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05. Colonial Slavery1 Purpose: To gain an understanding of the institution of slavery in colonial times, more specifically: Slavery as part of the transatlantic.

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Presentation on theme: "05. Colonial Slavery1 Purpose: To gain an understanding of the institution of slavery in colonial times, more specifically: Slavery as part of the transatlantic."— Presentation transcript:

1 05. Colonial Slavery1 Purpose: To gain an understanding of the institution of slavery in colonial times, more specifically: Slavery as part of the transatlantic trade network Slavery in the Caribbean The development of slavery in English mainland North America Regional differences Slave families and culture Slave resistance Timeframe: the 15 th through 18 th centuries

2 05. Colonial Slavery2 1.1 Slavery in Africa Slavery had traditionally existed in many African societies. Typically, slaves were criminals or debtors, and most often war captives. Slave status in Africa was not typically conferred on a slaves descendants. Islamic traders from North Africa traded with slaves from non-Islamic Africa. In the 15 th century, the Portuguese became involved in the slave trade. Initially, slavery was not strongly tied to race. Africa in the 15 th century: major trade routes

3 05. Colonial Slavery3 1.2 The Slave Trade With the discovery of America, the slave trade became a transatlantic business. First, the Portuguese dominated the slave trade, then the Dutch, and after until the early 19th century - the English. European slave traders bought slaves from mostly West-African rulers. Conditions on the slave ships were unspeakable. Mortality averaged around 10 to 20 percent. Most of the slavers weretight packers. Between 10 and 12 million slaves were deported from Africa to America over the course of the slave trade. Architects Plan of a Slave Ship

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5 5 1.3 Old Slavery and New Slavery Slavery became a crucial part of the transatlantic economy. The result was a complex trade network sometimes simplistically known as thetriangular trade. The status and fate of African slaves taken to America (New Slavery) differed considerably from traditional African slavery (Old Slavery). New Slavery means: slaves worked on plantations growing cash crops. The institution aimed strictly for profit. Mortality was much higher and the work typically harsher. The new slavery was life-long and it was inheritable. Slavery soon also became a race-based institution. Transatlantic trade network, late 17 th century

6 05. Colonial Slavery6 2.1 The English Caribbean After 1620, Spain was unable to control the minor islands of the Caribbean, and even lost Jamaica to England in England also established colonies on the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Lesser Antilles. Throughout the 17 th century, these island colonies were imperiled by military attack, lawlessness, hurricanes, earthquakes and devastating epidemics. Nevertheless, the Caribbean colonies attracted more English settlers than North America – because of sugar. The Caribbean and North America, 1660

7 05. Colonial Slavery7 2.2 The Caribbean: Sugar, Slavery, and Slave Codes The cash crop Sugar was immensely profitable, but also extremely capital and labor intensive. The wealthy planters preferred slaves to indentured servants because they had no rights, could be driven harder, and endured the climate better. Slaves were literally worked to death, then replaced. Barbados was the first English colony to codify slavery in 1661, setting virtually no restraints on the owners. Slaves had no legal rights. After 1670 genders were mostly balanced. The percentage of slaves rose continually to about 90 percent. This demographic development also explains the perceived need for control among whites, as expressed in the slave codes. Slaves operating a sugar mill, 1665

8 05. Colonial Slavery8 3.1 Slavery:Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, Georgia The first Africans were brought to Virginia in 1619 as laborers on tobacco plantations. At first they were similar to indentured servants. Maryland codified slavery in 1661, Virginia in After Bacons Rebellion (1676), slavery began to replace indentured servitude as the main labor source. In this region, slaves never outnumbered whites. Slavery in South Carolina was shaped by the West Indies. Slaves worked in rice and indigo plantations. The Carolina slave codes were very harsh. The Carolina task system of slavery existed: Once completed his task, a slave could grow food for his own. Some slaves even earned enough to buy their freedom. After 1750, Georgia began a similar development as in South Carolina. Virginian tobacco label

9 05. Colonial Slavery9 4.1 Slavery in the Middle Colonies and New England North of Maryland slaves and cash crop plantations did not become the basis of the economy. In New York, slavery peaked at about 15 percent of the population. A higher percentage than in the South lived in cities, where small free black communities sprang up Slavery was mostly limited to wealthy households. However, New Englands economy was intricately tied to slavery and the Caribbean: The West Indies were supplied with lumber, food and naval supplies, New England imported molasses for rum distillation in turn. New Englands economy was geared towards slave consumption. John Potter of Mutunuck, Rhode Island, with his family and a slave

10 05. Colonial Slavery10 5. Key Characteristics of Slavery in North America The slave society in North America differed greatly from that in the Caribbean. Overall, slaves never made up a majority of the population. Slave owners were never the majority of the white population. Most slave owners lived on their estates, in direct contact with their slaves. Slaves produced tobacco, rice, indigo, and other crops as opposed to Caribbean sugar. Of the 10 million or more slaves imported to the Americas by 1770, only a small fraction (ca 260,000) came to the future USA. After 1720 the increase of black slaves nearly equaled that of whites. Slave owners had a vested interest in keeping their slaves alive and healthy, unlike the situation in the West Indies. Percentage of black slaves in the English colonies,

11 05. Colonial Slavery Slave Language, Culture, and Religion Slaves in North America came from many different African nations and the West Indies. As a result, they quickly adopted English. They developed also an African language, called Gullah. This culture was formed of a dynamic exchange between African and English elements and had an impact on white society, as well. African skills played an important role in agricultural production. For most of the colonial period, most slaves adhered to their traditional religious beliefs and practices, including folk medicine and magic. Muslim slaves retained their religion. Left: 19 th century West African drum Right: 18 th century Virginian drum

12 05. Colonial Slavery Slave Families and Slave Resistance The slave trade shattered families. Slave marriages were legally void. The continual threat of sale threatened family stability. Slave families resembled white families, but slaves kept some specific naming and marriage patterns. Slave women were also subject to their owners sexual demands. Miscegenation was not uncommon, taking forms from rape to concubinage. North American slaves did not rebel as often or as successfully as in the Caribbean. Rebellions were typically unsuccessful and ended bloodily. They were not limited to the South: New York had a slave revolt in The most massive revolt was the 1739 Stono Rebellion in South Carolina. Slaves adopted other forms of resistance, such as running away, individual violence, stealing, sabotage, and slow work. A slave exile was Spanish Florida.

13 05. Colonial Slavery13 Conclusion African slavery was introduced to America because of plantation agriculture. The transatlantic slave trade deported more than 10 million Africans to the Americas. Gradually, a race-based and inheritable slavery evolved. In English mainland North America, the number of slaves increased naturally in the 18 th century, a unique development. Slavery existed from New England to Georgia, but differed significantly between regions. Slaves struggled to gain as much autonomy as possible and developed a distinct African-American culture.

14 05. Colonial Slavery14 Sample Keyword Stono Rebellion Most massive slave uprising in the colonial era. In 1739, about 100 rebellious slaves seized weapons from a store near Charleston, South Carolina and tried to fight their way to Spanish Florida. The militia killed most of them, crushing the rebellion. Panicked, white South Carolinians passed an even harsher slave code than before.

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