“Slavery was known in almost every ancient civilization, and society, including Sumer, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate, the Hebrews in Palestine, and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas.
Records of slavery in Ancient Greece go as far back as Mycenaean Greece. It is certain that Classical Athens had the largest slave population, with as many as 80,000 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC; two to four-fifths of the population were slaves. According to some scholars, slaves represented 35% or more of Italy‘s population.
As the Roman Republic expanded outward, entire populations were enslaved, thus creating an ample supply from all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Greeks, Illyrians, Berbers, Germans, Britons,Thracians, Gauls, Jews, Arabs, and many more were slaves used not only for labour, but also for amusement (e.g. gladiators and sex slaves). This oppression by an elite minority eventually led to slave revolts (see Roman Servile Wars); the Third Servile War led by Spartacus being the most famous and severe. By the late Republican era, slavery had become a vital economic pillar in the wealth of Rome, as well as a very significant part of Roman society.
David P. Forsythe wrote: “In 1649 up to three-quarters of Muscovy’s peasants, or 13 to 14 million people, were serfs whose material lives were barely distinguishable from slaves. Perhaps another 1.5 million were formally enslaved, with Russian slaves serving Russian masters. ”
In the 9th and 10th centuries, the black Zanj slaves may have constituted at least a half of the total population in lower Iraq. At the same time, many tens of thousands of slaves in the region were also imported from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Many slaves were taken in the wars with the Christian nations of medieval Europe. In the Thousand and One Nights there are mentions of white slaves.
According to Sir Henry Bartle Frere (who sat on the Viceroy’s Council), there were an estimated 8 or 9 million slaves in India in 1841. About 15% of the population of Malabar were slaves. Slavery was abolished in British India by the Indian Slavery Act V. of 1843.
In East Asia, the Imperial government formally abolished slavery in China in 1906, and the law became effective in 1910. Slave rebellion in China at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century was so extensive that owners eventually converted the institution into a female-dominated one. The Nangzan in Tibetan history were, according to Chinese sources, hereditary household slaves.
Indigenous slaves existed in Korea. Slavery was officially abolished with the Gabo Reform of 1894 but continued in reality until 1930. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) about 30% to 50% of the Korean population were slaves.
In late 16th century Japan slavery as such was officially banned, but forms of contract and indentured labor persisted alongside the period penal codes’ forced labor.
In Southeast Asia, a quarter to a third of seventeenth- to twentieth-century populations in some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves. The hill tribepeople in Indochina were “hunted incessantly and carried off as slaves by the Siamese (Thai), the Anamites (Vietnamese), and the Cambodians. ”
A Siamese military campaign in Laos in 1876 was described by a British observer as having been “transformed into slave-hunting raids on a large scale”. The census, taken in 1879, showed that 6% of the population in the Malay sultanate of Perak were slaves. Enslaved people made up about two-thirds of the population in part of North Borneo in the 1880s.”
*The information cited above can be found on Wikipedia under the topic Slavery.