Aztec Slaves Daily Life for Kids Illustration

Aztec Slaves

The Aztec system of slavery was very interesting. Slaves were not captured people. Captured people were sacrificed to feed the hungry Aztec gods. Slaves were Aztecs.

There were only two ways you could become a slave. You could be made a slave as punishment for a crime you had committed. Since most crimes were punished by death, this actually was a good alternative to most punishments. The other way was if your family sold you into slavery to pay family debts. Your period of slavery was over when your punishment was over. You could buy your way out of slavery once you paid off the debt.

A slave's daily life was similar to the life of any freeman. Slaves could marry other slaves. Slaves could even married a freewoman.

Kids of slaves were not slaves. They were free citizens. They had not committed a crime and they had not been sold. Thus, they could not be slaves. But the noble's household had to support their slaves' kids and raise them as they would any kids. They could not put the kids to work because they were not slaves. Kids went to school. School was pretty much their life until they graduated. Having a slave could be very expensive.

Plus, it was difficult to get rid of a slave once you bought one. If you slave refused to do your bidding, you had to drag that slave to a plaza, and in front of witnesses prove that the slave refused to obey you. You had to do this on three separate occasions with three separate examples. Only then could you take your slave to slave market for sale. A slave had to be sold three times in the slave market before a slave could be sacrificed.

There was another risk attached to having a slave. On the way to a plaza, to prove a slave had disobeyed, slaves had the chance to run away. The only person who could chase them was the master's son. If the slave managed to get the palace before the master's son caught them, they were free. If anyone interfered with the race, they became a slave themselves.

Daily Life in the Aztec World

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