Slavery in the United States

0 Comment

In 1612 English planter John Rolfe who settled in Jamestown, Virginia was credited with successfully cultivating tobacco as an export crop in Virginia. Earlier English settlers did not like the taste of the tobacco grown there. In order to improve the taste Rolfe crossed the breed from Trinidad which had a sweeter taste with the Virginia tobacco to produce a plant that took well to the local soil. Rolfe was the first to cultivate these plants in North America and its export resulted in a boost of the Virginia colony’s economy. The popularity of tobacco in England and the available land in the Virginia colony led to plantations all over Virginia. Tobacco crops could best grow on extensive farmland. Growers constantly needed additional labor. Colonial leaders wanted indentured servants. That included 20 and some odd Negroes brought to Virginia by a Dutch ship in 1619. Blacks had been captured in Africa and were sold at auction in Jamestown. There have been conflicting accounts indicating how the first blacks in America were treated. The status of the first blacks in the New World remains somewhat mysterious, and any thesis about the change in black status generates sharp controversy. … e were many black indentured servants in Virginia and Maryland during the much of the 1600’s there was also enough white indentured servants that were able to work the plantations in those and other colonies. However during the 1660’s the supply of white servants declined due to the declining birth rate in England. This decline resulted in increased wages for the English so many chose to remain there. In order to make up for this loss planters in the Chesapeake region would get enslaved Africans to work their plantations.4 (Slavery Takes Root in Colonial Virginia). The number of slaves would increase in these colonies as years passed. In the 1660’s slavery spread quickly throughout the colonies. There were more slaves in the South where large plantations grew cotton and other crops. Initially there were no clear laws regarding slaves and some black and white slaves were given freedom after several years. During this time the American colonies passed laws that stipulated relationships between slaves. One of these laws forbade intermarriage between white colonists and black slaves. Another law indicated that black slaves and the offspring of female slaves would be enslaved for the rest of their lives. These laws were known as slave codes. Under the slave codes slaves were also not allowed to own weapons, get an education, they needed permission from their masters if they wanted to move, and were prevented from testifying against whites in court. (Becker) Slaves on small farms had more freedom than plantation slaves. This premise, combined with the natural population growth among the slaves, meant that slavery could survive and grow… (Becker 1660 section) Some reasons why Africans were chosen as slaves was because that more miners were needed, the