Slavery..How did it get it's start in North America?

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
We should be honest and factual about this nation's involvement with slavery.

"[Southern people] are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses north and south."
I agree we should be honest and factual about the nation's involvement in slavery.
 

Duncan

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Feb 17, 2020
Slavery among American Indians certainly pre-dates the arrival of slaves in 1607. Northern Native American tribes such as the Hurons, Senecas, and Oneidas were practicing slavery long before 1607. So we can all agree, by any reckoning, that slavery in North America started in the North and spread from there.
 

DanSBHawk

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Location
Wisconsin
Slavery among American Indians certainly pre-dates the arrival of slaves in 1607. Northern Native American tribes such as the Hurons, Senecas, and Oneidas were practicing slavery long before 1607. So we can all agree, by any reckoning, that slavery in North America started in the North and spread from there.
I believe we were discussing African Slavery in North America, but thanks.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
So we have degenerated to arguing about what "North America" means? Of course slavery among the First People possibly pre dates European contact by thousands of years. Do we really want to discuss how North Americans used slavery 10,000 or 20,000 years ago? Some people simply want to argue.

JAGwinn in the OP seems to inductee African American slavery in the area that became the United States. Now is someone wants to discuss slavery in North America in 10,000 BC, perhaps it would be better to start a new thread. Slavery in North America before European contract in the 11th Century sounds like a great new thread as well.
 
Joined
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mo
So we have degenerated to arguing about what "North America" means? Of course slavery among the First People possibly pre dates European contact by thousands of years. Do we really want to discuss how North Americans used slavery 10,000 or 20,000 years ago? Some people simply want to argue.

JAGwinn in the OP seems to inductee African American slavery in the area that became the United States. Now is someone wants to discuss slavery in North America in 10,000 BC, perhaps it would be better to start a new thread. Slavery in North America before European contract in the 11th Century sounds like a great new thread as well.
Is the question really "how did slavery get its start in North America?

If so, slavery among the indigenous people would be its start. If one wished to go solely by Europeans, wouldn't limit it to Africans, as they seemed to start to enslave the indigenous people fairly quickly.

https://www.brown.edu/news/2017-02-15/enslavement
Edit added, also the indentured servitude Europeans brought of other Europeans would meet the defination of slavery today.
 
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FedericoFCavada

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I might add that the database was initially two-decades of research by an international team of scholars led by David Eltis. A lot of the slave trade was openly conducted business affairs that left innumerable records, insurance claims, shipping manifests, etc. etc. Only for the post 1808-1817 period did it somewhat 'hazier.'

Slavery is a specific category of what we might call "unfreedom." For example, sailors for warships and for guineamen or slave ships were frequently impressed or "press ganged" into the crews. Serfdom is another category. Concubinage, people held as property, or as collateral on loans, pawnship, subject-hood, etc. etc. People have been kidnapping and capturing each other in war since time immemorial. Anti-slavery, however, is comparatively recent. Say post 1688, but not becoming a very influential abolitionism until the period of the race-based chattel slavery practiced in the Americas.

The database was initially an expensive CD-Rom proposition available from Cambridge University Press. Now it is a website, and has ongoing updates and corrections being added along with impressive features. Read along with some of the works on slavery, it can really add a lot to the books. I would think that Ira Berlin's Many Thousands Gone or Generations of Captivity would be accessible books that focus on Anglo-North American chattel slavery. There are certainly others.
 

FedericoFCavada

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<snip.>
https://www.brown.edu/news/2017-02-15/enslavement
Edit added, also the indentured servitude Europeans brought of other Europeans would meet the defination of slavery today.

Apologies if this approaches "spaghetti posting." Briefly, Native Americans were subject to enslavement, 'tis true. Witness the Yamassee War in the Carolinas, Metacomets or King Philips War in New England, and many other examples.

Evidence suggests that early on there was little difference in status or treatment between indentured servants and slaves. In early Chesapeake, there were indentured servants who freed themselves, and cases of slaves who did too. One Anthony Johnson, an ex-slave, became himself a reasonably prosperous tobacco planter with indentured servants and slaves of his own. This social mobility changed in the late 17th and early 18th century with the passage of specific slave laws and codes. Henceforth, the indentured servant could no longer be re-indentured. Not only that, but s/he had to be given freedom dues, spelled out in many cases to include cloth, corn, tools, and a gun, for example. Slaves, on the other hand, would inherit the status of their mother, which is utterly unlike British primogeniture and law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partus_sequitur_ventrem

They were increasingly to be held as slaves for life and thus be slaves in perpetuity. If they were manumitted for one reason or another, they were required to move away from the district where they'd been slave laborers. Their natural increase, children, would be held as slaves, also in perpetuity. These particularities, and their basis on physical evidence of African ancestry, are what make chattel slavery very different from other forms of slavery and other forms of un-freedom.

We can now state with precision who was the first African bondsman who was sentenced to life-long, perpetual servitude in Virginia--the date of the start of the "ordeal of America":
https://www.americanevolution2019.c...Advent-of-Slavery-in-Virginia-Full-Lesson.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Punch_(slave)
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/horrible-fate-john-casor-180962352/
https://www.virginiahistory.org/node/2290
https://www.shsu.edu/~jll004/vabeac...ellion/slavelawincolonialvirginiatimeline.pdf
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
Central Pennsylvania
Theydidittoo. Semantics. Implication seems to be well heck, Native tribes enslaved each other, why is everyone picking on the white guy's tendency to enslave African citizens?

So white folks tried mightily to enslave the handy Native American people that were already here. It would have saved all those expensive trips to Africa had there been a local source of free help. The pesky folks already here had this annoying tendency to die when exposed to germy Europeans ( and their animals ). What to do, what to do? Transpires people living in Africa had had enough exposure to germy white people by that time, they probably wouldn't die if they could make here it stuffed in the holds of ships.

How did it get its start? By someone figuring out the best way to make a profit was free help, and looking around for the best source.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
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Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Certainly slavery was/is an extremely ancient practice, however abhorrent it is to our sensibilities, shaped by our post-revolutionary belief in inherent rights and natural freedom. A radical feminist might note that various forms of restrictions of people's lives and labor has only recently been contemplated of women in patriarchal societies or power relations that prevail in fully sedentary "civilizations."

In most African polities it was men who did heavy agricultural labor. In very many Native American/Amerindian societies it was women.
The disease profiles of the New World, Europe, and Africa--the oldest part by far of the Old World--were very different. Until chinchona bark and quinine were in use in the mid-to-late-19th century, Africa was the "white man's graveyard." Slave ship captains had much larger crews than normal merchant ships because they had to impose severe invigilation and social control on the hapless slaves chained below decks, prone as they were to kill the crew and take over the ship, or force the crew to sail them elsewhere--preferably home--as in the most famous but certainly not unique episode of Cinqué and the Amistad Africans. Or, failing that, to commit suicide by throwing themselves into the sea. It was also because while the ship was "tight packed" and loaded with captives, the European crew would start to die. As Marcus Rediker shows in his The Slave Ship: A Human History
https://www.marcusrediker.com/books/the-slave-ship.php

floggings and similar tortures typified the disciplining of sailors and chattel slaves alike.

One thing that is often perplexing is why and how Europeans allowed slavery to be eclipsed in practice in their own nations--with significant exceptions--and did all kinds of terrible, inhumane, cruel things to one another in wars, and yet stopped viewing each other as "enslavable?" There are cases of Catholic Irish--"Irishry" being enslaved as late as the Tudor era and perhaps even after, and there was indentured servitude. But permanent slavery for life?

The Romans called their multi-ethnic slaves "servus" the root of our words for servant, service, etc. And yet, the Romance Languages all use the English "slave" the German "Sklave"--escravo, esclavo, esclave, schiavo, etc. In the Middle Ages, the places of the Mediterranean where slavery persisted began using slavs for particularly difficult, dirty, unpleasant, or low-status jobs that had to be done. Hence "slav" as "slave." The Transatlantic slave trade began in the mid 1400s, with the Portuguese carrying out valuable trade with powerful African kingdoms that was important in its own right, and included captives from wars, people condemned to slave status, etc. There were entrepots for trade in many of the coastal islands like São Tomé e Principe and Cape Verde. Eventually, the Portuguese and Spaniards began to exploit Africans in servile labor on Atlantic islands like Madeira and the Canary Islands. Sugar cane and other labor intensive cultivars.

In the New World, Europeans did not hesitate to employ servile labor in any number of grueling, unpleasant tasks--like mining for example. But it was soon put to work cultivating, harvesting, and processing tropical and semi-tropical commodities. Small wonder that by 1619 the gentlemen adventurers of Virginia--or those still alive at any rate--having failed to find huge piles of specie gold and silver like their power mad fever dreams held must exist widely in America what with Cortez taking over the Aztec Empire, or Pizarro ransoming Atahualpa of Peru--and instead turned to marketing addictive mind-altering substances like tobacco. Note well, however, that the original 1619 captives often had Portuguese or Spanish names like "Rodriggus" and so on. And, at least initially, they were simply indentured servants of a somewhat darker hue of skin. It was only when things went from a "society with slaves" to a full-blown slave-dependent "slave society" that everything changed in the direction of chattel slavery where people were slaves for life, that "blackness" was coterminous with slave status, where slave children would be slaves in perpetuity, and all such people would be rightless cattle held in bondage. For that story, review Virginia slave laws from the mid-17th Century into the early 18th.
 
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