1. In the American colonies, Virginians switched from indentured servants to slaves for their labor needs for many reasons. A major reason was the shift in the relative supply of indentured servants and slaves. While the colonial demand for labor was increasing, a sharp decrease occurred in the number of English migrants arriving in America under indenture. Slaves were permanent property and female slaves passed their status on to their children. Slaves also seemed to be a better investment than indentured servants. Slaves also offered masters a reduced level of successful flight.
2. Most American slaves came from the coastal region of West Africa.
3. Around 10 or 11 million African slaves were brought to New World. Only about six percent of these African slaves wound up in the American colonies.
4. Slavery on the North American mainland emerged first in the tidewater region of the Chesapeake colonies. Tobacco provided the basis for a highly commercial, increasingly prosperous, and mostly rural society in the upper South. The second regional slave economy developed along the coast of the lower South. Rice became the staple crop in the region in the 1690’s. The third regional slave economy developed in Louisiana. Sugar eventually became a staple crop near the end of the 18th century. After being purchased by the United States, it became the leading producer of sugar and cotton and the site of the largest slave market in the United States over the next half century.
5. The South emerged as a slaveholding society in which whites made up a considerable proportion of the population, while non-slaveholders made up a majority of the white proportion. In most of the Caribbean, where the sugar was the dominant cash crop, blacks outnumbered whites by up to ten to one, and slaves were typically held in very large units. In the American South, where tobacco was the most important cash crop, the situation was very different. Blacks made up a minority of the population and the lower South comprised only roughly half the population.
6. The “Americanization” process of slaves brought to America is one that has been debated. Some say the slaves brought to America quickly abandoned most of their African ways and adopted the dominant culture against those who stress the continuing African cultural legacy among black Americans. The Africans that were brought to America involuntarily essentially remained Africans at heart. The descendants of Africans that were brought to America were not like the original Africans or white Americans. They were heavily influenced by the behavior of their masters but maintained some of their African culture. They formed a new culture known as African-American.
7. Slave women that were imported from Africa tended to continue the African tradition of breastfeeding for the first two years of...