2 Building BackgroundImagine for just a moment, you are living in the British Colonies, about 1,600 – 1,700. Now imagine yourself living on a large farm, which your father owns. He’s got a lot of land, a lot of crops, and a lot of live stock to take care of. Outside of learning to read and write, you and your brothers and sisters do everything you can to help around the farm, but there’s just so much to do, and no tractors or other machines that we have today to do the work.
3 Building BackgroundIn all truth, it’s probably very difficult to have maintained a farm all on your own, without the help of others in this day and age. So where did the that much needed help around the farm come from? Colonial farmers had a choice between two sources of aid; indentured servitude or slaves.
4 Indentured ServantsOne group of people that served on farms (and other places) during colonial times were the indentured servants. Indentured servants, in colonial America, are people who wanted to come to the New World, from Britain, but did not have the money to do so. Instead, they offered their skills and services to land owners in the colonies. If a land owner wanted help, or needed someone with a certain skill, he would pay to have that person shipped over into the New England Colonies.
5 Indentured ServantsThese people were known as indentured servants. Upon coming over to the New World, that servant would sign a contract stating he would work for a number of years on the land owners farm. In exchange, the land owner that brought them over, would (and had to) provide that servant (and his family, if they came) with shelter, clothing, passage to the New World, and a share of his crops. After the servants contract was up, they were free to purchase their own land. Furthermore, unlike slaves, land owners could not abuse or harm an indentured servant.
6 So What Happened?Indentured Servitude was a good way of getting help on the farms, but over time, servants were freed and more had to be found. Not to mention, it cost a lot to get more.
7 Slavery BeginsThis is where slavery comes in. At first, British colonists tried to enslave the Native American’s, but there was a slight problem with that. The Native Americans that were enslaved knew the land very well, and could easily escape their captors and owners, and could easily avoid being recaptured. The solution: the New England colonies enter into slave trade, with Africa.
8 Triangle TradeAfrican slave trade took place in what is know as Triangle Trade. In short, Africans were kidnapped by other African tribes in exchange for goods from slave traders, and the kidnapped Africans were shipped overseas to be sold as slaves in the British colonies. The slaves in the colonies helped land owners to gather raw material, which was sent back to England, where it was manufactured into something. The manufactured goods were taken to Africa (and some to the colonies) where the cycle begins anew.
10 On the Way to New England Once captured slaves were placed onboard a ship to be shipped to the British Colonies, slaves passed through the most horrific part of their journey. This was known as the Middle- Passage. The captains of slave ships made money off of each slave that was shipped to the New England Colonies, and therefore, made it a point to cram as many slaves into their ship as possible. For weeks, slaves journeyed in horrible conditions aboard the slave ship. They had little to eat, little room to move, and very rarely had the opportunity to go outside. Sickness ran rampant on the ship, among the slaves, and many died on the passage.
11 Slave Life in the Colonies Slave life was difficult in the colonies. Upon entering, Africans could be separated from their families, if family members were captured too. They spoke little to no English, so communication was extremely difficult. They had to live in rough conditions, and work in rough environments. Children who were born to a slave, were also slaves.
12 Slave Life in the Colonies Slaves in the south generally worked in the fields, gathering and tending to crops and livestock. Some slaves worked in houses, where they helped to take care of daily chores, and even the children of their owners. In the north, slaves sometimes had the opportunity to work a second job, where they could earn money to purchase their own freedom.
13 Slave CodesOver time, slavery grew. Eventually, many of the white land owners began to feel threatened by the growing population of slaves. As a result, they implemented slave laws, which regulated the behavior of the slaves.
14 The Impact of SlaveryAfricans who were sold into slavery brought with them a number of things, including, their own culture, skills, and languages. In most cases, Africans were very knowledgeable about raising crops and livestock, which were much needed skills on plantations. Without their skills and labor, the southern economy would not have developed cash crops, like rice or indigo.
15 The Impact of SlaveryAfricans introduced a verity of ways to prepare meals, including stewing and spit- roasting. Slaves also introduced a number of greens into the diets of their owners, which greatly improved their health. Finally, slaves introduced a new dialect, called Gullah, in the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina.