Life as a slave – British North America, (Carolina’s, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Dutch, NY, New Jersey)   Leave a comment

Life as a slave - British North America, (Carolina's, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Dutch, NY, New Jersey)

African slave labor was vital in British, North America, i.e., the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland. To be more distinctive, although Slavery was legalized throughout the colonies, these were the states in which slavery was taken to an inhumane level. The reason for this was the labor intensive undertaking of exporting cotton, rice and tobacco, which was heavy export. Life for a slave in the South differed much from life as a slave in the North.

The Chesapeake Colonies of Maryland, and Virginia, which dealt with tobacco dealt mainly in tobacco and the Carolina’s dealt mainly with rice and cotton. These were the main colonies in which slavery took on a different meaning than the other colonies.

For instance, the Middle colonies such as Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey had slaves, yes, but they were geared more towards domestic and labor jobs and not on a plantation. New England had the fewest of slaves since the puritans tended to work the land themselves as a way of life.

Before African Americans slowly made the transition to slavery into Virginia, they relied heavily on enslaving Native Americans, but fear of indian attacks and raids gave them reason to re-think the transition to African Slaves. Eventually, they relied soley on African American slaves.

In 1640, there were only 1600 Africans in North America, a third of them were in Dutch, New York. Over the next forty years, one by one, slavery was legalized in all of the colonies. Before the colonies even recognized slavery, Maryland lawmakers mandated slavery as a life-long sentence to any one of African nationality and their heirs. In Virginia, slavery was an inherited status by 1670.

The more prominent slavery became, there became more of a need for law and order, i.e., rules and regulations. Blacks were forbidden to learn to read and write, they had to carry passes if they left the plantation, and they were never permitted to congregate or show any fellowship outside the church.

So since it was legalized in all the British Colonies, regulation became part of the dictation as a way of life for the slave. There was a very high rate of infantcide where Mother’s killed their own young rather than see them fill fulfill the destiny of the life of a slave.

Thankfully, not all blacks and slaves lived in the south and picked cotton. The Quakers had the largest free population in North America. Blacks in Philadelphia helped organize the city’s schools, churches and frat organizations.

By 1741, slaves made up 20% of New York’s population. Richmond, Virginia had the largest percentage of black residents in the 18th century.

Blacks eventually began to adjust to American life and developed their own work ethics, beliefs, identiy and sense of family as slavery became more stifling and stringent. They began to fight back in subtle ways – by sabatoge. They began to work slower, break tools, and in many cases acted ignorant in order to deter their assignments. Slaves communicated amongst each other, but in the end, they were too intimidated to fight back.

At some point during the 18th Century, two entirely different societies emerged in the American Colonies. There was white and free, and there was black, mostly non-free. As blacks began to acclomate to American life, a new generation of blacks emerged called the Creoles. Creoles were born in America and incorporated both the culture of their anscestors and also practiced the traditions of the only home they had ever known, America.

Creoles were the beginning of the culture that we know today.


Posted February 23, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Slavery

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