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In my world there are two dominant races, Lorani and Subloran (as seen in this question). The two have lived in a strained peace for thousands of years, primarily by ignoring each other. But in the year (earth equivalent) 1720 the Lorani enslave most of the Subloran population, capturing the few who managed to escape. This is different from earth, where the slave trade started in the 15th century, around 300 years earlier.

What events could lead this to happen at this point in tine and not hundreds of years ago? What cause would I have to place in their history(s) to lead to my desired effect?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking why one race would enslave the other, or why they didn't do it sooner? $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Feb 18 '16 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think we can give an answer regarding the history of Lorani-Subloran- since they are in your imagination, their history can happen any way you want it. We might be able to answer an alt-history question as to why would Euro-Americans not have enslaved African until 1720s, but oh, man, would that be a can of worms. $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Feb 18 '16 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ We need far more details to now what is going on in your world to be able to answer. $\endgroup$ – Kolaru Feb 18 '16 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ A can of worms in that it would be too broad? $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Feb 18 '16 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ The long-distance slave trade began in the 15th century when ship design made it possible. Shorter-range slave trading goes back at least to the Roman Empire. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Feb 18 '16 at 22:28
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If we look at the real-world slave trade, I think the reason it started when it did was because it could happen. European powers by that time were powerful enough to sail into a foreign land and enslave its people. It's not like they had the option for centuries and one day simply said "you know, we've had a source of free labor all this time, I think it's time we used it"; it was more along the lines of "look at these people, they don't even have guns, let's round them up and use them to our benefit posthaste!".

So I see two options for you: either the Lorans weren't strong enough to enslave the subLorans until now, or the subLorans weren't weak enough to be enslaved until now. The former could be explained by a new weapon or simply an age of prosperity, whereas the latter could be explained by a plague or an age of non-prosperity (drought, famine, changing economic landscape, etc). If the Lorans are like humans, especially humans of centuries ago, they should have few qualms with enslaving an 'inferior' race, so once they see their opportunity they'll probably take it.

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How did the economics and politics of your world change to make slave labor viable?

  • A new crop, which requires lots of manual labor rather than a horse-drawn plough.
  • Related to that, medical breakthroughs allowed the settlement of land where these crops grow. They had been known before, they just were not practical.
  • A new manufacturing method, which makes large groups of workers under central control more effective than individuals.
  • Increased liberty for those who did the jobs previously, which makes the employers look for replacement workers. An end to serfdom, perhaps?
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  • $\begingroup$ I am very interested in number 4, maybe a revolution suceeded and they needed a new work force (similar to Russian communism) $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Feb 18 '16 at 18:51

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