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The Conditions Under Which Slaves Were Brought To America

Slavery existed in all of the English colonies in America. For land owners, slaves were much more valuable than indentured servants. The master owned the slave for life, in the same way as a horse, and any children of the slaves would become slaves. The English colonists were not planning on establishing slavery, it happened gradually. Blacks were not the first slaves. Indian prisoners of war were enslaved. The Indians did not make good slaves because they knew the land which made it easy for them to escape. Because of this problem many Indians were shipped to the west Indies in exchange for

African slaves. Since Africans did not know the land it made it very hard for them to escape and if they did their skin tone made them easier to find. The first African slaves came to Virginia in 1619 and were freed after a term of servitude. By 1660 some slaves were serving for life. And by 1700 Africans were arriving in the colonies in huge amounts. Most Africans came from the western coast and western Africa. They came from many different ethnic groups and therefore spoke different languages, which made it very hard for the Africans to communicate with ne another.

Their only way of communication was a common music stile which they all shared. Lineage was very important to the Africans. Many families were separated which was one of the worst things for them. The Africans were exposed to slavery in West Africa. Slavery in Africa was much different than that in Colonial America. In Africa most slaves had legal rights, some worked with their masters, some were soldiers, and some served as governors of regions. In Africa people became slaves because they were prisoners of war, had been kidnapped, or ere poor looking for a protective master.

African rulers and merchants sold slaves to slave traders. Crimes committed in Africa resulted in the becoming of a slave in Colonial America. Some slaves were captured directly by European sailors but that was dangerous. Once the African slaves were purchased by the European traders the slaves would be branded by red-hot irons and placed into slave ships. They were packed very closely together in cramped spaces on these ships. The air smelt of sweat, vomit, blood, and bodily wastes. Some slaves pent a number of months in these conditions.

Many of the slaves died during the voyage. The survivors were known as the middle passage. Slaves were sold in small groups in Virginia and Maryland. After walking to a clearing in the woods they were given familiar-looking tools. They lived in single-roomed cabins at the end of the tobacco or cornfields. These cabins were usually miles away from their masters house. A white overseer would sleep in one of the cabins with the slaves. His job was to direct the work and life of the slaves, and when ever the slaves did not nderstand something the overseer would beat them.

Slavery thrived more in southern colonies than in the other colonies. The southern colonies depended on farming. The south was not made up of towns, it was made up of large plantations or farms scattered along the James river. Tobacco, which was a main crop in the south that quickly uses up the minerals in the soil, so farmers would be constantly using new land, and therefore called for lots of cheap workers. This was unlike the northern colonies, they didn’t have many plantations requiring cheap labor hey were more city-like.

Also, in the south because there weren’t many towns, many jobs that were usually done in towns were performed on plantations instead. This was another reason for more slaves in the south. In the northern colonies they jobs in the cities required skilled workers and most slaves were not. Slavery took place in all of Colonial America. Slaves were more useful in the south than in the north. The African slaves lead horrible lives. They were taken from their homes in Africa, separated from their lineage, and forced to do continuous labor.

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