Indian Slave Trade Essay

891 Words 4 Pages
Slavery has been a reoccurring theme in history, found in large civilizations in need of cheap labor. The 17th and 18th centuries were significant time periods in American history for colonists who were adjusting to the new concept of slavery. In Europe, labor was made up of peasants that served their lords and land through serfdom. The peasants could not move or be sold, and therefore were later replaced by a free labor system that spread with overseas expansion and took root in largely populated areas. On the contrary, colonies that produced staple crops for Europe were in inexpensive areas that required expensive labor, consequently leading to forced, unfree labor systems. From 1607 to 1776 colonists tested out different forms of labor …show more content…
Some colonies may have been introduced to the slave trade by Indians, because it was part of Indian culture to capture slaves from wars. Before 1715 South Carolina’s biggest business was the Indian slave trade and half of South Carolina’s population was comprised of slaves. As with Virginia and the West Indies colonies, South Carolina’s switch to a new crop affected their slavery status. In the early 1700’s when rice became their staple export, South Carolina colonists imported African slaves, causing the Indian slave trade to collapse after 1715. Another cause for the collapse of the Indian slave trade in South Carolina was the Yamasee War. South Carolina colonists created enemies from their former allies, the Yamasees, by forcing many Yamasee people into the slave trade. The Yamasee Indians and other Indian nations that traded with South Carolina, attacked South Carolina traders after they failed to maintain good relationships. After South Carolina was almost destroyed by the war, colonists abandoned the Indian slave trade, speeding the growth of African slavery in North …show more content…
Colonists used Africans because unlike Indian slaves, Africans were immune to diseases colonists carried, such as malaria. In addition to their immunities, Africans possessed many agricultural skills that were needed to grow the cash crops. Like Indian slaves, African slaves served for life and colonists believed they could treat them cruelly, unlike white servants. African slaves provided the most efficient work force for colonists and as Africans replaced indentured servants and Indians, their population soon outnumbered British colonists. By 1730 in South Carolina, African slaves numbered at about two-thirds of the colony’s population. British colonists were unaccustomed to slavery because the British used the system of serfdom. The first Africans came to the colonies in the early1600’s, but it was not until 1680 that a firm caste system was set. Some of the early Africans were able to negotiate with their masters and worked as servants, gaining their freedom later. Other slaves served for life, and gradually that became a more common idea. Miscegenation laws took formed, which forbade masters and their slaves of different races to have relationships. However, they did not make it illegal for masters and their white servants to have relationships. In 1705 the Virginia legislature created a law that banned white servants from getting

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