5.12 Explain the causes of the establishment of slavery in North America. Describe the harsh conditions of the Middle Passage and slave life, and the responses of slaves to their condition. Describe the life of free African Americans in the colonies. (H, G, E, C)
Be sure to discuss the middle passage, the triangular trade,etc. in this page. Also, compare indentured servitude vs slavery. Why were Africans enslaved at alarming rates instead of Native Americans? Be specific with your answer.


Key Terms
indentured servant
headright system

Team of Samantha C and Jackie B


Slavery during the 16 th to18th centuries:
African slaves were transported to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central & South America, starting very early in the 16th century.

Landowners in the American colonies originally met their need for forced labor by enslaving a limited number of Natives, and "hiring" many more European indentured servants. In exchange for their transportation across the Atlantic, the servants committed to work for the landowner for 4 to 7 years. A few slaves were imported from Africa as early as 1619. With the spread of tobacco farming in the 1670's, and the diminishing number of people willing to sign-on as indentured servants in the 1680's, increasing numbers of slaves were brought in from Africa. They replaced Native American slaves, who were found to be susceptible to diseases of European origin. Eventually 600 to 650 thousand slaves arrived in America against their will. Slavery was an attractive proposition to landowners. In 1638, "the price tag for an African male was around $27.00 while the salary of a European laborer was about 70 cents per day." A slave had less value at the time than 40 days of labor by a European.Both slave transportation, and slavery itself in the U.S. were brutal institutions. It was not unknown to have a 50% mortality rate during the passage from Africa. Slaves who were too ill to survive the trip were sometimes thrown overboard to drown. Once on American soil, slaves were largely treated as property, to be freely bought and sold. Some slave owners allowed their slaves to marry; others imposed marriages on them. Slave marriages were not recognized by the states. The owner was free to split up a couple or family at any time simply by selling some of his/her slaves. Slave children were sent into the fields at about 12 years of age where they worked from sun up to sun down. (Religious tolerance - web)

Slavery began for the majority of blacks when the tobacco plantation and large farm economies took off. The average slave life was very harsh and laborious. There was brutal and severe punishment as well as the thoughts that slaves were not even thought of as people or humans. If slaves were lucky, they could be together with their families but that was not always the case. In 1618, there was a shortage of labor because of the tobacco, indigo, rice and plantation industries were booming. People from Virginia and other states came up with the Headright System. This allowed people to become indentured servants, different than a slave. As a slave, you had no choice at all of what you were dong, where you were going, who you were working for or how long you were working for; they had no rights. An indentured servant was employed by people who owned the land. The system provided incentives for both the master and the workers to increase the working population, especially in the Chesapeake colonies. Leaders of colonies like Maryland and Virginia were giving incentives for planters to import their workers, especially Africa since it was the cheapest. For each laborer brought across the Atlantic, the master was rewarded with fifty acres of land. This system was used by wealthy plantation aristocrats to increase their land holdings dramatically. In addition, they received the services of the workers for the duration of the indenture, which was decided between the master and worker with a contract, usually around five years. Each indentured servant's trip was paid for in full to come across the Atlantic. The servant would be supplied room and board while working in the master's fields. Upon completion of the contract, the servant would receive "freedom dues," a pre-arranged termination bonus. This might include land, money, a gun, clothes or food. Only about 40 percent of indentured servants lived to complete the terms of their contracts. Female servants were often the subject of harassment from their masters. Any woman wh
Triangle_Trade.png
Triangular, TransAtlantic Trade Route
o became pregnant while a servant had to add years to her indenture. Early in the century, some servants were able to gain their own land as free men; by 1660, much of the best land was claimed by the large land owners. The former servants were pushed westward, where the mountainous land and the threat from Indians was constant. A class of angry, impoverished pioneer farmers began to emerge as the 1600s grew old ("Indentured Servants [ushistory.org]." Ushistory.org. Web. 29 Aug. 2011).


The road was a tough one for the slaves that were imported from Africa and other countries. The Middle Passage was the route through the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to the Americas. The Middle Passage was the middle and longest part of the Triangular Trade. The Triangular Trade was the main route used in the sugar, tea and coffee transportation in exchange for the slaves in Africa. The first part of the voyage went from New England and the West Indies carrying goods like sugar, molasses, tobacco, wood, rum, gun powder etc. This was brought to West Africa in exchange for the slaves and gold. This was the Middle Passage voyage. Europe was also trading with America and the West Indies for goods and slaves ( "Interactive Map: Triangular Trade Routes.", Web. 29 Aug. 2011.) African-Americans were packed in tightly on these ships like sardines in a can. Approximately ten percent to thirty percent of the captives did not make the voya
middle_passage.jpg
View of Middle Passage Voyage
ge to the Americas("Triangular Trade."29 Aug. 2011.). By 1654, as many as eight to ten thousand African Americans were experiencing the Middle Passage voyage every single year. This number grew steadily up until 1750 where the numbers were estimated around sixty or seventy thousand. Estimates on the total number go from nine to fifteen million, with about three to five million deaths. There was a lot of disease that were prolific among these voyages like small pox, yellow fever and other deadly epidemics. The slaves were not the only ones who contracted these illnesses. The European sailors also caught the diseases that were spreading. It was said that any sailor that worked for a Middle Passage voyage, was giving himself the death sentence because the trip was so unbearable. Many of the reasons for these sicknesses were because of the dehydration, poor diet and close confinement. Disease like scurvy and gangrene were also prevalent. The men were usually shackled together while women were not and children mostly ran free among the ship. If there was any trouble on the ship at all, the crew members were told to stop whatever was going on by any means necessary. The crew members were all allowed to carry weapons around with them. Some slaves successfully mutinied some ships but it did not always happen that way. ("The Middle Passage, 29 Aug. 2011).



"The Headright System." United States History. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1153.html>.

"Indentured Servants [ushistory.org]." Ushistory.org. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/5b.asp>.

"Interactive Map: Triangular Trade Routes." Education PlaceĀ®. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://www.eduplace.com/kids/socsci/books/applications/imaps/maps/g5s_u3/index.html>.

"Introduction to Colonial African American Life : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site." Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://www.history.org/almanack/people/african/aaintro.cfm>.

"The Middle Passage - A Slave Ship Speaks: The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society and Museum in Key West, Florida." Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society in Key West, Florida. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. http://www.melfisher.org/exhibitions/henriettamarie/middlepassage.htm.


"A Brief History of Slavery in North America." Web. 31 Aug. 2011. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_hist.htm>.

"The Triangle Trade." Bryant University. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://web.bryant.edu/~ehu/h364proj/fall_98/stump/triangletrade.html>.

"Triangular Trade." National Maritime Museum: Sea, Ships, Time and the Stars : NMM. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. <http://www.nmm.ac.uk/freedom/viewTheme.cfm/theme/triangular>.

.