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Chesapeake colonies of Virginia and Maryland were settled in the early 17th century. It was a difficult live for the first colonist; they had limited labor and were constantly raided by Native Americans. Colonist tried to use the Native Americans as a source of slavery. Most of the colonist’s farms were by forest areas so Native Americans would just leave in to the woods. Colonists were afraid of pressuring them from the fear of getting ambushed by gangs of Native Americans. Another reason Native Americans men made bad slaves was because the women in the tribes did the agricultural work in the Native American villages.
Colonist started to import slaves from South America in hopes that they would live longer and be more manageable to control. The slaves that were imported were trained past their first year of slavery, so that they would not die as fast. The first imported slaves came to America in the early 17th century. When they received the slaves they found out some of them were baptized, and were under the Christian religion. So they could not be treat as slaves under the religion so they were turned into indentured servants. There were very few vague laws on slavery, but it was always a permanent servitude. At first slaves had limited right, and were aloud to own land, after their period of slavery was over. They were allowed to marry and have children. The slaves kids that were born while they were enslaved were not consider to be slaves, but to be free under the law.
Indentured Servants helped the colonies progress their population. England at the time was over populated, and jobs were hard to find. So many people that could not afford the boat trip over to America offered themselves as to be an indentured servant for a period of time. This contractual term can last from between four to seven years. Many colonists preferred having indentured servants over slaves, cause they also helped ward off Native Americans from attacking settlers. The one big draw back of indentured servant was that they usually did not make it pass the first year of their contract.
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Farmed products were at a rise, and tobacco was number on the list. With the greater demand for more farmed industrial product, the greater the demand for labor became. In the late 17th century, the supply of indentured servants from Europe started to decrease. The life expectancy of the indentured servants were becoming longer so more were becoming free, and the demand for more labor was at a continuous raise. This affected the plantation owners greatly; cause they would be losing more indentured servants, and at the same time competition on who will get the next servants rose. The labor crisis, brought a lot of tension between the plantation owners and the newly release indentured servants.
The tensions between the two conflicting sides soon lead to the Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. The resentment from the newly released slaves to their former owners, the high taxes from England, and the low prices for tobacco, helped fuel the rebellion. Lead by Nathaniel Bacon, the rebellion marched to Jamestown and captured it. Bacon ceased control of the capital, than set fire to it. Before he could start to reform the indentured servitude, he died suddenly. After his death the rebellion soon then fell apart. But the rebellion did serve its purpose; cause plantation owners feared another up rise of the indentured servants. So plantation owners looked more towards slavery for a labor force for their plantations. Indentured servants less attractive as a source of labor because these freed men know live long enough to claim land as violently demonstrated in the Bacon’s Rebellion. The Condition in England were improving, which resulted in less about of workers that wanted to come to America. At the same time slaves were becoming easily available. So plantation owners started to move towards slavery once again. Slaves were going to the colonies more and more by the day. At this time African American slaves were accessible, and at cheaper cost. The colonies slaves had out numbered the amount of indentured servants by 1690. It was estimated that roughly 1,300 slaves a year were being brought from Africa to Maryland and Virginia per year.
Since most of the slaves were from Africa slave owners did not have to treat them as they would if they had been Christianized. So Plantation owners could treat their slaves in any manor that they saw fit. Many English traveler thought that the Africans were savages that, and weren’t even to be considered to be human. The traveler that went to African thought they were some kind of devil worshipers because of their rituals, religion and there skin color. It was thought that Africans were biblically cursed, because of their darker skin color. As a result of the dangers of the evil black Africans, Virginia makes a series of laws, to help separate themselves from their heathenness acts. The laws are eventually given the name of the Slave Codes. The Slave Codes removed any of the rights Africans had, and further restricted Africans from any rights whatsoever. The code stated that slaves were prohibited from owning property, assembling in large groups, marriage, and leaving the plantations without direct permission from their master. If a slave were to run away the owner had the option of hunting down the slave and recapturing the slave, or killing him. To slaves that had been freed previously, had restrictions placed on them that they could not vote, strike a white individual, or testify in court against a white person.
In 1696 the Virginia Assembly ruled that if the master of a slave were to kill his slave, he would not be charged of murder. The slaves were now thought of as just property, and whop ever own that property could do what ever he thought was in the best interest for the property. But it was thought that a man would not destroy his own property unless something truly was wrong with it. In 1710 the ideals of slavery were completely merged into the way of life of the Chesapeake region,
The result of slavery is a direct result of the need for labor in plantations and large farms. During the time having enough paid worker to keep your plantation operating would be impossible. When they tried to turn to indenture servants the supply was to low and they became rebellious after their terms were up. At the time there were heavy taxes and smaller returns on crops, slavery was the best way to make profit and live a comfortable lifestyle.