became known as "moss-haired girls". This hair style was a sort of a exhibit's trademark and was achieved by washing the hair of women in beer, drying it and teasing it, it is not clear. It may have been a reference to the Circassian fur hat, rather than the hair. There were several classical Turkish music pieces and poems that praise the beauty of the "Lepiska Saçlı Çerkes"; the legend of Circassian women in the western world was enhanced in 1734, when, in his Letters on the English, Voltaire alludes to the beauty of Circassian women: The Circassians are poor, their daughters are beautiful, indeed it is in them they chiefly trade. They furnish with those beauties the seraglio of the Turkish Sultan, of the Persian Sophy, of all of those who are wealthy enough to purchase and maintain such precious merchandise.
These maidens are honorably and virtuously instructed how to fondle and caress men. Their beauty is mentioned in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, in which Fielding remarked, "How contemptible would the brightest Circassian beauty, drest in all the jewels of the Indies, appear to my eyes!"Similar erotic claims about Circassian women appear in Lord Byron's Don Juan, in which the tale of a slave auction is told: The legend of Circassian women was repeated by legal theorist Gustav Hugo, who wrote that "Even beauty is more to be found in a Circassian slave girl than in a beggar girl", referring to the fact that a slave has some security and safety, but a "free" beggar has none. Hugo's comment was condemned by Karl Marx in The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law on the grounds that it excused slavery. Mark Twain reported in The Innocents Abroad that "Circassian and Georgian girls are still sold in Constantinople by their parents, but not publicly."American travel author and diplomat Bayard Taylor in 1862 claimed that, "So far as female beauty is concerned, the Circassian women have no superiors.
They have preserved in their mountain home the purity of the Grecian models, still display the perfect physical loveliness, whose type has descended to us in the Venus de' Medici." An anthropological literary suggests that Circassians were best characterized by what was called "rosy pale" or "translucent white skin". While most Circassian tribes were famous for abundance of fair or dark blond and red hair combined with greyish-blue or green eyes, many had the pairing of dark hair with light complexions, a typical feature of Peoples of the Caucasus. Many of the Circassian women in the Ottoman harem were described as having "green eyes and long, dark blond hair, pale skin of translucent white colour, thin waist, slender body structure, good-looking hands and feet." The fact that Circassian women were