September 24, 2017
How did African slavery differ regionally in eighteenth-century North America?
In the eighteenth-century, one of the greatest occurring to happen was the expansion of the British Empire. In the eighteenth-century British Empire, slavery, not wage labor, was the norm. During this time, slave plantations contributed greatly to the British economy. The first ever consumer goods that entered international trade, such as sugar, rice, coffee and tobacco, were all produced by slaves, and this lead to the growth of the slave trade. The Atlantic Ocean had the trading routes that carried British manufactured goods to Africa and the colonies. Slavery shifted from a minor thing to a big thing in the eighteenth-century. Even African rulers participated in the slave trade because it was beneficial to them. The slave trade made Africa a major market for European goods. Yes, of course the thousands of men and women lost in the slave trade weakened Africa’s economy and society, but that didn’t matter to the rulers. The long journey across the Atlantic, known as the “the middle passage”, was the worst experience for slaves. The ships were over packed with slaves, and a lot of slaves died on their way to the “new world”. In the mid-eighteenth century, there were three slave systems in British North America. One was the tobacco-based plantation slavery in Chesapeake, another was the rice-based plantation slavery in South Carolina and Georgia, and the last was non-plantation slavery in New England and the Middles Colonies. In Chesapeake, half of the population was slaves. Southern plantation owners were always harsh to their slaves. They had different kinds of laws to protect the power and the way they treated slaves for their own benefits. In the rice-plantation system, African Americans weren’t the first slaves. The Indians were, but when they rebelled against enslavement, African Americans ended up becoming their slaves. The difference between the Chesapeake slaves and the South Carolina slaves was that the Chesapeake slaves worked constantly in gangs, while the South Carolina slaves worked in the task system where they were given daily jobs. This meant that, when those daily jobs were completed, they had time for leisure or crops for their own. Conversely, in New England and the Middle Colonies, slavery was not that big of a deal. Slaves were a small percentage of the population, and even wealthy families only had one slave. Slaves in the North had more legal rights than those in the South. In the North, salves could not be severely physically punished, and slave marriages...