PC: Lithuanian Slavery

If the Lithuanian people remained pagan instead of converting, how possible (if unlikely) was it for Lithuanians to be used for forced labor. In an alternate 16th century, could it be possible for Sweden and Poland to allow slave raids against pagan Lithuania and ship them around Europe, the mediterranean, and the Americas as slaves? And if enslaving the Baltic pagans does catch on, what is the longest said system could stretch before the world decides that pagans have rights too?
 
If the Lithuanian people remained pagan instead of converting, how possible (if unlikely) was it for Lithuanians to be used for forced labor.

Taking into an account that raiding for slaves had been a rather common practice in the region (Lithuania, Rus) at least all the way to the XIII and that in Lithuania slavery was officially forbidden only in 1588, it is reasonable to assume that at least some of the captured people had been used for forced labor.

In an alternate 16th century, could it be possible for Sweden and Poland to allow slave raids against pagan Lithuania and ship them around Europe,

Raiding Lithuania would be an interesting twist of the events but let’s start with the basic question: what alt-Lithuania of the XVI century look like to make raids possible?



the mediterranean, and the Americas as slaves? And if enslaving the Baltic pagans does catch on, what is the longest said system could stretch before the world decides that pagans have rights too?
Trading the Baltic slaves was going on until at least 13th century with both Genoa and Venice being heavily involved and a slave market in Novgorod. Probably the Lithuanians would cease to remain pagans well before the human rights are becoming an issue.
 
Raiding Lithuania would be an interesting twist of the events but let’s start with the basic question: what alt-Lithuania of the XVI century look like to make raids possible?
Likely an isolated pagan island in a Christian ocean that's strong enough to avoid conversion but weak enough to become a victim of constant slave raids.
 
IIRC, in Church law slavery was allowed but only if the slaves were also Christian, so it's likely most captured pagan slaves were forcibly converted before they went to market.
 
IIRC, in Church law slavery was allowed but only if the slaves were also Christian, so it's likely most captured pagan slaves were forcibly converted before they went to market.
I thought Christians were only allowed to enslave non christians and they got around that by buying from Islamic or pagan African kingdoms?
 
Likely an isolated pagan island in a Christian ocean that's strong enough to avoid conversion but weak enough to become a victim of constant slave raids.
Well, you’d need to change history considerably because by the XV century this isolated island was probably the biggest state of the Eastern Europe (not counting the GH) and included considerable Christian territories.

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So you’ll need it to remain in its pre-expansion and pre-unification status (look at the map below for the growth dynamics) of the early XIII century and this means a lot of the regional (at least) butterflies. Who is going to get the territories it annexed in the XIII - XV and what would be the impact on the regional development? For example, how existence of the reasonably weak independent Russian princedoms of Belorussia and Ukraine impacts growth of the Muscovite state? In OTL, Russia started getting these territories only starting from the mid-XVII and it took all the way to the Partitions (I assume that Galitz would go to either Poland or Hungary) but now there is almost a power vacuum unless Poland manages to get these lands considerably ahead of the schedule (would it actually be possible without the OTL scheme?)
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Which is actually a very interesting subject for the speculations but it has little to do with your OP.
 
Well, you’d need to change history considerably because by the XV century this isolated island was probably the biggest state of the Eastern Europe (not counting the GH) and included considerable Christian territories.

View attachment 687965
So you’ll need it to remain in its pre-expansion and pre-unification status (look at the map below for the growth dynamics) of the early XIII century and this means a lot of the regional (at least) butterflies. Who is going to get the territories it annexed in the XIII - XV and what would be the impact on the regional development? For example, how existence of the reasonably weak independent Russian princedoms of Belorussia and Ukraine impacts growth of the Muscovite state? In OTL, Russia started getting these territories only starting from the mid-XVII and it took all the way to the Partitions (I assume that Galitz would go to either Poland or Hungary) but now there is almost a power vacuum unless Poland manages to get these lands considerably ahead of the schedule (would it actually be possible without the OTL scheme?)
View attachment 687969
Which is actually a very interesting subject for the speculations but it has little to do with your OP.
Wouldn't a Lithuania that remains pagan be ostracized from Europe crippling the influence they would've had otl?
 
IOTL it was generally other way around and it was Lithuania raiding neighbours to capture slaves.
Except the southern part (I.e Ruthenia), getting raided for slaves by tatars.


I thought Christians were only allowed to enslave non christians and they got around that by buying from Islamic or pagan African kingdoms?
Varies by region and time, in Scandinavia slavery (thralldom) was practiced first by pagans against both christians and pagans, later by christians against pagans and christians. The church accepted this, and priests weren’t unknown to own slaves themselves, but freeing your slaves was regarded as a good deed. It gradually faded out in the high Middle Ages, but was only outlawed in Sweden as late as 1335. Integreringly the biggest opposition to outlawing slavery was from free peasants, not the higher classes, as removing the slave class would make the peasantry the lowest step in the social ladder.
 
If the Lithuanian people remained pagan instead of converting, how possible (if unlikely) was it for Lithuanians to be used for forced labor. In an alternate 16th century, could it be possible for Sweden and Poland to allow slave raids against pagan Lithuania and ship them around Europe, the mediterranean, and the Americas as slaves? And if enslaving the Baltic pagans does catch on, what is the longest said system could stretch before the world decides that pagans have rights too?
Lithuania was a supplier of slaves for Europe for centuries, yes. Not as a place where slaves were being raided, though, but rather as the country which raided neighbouring countries for slaves and then sold them. 14th century historical sources say that selling slaves was an important source of income for the Lithuanian grand dukes - for example, Grand Master Konrad Zöllner von Rotenstein wrote a complaint to Jogaila in 1383 that instead of freeing the Order's prisoners of war, he sold them to Russians, and historians count dozens of slave raids to Prussia and Poland between 1277 and 1376.
 
Wouldn't a Lithuania that remains pagan be ostracized from Europe crippling the influence they would've had otl?
It got its territories by conquest so I’m not sure who would ostracized it and how exactly. Even as a pagan state it was in communication with its neighbors so the paganism was not, seemingly, a crippling issue as long as they could terrorize pretty much everybody in the region.
 
Which is why I wanted to see if the tables could turn and the longest such a system could last.
Lithuania is not a very plentiful source for slaves if that's what you want. Even if you sum up all of the Baltic territories - Livonia, Lithuania, Prussia - in the 16th century, you end up with about a million people. It simply was not a densely inhabited land which you could use as a dispenser for slaves for long.
 
Lithuania is not a very plentiful source for slaves if that's what you want. Even if you sum up all of the Baltic territories - Livonia, Lithuania, Prussia - in the 16th century, you end up with about a million people. It simply was not a densely inhabited land which you could use as a dispenser for slaves for long.
Fair enough, just wanted to check the possibility.
 
I thinks it’s possibly during the right circumstances, we probably won’t see Lithuanians working southern-style plantations or Roman latifundi, but a limited slave trade could arise.
Why should it be American or Roman? The ‘Eastern’ direction including Russian state(s) had been quite open to the slavery notion (not necessarily all the way to its “classic” form) especially for the pagans and the border wars/raids between Lithuania and Russian princedoms and then Moscow were quite common and so was the practice of settling the prisoners on land as unfree peasants: there was always a shortage of hands.

On a purely cynical level, I’m not sure that there were enough easily available Lithuanians (if we assume a small pagan Lithuania proper and not the Grand Duchy that was mostly Christian even before Jagailo) to make across the Atlantic slave trade of them profitable comparing to the African trade. 😢
 
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