1600's and 1700's

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African slavery in the American colonies first began in the 1670's and 1680's, particularly in the Chesapeake region. However, it wasn't until the 1700's that slavery became a full blown business. Events causing the need for slaves were: the lack of English settlers willing to become indentured servants, the ability of prospective immigrants to migrate somewhere else in the United States, and the lack of open land which turned away potential settlers. The need of the Chesapeake tobacco farmers to have some kind of dependable workforce, almost ANY dependable workforce, led for them to look for "employees" in the Caribbean sugar islands. Since 1640, French, Dutch, English, and Spanish immigrants in the Caribbean had been employing slaves as a workforce. In the European mainland, slavery had been practiced for centuries. It was customary for conquered heathen peoples to be captured and enslaved so that by their bonds they would be converted. However, African slavery truly began when Portuguese sailors encountered non-Christian societies holding slaves in Northern Africa. From there, the sailors purchased these bonded people and took them to the Iberian peninsula where by the 1500's one-tenth of the population of Lisbon and Seville were said slaves. From there, slaves were sent to the Americas to do the hard labor unwilling European settlers refused to do. Before African slavery in the Americas, the majority of African peoples were "Atlantic creoles." Either free, indentured, or enslaved. The term Christian was used to mean a "free person" however, the House of Burgesses declared that "the blessed sacrament of baptism" could not release the enslaved from their bonds. In 1682, Virginia passed a document which declared all "Negroes, Moors, Mollatoes or Indians" arriving "by sea or land" could be enslaved if they were not Christian. By 1775, 260,000 slaves were imported into the U.S. Between the late 1600's and the early 1700's the conditions of slavery in...
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