Visit Website In the 17th and 18th centuries, black slaves worked mainly on the tobacco, rice and indigo plantations of the southern coast, from the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Maryland and Virginia south to Georgia.
Introduction Whether they came as servants, slaves, free farmers, religious refugees, or powerful planters, the men and women of the American colonies created new worlds.
Native Americans saw fledgling settlements grow into unstoppable beachheads of vast new populations that increasingly monopolized resources and remade the land into something else entirely. Meanwhile, as colonial societies developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, fluid labor arrangements and racial categories solidified into the race-based, chattel slavery that increasingly defined the economy of the British Empire.
The North American mainland originally occupied a small and marginal place in that broad empire, as even the output of its most prosperous colonies paled before the tremendous wealth of Caribbean sugar islands.
And yet the colonial backwaters on the North American mainland, ignored by many imperial officials, were nevertheless deeply tied into these larger Atlantic networks.
A new and increasingly complex Atlantic World connected the continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Events across the ocean continued to influence the lives of American colonists.
Civil war, religious conflict, and nation building transformed seventeenth-century Britain and remade societies on both sides of the ocean. At the same time, colonial settlements grew and matured, developing into powerful societies capable of warring against Native Americans and subduing internal upheaval.
Patterns and systems established during the colonial era would continue to shape American society for centuries. And none, perhaps, would be as brutal and destructive as the institution of slavery.
He met enslaved Africans ravaged by the Middle Passage, Indians traveling south to enslave enemy villages, and colonists terrified of invasions from French Louisiana and Spanish Florida.
Slavery and death surrounded him.
New laws gave legal sanction to the enslavement of people of African descent for life. The permanent deprivation of freedom and the separate legal status of enslaved Africans facilitated the maintenance of strict racial barriers.
Skin color became more than a superficial difference; it became the marker of a transcendent, all-encompassing division between two distinct peoples, two races, white and black. Captain Thomas Phillips, master of a slave ship indid not justify his work with any such creed: Wars offered the most common means for colonists to acquire Native American slaves.
Seventeenth-century European legal thought held that enslaving prisoners of war was not only legal but more merciful than killing the captives outright.
Hundreds of Indians were bound and shipped into slavery.
The New England colonists also tried to send Indian slaves to Barbados, but the Barbados Assembly refused to import the New England Indians for fear they would encourage rebellion.
In the eighteenth century, wars in Florida, South Carolina, and the Mississippi Valley produced even more Indian slaves.
Some wars emerged from contests between Indians and colonists for land, while others were manufactured as pretenses for acquiring captives.
Some were not wars at all but merely illegal raids performed by slave traders. Historians estimate that between 24, and 51, Native Americans were forced into slavery throughout the southern colonies between and Yale University Press, While some of the enslaved Indians remained in the region, many were exported through Charles Town, South Carolina, to other ports in the British Atlantic—most likely to Barbados, Jamaica, and Bermuda.
Many of the English colonists who wished to claim land in frontier territories were threatened by the violence inherent in the Indian slave trade. By the eighteenth century, colonial governments often discouraged the practice, although it never ceased entirely as long as slavery was, in general, a legal institution.
Native American slaves died quickly, mostly from disease, but others were murdered or died from starvation. The demands of growing plantation economies required a more reliable labor force, and the transatlantic slave trade provided such a workforce.
European slavers transported millions of Africans across the ocean in a terrifying journey known as the Middle Passage. Writing at the end of the eighteenth century, Olaudah Equiano recalled the fearsomeness of the crew, the filth and gloom of the hold, the inadequate provisions allotted for the captives, and the desperation that drove some slaves to suicide.
Equiano claimed to have been born in Igboland in modern-day Nigeria, but he may have been born in colonial South Carolina, where he collected memories of the Middle Passage from African-born slaves. In the same time period, Alexander Falconbridge, a slave ship surgeon, described the sufferings of slaves from shipboard infections and close quarters in the hold.
Chained in small spaces in the hold, slaves could lose so much skin and flesh from chafing against metal and timber that their bones protruded. Other sources detailed rapes, whippings, and diseases like smallpox and conjunctivitis aboard slave ships.
For the captains and crews of slave ships, the Middle Passage was one leg in the maritime trade in sugar and other semifinished American goods, manufactured European commodities, and African slaves.Directly or indirectly, the economies of all 13 British colonies in North America depended on slavery.
By the s, the labor-intensive cultivation of tobacco for European markets was established in Virginia, with white indentured servants performing most of . Slavery was still very much alive, and in some places even expanding, in the northern colonies of British North America in the generation before the American Revolution.
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TIMELINES & MAPS / PRIMARY DOCUMENTS. DISCOVERY & EXPLORATION. NATIVE AMERICANS & COLUMBIAN EXCHANGE. Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, contains more than 2, first-person accounts of slavery and black-and-white photographs of former slaves.
These narratives were collected in the s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).