Slavery: Southern Slavery from 1607 to 1775
In 1607 Jamestown, the first successful English colony, was founded. A mere twelve years later the first African slaves would be introduced to the colony, and throughout the 17th century and early and mid-18th century their usefulness would increase and they would become the saviors of the Southern colonies. The growth of slavery in these colonies was brought on in large part by geographic, economic, and social factors of this time. Economically, slavery and John Rolfe were the saviors of the south. The introduction of tobacco was the only reason that the colony of Jamestown survived. Not only was the introduction of tobacco by John Rolfe important to Jamestown but the efficient method that he brought along with it would last for many years to come. This method was to acquire a large amount of land, grab some cheap labor, and now you have the ‘modern day’ plantation. With the success of tobacco planting, African Slavery was legalized in Virginia and Maryland and became the base of the southern economy. Slaves who had limited rights, and because they weren’t people didn’t need livable living conditions, cost a lot less than indentured servants whose journey from England had to paid for and eventually were granted freedom. In the eyes of the plantation owner slaves only needed minimal care such as one piece of clothing. Pay? Slaves didn’t need pay. Slave owners often did not pay slave wages and slaves often had children of their own which plantation owners could make work for them. One slave could possibly mean a limitless amount of slaves for the slave owner. The geography of the south made it very difficult if not impossible to farm like the north did. The hot weather wasn’t ideal for farming and the wet/ sub-tropical climate was only good for growing products such as indigo, tobacco, rice and eventually cotton, which needed hard and cheap labor to be efficient. This also means that it was humid and disease...
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