Compare African slavery before the 16th century and after Europeans arrived.

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Slavery occurred in Africa both before and after the 16th century. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, there were several tribes in Africa that would frequently come into conflict with each other. During these conflicts, members of tribes would often enslave members of the other tribes, using them for labor and expanding their tribe. Those holding elite status would often have slaves in order to further assert their influence, wealth, and status.

After the arrival of Europeans, European travelers took African slaves to Europe and to the Americas, developing a triangular trade between the three nations, which included people and goods as well as the unintentional transmission of diseases. These slaves were primarily used for labor, as agriculture continued to develop in the 15th and 16th centuries. Many slaves were also used for mining in the Americas. One of the biggest changes that occurred was the development of chattel slaves. Chattel slaves meant that once an individual was captured into slavery, their children and their children's children would be forced to remain in slavery. This was in contrast to the existence of slavery in Africa prior to the 16th century, where it possible for people to escape slavery.

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