You may be surprised to find out that the earliest recording of debt goes as far back as 3000BC and the civilisation of Sumer who lived in an area which is now modern-day Iraq.

Thankfully, the fate of this original debtor no longer occurs in modern times, as themselves, their family and servants became debt slaves, being forced to carry out physical work for the creditor until their debt was repaid. This started to take traction and became a method of dealing with those who didn’t pay up. Sometimes this debt could take years to repay, and the debt was handed down to the next generation!

This concept of debt slaves was common in many ancient civilisations, although some were more forgiving and allowed debts to be discharged after a period of time. If you were lucky enough to belong to an Abrahamic religion (including Islam, Christianity and Judaism), you had some respite as the Bible and Quran have restrictions on how much interest to charge, in some cases prohibiting collection of interest.