Our word “slave” comes from a very specific ethnic group. Which one?
Slavs are generally people from Eastern Europe, North Asia, and Central Asia who speak a form of the Slavic language. Throughout their history, Slavs have had quite a few ups and downs. All of these Slavic ethnicities have immigrated to different parts of the world, and now over half of Europe is inhabited by Slavic-speaking communities.
In the early Middle Ages, Slavs were enslaved by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was an affluent region in what is now Istanbul. The predominantly Greek empire enslaved the Slavs in order to continue striving. At the height of the empire's success and through most of it's existence, the Byzantine Empire was leading Europe in economic growth, military strength, and cultural force.
When Americans think of slavery, our minds automatically think of Africa and our own history of slaves, but slavery does in fact go back far in history. Due to almost all of Europe's Slavs being enslaved, the word slave was created, deriving from the word Slav. This continues to be the name for any group or person forced into work with no right and no or little compensation.