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jpeter

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DISCLAIMER: This thread contains posts from multiple threads, as many as 30!
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---CivilWarTalk---

Native American slavery in North America was extensive over much of the eastern seaboard between 1630-1715. Amerindian slavery differed from the African trans-Atlantic slave trade in that much of the Indian slave trade was a by-product of French, English, and Spanish conflicts for New World territory, especially around the Gulf Coast.

The Native American slave trade was not fully aimed at racial subjugation in those early years, nor was it strictly designed to solve local labor shortages (although that was part of it). Amerindians - men, women, and children - were generally captured as political and military enemies and sold for profit to the sugar cane plantation system in the West Indies. Much less commonly, Amerindian slaves might be kept as domestic servants around Charleston or other townships. They were only very rarely kept as local field hands since they frequently ran off. Unlike African slaves, Amerinidan male slaves were frequently referred to as "difficult." It was considered a smarter course of action to send them far away from their home territory where they might be more easily broken. Still, Indian enslavement gained the English needed capital and, more importantly, aided in the removal of specific Indian tribes believed to be enemies of the English.

As a rule, most Indians were captured by other Indians in small bands, sent to the English for payment, and then relocated elsewhere to perform some sort of involuntary servitude. Between 1670 to 1715 there were between 24,000 and 51,000 Native Americans enslaved within the southern colonies and territories. Only after local Indian wars began to heat up in the early 18th century did the the slave trade officially cool off. After 1715, the African slave trade grew 10-fold to meet the demands of the plantation slave economy which helped eliminate demands for Native Americans.

Source: "The Indian Slave Trade", Allan Gallay, 2003

In a peculiar religious context, American Indians were seen as "unspoiled" and the American continent Eden-like. Because of this, Amerindians were considered more worthy of conversion and European royalty were uneasy about their enslavement. There were certain edicts from Protestant and Catholic countries not to enslave the natives - but these were frequently disregarded.
 
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Freddy

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During King Phillip's War 1675-1676 many Nipmuc and Wampanoags were sold into slavery.

"King Philip’s War was one of the bloodiest and most costly in the history of America. One in ten soldiers on both sides was injured or killed. It took many years for Plymouth and the other colonies to recover from damage to property.


The outcome of King Philip’s War was devastating to the traditional way of life for Native People in New England. Hundreds of Natives who fought with Philip were sold into slavery abroad. Others, especially women and children, were forced to become servants locally. As the traditional base of existence changed due to the Colonists’ victory, the Wampanoag and other local Native communities had to adapt certain aspects of their culture in order to survive."

http://www.familyhistory101.com/research-military/1675-1676.html
 

jpeter

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During King Phillip's War 1675-1676 many Nipmuc and Wampanoags were sold into slavery.
These Indian entrapments into slavery were justified in the name of war (where would they keep prisoners?). Because of the initial influx of devout religious separatists, however, New England apparently did not have the same interest in slaving for profit as some enterprising southern colonists did.

In South Carolina during this time, white settlers hired several Native American tribes (the Savannah, the Yamasee, and the Chickasaw Indians to name a few) to capture individuals from other less-friendly tribes to be sent as slaves to Barbados, Antigua and other British colonies. Some slaves were sent to New England, fewer still to Virginia, and a very few kept in South Carolina. Payment for a captured slave might be a musket, new clothes, or other useful trade goods brought from England. An Amerindian institutionalized slave trade became very active in the southern colony of South Carolina among the British and their allied Indian tribes.
 
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I suspect that the 17th century events after KPW were somewhat of a throwback to an earlier European common practice. In both that and the punishment for treason (drawn & quartered, head on a spike) they colonists seemed to be about a hundred years behind the times.
While not attempting to justify the practice at all, I further suspect that this event may have had a role in starting anti-slavery sentiment in New England. No mistake, the Browns and others profited by trade, but a number of freemen of various towns no doubt had second thoughts after seeing the devastation and torn families.

As always, when discussing King Philip's War, not all of the tribes were on Philip's side - a number fought with the colonial armies, further confusing the issue.
 

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It was also common practice among some Native American tribes to enslave some of their captives, whether White or members of other tribes.
 

Nathanb1

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My 5th great-grandfather, Abraham Wheeler, was killed in Lancaster, MA in 1695; later, his wife was carried into captivity with one of the most famous North American captives, Mary Rowlandson (who survived to write a book) and sold into slavery in Canada. Tabitha Wheeler eventually returned to Massachusetts, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
 

jpeter

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Wasn't Sacajawea captured and essentially enslaved?
If I recall, she was taken captive by Shoshone before she met Lewis and Clark.

Occasionally, slaves were taken as captives by Native American for their own use. However, this differed significantly from the institutionalized slavery of the European variety. Most Indian captives were taken by other Indians as for the sake of re-populating their own tribes during times of war, famine, or disease. Many would be taken as children, emancipated as young adults, and incorporated into the tribe and clan.
 

jpeter

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My 5th great-grandfather, Abraham Wheeler, was killed in Lancaster, MA in 1695; later, his wife was carried into captivity with one of the most famous North American captives, Mary Rowlandson (who survived to write a book) and sold into slavery in Canada. Tabitha Wheeler eventually returned to Massachusetts, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
I think I've read about her, but I can't remember where.
 

K Hale

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If I recall, she was taken captive by Shoshone before she met Lewis and Clark.
I think she was a Shoshone and was captured by another tribe, but can't recall its name. She came in useful as a translator to the Shoshone for that reason.

Occasionally, slaves were taken as captives by Native American for their own use. However, this differed significantly from the institutionalized slavery of the European variety. Most Indian captives were taken by other Indians as for the sake of re-populating their own tribes during times of war, famine, or disease. Many would be taken as children, emancipated as young adults, and incorporated into the tribe and clan.
Is it just me, or is that kinda heinous too? Sorry to be less than PC and all, but really...
 

jpeter

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You're right, it was Hidatsa she was captured by.

As for your second comment, no that's heinous too, but at least there was some latitude to receive freedom over time.
 

ole

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Believe you're right, Miss Hale. She was Shoshone, captured by a local tribe, and sold off to the French trader Charbonneaux. 1804 was a little early for Lakota hegemony along the Missouri so it was possibly some other tribe later driven away. I gave away my book on the expedition, or I would look it up.

Heinous? It was common practice among the ancients -- note the biblical admonitions about kind treatment.

The life of an Indian woman was hard. It only made good sense to take some captives and make slaves of them -- more hands to gather, plant, and make babies. My understanding is that they were often married off, like a daughter might be, or simply married to a captor's buddy. All in all, it doesn't seem that they were worked to death.
 

K Hale

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Well, let's just say I would not want to be taken captive for the purpose of... ah... re-populating some tribe, if that means what I think it means. (Or any other purpose.) Whether or not there was "latitude" to receive freedom "later."

I assume the products of my... ah... re-populating would be required to be left behind, in the event that I was set free?
 

jpeter

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Well, let's just say I would not want to be taken captive for the purpose of... ah... re-populating some tribe, if that means what I think it means. (Or any other purpose.) Whether or not there was "latitude" to receive freedom "later."

I assume the products of my... ah... re-populating would be required to be left behind, in the event that I was set free?
I don't think most were "set free" in the emancipation sense. I think most young men and women who were taken grew into the tribe's culture. That was the idea I think. Young captives were allowed to become free agents within the capturing community. Being absorbed into another community probably had varying degrees of success.

It has been suggested that Indian wars were magnified and amplified by the addition of both horses and firearms into their culture. Even economic demands in Europe created a ripple effect on North American Indian tribes. I know in the late 1600's, the demand for beaver pelts in Europe created all sorts of tribal wars among the Iroquois. These were in fact known as the "Beaver Wars".

Smallpox and other diseases also added to tribal wars and enslavement after the initial contact with whites... as in the capturing of individuals during these wars in order to re-populate your own tribe.
 

K Hale

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I don't think most were "set free" in the emancipation sense. I think most young men and women who were taken grew into the tribe's culture. That was the idea I think. Young captives were allowed to become free agents within the capturing community. Being absorbed into another community probably had varying degrees of success.
By "young men and women," you mean children, right? Funny how this disgusting practice gets a bit of a pass nowadays, while the forced assimilation of Indian kids into white culture via residence schools etc. is (rightly) condemned. This must truly be the post-Dances With Wolves era.
 

jpeter

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By "young men and women," you mean children, right? Funny how this disgusting practice gets a bit of a pass nowadays, while the forced assimilation of Indian kids into white culture via residence schools etc. is (rightly) condemned. This must truly be the post-Dances With Wolves era.
You have a point, although I'm not so sure the assimilation if Indian kids into white culture was even condemned much except by politically correct historians and sociologists. And maybe a few Indian activists in the 70's.

Tribal wars were a disgusting practice, but we could say that about every militant culture throughout history.
 
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My 5th great-grandfather, Abraham Wheeler, was killed in Lancaster, MA in 1695; later, his wife was carried into captivity with one of the most famous North American captives, Mary Rowlandson (who survived to write a book) and sold into slavery in Canada. Tabitha Wheeler eventually returned to Massachusetts, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
Mary Rowlandson was captured in the spring of 1676, if memory serves. Her book is fascinating, IMO. Also very interesting are the conditions of her return. That war, though incredibly violent, had the wafer thin silver lining of lasting only around 18 months. It may be that her return was a sort of goodwill gesture.

To K Hale's question, I understood captives were basically adopted into tribes and expected to adapt to local customs regarding matrimony etc. You can probably draw some conclusions about the respective theories of war. The Narangansetts, for instance seemed to be astonished at the thoroughness with which the English made war. The English in turn were initially unprepared for the different rules of engagement.
 

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My 5th great-grandfather, Abraham Wheeler, was killed in Lancaster, MA in 1695; later, his wife was carried into captivity with one of the most famous North American captives, Mary Rowlandson (who survived to write a book) and sold into slavery in Canada. Tabitha Wheeler eventually returned to Massachusetts, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
They are taking about bringing Mary Rowlandson's story to the big screen.

"LANCASTER, Mass., April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Producers of the "The Captive," a feature film in development based on the life of renowned 17th century settler Mary Rowlandson, a group of Central Massachusetts preservationists and local business leaders have partnered to rebuild the famed Lancaster garrison on its original site."

Here is the historical marker. Mary was redeemed at Redemption Rock in Princeton, MA.

RedemptionRock001.jpg
 

Nathanb1

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The kindly type of captivity being discussed here is not typical of a young woman taken by the Comanche or other plains tribes. Ritual rape and torture by the raiding party was quite common among the Comanche. There are several excellent books about this--"The Captured" by Scott Zesch details the Salt Creek raid; "Indian Depredations in Texas" by J.W. Wilbarger; and the accounts of Cynthia Ann Parker's relative, Rachel Plummer. Olive Oatman, quite famous in her time, bore the scars from her capture by the Yavapai the rest of her life.
 

jpeter

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The kindly type of captivity being discussed here is not typical of a young woman taken by the Comanche or other plains tribes. Ritual rape and torture by the raiding party was quite common among the Comanche. There are several excellent books about this--"The Captured" by Scott Zesch details the Salt Creek raid; "Indian Depredations in Texas" by J.W. Wilbarger; and the accounts of Cynthia Ann Parker's relative, Rachel Plummer. Olive Oatman, quite famous in her time, bore the scars from her capture by the Yavapai the rest of her life.

I think there may be a difference in that the war of Comanche was mostly against Americans and Mexicans. These weren't raiding parties. Above we were mostly speaking of Native Americans raiding other tribes. I think we should probably distinguish the two things. That was true in the northeast as well. Many captured whites during the French and Indian Wars were tortured and killed. They were capturing enemies in all-out warfare. Their mission was different.

The Comanche in the Southwest fought the Apache, but the Apache were no match. I have not heard if either tribe raided the other for slaves. The Comanche population was growing rapidly through most of the 17th century while the Apaches begin to diminish.
 
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