Concubinage

concubineconcubinesconcubinforbidden lovesecondary consortCe fujinchief consortcollection of wivesconcubinateconcubine system
Concubinage is an interpersonal and sexual relationship in which the couple are not or cannot be married.wikipedia
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Sexual slavery

sexual exploitationsex slavewhite slavery
Involuntary or servile concubinage sometimes involved sexual slavery of one member of the relationship, usually the woman.
Concubinage was a traditional form of sexual slavery in many cultures, in which women spent their lives in sexual servitude.

Empress Dowager Cixi

CixiEmpress DowagerTzu Hsi
Lady Yehenara, otherwise known as Empress Dowager Cixi, was arguably one of the most successful concubines in Chinese history.
Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856.

Imperial Chinese harem system

Ranks of imperial consorts in ChinaConsortHonoured Lady
Imperial concubines, kept by emperors in the Forbidden City, had different ranks and were traditionally guarded by eunuchs to ensure that they could not be impregnated by anyone but the emperor.
Regardless of the age, however, it is common in English translation to simplify these hierarchy into the three ranks of Empress, consorts, and concubines.

Emperor Taishō

TaishōYoshihitoTaishō Emperor
Yanagihara Naruko, a high-ranking concubine of Emperor Meiji, gave birth to Emperor Taishō, who was later legally adopted by Empress Haruko, Emperor Meiji's formal wife.
Prince Yoshihito was born at the Tōgū Palace in Akasaka, Tokyo to Emperor Meiji and Yanagihara Naruko, a concubine with the official title of gon-no-tenji ("lady of the bedchamber").

Yanagihara Naruko

Lady Naruko
Yanagihara Naruko, a high-ranking concubine of Emperor Meiji, gave birth to Emperor Taishō, who was later legally adopted by Empress Haruko, Emperor Meiji's formal wife.
A concubine of Emperor Meiji, she was the mother of Emperor Taishō and the last concubine to have given birth to a reigning Japanese emperor.

Han dynasty

Eastern Han dynastyHanWestern Han dynasty
From the Eastern Han period (AD 25–220) onward, the number of concubines a man could have was limited by law.
Huan further alienated the bureaucracy when he initiated grandiose construction projects and hosted thousands of concubines in his harem at a time of economic crisis.

Eunuch

eunuchscourt eunuchseunuchoid
Imperial concubines, kept by emperors in the Forbidden City, had different ranks and were traditionally guarded by eunuchs to ensure that they could not be impregnated by anyone but the emperor.
The eunuchs served as slaves doing most of the work for the women in the Vietnamese palace harem – consorts, concubines, maids, queen, and princesses.

Dishu system

daughter of the legitimate wifediDi son
Children of concubines had lower rights in account to inheritance, which was regulated by the Dishu system.
A secondary spouse was called a ceshi (側室, lit. "side household") or Shu wife .

Yeonsangun of Joseon

YeonsangunPrince YeonsanKing Yeonsan
For example, Jang Nok-su was a concubine-born daughter of a mayor, who was initially married to a slave-servant, and later became a high-ranking concubine of Yeonsangun.
Queen Yun, later known as the Deposed Queen Lady Yun, served Prince Yeonsan's father, Seongjong, as a concubine until the death of Queen Gonghye, Seongjong's first wife.

Empress Shōken

Empress HarukoMasako IchijōEmpress Masako
Yanagihara Naruko, a high-ranking concubine of Emperor Meiji, gave birth to Emperor Taishō, who was later legally adopted by Empress Haruko, Emperor Meiji's formal wife.
As it had long been the custom in Japanese monarchy, she adopted Yoshihito, her husband's eldest son by one of her husband's concubines (in this specific case, Lady Yanagihara Naruko).

Mistress (lover)

mistressmistresseskept woman
Nevertheless, sexual relations outside marriage were not uncommon, especially among royalty and nobility, and the woman in such relationships was commonly described as a mistress.
Apologists for the practice of mistresses referred to the practice in the ancient Near East of keeping a concubine; they frequently quoted verses from the Old Testament to show that mistress-keeping was an ancient practice that was, if not acceptable, at least understandable.

Pilegesh

concubine
In Judaism, concubines are referred to by the Hebrew term pilegesh .
Pilegesh is a Hebrew term for a concubine with similar social and legal standing to a recognized wife, often for the purpose of producing offspring.

Jia Tanchun

Tanchun
In contrast, their younger half-siblings by concubine Zhao, Jia Tanchun and Jia Huan, develop distorted personalities because they are the children of a concubine.
She is the daughter of Jia Zheng and his concubine, Concubine Zhao.

Emperor Meiji

Meiji EmperorMeijiMutsuhito
Yanagihara Naruko, a high-ranking concubine of Emperor Meiji, gave birth to Emperor Taishō, who was later legally adopted by Empress Haruko, Emperor Meiji's formal wife.
Although Meiji was the last Emperor to have concubines, this function was not officially abolished until 1924.

Sarah

SaraiSaraIsaac's mother
Sarah had to get Ishmael out of her house because legally Ishmael would always be the first born son even though Isaac was her natural child.
While in Mizraim, Sarah's beauty attracts the attention of Pharaoh and Abraham, fearing the Egyptians would kill him if they knew Sarah were married to him, introduces himself as her brother and so, Pharaoh bestows upon Abraham great wealth, in the form of livestock and slaves, including Hagar, so that he may take Sarah as his concubine, to live in his palace with him.

Solomon

King SolomonSalomonSchlomo
Later biblical figures such as Gideon, and Solomon had concubines in addition to many childbearing wives.
According to the biblical account, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Islamic sexual jurisprudence

Islamic sexual hygienical jurisprudenceBalighSexuality in Islam
Concubinage in Islamic sexual jurisprudence is permitted in Islam, though some muslim scholars vehemently object to this and reject Concubinage all along, which was not considered prostitution, and was very common during the Arab slave trade throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period, when women and girls from the Caucasus, Africa, Central Asia and Europe were captured and served as concubines in the harems of the Arab World.
Marriage and concubinage are permitted sexual relationships and they are described in Quran and Hadith as great wells of love and closeness.

Great Qing Legal Code

Qing CodeChinese legal codeGreat Qing Code
Hong Kong officially abolished the Great Qing Legal Code in 1971, thereby making concubinage illegal.
Because there are still existing alive concubines married before the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap.178), and their rights (of inheritance, and the inheritance rights of their sons and daughters) are respected by the Hong Kong legal system (even after the 1997 handover), the Great Qing Legal Code is still admissible in evidence when handling legal cases relating to events that occurred before 1971.

Concubinage in Canada

Largely unrecognised by modern courts, concubinage – the formal position of a mistress maintaining a religiously-sanctioned partnership with a man to whom she is not wed – has a varied history when it has appeared in Canada.

Arab slave trade

slavesslave tradetrans-Saharan slave trade
Concubinage in Islamic sexual jurisprudence is permitted in Islam, though some muslim scholars vehemently object to this and reject Concubinage all along, which was not considered prostitution, and was very common during the Arab slave trade throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period, when women and girls from the Caucasus, Africa, Central Asia and Europe were captured and served as concubines in the harems of the Arab World.
Concubinage and reproduction served as incentives for importing female slaves (often Caucasian), though many were also imported mainly for performing household tasks.

Sally Hemings

affairsSally Hemings: An American ScandalHemings
A purported relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings is an example of this.
Several sources assert that the widower John Wayles took Betty Hemings as his concubine and had six children by her during the last 12 years of his life; the youngest of these was Sally Hemings.

Jefferson–Hemings controversy

Jefferson-Hemings controversy1998 DNA studyHemings family
A purported relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings is an example of this.
In 1802 the journalist James T. Callender, after being refused an appointment to a Postmaster position by Jefferson and issuing veiled threats of "consequences," reported that Jefferson had fathered several children with a slave concubine named Sally.

Polygamy

polygamouspolygamistpolygamous unions
This constitutes a form of de facto polygyny referred to as concubinage.

Miscegenation

interracialadmixtureamalgamation
Many colonies and states also had laws against miscegenation, or any interracial relations.
Japanese slave women were even sold as concubines to black African crewmembers, along with their European counterparts serving on Portuguese ships trading in Japan, mentioned by Luis Cerqueira, a Portuguese Jesuit, in a 1598 document.

Partus sequitur ventrem

partus sequitur ventrumpartusenslaved status from mother to child
From 1662 the Colony of Virginia, followed by others, incorporated into law the principle that children took their mother's status, i.e., the principle of partus sequitur ventrem.
Betty Hemings, daughter of an enslaved African woman and an English sea captain, was taken as a concubine by the widower Wayles after he buried three wives, and they had six mixed-race children during a 12-year relationship.