American Slavery 16061775

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However, this also suggests that slavery was an important institution within the colonies long before the need for outside support was necessary. Unquestionably it was a demand for labor which dragged the Negro to American shores, but the status which he acquired here cannot be explained by reference to that economic motive. Long before black labor was as economically important as unfree white labor, the Negro had been consigned to a special discriminatory status which mirrored the social discrimination Englishmen practiced against him.2 This treatment of the black individual within the new continent began with the Spanish, expanded to the colonies as the native populations began dying out and became increasingly abhorrent in regards to denying human rights as the nation moved toward Revolutionary War.Initially, when the Spanish controlled the Caribbean islands, their interests were only in the mining of silver and gold. When the riches of the mines had been exhausted, the search for additional wealth moved inland and the Spaniards adopted a plantation based economy.3 Products from the Americas such as tobacco, cotton, cocoa and sugar were becoming increasingly popular in Europe which caused the Caribbean plantations growing these commodities to grow accordingly. The shortage of man-power to operate these ever-growing plantations required many numbers of slaves from Africa to be imported. As the Spaniards were reaping the rewards from its colonization of the Americas, their need for additional labor in the mines and plantations continued to grow. However, the local population was dwindling with the influx of disease and abuse and this, combined with Spain abolishing the enslavement of natives in the Americas in the mid 1500’s, necessitated a need to acquire Africans to fill their labor requirements.4In the initial phase of slavery in the