Colonial Slavery | Teen Ink

Colonial Slavery

March 25, 2021
By serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
serenapei123 PLATINUM, San Jose, California
24 articles 5 photos 0 comments

Since the discovery of the Americas by Columbus in 1492, communication and transportation of goods between the Old World and New World became gradually more frequent. The opening of interaction across the Atlantic paved the way to many benefits to both lands but also quite a few drawbacks in societal life. One major concept that was developed after the colonization of the Americas was slavery. Colonial slavery became the most widespread way for Europeans to obtain inexpensive, permanent labor for managing their day to day tasks.
Slaves were introduced through the interaction between Europe, the Americas, and Africa, a phenomenon later noted as the triangular trade. With the advancement in shipbuilding and other navigating technologies, Europeans could easily perform trade with both countries. At first, the slave trade was ruled by the Royal African Company set up in the New World. Europeans would trade goods for slaves, who were to be chained are forcefully taken on the Middle Passage. The Middle Passage was a horrific journey across the Atlantic from Africa to the Americas, where basic hygiene was nonexistent and disease ran savage through the entire ship. Many slaves unfortunately lost their lives before the arrival to the New World. The process of slave trading in the triangular trade played an important role later in both the concept of white supremacy and the basic beliefs about the particular race that would forever be engrained inside people’s minds.
The slave codes were enacted by the Virginia government in 1662, which introduced the idea that the blacks were slaves for life, and that those who were enslaved were property rather than humans. These slave codes encouraged the act of slaveholding in the southern colonies and the support of slavery in the North. By 1720, the national slave trade began in Chesapeake. At this point, slave families had no legal standing, so slave owners cruelly separated son and daughters from their mothers. Additionally, there was a belief that buying multiple slaves from one family would affect the progress of work because of bias among family members. Even more, slaves were not permitted to learn how to read and write because slave owners were worried that their slaves would produce their own free slip and escape. Therefore, Africans who were brought from Africa and those who were born from enslaved mothers became a subject of oppression for white slave owners and the public.
Of course, most slaves who came from Africa were aware of their situation. They knew what freedom was and desired it greatly. As a result, slaves began to rebel in different forms, from day to day activities to running away to organized rebellion. On a day to day basis, rebellious slaves would purposely break tools or sabotage work in order to communicate anger for their situation. Some attempted to run away, but few were successful. This was because they stood out among other white people, so they could be easily spotted and recaptured. Fewer slaves participated in organized rebellion because the risks were high and consequences were devastating. For example, the Stono Rebellion 1739 in South Carolina resulted in more than 20 British colonists and 35 Africans killed. Those who participated in rebellion were blinded by desperation, even though they knew perfectly well that they would be endangering their own lives. However, the treatment of the Africans by the rich British owners were so horrific that many slaves were willing to risk their life for a slim opportunity of freedom.
The triangular slave trade, slave codes, and rebellion of slaves were all aspects that ultimately led to the encouragement of the practice. From there, racism, segregation, and other unreasonable notions that dehumanized Africans and promoted the Whites arose. These ideas lasted for years and even centuries to come.

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