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Chronology on the History of Slavery and Racism

Compiled from Archive, library and Internet source documentation, this timeline on Slavery and in part the History of Racism, has been used to guide the direction of independent research into the history of enslaved Americans of African descent at historic sites located at the National Zoo, in Washington, DC. Hopefully, this compilation of American history will help others who undertake similar tasks.

This project has been conducted totally independently from research conducted by the Office of Architectural History and Preservation at the Smithsonian and the National Zoo. Visit the Holt House Web Site for periodic updates. Be sure to go to the bottom of the page and hit "Contents" to enter. This research was compiled by Eddie Becker who will be happy to give advice on similar undertakings.

Citation information and credit: (Chronology on the History of Slavery, Compiled by Eddie Becker 1999, see on line at http://innercity.org/holt/slavechron.html)

The Chronology is broken up into three parts:

  1. 1619 – 1789
  2. 1790 to 1829
  3. 1830 - the end

For pre-17th century timeline see Cora Agatucci’s African Timeline.

Chronology Of The History Of Slavery: 1619-1789

1619
The other crucial event that would play a role in the development of America was the arrival of Africans to Jamestown. A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar in legal position to many poor Englishmen who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. The popular conception of a racial-based slave system did not develop until the 1680's. (A Brief History of Jamestown, The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Richmond, VA 23220, email: apva@apva.org, Web published February, 2000)

The legend has been repeated endlessly that the first blacks in Virginia were "indentured servants," but there is no hint of this in the records. The legend grew up because the word slave did not appear in Virginia records until 1656, and statutes defining the status of blacks began to appear casually in the 1660s. The inference was then made that blacks called servants must have had approximately the same status as white indentured servants. Such reasoning failed to notice that Englishmen, in the early seventeenth century, used the work servant when they meant slave in our sense, and, indeed, white Southerners invariably used servant until 1865 and beyond. Slave entered the Southern vocabulary as a technical word in trade, law and politics. (Robert McColley in Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery, Edited by Randall M. Miller and John David Smith, Greenwood Press, 1988 pp 281)

Jamestown had exported 10 tons of tobacco to Europe and was a boomtown. The export business was going so well the colonists were able to afford two imports which would greatly contribute to their productivity and quality of life. 20 Blacks from Africa and 90 women from England. The Africans were paid for in food; each woman cost 120 pounds of tobacco. The Blacks were bought as indentured servants from a passing Dutch ship low on food, and the women were supplied by a private English company. Those who married the women had to pay their passage--120 pounds of tobacco. (Gene Barios, Tobacco BBS: tobacco news )

With the success of tobacco planting, African Slavery was legalized in Virginia and Maryland, becoming the foundation of the Southern agrarian economy. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)

Although the number of African American slaves grew slowly at first, by the 1680s they had become essential to the economy of Virginia. During the 17th and 18th centuries, African American slaves lived in all of England’s North American colonies. Before Great Britain prohibited its subjects from participating in the slave trade, between 600,000 and 650,000 Africans had been forcibly transported to North America. ("Immigration," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

Following the arrival of twenty Africans aboard a Dutch man-of-war in Virginia in 1619, the face of American slavery began to change from the "tawny" Indian to the "blackamoor" African in the years between 1650 and 1750. Though the issue is complex, the unsuitability of Native Americans for the labor intensive agricultural practices, their susceptibility to European diseases, the proximity of avenues of escape for Native Americans, and the lucrative nature of the African slave trade led to a transition to an African based institution of slavery. During this period of transition, however, the colonial "wars" against the Pequots, the Tuscaroras, the Yamasees, and numerous other Indian nations led to the enslavement and relocation of tens of thousands of Native Americans. In the early years of the eighteenth century, the number of Native American slaves in areas such as the Carolinas may have been as much as half of the African slave population. During this transitional period, Africans and Native Americans shared the common experience of enslavement. In addition to working together in the fields, they lived together in communal living quarters, produced collective recipes for food and herbal remedies, shared myths and legends, and ultimately became lovers. The intermarriage of Africans and Native Americans was facilitated by the disproportionality of African male slaves to females (3 to 1) and the decimation of Native American males by disease, enslavement, and prolonged wars with the colonists.

As Native American societies in the Southeast were primarily matrilineal, African males who married Native American women often became members of the wife's clan and citizens of the respective nation. As relationships grew, the lines of distinction began to blur. The evolution of red-black people began to pursue its own course; many of the people who came to be known as slaves, free people of color, Africans, or Indians were most often the product of integrating cultures. In areas such as Southeastern Virginia, The Low Country of the Carolinas, and Silver Bluff, S.C., communities of Afro-Indians began to spring up. The depth and complexity of this intermixture is revealed in a 1740 slave code in South Carolina: all Negroes and Indians, (free Indians in amity with this government, and Negroes, mulattos, and mustezoes, who are now free, excepted) mulattos or mustezoes who are now, or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue and offspring...shall be and they are hereby declared to be, and remain hereafter absolute slaves. (Patrick Minges, Beneath the Underdog: Race, Religion and the "Trail of Tears" Union Seminary Quarterly Review Email: pm47@columbia.edu Union Theological Seminary, New York )

Millions of Native Americans were also enslaved, particularly in South America. In the American colonies in 1730, nearly 25 percent of the slaves in the Carolinas were Cherokee, Creek, or other Native Americans. From the 1500s through the early 1700s, small numbers of white people were also enslaved by kidnapping, or for crimes or debts. SUGGESTED READINGS: Herbert Klein's, African Slavery in Latin American and the Caribbean (1986); Ramon Gutierrez's When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico 1500-1846 (1991); Great Documents in American Indian History (1995), edited by Wayne Moquin; J. McIver Weatherford's Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America (1991); Native Heritage: Personal Accounts by American Indians 1790-Present (1995), edited by Arlene Hirschfelder; Robert Edgar Conrad's Children of God's Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (1983); and Sidney Mintz's and Richard Price's An Anthropological Approach to the Afro-American Past: A Caribbean Perspective (1981). (Ten Myths, Half-truths and Misunderstandings about Black History, Ethnic NewsWatch SoftLine Information, Inc., Stamford, CT) ( For more information about the history of the contact between Native Americans, Africans and Americans of African descent, see the work done by Patrick Minges, Union Theological Seminary )

Also see: Winthrop Jordan's White Over Black_ (see the index to find the relevant pages), and in an old publication by Almon Wheeler Lauber called Indian Slavery in Colonial Times within the Present Limits of the United States, Columbia University Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law, Columbia University, 1913

In the Americas, there were added dimensions to this resistance, especially reactions to the racial characteristics of chattel slavery. This fundamental difference from the condition of slaves in Africa emerged gradually, although the roots of racial categories were established early. Acts of resistance that combined indentured Irish workers, African slaves, and Amer-Indian prisoners did occur, although in the end these alliances disintegrated. Furthermore, slaves did not consolidate ethnic identifications on the basis of color, but it was widely understood that most blacks were slaves and no slaves were white. Although there were black, mulatto and American-born slave owners in some colonies in the Americas, and many whites did not own slaves, chattel slavery was fundamentally different in the Americas from other parts of the world because of the racial dimension. (Hilary McD. Beckles, "The Colors of Property: Brown, white and Black Chattels and their Responses to the Colonial Frontier", Slavery and Abolition, 15, 2 (1994), 36-51. Cited by Paul E. Lovejoy in "The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery" . Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997))

Tobacco was considered powerful medicine by native Americans. Cigarettes of today have been adulterated to enhance their addictive properties. Though ritual varied, "Smoking [by native Americans] was chiefly done after the evening meal, in the sweathouse, before going to sleep. It was a social ritual, and the pipes were passed around the group. A man never let his pipe out of his sight. Occasionally he would stop for a smoke when on a journey or when meeting someone on the trail." (Early Uses of Indian Tobacco in California, California Natural History Guides: 10, Early Uses Of California Plants, By Edward K. Balls, University Of California Press, Copyright 1962 by the Regents of the University of California ISBN: 0-520-00072-2 )

In fact, the first twenty "Negar" slaves had arrived from the West Indies in a Dutch vessel and were sold to the governor and a merchant in Jamestown in late August of 1619, as reported by John Rolfe to John Smith back in London. (Robinson, Donald L. Slavery and the Structure of American Politics, 1765 - 1820. NY: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1971) By 1625, ten slaves were listed in the first census of Jamestown. The first public slave auction of 23 individuals, disgracefully, was held in Jamestown square itself in 1638. What were to become the parameters and properties of the "peculiar institution" were defined in the Virginia General Assembly from about 1640 onwards. Negro indenture, then, appears to have been no more than a legal fiction of brief duration in Virginia. Black freedmen would live in a legal limbo until the general emancipation in 1864, unable to stand witness in their own defense against the testimony of any Euro-American. The General Court dispositions that appear after 1640 seem to support this contention. Barbados was the first British possession to enact restrictive legislation governing slaves in 1644, and other colonial administrations, especially Virginia and Maryland, quickly adopted similar rules modeled on it. Whipping and branding, borrowed from Roman practice via the Iberian-American colonies, appeared early and with vicious audacity.

One Virginian slave, named Emanuel, was convicted of trying to escape in July, 1640, and was condemned to thirty stripes, with the letter "R" for "runaway" branded on his cheek and "work in a shackle one year or more as his master shall see cause." . (Robinson, Donald L. Slavery and the Structure of American Politics, 1765 - 1820. NY: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1971) Shades of Rome! This was most certainly not a contractually obligated indentured servant, however oppressed but consistent with English common law, that could expect release from his contract after a time. Rather, this was an abject slave, subject to the court's definition of him as mercantable and movable "property," as chattel or res, and to his master's virtual whim. Indeed, the general assembly of Virginia in 1662 passed an act which directly and consciously invoked Justinian code: partvs seqvitvr ventram, whereby a child born of a slave mother was also held to be a slave, regardless of its father's legal status. (Greene, Lorenzo Johnston. The Negro in Colonial New England. NY: Athaneum Press, 1971) A few years later, the population of Africans in bondage in Virginia reached about 2,000, and another statute (1667) established compulsory life servitude, de addictio according to Roman code, for Negroes ... slavery had become an official institution. (Whitefield, Theodore Marshall. Slavery Agitation in Virginia, 1829 - 1832. NY : Negro Universities Press, 1930 Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625 - 1791. Slavery In Early America's Colonies-- Seeds of Servitude Rooted in The Civil Law of Rome by Charles P.M. Outwin)

1620
The Pilgrims settled at Plymouth Massachusetts. ". Plymouth, for the most part, had servants and not slaves, meaning that most black servants were given their freedom after turning 25 years old--under similar contractual arrangement as English apprenticeships." (Were there any blacks on the Mayflower? By Caleb Johnson member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants)

1624
New Amsterdam- The Dutch, who had entered the slave trade in 1621 with the formation of the Dutch West Indies Co., import blacks to serve on Hudson Valley farms. According to Dutch law, the children of manumitted (freed) slaves are bound to slavery. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1638
The price tag for an African male was around $27, while the salary of a European laborer was about seventy cents per day. (Willie F. Page. _The Dutch Triangle: The Netherlands and the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1621-1664_. Studies in African American History and Culture. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. xxxv + 262 pp. Bibliographical referen1ces and index. $66.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8153-2881-8. Reviewed for H-Review by Dennis R. Hidalgo , Central Michigan University)

1640
Whipping and branding, borrowed from Roman practice via the Iberian-American colonies, appeared early and with vicious audacity. One Virginian slave, named Emanuel, was convicted of trying to escape in July, 1640, and was condemned to thirty stripes, with the letter "R" for "runaway" branded on his cheek and "work in a shackle one year or more as his master shall see cause." Charles P.M. Outwin, Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625 – 1791, footnote taken from Catterall, Helen Honor Tunnicliff. Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, vol. I, Cases from the Courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and vol. IV, Cases from the Courts of New England, the Middle States, and the District of Columbia. Washington, D. C., Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1926 & 1936. Page 77)

1641
Massachusetts colony legalizes slavery. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/boaf/urrtim~1.htm)

1642
Virginia colony enacts law to fine those who harbor or assist runaway slaves. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service). The Virginia law, penalizes people sheltering runaways 20 pounds worth of tobacco for each night of refuge granted. Slaves are branded after a second escape attempt. (African American History, Chronology: A Historical Review Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 )

1649
Black laborers in the Virginia colony still number only 300 (see 1619; 1671). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

Tobacco exports bring prosperity to the Virginia colony.(The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1650 For centuries the issue of equal rights presented a major challenge to the state. Virginia, after all, had been the primary site for the development of black slavery in the Americas. By the 1650s some of the indentured servants had earned their freedom. Because replacements, whether black or white, were in limited supply and more costly, the Virginia plantation owners considered the advantages of the "perpetual servitude" policy exercised by Caribbean landowners. Following the lead of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Virginia legalized slavery in 1661. In 1672 the king of England chartered the Royal African Company to bring the shiploads of slaves into trading centers like Jamestown, Hampton, and Yorktown. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online. http://www.comptons.com/encyclopedia/)

1650
For centuries the issue of equal rights presented a major challenge to the state. Virginia, after all, had been the primary site for the development of black slavery in the Americas. By the 1650s some of the indentured servants had earned their freedom. Because replacements, whether black or white, were in limited supply and more costly, the Virginia plantation owners considered the advantages of the "perpetual servitude" policy exercised by Caribbean landowners. Following the lead of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Virginia legalized slavery in 1661. In 1672 the king of England chartered the Royal African Company to bring the shiploads of slaves into trading centers like Jamestown, Hampton, and Yorktown. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online.)

1650
World population estimated 500 million. (GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS 1994/1995 Leading Edge Research Group)

1651
Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, argued from a mechanistic theory that man is a selfishly individualistic animal at constant war with others. In the state of nature, life is "nasty, brutish, and short." (www.sciencetimeline.net presents, marks in the evolution of western thinking about nature, Assembled by David Lee, http://www.sciencetimeline.net/1651.htm)

1660
Slavery spread quickly in the American colonies. At first the legal status of Africans in America was poorly defined, and some, like European indentured servants, managed to become free after several years of service. From the 1660s, however, the colonies began enacting laws that defined and regulated slave relations. Central to these laws was the provision that black slaves, and the children of slave women, would serve for life. This premise, combined with the natural population growth among the slaves, meant that slavery could survive and grow…("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

The continuing demand for African slaves' labor arose from the development of plantation agriculture, the long-term rise in prices and consumption of sugar, and the demand for miners. Not only did Africans represent skilled laborers, but they were also experts in tropical agriculture. Consequently, they were well-suited for plantation agriculture. The high immunity of Africans to malaria and yellow fever compared with Europeans and the indigenous peoples made them more suitable for tropical labor. While white and red labor were used initially, Africans were the final solution to the acute labor problem in the New World. (The Economics of the African Slave Trade, By Anika Francis, The March 1995 Issue of The Vision Online, http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~vision/vis/Mar-95/5284.html)

Slaves were mostly for sugar plantations, diamond mines in Brazil, house servants, on tobacco farms in Virginia, in gold mines in Hispaniola and later the cotton industry in the Southern States of the USA. "The hybridization of sugar cane between the sixteenth and the nineteenth century made increasingly large harvests possible." M.E. Descoutilz: Flore pittoresque et medicale des Antilles. (Vol.4. Paris, 1883) (KURA HULANDA Museum, Curaçao, http://www.kurahulanda.com/site/museum/museum.html))

Despite this growth in tobacco production, problems in price-stability and quality existed. In 1660, when the English markets became glutted with tobacco, prices fell so low that the colonists were barely able to survive. In response to this, planters began mixing other organic material, such as leaves and the sweepings from their homes, in with the tobacco, as an attempt to make up by quantity what they lost by low prices. The exporting of this trash tobacco solved the colonists' immediate cash flow problems, but accentuated the problems of overproduction and deterioration of quality.[8] As the reputation of colonial tobacco declined, reducing European demand for it, colonial authorities stepped in to take corrective measures. During the next fifty years they came up with three solutions. First, they reduced the amount of tobacco produced; second, they regularized the trade by fixing the size of the tobacco hogshead and prohibiting shipments of bulk tobacco; finally, they improved quality by preventing the exportation of trash tobacco. These solutions soon fell through because there was no practical way to enforce the law. It was not until 1730, when the Virginia Inspection Acts were passed, that tobacco trade laws were fully enforced (Middleton, Arthur Pierce. Tobacco Coast. Newport News, Virginia: Mariners' Museum, 1953.. P. 112-116, Finlayson, Ann. Colonial Maryland. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1974. P. 66-679. From Economic Aspects of Tobacco during the Colonial Period 1612-1776, On line at http://tobacco.org)

1661
A reference to slavery entered into Virginia law, and this law was directed at white servants -- at those who ran away with a black servant. The following year, the colony went one step further by stating that children born would be bonded or free according to the status of the mother. (Timeline from the PBS series Africans In America)

1661
Virginia authorities noted that indentured servants were planning a rebellion and Maryland officials faced a strike (1663). (Mark Lause American Labor History)

After 1691, freed black slaves were banished from Virginia. (How the Cradle of Liberty Became a Slave-Owning Nation. By Susan DeFord, Special to The Washington Post Wednesday, December 10, 1997; Page H01 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/contents/))

1662
A Virginia law assumed Africans would remain servants for life. ." (Slavery in America Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995)

Citing 1662 Virginia statute providing that "[c]hildren got by an Englishman upon a Negro woman shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother". Throughout the late 17th and early 18th century, several colonial legislatures adopted similar rules which reversed the usual common law presumptions that the status of the child was determined by the father. (See id. at 128 (citing 1706 New York statute); id. at 252 (citing a 1755 Georgia Law)). These laws facilitated the breeding of slaves through Black women's bodies and allowed for slaveholders to reproduce their own labor force. (See PAULA GIDDINGS, WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER: THE IMPACT OF BLACK WOMEN ON RACE AND SEX IN AMERICA 37 (1984) (noting that "a master could save the cost of buying new slaves by impregnating his own slave, or for that matter, having anyone impregnate her"). For a discussion of Race and Gender see Cheryl I. Harris, Myths of Race and Gender in the Trials of O.J. Simpson and Susan Smith -- Spectacles of Our Times)

It was conventional wisdom in the South that the best way to get a good house servant was to raise one. Often, children were taken from their parents to sleep in the Big House as well as to eat, work and play there. Their families were replaced by the families of their owners, with their position in those families clearly defined. ("A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women In America", by Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson p 70, cited in TheBlackMarket.com FAQ)

The Laws of Virginia (1662, 1691, 1705) These statutes chart the development of regulations on the sexual and reproductive lives of indentured servants and slaves, the growing institutionalization of slavery, and the construction of racism. Note the increasingly harsh penalties and how punishments differed by gender. (To view the laws visit America Past and Present On Line)

The first known Virginia statute punishing interracial sexual relations was enacted in 1662. Act XII, 2 Laws of Va. 170, 170 (Hening 1823) (enacted 1662), cited in, Leon Higginbotham, Jr. and Barbara K. Kopytoff, Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 Geo. L.J. 1967 (1989); supra, at 1993. As early as 1691, Virginia had enacted a statute punishing interracial marriage. Act XVI, Laws of Va. 86, 86-87 (Hening 1812) (enacted 1691), cited in, Higginbotham, supra, at 1995. The antimiscegenation laws and prohibitions were the legal manifestations of an often violently enforced taboo against sexual relations between white women and black men. The punishment in 1691 for marriage between an English or white individual and a black, mulatto, or Indian was banishment and removal from Virginia forever. Id. (The last antimiscegenation laws in Virginia were overturned in 1967). (UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. NORWOOD W. BARBER, (CR-92-30024) Decided: April 5, 1996)

Slavery in the United States was governed by an extensive body of law developed from the 1660s to the 1860s. Every slave state had its own slave code and body of court decisions. All slave codes made slavery a permanent condition, inherited through the mother, and defined slaves as property, usually in the same terms as those applied to real estate. Slaves, being property, could not own property or be a party to a contract. Since marriage is a form of a contract, no slave marriage had any legal standing. All codes also had sections regulating free blacks, who were still subject to controls on their movements and employment and were often required to leave the state after emancipation. (American Treasures of the Library of Congress: MEMORY, Slavery in the Capitol, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm009.html)

Slaves charged with crimes in Virginia were tried in special non-jury courts created in 1692. The purpose of the courts was not to guarantee due process but to set an example speedily. "Those slaves who attacked white people or property usually acted with a purpose and not just on impulse," wrote Philip J. Schwarz, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor who has studied slave courts. "Many killings, poisonings, thefts, uses of arson and attempts to rebel were efforts to oppose the means of maintaining slavery." The courts could resort to hideous punishments to reassert white authority. Offending slaves were hung, burned at the stake, dismembered, castrated and branded in addition to the usual whippings. White fear of black rebellion was a constant undercurrent. (How the Cradle of Liberty Became a Slave-Owning Nation. By Susan DeFord, Special to The Washington Post Wednesday, December 10, 1997; Page H01 http://www.washingtonpost.com)

1663
Maryland Settlers pass law stipulating that all imported blacks are to be given the status of slaves. Free white women who marry black slaves are to be slaves during the lives of their spouses, Ironically, children born of white servant women and blacks are regarded as free by a 1681 law. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing)

1663/09/13
First serious recorded slave conspiracy in Colonial America takes place in Virginia. A servant betrayed plot of white servants and Negro slaves in Gloucester County, Virginia. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)

1664
Slavery sanctioned by law; slaves to serve for life. (MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc. And Maryland Historical Chronology )

1664
Maryland passes a law making lifelong servitude for black slaves mandatory to prevent them from taking advantage of legal precedents established in England which grant freedom under certain conditions, such as conversion to Christianity. Similar laws are later passed in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and Virginia. (The History Place, Early Colonial Era Beginnings to 1700 Chronology)

1664
Slavery introduced into law in Maryland, the law also prohibited marriage between white women and black men. This particular act remained in effect for over 300 years, and between 1935 and 1967 the law was extended to forbid the marriage of Malaysians with blacks or whites. The law was finally repealed in 1967. (Maryland State Archive, THE ARCHIVISTS' Record Series of the Week, Phebe Jacobsen "Colonial Marriage Records" Bulldog Vol. 2, No. 26 18 July 1988)

There had been a number of marriages between white women and slaves by 1664 when Maryland passed a law which made them and their mixed-race children slaves for life, noting that "divers freeborne English women forgettfull of their free Condicon and to the disgrace of our Nation doe intermarry with Negro Slaves" [Archives of Maryland, 1:533-34]. (FREE AFRICAN AMERICANS OF MARYLAND AND DELAWAREINTRODUCTION By Paul Heinegg, p.heinegg@worldnet.att.net This is the history of the free African American communities of Maryland and Delaware during the colonial period as told through their family histories. http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Intro_md.htm) Also see 1681.

Throughout most of the colonial period, opposition to slavery among white Americans was virtually nonexistent. Settlers in the 17th and early 18th centuries came from sharply stratified societies in which the wealthy savagely exploited members of the lower classes. Lacking a later generation's belief in natural human equality, they saw little reason to question the enslavement of Africans. As they sought to mold a docile labor force, planters resorted to harsh, repressive measures that included liberal use of whipping and branding. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

One characteristic which set American slavery apart was its racial basis. In America, with only a few early and insignificant exceptions, all slaves were Africans, and almost all Africans were slaves. This placed the label of inferiority on black skin and on African culture. In other societies, it had been possible for a slave who obtained his freedom to take his place in his society with relative ease. In America, however, when a slave became free, he was still obviously an African. The taint of inferiority clung to him. Not only did white America become convinced of white superiority and black inferiority, but it strove to impose these racial beliefs on the Africans themselves. Slave masters gave a great deal of attention to the education and training of the ideal slave, In general, there were five steps in molding the character of such a slave: strict discipline, a sense of his own inferiority, belief in the master's superior power, acceptance of the master's standards, and, finally, a deep sense of his own helplessness and dependence. At every point this education was built on the belief in white superiority and black inferiority. Besides teaching the slave to despise his own history and culture, the master strove to inculcate his own value system into the African's outlook. The white man's belief in the African's inferiority paralleled African self hate. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 3, CHAPTER 3, The Shape of American Slavery).

The psychological impact on the individual of slavery contrasted to that of individuals who survived the Nazi holocaust, In Stanley M. Elkins thinking, the concentration camps were a modern example of a rigid system controlling mass behavior. Because some of those who experienced them were social scientists trained in the skills of observation and analysis, they provide a basis for insights into the way in which a particular social system can influence mass character. While there is also much literature about American slavery written both by slaves and masters, none of it was written from the viewpoint of modern social sciences. However, Elkins postulates that a slave type must have existed as the result of the attempt to control mass behavior, and he believes that this type probably bore a marked resemblance to the literary stereotype of "Sambo." Studying concentration camps and their impact on personality provides a tool for new insights into the working of slavery, but, warns Elkins, the comparison can only be used for limited purposes. Although slavery was not unlike the concentration camp in many respects, the concentration camp can be viewed as a highly perverted form of slavery, and both systems were ways of controlling mass behavior

The concentration camp experience began with what has become labeled as shock procurement. As terror was one of the many tools of the system, surprise late-night arrests were the favorite technique. Camp inmates generally agreed that the train ride to the camp was the point at which they experienced the first brutal torture. Herded together into cattle cars, without adequate space, ventilation, or sanitary conditions, they had to endure the horrible crowding and the harassment of the guards. When they reached the camp, they had to stand naked in line and undergo a detailed examination by the camp physician. Then, each was given a tag and a number. These two events were calculated to strip away one's identity and to reduce the individual to an item within an impersonal system. (for critic of Stanley M. Elkins see Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 3, Slavery and the Formation of Character and Slavery, The Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life, by Stanley M. Elkins. University of Chicago)

"Two days before embarkation, the head of every male and female is neatly shaved; and, if the cargo belongs to several owners, each man's brand is impressed on the body of his irrespective Negro. This operation is performed with pieces of silver wire, or small irons fashioned into the merchant's initials, heated just hot enough to blister without burning the skin. When the entire cargo is the venture of but one proprietor, the branding is always dispensed with. "On the appointed day, the barracoon or slave-pen is made joyous by the abundant 'feed' which signalizes the negro's last hours in his native country. The feast over, they are taken alongside the vessel in canoes; and as they touch the deck, they are entirely stripped, so that women as well as men go out of Africa as they came into it-naked. This precaution, it is understood, is indispensable; for perfect nudity, during the whole voyage, is the only means of securing cleanliness and health. In this state they are immediately ordered below, the men to the hold and the women to the cabin, while boys and girls are, day and night, kept on deck, where their sole protection from the elements is a sail in fair weather, and a tarpaulin in foul. "At meal time they are distributed in messes of ten. Thirty years ago, when the Spanish slave trade was lawful, the captains were somewhat ceremoniously religious than at present, and it was then a universal habit to make the gangs say grace before meat, and give thanks afterwards. In our days, however, they dispense with this ritual… This over, a bucket of salt water is served to each mess by way of 'finger glasses' for the ablution of hands, after which a kidd-either of rice, farina, yams, or beans-according to the tribal habit of the negroes, is placed before the squad. In order to prevent greediness or inequality in the appropriation of nourishment, the process is performed by signals from a monitor, whose motions indicate when the darkies shall dip and when they shall swallow." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 18, iss. 3, Mar 1855, New Orleans, The African Slave Trade (pp. 297-305) )

"At sundown, the process of stowing the slaves for the night is begun. The second mate and boatswain descend into the hold, whip in hand, and range the slaves in their regular places; those on the right side of the vessel facing forward, and lying in each other's lap, while those on the left are similarly stowed with their faces towards the stern. In this way each negro lies on his right side, which is considered preferable for the action of the heart. In allotting places, particular attention is paid to size, the taller being selected for the greatest breadth of the vessel, while the shorter and younger are lodged near the bows. When the cargo is large and the lower deck crammed, the supernumeraries are disposed of on deck, which is securely covered with boards to shield them from moisture. The strict discipline of nightly stowage is, of course, of the greatest importance in slavers, else every negro would accommodate himself as if he were a passenger. "In order to insure perfect silence and regularity during night, a slave is chosen as constable from every ten, and furnished with a 'cat' to enforce commands during his appointed watch. In remuneration for his services, which, it may be believed, are admirably performed whenever the whip is required, he is adorned with an old shirt or tarry trousers. Now and then, billets of wood are distributed among the sleepers, but this luxury is never granted until the good temper of the negroes is ascertained, for slaves have often been tempted to mutiny by the power of arming themselves with these pillows from the forest." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 22, iss. 6, June 1857, New Orleans, The Middle Passage; or, Suffering of Slave and Free Immigrants: pp 570-583 )

Even the most abstract ideals of the [German] SS, such as their intense German nationalism and anti-Semitism, were often absorbed by the old [concentration camp] inmates-a phenomenon observed among the politically well-educated and even among the Jews themselves. The final quintessence of all this was seen in the "Kapo" the prisoner who had been placed in a supervisory position over his fellow inmates. These creatures, many of them professional criminals, not only behaved with slavish servility to the SS, but the way in which they often out did the SS in sheer brutality became one of the most durable features of the concentration-camp legend. (Slavery, The Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life, by Stanley M. Elkins. University of Chicago, first 1959 third edition 1976 page 113 see also Bettelheim, "Individual and Mass Behavior," and Elie Cohen, "Human Behavior," pp. 18p-93, for a discussion of anti-Semitism among the Jews".)

When the vessels arrive at their destined port, the Negroes are again exposed naked to the eyes of all that flock together, and the examination of their purchasers. Then they are separated to the plantations of their several masters, to see each other no more. Here you may see mothers hanging over their daughters, bedewing their naked breasts with tears, and daughters clinging to their parents, till the whipper soon obliges them to part. And what can be more wretched than the condition they then enter upon? Banished from their country, from their friends and relations for ever, from every comfort of life, they are reduced to a state scarce anyway preferable to that of beasts of burden. In general, a few roots, not of the nicest kind, usually yams or potatoes, are their food; and two rags, that neither screen them from the heat of the day, nor the cold of the night, their covering. Their sleep is very short, their labour continual, and frequently above their strength; so that death sets many of them at liberty before they have lived out half their days. The time they work in the West Indies, is from day-break to noon, and from two o'clock till dark; during which time, they are attended by overseers, who, if they think them dilatory, or think anything not so well done as it should be, whip them most unmercifully, so that you may see their bodies long after wealed and scarred usually from the shoulders to the waist. And before they are suffered to go to their quarters, they have commonly something to do, as collecting herbage for the horses, or gathering fuel for the boilers; so that it is often past twelve before they can get home. Hence, if their food is not prepared, they are sometimes called to labour again, before they can satisfy their hunger. And no excuse will avail. If they are not in the field immediately, they must expect to feel the lash. Did the Creator intend that the noblest creatures in the visible world should live such a life as this? (Thoughts Upon Slavery, John Wesley, Published in the year 1774, John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, 1996 Ruth A. Daugherty)

Africa occupies just over 20 percent of the earth's land surface and has roughly 20 percent of the world's population, but European slave traders in the 17th century and the next will decimate the continent by exporting human chattels and introducing new diseases. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

The transatlantic slave trade produced one of the largest forced migrations in history. From the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries, between 10 million and 11 million Africans were taken from their homes, herded onto ships where they were sometimes so tightly packed that they could barely move, and sent to a strange new land. Since others died before boarding the ships, Africa's loss of population was even greater. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

While Ghana was the headquarters of the African slave trade, Tropical America was the real center of the trade. Thirty-six of the forty-two slave fortress were located in Ghana. Aside from Ghana, slaves were shipped from eight coastal regions in Africa including Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia region, Gold Coast, Bight of Benin, Bight of Biafra, Central Africa, and Southeast Africa (from the Cape of Good Hope to the Cape of Delgado, including Madagascar). The slave trade had the greatest impact upon central and western African. According to James Rawley, West Africa supplied 3/5ths of the slaves for exportation between 1701-1810. Half of the slaves were exported to South America, 42% to the Caribbean Islands, 7% to British North America, and 2% to Central America. (The Economics of the African Slave Trade, By Anika Francis, The March Issue of The Vision Online)

The Bight of Biafra was one of the most important sources of enslaved Africans sent to the Americas in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Indeed, the forced transport of considerable numbers of Igbo-speaking slaves and others from the interior of the Bight of Biafra across the Atlantic was a central development in the emergence of relatively cohesive ethnic groups in the African diaspora. Igbo, "Moko", "Bibi" and other ethnic groups have been identified in many parts of the Americas, most especially in Jamaica, the tidewater areas of Maryland and Virginia, and other anglophone colonies. Nonetheless, little research has been undertaken to explore the cultural and historical continuities and disjunctures in this population displacement. Moreover the repercussions of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on the interior of the Bight of Biafra during the period of heaviest population displacement in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries remain poorly understood. (Repercussions of the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Interior of the Bight of Biafra and the African Diaspora. Conference to hosted by His Excellency, Governor Chimaroke Nnamini, Enugu State, Nigeria at the Nike Lake Resort, Enugu, Nigeria, July 10-14, 2000. For additional information, contact: Professor Carolyn Brown, Department of History, Rutgers University.)

PROJECTED EXPORTS OF THAT PORTION OF THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH SLAVE TRADE HAVING IDENTIFIABLE REGION OF COAST ORIGIN IN AFRICA, 1711-1810.

The countries in parentheses are rough approximations to help you find the location on a modern map. "Were these people called by that name during that time in that place?" Excluding some nomadic and semi-nomadic groups.

Please send comments (see web page below) on whether the following groups should be included as a "Ancestral group" of African Americans, and in what region: Fulani, Tuareg, Dialonke, Massina, Dogon, Songhay, Jekri, Jukun, Domaa, Tallensi, Mossi, Nzima, Akwamu, Egba, Fang, and Ge. (Compid by Kwame Bandele from information in P.D. Curtin's book, "Atlantic Slave Trade" p. 221. http://www.panix.com/~mbowen/sf/faq054.htm)

(Graphic from Kids Zone, The countries of Africa and http://library.advanced.org/10320/Tour.htm)

In the 1700s the coasts of West Africa had three main divisions controlled by Europeans in their effort to monopolize the slave trade. The three divisions were SENEGAMBIA, UPPER GUINEA, and LOWER GUINEA. SENEGAMBIA'S two navigable rivers, the Senegal and the Gambia, were controlled by the French and the English, respectively. The West Africans who became slaves from the SENEGAMBIA included the Fula, Wolof, Serer, Felup, and the Mandingo. UPPER GUINEA had a two thousand miles coastline from the Gambia south and east to the Bight of Biafra. This coastline was also designated the Windward Coast because of the heavy winds on the shore. The West Africans who became slaves from the UPPER GAMBIA included the Baga and Susu from French Guinea, the Chamba from Sierra Leone, the Krumen from the Grain Coast, and the Fanti and the Ashanti from the Gold Coast, commonly referred to today as Ghana. East of the Volta River was the Slave Coast which was so named because the slave trade was at its height there since the African kings (Slattees) permitted Europeans to compete equally for Africans to become slaves. Those West Africans who became slaves from this region included Yoruban, Ewe, Dahoman, Ibo, Ibibio, and the Efik. LOWER GUINEA had fifteen hundred miles of coastline from Calabar to the southern desert. The West Africans who became slaves from this region were all Bantus. The trading of Africans from the West Coast provided an economic boon for the Europeans. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the heinous Middle passage. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the African American! (Connections: A Culturally Historical Prospective of West African to African American, by Kelvin Tarrance, Revised: May 3, 1996 http://asu.alasu.edu/academic/advstudies/2b.html)

Slave brokers believed that there were traits of the various African peoples and the preferences of the slave brokers for slaves from specific groups. Colonists always held some view of which tribes produced the most desirable slaves, and this preferred tribal affiliation changed depending on the work and the era. The docile Gold Coast slave was the preferred worker for a while before the Senegambians were elevated to an equal status. The Ashanti were more likely to seek revenge on their oppressor, which put them among the least sought-after tribes. (Margaret Washington's chapter on the Gullahs in Edward Countryman, ed. How Did American Slavery Begin? Boston: St. Martins, 1999. x + 150 pp. Bibliographical references. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-312-21820-6; $11.95 (paper), ISBN 0-312-18261-9. Reviewed for H-Survey by Brian D. McKnight , from H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-Survey@h- net.msu.edu (November, 1999))

Imperial African States that we know about mostly developed along the Sahel ("Corridor") which was the major trade route between East and West Africa. The Sahel "shore" was seen as a "coastline" on the great expanse of the Sahara Desert. (Map found at The Ohio State University Libraries Black Studies Library Website sources given as Ancient African Kingdoms, Margaret Shinnie DT25 .S5 1970. A History of the African People, Robert W. July DT20 .J8 1992, The History Atlas of Africa Samuel Kasule. G2446.S1 K3 1998 http://aaas.ohio-state.edu/)

The African Diaspora Map - I This map is the result of almost 20 years research by Joseph Harris, Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Howard University, Washington. The purpose of the map is to show the general direction of the prinicpal sea routes of Arab, European and American trade in African slaves up to 1873. (Mapping Africa, Africa and the Diaspora Movement, The Kennedy Center African Odyssey)

The study of the African component of slave resistance may appear to be the exception to the general state of slave studies, which has tended to pay more attention to the European influences on the Americas rather than the continuities with African history. Palmares is identified as an "African" kingdom in Brazil; an early and important example of the quilombos and palenques of Latin America which also often revealed a strong African link (See the excellent studies in Richard M. Price, ed., Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, 1979); Patterson, "Slavery and Slave Revolts," 289-325.) In Jamaica, enslaved Akan are identified with rebellion and marronage; they are considered responsible for setting the course of cultural development among the maroons. (Monica Schuler, "Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean", Savacou, 1 (1970), 8-31. Also see Mavis C. Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655- 1796 (Trenton, N.J., 1990); and Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, "The Development of Jamaican Maroon Ethnicity," Caribbean Quarterly, 22 (1976), 33-50.) Despite the identification of the ethnic factor, however, most studies of slave resistance fail to examine the historical context in Africa from which these rebellious slaves came. Whether or not there were direct links or informal influences that shaped specific acts of resistance simply has not been determined in most cases.

Because the African background has been poorly understood, perhaps, scholars have tended to concentrate on the European influences which shaped the agenda of slave resistance. Eugene Genovese, for example, has argued that there was a fundamental shift in the patterns of resistance by slaves at the end of the eighteenth century, which he correlated with the French Revolution and the destruction of slavery in St. Domingue. (Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World Baton Rouge, 1979). Before the 1790s, according to Genovese, slave resistance tended to draw inspiration from the African past, but the content of that past remains obscure in Genovese's vision. With the spread of revolutionary doctrines in Europe and the Americas, slaves acquired elements of a new ideology that reinforced their resistance to slavery. The process of creolization, which introduced slaves to European thought, brought the actions of slaves more into line with the revolutionary movement emanating from Europe.

Genovese's interpretation further highlights the problem of identifying the impact of African history on the development of the diaspora. Scholars who are not well versed in African history seem to have a cloudy image of the African contribution to resistance and the evolution of slave culture. Perhaps it is to be expected, therefore, that European influence is more easy to recognize than African influence. For Genovese, following the earlier lead of C.L.R. James, (C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, New York, rev. ed., 1963). the French Revolution had such an obvious impact on the St. Domingue uprising that the African dimension is not relevant. As Thornton has demonstrated, however, even the uprising in St. Domingue had its African antecedents, especially the legacy of the Kongo civil war. (John K. Thornton, "`I am the Subject of the King of Congo': African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution," Journal of World History, 4:2 (1993), 181-214) Moreover, influences from Africa remained a strong force in the struggle against slavery well after the 1790s, especially in Brazil and Cuba, where there was a continuous infusion of new slaves from Africa, often from places where slaves had been coming for some time. The complex blending of African and European experiences undoubtedly changed over time, but until African history is studied in the diaspora, it will be difficult to weigh the relative importance of the European and African traditions. (The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery Paul E. Lovejoy in Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997).)

Both images above. Go to URL below to zoom in on detailed and exact locations. During the 1700s when the Atlantic slave trade was flourishing, West Africans accounted for approximately two-thirds of the African captives imported into the Americas. The coastal ports where these Africans were assembled, and from where they were exported, are located on this mid-18th-century map extending from present-day Senegal and Gambia on the northwest to Gabon on the southeast.

This decorated and colored map illustrates the dress, dwellings, and work of some Africans. The map also reflects the international interest in the African trade by the use of Latin, French, and Dutch place names. Many of the ports are identified as being controlled by the English (A for Anglorum), Dutch (H for Holland), Danish (D for Danorum), or French (F). Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigrorum maxima pars . ..Nuremberg: Homann Hereditors, 1743, Hand-colored, engraved map., Geography and Map Division. (http://international.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart1.html#0101)

Similar map, of West Africa, 1754. (Not displayed here, but click on this URL. Snelgrave voyaged to West Africa as a slaver from 1704 to 1729-30. (Source, William Snelgrave, "A New Map of that Part of Africa called the Coast of Guinea," in Snelgrave, A New Account of Guinea (London, 1754).), (Acknowledgement, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown Univ. (IMAGES OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE Trade, A media database compiled by Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr, Presented by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities)

Another slave route map is Slave Trade Map of Equatorial Afirca as the piece appeared in the English Abolitionist periodical, The Anti Slavery Reporter and Aborigines Friend, Series IV No. 8-9, 1881-1882 (http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/slavemap.htm for details from this map, which shows all of Africa.)

The slave trade from Africa is said to have uprooted as many as 20 million people from their homes and brought them to the Americas. Slavery had existed as a human institution for centuries, but the slaves were usually captives taken in war or members of the lowest class in a society. The black African slave trade, by contrast, was a major economic enterprise. It made the traders rich and brought an abundant labor supply to the islands of the Caribbean and to the American Colonies. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)

The Methodist theologian, John Wesley, described how slaves were generally procured, carried to, and treated in, America. 1. First. In what manner are they procured? Part of them by fraud. Captains of ships, from time to time, have invited Negroes to come on board, and then carried them away. But far more have been procured by force. The Christians, landing upon their coasts, seized as many as they found, men, women, and children, and transported them to America. It was about 1551 that the English began trading to Guinea; at first, for gold and elephants' teeth; but soon after, for men. In 1556, Sir John Hawkins sailed with two ships to Cape Verd, where he sent eighty men on shore to catch Negroes. But the natives flying, they fell farther down, and there set the men on shore, "to burn their towns and take the inhabitants." But they met with such resistance, that they had seven men killed, and took but ten Negroes. So they went still farther down, till, having taken enough, they proceeded to the West Indies and sold them. 2. It was some time before the Europeans found a more compendious way of procuring African slaves, by prevailing upon them to make war upon each other, and to sell their prisoners. Till then they seldom had any wars; but were in general quiet and peaceable. But the white men first taught them drunkenness and avarice, and then hired them to sell one another. Nay, by this means, even their Kings are induced to sell their own subjects. So Mr. Moore, factor of the African Company in 1730, informs us: "When the King of Barsalli wants goods or brandy, he sends to the English Governor at James's Fort, who immediately sends a sloop. Against the time it arrives, he plunders some of his neighbours' towns, selling the people for the goods he wants. At other times he falls upon one of his own towns, and makes bold to sell his own subjects." So Monsieur Brue says, "I wrote to the King," (not the same,) "if he had a sufficient number of slaves, I would treat with him. He seized three hundred of his own people, and sent word he was ready to deliver them for the goods." He adds: "Some of the natives are always ready" (when well paid) "to surprise and carry off their own countrymen. They come at night without noise, and if they find any lone cottage, surround it and carry off all the people." Barbot, another French factor, says, "Many of the slaves sold by the Negroes are prisoners of war, or taken in the incursions they make into their enemies' territories. Others are stolen. Abundance of little Blacks, of both sexes, are stolen away by their neighbours, when found abroad on the road, or in the woods, or else in the corn-fields, at the time of year when their parents keep them there all day to scare away the devouring birds." That their own parents sell them is utterly false: Whites, not Blacks, are without natural affection! (Thoughts Upon Slavery, John Wesley, Published in the year 1774, John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, 1996 Ruth A. Daugherty)

People have asked why Africans themselves engaged in the slave trade. Given the function of slavery in African societies, the origin of their participation is not too difficult to understand.

First and foremost, slavery was not confused with the notion of superiority and inferiority, a notion later invoked as justification for black slavery in America. On the contrary, it was not at all uncommon for African owners to adopt slave children or to marry slave women, who then became full members of the family. Slaves of talent accumulated property and in some instances reached the status of kings; Jaja of Opobo (in Nigeria) is a case in point. Lacking contact with American slavery, African traders could be expected to assume that the lives of slaves overseas would be as much as they were in Africa; they had no way of knowing that whites in America associated dark colors with sub-human qualities and status, or that they would treat slaves as chattels generation after generation. When Nigeria's Madame Tinubu, herself a slave-trader, discovered the difference between domestic and non-African slavery, she became an abolitionist, actively rejecting what she saw as the corruption of African slavery by the unjust and inhumane habits of its foreign practitioners and by the motivation to make war for profit on the sale of captives. (On Slavery By Femi Akomolafe. 1994, The retrospective history of Africa, Hartford Web Publishing)

The mortality rate among these new slaves ran very high. It is estimated that some five percent died in Africa on the way to the coast, another thirteen percent in transit to the West Indies, and still another thirty percent during the three-month seasoning period in the West Indies. This meant that about fifty percent of those originally captured in Africa died either in transit or while being prepared for servitude. Even this statistic, harsh as it is, does not tell the whole story of the human cost involved in the slave trade. Most slaves were captured in the course of warfare, and many more Africans were killed in the course of this combat. The total number of deaths, then, ran much higher than those killed en route. Many Africans became casualty statistics, directly or indirectly, because of the slave trade. Beyond this, there was the untold human sorrow and misery borne by the friends and relatives of those Africans who were torn away from home and loved ones and were never seen again. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 2 The Human Market, The Slave Trade)

It was obvious, however, that the victims of the modern slave trade could not be said to have been acquired directly in war. They had been purchased from African rulers who had seized them in raids whose only purpose had been to acquire this valuable human commodity for the insatiable European market. To this, the advocates of the trade replied by claiming that the Africans purchased by the traders had originally been taken prisoner in "just" wars between Africans. The speciousness of this argument was evident from the beginning. But most slavers accepted what they claimed were African assurances that their human merchandise had indeed been "saved" in a just war, on the principle that it is not up to the purchaser to discover if the goods he is buying have been acquired legitimately or not. In this way slavery remained linked, throughout its 300-year history, to internecine African warfare. Thomas seems to imply that Africans, since they were involved in the trade, must take some measure of the blame for it. This can hardly be denied. What Thomas overlooks, though, is the degree to which the European slave trade contributed to the situation from which it benefited. The abolitionists had always been fully aware of the possible impact of the trade upon Africa. "The slave trade," bewailed Granville Sharp, one of the earliest of the English abolitionists, in 1776, "preyed upon the ignorance and brutality of unenlightened nations, who are encouraged to war with each other for this very purpose." The consequences of this for the continent have only just begun to be examined, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that at least some of the horrors that modern African rulers continue to inflict upon their peoples, and that African states continue to inflict upon one another, can be linked not only to the disastrous process of de-colonization, but also to the long experience of the European slave trade. Modern slavers were faced with a further problem: religion. (Anthony Pagden he Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; 12-22-1997)

"I have no hesitation in saying, that three fourths of the slaves sent abroad from Africa are the fruit of native wars, fomented by the avarice and temptation of our own race. I cannot exculpate any commercial nation from this sweeping censure. We stimulate the negro's passions by the introduction of wants and fancies never dreamed of by the simple native, while slavery was an institution of domestic need and comfort alone. But what was once a luxury has now ripened into an absolute necessity; so that MAN, in truth, has become the coin of Africa, and the 'legal tender' of a brutal trade." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 18, iss. 3, Mar 1855, New Orleans, The African Slave Trade (pp. 297-305) )

African selling slaves to a European, 19th cent. (?), Source Isabelle Aguet, A Pictorial History of the Slave Trade (Geneva: Editions Minerva, 1971), plate 3, p. 18; from Hull Museums, original source not identified (IMAGES OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE Trade, A media database compiled by Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr, Presented by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities)

The history of the Atlantic trade in Africa involves trade routes penetrating deeper and deeper into Africa, in part because people near the coast learned to defend themselves. Coastal powers like Kongo and Benin actually lost territory. When a series of slaving states emerged in the 17th and early 18th century, all were in the interior. Oyo was a cavalry state centered north of the forest. Asante was in the forest but well north of the coast, able to control trade routes to different colonial forts. Segou was in western Mali. Futa Jallon was in the mountains of central Guinea. Trade routes in central Africa also penetrated deep into the heart of Africa. The Matamba of Queen Nzinga became a valuable trading partner only after it moved from the coast to a location deep in the interior of Africa. The Igbo developed a different a kind of trading system, but the largest numbers of slaves probably came from densely populated areas of central and northern Igboland. Where the coastal people were successful, it was as middlemen and agents of the trade. (comments by Martin Klein Re: Gates and African involvement in the slave trade on the Listserv Steven Mintz, U. Houston)

Africans cooperated with Europeans in the slave trade, and some slaves transported to America were already of the slave class. But most slaves were simply hostages of the trade, and very few were slaves before. A set of political and military circumstances that the Portuguese, the Dutch, and other Europeans imposed on the West Africans forced many African kingdoms to cooperate with the slave trade. Stronger nations had driven many coastal kingdoms from the interior before the arrival of the Europeans. Yet with the coming of European tools and weaponry as payment for African slaves, these coastal kingdoms found themselves in power positions and began slave-raiding expeditions against their former enemies. European slave traders used these rivalries to increase tensions among the African kingdoms for their own mercenary purposes. By fomenting war between kingdoms and by introducing superior arms to those cooperating with the trade, the Europeans obligated many unwilling kingdoms to collaborate with them or face enslavement themselves--raid or be raided. The "most abominable aspect of the slave trade, was fueled by the idea that Africans, even children, were better off Christianized under a system of European slavery than left in Africa amid tribal wars, famines and paganism" (p. 218). (Willie F. Page. _The Dutch Triangle: The Netherlands and the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1621-1664_. Studies in African American History and Culture. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. xxxv + 262 pp. Bibliographical references and index. $66.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8153-2881-8. Reviewed for H-Review by Dennis R. Hidalgo, Central Michigan University)

In reality, slavery is an human institution. Every ethnic group has sold members of the same ethnic group into slavery. It becomes a kind of racism; that, while all ethnic groups have sold its own ethnic group into slavery, Blacks can't do it. When Eastern Europeans fight each other it is not called tribalism. Ethnic cleansing is intended to make what is happening to sound more sanitary. What it really is, is White Tribalism pure and simple. The fact of African resistance to European Imperialism and Colonialism is not well known, though it is well documented. Read, for instance, Michael Crowder (ed.), West African Resistance, Africana Publishing Corporation, New York, 1971. Europeans entered Africa in the mid 1400 s and early 1500 s during a time of socio-political transition. Europeans chose a favorite side to win between African nations at a war and supplied that side with guns, a superior war instrument. In its victory, the African side with guns rounded up captives of war who were sold to the Europeans in exchange for more guns or other barter. Whites used these captives in their own slave raids. These captives often held pre-existing grudges against groups they were ordered to raid, having formerly been sold into slavery themselves by these same groups as captives in inter- African territorial wars. In investigating our history and capture, a much more completed picture emerges than simply that we sold each other into slavery. (Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery? A Commentary by Oscar L. Beard, Consultant in African Studies 24 May 1999 )

The slave trade and the movement of identifiable groups of people have to be tied to specific historical events and processes in Africa, and it must be demonstrated what was and what was not transferred to the Americas. From this perspective, specific historical circumstances determined who was exported and who was not, and these circumstances might well have influenced who was active in promoting adjustments under slavery and preserving knowledge of Africa. The different reasons for enslavement have to be distinguished as crucial variables in determining what factors were important to the enslaved population. Whether an individual became a slave as a result of war, famine, commercial bankruptcy, judicial punishment, or religious persecution mattered. The conscious deportation of political prisoners has to be distinguished from impersonal transactions in the fairs and market-places of Africa. Instances of "mistakes" need to be documented as a means of determining why individuals ended up in the Americas or North Africa who legally should not have been so enslaved. Such examples include arbitrary alterations in the terms and conditions of pawnship, failure to ransom kidnapped victims, and "panyarring", i.e. the seizure of individuals for debt or other compensation. (cf. Toyin Falola and Paul E. Lovejoy (eds.), Pawnship in Africa: Debt Bondage in Historical Perspective (Boulder, 1994). Slaves can be examined as individuals and as recognizable groups of people who had personal and collective histories. (The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery Paul E. Lovejoy in Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997).)

Essay argues that slavery existed and sometimes flourished in Africa before the transatlantic slave trade, but neither the African continent nor persons of African origin were as prominent in the world of slaveholding as they would later become. Second, the capture and sale of slaves across the Atlantic between 1450 and 1850 encouraged expansion and repeated transformation of slavery within Africa, to the point that systems of slavery became central to societies all across the continent. Third, even after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade (largely accomplished by 1850) and the European conquest of Africa (mostly by 1900), millions of persons remained in slavery in Africa as late as 1930. (For full reading see Slavery in Africa, Microsoft, Encarta, Africana content, 1999 Microsoft Corporation)

But what American Slavery eventually developed into was somewhat unique in several respects. Slavery in other parts of the world had typically involved prisoners of war, and was considered a humane alternative to being put to death. Rarely were the children of those prisoners also placed into slavery. America had not waged a war with Ireland, nor had it waged a war with Africa, or with China. And although it had waged several wars with the Native Americans, they found that Natives made poor slaves and frequently escaped. America was...after all, their homeland...their turf. They knew the land far better than these European upstarts. Many of the Irish came to America voluntarily to escape the horrid economy and famines of their homeland. They choose to be here.

African Slaves were brought to America against the choice. They were kept here against their choice. If they choose to become a part of "America"...they were denied the choice to exercise their full access and full rights within America.

And that choice...is what makes the American Slavery of blacks so unique when compared to most other forms of historical slavery. America was one of the first nations to declare that the rights of the individual were paramount, that "all men were created equal". That a man's freedom to choose was one of his most sacred freedoms. These concepts contrasted radically with the idea that a man could be taken from his home, away from his family, forced to work against his will, and force to breed more people to be borne into the same life.

It is one thing to be a slave, in a land where few even understand what "Freedom" truly is, such as the Sudan (which continues to have slaves even in modern times). But it is a completely different matter to be a slave, in the "Land of the Free". (Debunking Dinesh D'souza's "End of Racism". 1998 F.V. Walton Also read Racism in Modern America for a discussion of modern Racism )

While many slaves were brutalized to the extent that they died without entering into meaningful and sustainable forms of social and cultural interaction with their compatriots, many other slaves more or less successfully re-established communities, reformulated their sense of identity, and reinterpreted ethnicity under slavery and freedom in the Americas. More than simply the foundation for individual and collective acts of resistance, these expressions of agency involved the transfer and adaptation of the contemporary world of Africa to the Americas and were NOT mere "survivals" of some diluted African past. Despite the "social death" of which Orlando Patterson speaks, (Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death, Cambridge, 1982). slaves created a new social world that drew on the known African experience. Certainly the horrors of enslavement, the rough march to coastal ports and the trauma of the Middle Passage affected the psychological and medical health of the enslaved population, but not to the extent imagined by Elkins, at least not in most cases. While their resurrection from Patterson's "social death" was distorted by chattel slavery, many enslaved Africans were none the less fit enough to participate in the "200 Years' War" of which Patterson also writes. (Orlando Patterson, "Slavery and Slave Revolts: A Socio-Historical Analysis of the First Maroon War, Jamaica, 1655-1740", Social and Economic Studies, 19, 3 (1970), 289-325) (From The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery Paul E. Lovejoy in Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997).)

The oppression of European masters and the pull of the international market for primary products may have set the conditions of slaves in the Americas, but in adjusting to these conditions, enslaved Africans nonetheless reinterpreted African issues and modified useful institutions in their quest to make sense out of their conditions and to establish a new identity in the diaspora. This identity began in the context of events and experiences in Africa but over time and after generations evolved into the pan-African identity of Peter Tosh's lyrics: "Anywhere you come from, as long as you're a black man, you're an African". ("African", from Peter Tosh, "Equal Rights", 1977 from The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery Paul E. Lovejoy in Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997).)

There was a direct connection between the rise of racism and the slave trade. An ideology was needed to justify the transportation of millions of blacks. David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, argued that blacks had the same intelligence as orangutans. This exposes the contradictory nature of the emerging capitalist society, which on the one hand hailed the ideas of the French and American revolutions - equality and unalienable rights - yet at the same time depended on the horrendous trade in human flesh. The American president Adams, at the end of the American Revolution which had been expected to abolish slavery, declared they had 'got the wolf by the ears but they daren't let it go.' World capitalism couldn't progress without a massive expansion of slavery in the American South.

Implicit in the argument that comes from Hugh Thomas is the idea that the Atlantic slave trade grew out of the slavery that already existed in African and Islamic societies prior to the 1700s. Essentially, he portrays slavery as a bad idea which was made worse by Europeans. Slavery, he argues, was a universal feature of ancient societies, but it was not racially based - slaves were the spoils of war. He fails to recognise that the Atlantic slave trade was unique because of the role it played in the emergent capitalist system. There were class divisions in pre-capitalist societies. But in ancient Africa slaves were more like serfs - they were not barred from marrying the chief's daughter, or from owning property, or even rising to be governors. Two factors prevented African societies developing in the same way as Europe. Neither was to do with any inherent inferiority in those societies. In many ways Africa had been more advanced than Europe. In 1066, as Harold lost his eye, the complex infrastructure of Great Zimbabwe was in full force, controlling the movement of cattle on a vast scale. But the very success of cities such as Timbuktu, Benin and Mali meant there was no drive to develop production. Secondly, tsetse fly and poor soil ruled out the introduction of the plough and the possibility of higher agricultural yields that would parallel European development. There were constant crises in many African states, civil wars and famine - but in no way were these the killing grounds of the West Indian plantations. (The real history of slavery, - a review of Hugh Thomas, The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870, Weyman Bennett, Issue 217 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published March 1998)

The Atlantic slave-trade was different from all these earlier slavery in several respects. Most enormously important is that it was the first form of slavery that was solely motivated by commercial incentives. In earlier times slaves were used as domestic workers and soldiers, since there were no plantations or industrial factories where millions of slave-labor was needed. The African slave-trade was a capitalist invention. Readers are directed to Slavery and Capitalism by Eric Williams.

It was the large-scale capitalist mode of production which required cheap labors that induced the slave trade. It was the Industrial Revolution in Europe that made it necessary to traffic in human lives on a colossal scale.

Slaves in earlier times enjoyed social and individual rights - like marriage, freedom to raise a family, speak their language and worship their gods, rights which were denied the African slaves exported to the Americas. Africans captured and taken into the new world were stripped of all their personality and humanity - they could not even bear their own names.

It was capitalism that introduced chattel-slavery. "In the welter of philosophical arguments for and against the slave trade, the one cogent and inescapable argument in favor of it is easily hidden: in spite of its risks, illegality, and blighted social status, slave trading was enormously profitable. Despite the popular assertion that free labor was cheaper, the price of slaves continued to go up and to compensate for the risks of the trade." - (The Slaver's Log Book, original manuscript by Captain Theophilus Conneau, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976, p. iv.) (On Slavery By Femi Akomolafe. 1994, The retrospective history of Africa, Hartford Web Publishing)

The spread of European power around the globe was a sign of the superiority of the white race: "everywhere it has shown itself to be the most intellectual and industrious." But blacks had "not made known their existence by remarkable works, by superior monuments in the political field, literature, science or industry.... it ignores glory." The enslavement of blacks was a sign of their stupidity, for they allowed themselves to "be duped, enchained and sold even by men less strong."(9) Courtet de l'Isle, a reader of Virey and a Saint-Simonian, also asserted that the success of the European slave raiders in Africa was a sign of their incontestable superiority.

White superiority was so deeply ingrained in the racist thinking of the early nineteenth century that all cultural achievements were credited to whites. Thus, the accomplishments of Chinese and Japanese cultures-state structures and written traditions that Europeans respected because of their outward similarity to European institutions - were attributed to earlier, European influences. The racial explanation for the rise and fall of civilizations did not have to wait for Count Gobineau in the mid-nineteenth century; as early as 18l4, Peyroux de la Coudrenière stated that ancient Greece declined because it had become racially impure, mixing its blood with that of blacks.

The increasingly refined means of defining human races that had developed in the eighteenth century led to the notion that races were significant human divisions. Some early classifiers such as Buffon had made clear that the classification of certain groups, races, and sub-species was done for the convenience of the observer and had no intrinsic value, but this was soon forgotten, even by Buffon himself. Instead, it was thought that races were significant biological divisions of humanity and that race, in turn, had profound effects on the social, political, and other collective achievements of the group making up a particular race.

Saint-Simon hoped to find in biology a clue to human variation; science, he was sure, would unlock the mysteries of human societies. And, in the works of contemporary physiologists, Saint-Simon found confirmed the doctrines of racial inequality. Blacks were at different levels of civilization, Saint-Simon stated, because they were biologically inferior to whites. Auguste Comte, the influential founder of positivism and originally a disciple of Saint-Simon, thought that the superiority of European material culture over that of other continents might be due to a difference in the brain structure of whites. (W.B. Cohen, The French encounter with Africans 1530-1880 (1980), chap.8, pp.210-2, Scientific Racism, PART ONE)

The attempt to legitimate slavery was a powerful contributing factor in the spread of modern racism. For modern slaves were almost all Africans, and the fact that the Africans were black made it possible to defend their enslavement in terms of the color of their skin. One argument, widespread at a time when most people were prepared to accept the literal truth of the Bible, took the Africans to be the descendants of Canaan. In the biblical account of the peopling of the world by the sons of Noah after the Flood, Canaan was condemned to be "a servant of servants unto his brethren," because his father Ham had seen "the nakedness of his father"; and Canaan was believed to have settled in Africa. Noah's curse served conveniently to explain the color of the Africans' skin and their supposed "natural" indebtedness to the other nations of the world, particularly to the Europeans, the alleged descendants of Japheth, whom God had promised to "enlarge." This reading of the Book of Genesis merged easily into a medieval iconographic tradition in which devils were always depicted as black. Later pseudo-scientific theories would be built around African skull shapes, dental structure, and body postures, in an attempt to find an unassailable argument--rooted in whatever the most persuasive contemporary idiom happened to be: law, theology, genealogy, or natural science--why one part of the human race should live in perpetual indebtedness to another. (Anthony Pagden The Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; 12-22-1997)

Slavery was established, regulated, supported and sanctioned by the Bible. It was a common practice during the time of both the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). It continued into the modern era in many countries around the world. In North America, most slaves were Afro-American. However, others were Caucasian or Native American. An abolition movement began during the late 17th century. It was created and initially supported by: Those denominations which traced their roots back to the Anabaptist movements (Mennonites, Quakers, etc.) A very few other Christians, and groups of Christians Rationalists and other non-Christians . (John Wijngaards, "The Theology of Slavery" )

The institution of slavery got mentioned several times in the Christian Bible: 'Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.' (Leviticus, 25, 44-46). 'If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.' (Exodus XXI, 2-6). These are just two of the examples of the Hebrew god's opinion of slavery. The quotations are from the Christian bible. (On Slavery By Femi Akomolafe. 1994, The retrospective history of Africa, Hartford Web Publishing, )

The Abolitionist movement emphasized Jesus' and St. Paul's general statements concerning love, the equality of all persons, and the "Golden Rule" (treating one's fellow humans as one expects to be treated by others). At first, the vast bulk of Christian groups and individuals supported slavery, citing the many Biblical passages as justification. The Abolitionist movement grew slowly, as an increasing percentage of Christians realized that even though slavery was condoned and regulated by passages throughout the Bible, it was profoundly immoral. (SLAVERY Overview. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance)

The slavery spoken of by the bible is mainly chattel slavery. The bible represents it as instituted by god (GEN. 9.25), perpetuated and extended by him in many commandments and regulated in many laws. This state of affairs was not changed by the new testament, takes slavery for granted and ruled, "slaves, obey your masters" (EPH. 6.5, COL. 3.22, TIT. 2.9). ("On Slavery: "Biblical Versus Secular Ethics", HOFFMANN, R JOSEPH (ED), 69-77. Author: SMITH, MORTON Journal Name: BUFFALO, PROMETHEUS,)

For an analysis of the bible's teachings on Slavery from one modern fundamentalist Christian perspective, read on; "If the Bible is from God, why did it tolerate the institution of slavery?" " The slavery tolerated by the Scriptures must be understood in its historical context. Old Testament laws regulating slavery are troublesome by modern standards, but in their historical context they provided a degree of social recognition and legal protection to slaves that was advanced for its time (Exodus 21:20-27; Leviticus 25:44-46)" "20 If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. 22 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.. (see 1997 RBC Ministries--Grand Rapids, MI 49555-0001 http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/questions/bible/slavery/slave.shtml) For more on religion in this Chronology see 1831)

Journal article refutes the notion that Protestantism contributed to harsher treatment of slaves in North America, compared to Catholic South America. The Anglican Church in Virginia underwent 50 years of debate regarding the desirability of providing religious instruction to slaves. Several church leaders and political officials were involved in the ongoing discussion, including scientist Robert Boyle, Bishop Henry Compton, William and Mary College President James Blair, Governor Edmund Andros, and Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. Ultimately, efforts to convert slaves to Christianity were thwarted by the landowners and slaveholders who served as the church vestry in most parishes. Fearful that if blacks were converted they could no longer, as Christians, be enslaved, these men successfully opposed efforts to convert their valuable chattel. Based on writings of William Berkeley, Alexander Spotswood correspondence, Anglican Church documents and manuscripts, the Virginia Statutes, House of Burgesses journals, and the Executive Journals of Colonial Virginia; 83 notes, 6 illus. (Anesko, Michael. SO DISCREET A ZEAL: SLAVERY AND THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN VIRGINIA 1680-1730. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1985 93 (3): 247-278.)

Lucille Clifton also has a tremendously powerful poem on the Middle Passage available on the "Language of Life" video produced by Moyers and PBS. It can also be found in the book, _Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep: An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans Since 1945_ (Little, Brown, and Company, 1994). The text of the poem can be found on- line. (Dave Nathanson in a posting in SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU)

Height of Atlantic SlaveTrade: Between the years 1650 and 1900, historians estimate that at least 28 million Africans were forcibly removed from central and western Africa as slaves (but the numbers involved are controversial). A human catastrophe for Africa, the world African Slave Trade was truly a "Holocaust."

THE HOLOCAUST: Muslim traders exported as many as 17 million slaves to the coast of the Indian Ocean, to the Middle East, and to North Africa. African slave exports via the Red Sea, trans-Sahara, and East Africa/Indian Ocean to other parts of the world between 1500-1900 totaled at least 5 million Africans sent into bondage.

Between 1450 and 1850, at least 12 million Africans were shipped from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean--the notorious "Middle Passage"-- primarily to colonies in North America, South America, and the West Indies.. 80% of these kidnapped Africans (or at least 7 million) were exported during the 18th century, with a mortality rate of probably 10- 20% on the ships enroute for the Americas. Unknown numbers (probably at least 4 million) of Africans died in slave wars and forced marches before being shipped. Within central Africa itself, the slave trade precipitated migrations: coastal tribes fled slave- raiding parties and captured slaves were redistributed to different regions in Africa.

African slave trade and slave labor transformed the world. In Africa, slave trade stimulated the expansion of powerful West African kingdoms. In the Islamic world, African slave labor on plantations, in seaports, and within families expanded the commerce and trade of the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. In the Americas, slave labor became the key component in trans-Atlantic agriculture and commerce supporting the booming capitalist economy of the 17th and 18th centuries, with the greatest demand in the Americas coming from Brazil and the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.(Cora Agatucci's African Timeline, Central Oregon Community College)

Throughout the first half of 18th century, France and England battled for control of the Guinea Coast. In Lower Guinea, the British`s main adversary was the Dutch. But when the Dutch Company was liquidated, the British soon gained control of the entire Ivory, Grain, and Gold Coasts. France, Britain's main adversary in Upper Guinea, soon lost interest because of lack of profits. The sparsely populated Upper Guinea coast did not provide enough slaves. In addition, interior ethnic groups were very hostile to European influence. By the mid-18th century, Britain had full control of West African trade. In addition, the British won the Assiento, the sole license to ship black slaves from Africa to Spanish controlled territories in America, in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. British dominance in the slave trade began a new period of change in the European/African relationship. The English would begin to explore, conquer and rule African peoples. The Age of Trade shifted into the Age of Colonization. (TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE 1450-1750 ThinkQuest)

1667/09 -ACT III.
An act declaring that baptisme of slaves doth not exempt them from bondage.[The passage of this statute indicates that Christianity was important to the concept of English identity. Legislators decided that slaves born in Virginia could not become free if they were baptized, but masters were encouraged to Christianize their enslaved laborers.] WHEREAS some doubts have risen whether children that are slaves by birth, and by the charity and piety of their owners made pertakers of the blessed sacrament of baptisme, should by vertue of their baptisme be made ffree; It is enacted and declared by this grand assembly, and the authority thereof, that the conferring of baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or ffreedome; that diverse masters, ffreed from this doubt, may more carefully endeavour the propagation of christianity by permitting children, though slaves, or those of greater growth if capable to be admitted to that sacrament. Source: Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 2, p. 260. (Selected Virginia Statutes relating to Slavery from Virtual Jamestown)

A (Virginia) act declared that "Baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedome." (Slavery in America, Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995)

1669
In 1669, for example, the colonial Virginia Assembly declared that, if a Negro slave died at the hands of a master who used "extremity of correction" to overcome the slave's "obstinacy," it was not murder. In "An act about the casuall killing of slaves," lawmakers reasoned that no man would deliberately destroy his own property. (How the Cradle of Liberty Became a Slave-Owning Nation, By Susan DeFord, Special to The Washington Post, Wednesday, December 10, 1997; Page H01)

Beyond the notorious "correction law of 1669," several other Virginia laws increasingly debased the lives of Africans, enslaved or free. Once, for example, newly baptized slaves could sue for their freedom and often won it. That right was curtailed when the Assembly declared that Christianity did not merit freedom. Other new laws said slaves could not marry, own property, carry weapons, assemble in groups or leave their plantations without signed passes from their masters. If slaves ran away, they could be hunted and killed and their master compensated from the public treasury. Neither slave nor free black could strike a white person, vote, hold office or testify in court against a white person.

October 1669-ACT I.
An act about the casuall killing of slaves. [Colonial leaders decided that corporal punishment was the only way in which a master could correct a slave since his or her time of service could not be extended. This law represents the loss of legal protection for a slave's life in Virginia. It also was the first of several laws passed during the last thirty years of the seventeenth century that reduced the personal rights of black men and women.] WHEREAS the only law in force for the punishment of refractory servants resisting their master, mistris or overseer cannot be inflicted upon negroes, nor the obstinacy of many of them by other then violent meanes supprest, Be it enacted and declared by this grand assembly, if any slave resist his master (or other by his masters order correcting him) and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not be accompted ffelony, but the master (or that other person appointed by the master to punish him) be acquit from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepensed malice(which alone makes murther ffelony) should induce any man to destroy his owne estate. (Source: Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 2, p. 270.) (Selected Virginia Statutes relating to Slavery from Virtual Jamestown)

1670
Virginia- Voting rights are removed from recently freed slaves and indentured servants. All non-Christians imported to the territory, "by shipping," are to be slaves for life, whereas those who enter by land are to serve until the age of 30 if they are adult men and women when their period of servitude commences. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal- Davis)

1660
Slavery spread quickly in the American colonies. At first the legal status of Africans in America was poorly defined, and some, like European indentured servants, managed to become free after several years of service. From the 1660s, however, the colonies began enacting laws that defined and regulated slave relations. Central to these laws was the provision that black slaves, and the children of slave women, would serve for life. This premise, combined with the natural population growth among the slaves, meant that slavery could survive and grow even after slave imports were outlawed in 1808. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

1660
Despite this growth in tobacco production, problems in price-stability and quality existed. In 1660, when the English markets became glutted with tobacco, prices fell so low that the colonists were barely able to survive. In response to this, planters began mixing other organic material, such as leaves and the sweepings from their homes, in with the tobacco, as an attempt to make up by quantity what they lost by low prices. The exporting of this trash tobacco solved the colonists' immediate cash flow problems, but accentuated the problems of overproduction and deterioration of quality.[8] As the reputation of colonial tobacco declined, reducing European demand for it, colonial authorities stepped in to take corrective measures. During the next fifty years they came up with three solutions. First, they reduced the amount of tobacco produced; second, they regularized the trade by fixing the size of the tobacco hogshead and prohibiting shipments of bulk tobacco; finally, they improved quality by preventing the exportation of trash tobacco. These solutions soon fell through because there was no practical way to enforce the law. It was not until 1730, when the Virginia Inspection Acts were passed, that tobacco trade laws were fully enforced (Middleton, Arthur Pierce. Tobacco Coast. Newport News, Virginia: Mariners' Museum, 1953.. P. 112-116, Finlayson, Ann. Colonial Maryland. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1974. P. 66-679. On line at From Economic Aspects of Tobacco during the Colonial Period 1612-1776)

1661
A reference to slavery entered into Virginia law, and this law was directed at white servants -- at those who ran away with a black servant. The following year, the colony went one step further by stating that children born would be bonded or free according to the status of the mother. (Timeline from the PBS series Africans In America)

1662
A Virginia law assumed Africans would remain servants for life. ." (Slavery in America Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995 )

Citing 1662 Virginia statute providing that "[c]hildren got by an Englishman upon a Negro woman shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother"). Throughout the late 17th and early 18th century, several colonial legislatures adopted similar rules which reversed the usual common law presumptions that the status of the child was determined by the father. See id. at 128 (citing 1706 New York statute); id. at 252 (citing a 1755 Georgia Law). These laws facilitated the breeding of slaves through Black women's bodies and allowed for slaveholders to reproduce their own labor force. (See Paula Giddings, When And Where I Enter: The Impact Of Black Women On Race And Sex In America 37) (1984) (noting that "a master could save the cost of buying new slaves by impregnating his own slave, or for that matter, having anyone impregnate her"). For a discussion of Race and Gender see Cheryl I. Harris, Myths of Race and Gender in the Trials of O.J. Simpson and Susan Smith -- Spectacles of Our Times)

1662
The Laws of Virginia (1662, 1691, 1705) These statutes chart the development of regulations on the sexual and reproductive lives of indentured servants and slaves, the growing institutionalization of slavery, and the construction of racism. Note the increasingly harsh penalties and how punishments differed by gender. (To view the laws visit (America Past and Present On Line)

Slavery in the United States was governed by an extensive body of law developed from the 1660s to the 1860s. Every slave state had its own slave code and body of court decisions. All slave codes made slavery a permanent condition, inherited through the mother, and defined slaves as property, usually in the same terms as those applied to real estate. Slaves, being property, could not own property or be a party to a contract. Since marriage is a form of a contract, no slave marriage had any legal standing. All codes also had sections regulating free blacks, who were still subject to controls on their movements and employment and were often required to leave the state after emancipation. (American Treasures of the Library of Congress: MEMORY, Slavery in the Capitol)

1663
Maryland, Settlers pass law stipulating that all imported blacks are to be given the status of slaves. Free white women who marry black slaves are to be slaves during the lives of their spouses, Ironically, children born of white servant women and blacks are regarded as free by a 1681 law. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing)

1663/09/13
First serious recorded slave conspiracy in Colonial America takes place in Virginia. A servant betrayed plot of white servants and Negro slaves in Gloucester County, Virginia. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)

1664
Slavery sanctioned by law; slaves to serve for life. (MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc. And Maryland Historical Chronology)

Throughout most of the colonial period, opposition to slavery among white Americans was virtually nonexistent. Settlers in the 17th and early 18th centuries came from sharply stratified societies in which the wealthy savagely exploited members of the lower classes. Lacking a later generation’s belief in natural human equality, they saw little reason to question the enslavement of Africans. As they sought to mold a docile labor force, planters resorted to harsh, repressive measures that included liberal use of whipping and branding. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

One characteristic which set American slavery apart was its racial basis. In America, with only a few early and insignificant exceptions, all slaves were Africans, and almost all Africans were slaves. This placed the label of inferiority on black skin and on African culture. In other societies, it had been possible for a slave who obtained his freedom to take his place in his society with relative ease. In America, however, when a slave became free, he was still obviously an African. The taint of inferiority clung to him. Not only did white America become convinced of white superiority and black inferiority, but it strove to impose these racial beliefs on the Africans themselves. Slave masters gave a great deal of attention to the education and training of the ideal slave, In general, there were five steps in molding the character of such a slave: strict discipline, a sense of his own inferiority, belief in the master's superior power, acceptance of the master's standards, and, finally, a deep sense of his own helplessness and dependence. At every point this education was built on the belief in white superiority and black inferiority. Besides teaching the slave to despise his own history and culture, the master strove to inculcate his own value system into the African's outlook. The white man's belief in the African's inferiority paralleled African self hate. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 3, Chapter 3, The Shape of American Slavery)

The psychological impact on the individual of slavery contrasted to that of individuals who survived the Nazi holocaust, In Stanley M. Elkins thinking, the concentration camps were a modern example of a rigid system controlling mass behavior. Because some of those who experienced them were social scientists trained in the skills of observation and analysis, they provide a basis for insights into the way in which a particular social system can influence mass character. While there is also much literature about American slavery written both by slaves and masters, none of it was written from the viewpoint of modern social sciences. However, Elkins postulates that a slave type must have existed as the result of the attempt to control mass behavior, and he believes that this type probably bore a marked resemblance to the literary stereotype of "Sambo." Studying concentration camps and their impact on personality provides a tool for new insights into the working of slavery, but, warns Elkins, the comparison can only be used for limited purposes. Although slavery was not unlike the concentration camp in many respects, the concentration camp can be viewed as a highly perverted form of slavery, and both systems were ways of controlling mass behavior

The concentration camp experience began with what has become labeled as shock procurement. As terror was one of the many tools of the system, surprise late-night arrests were the favorite technique. Camp inmates generally agreed that the train ride to the camp was the point at which they experienced the first brutal torture. Herded together into cattle cars, without adequate space, ventilation, or sanitary conditions, they had to endure the horrible crowding and the harassment of the guards. When they reached the camp, they had to stand naked in line and undergo a detailed examination by the camp physician. Then, each was given a tag and a number. These two events were calculated to strip away one's identity and to reduce the individual to an item within an impersonal system. (see work of Stanley M. Elkins in Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 3, Slavery and the Formation of Character)

1664
Slavery introduced into law in Maryland, the law also prohibited marriage between white women and black men. This particular act remained in effect for over 300 years, and between 1935 and 1967 the law was extended to forbid the marriage of Malaysians with blacks or whites. The law was finally repealed in 1967. (Maryland State Archive, The Archivists Record Series of the Week, Phebe Jacobsen "Colonial Marriage Records" Bulldog Vol. 2, No. 26 18 July 1988 )

Africa occupies just over 20 percent of the earth’s land surface and has roughly 20 percent of the world’s population, but European slave traders in the 17th century and the next will decimate the continent by exporting human chattels and introducing new diseases. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

The transatlantic slave trade produced one of the largest forced migrations in history. From the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries, between 10 million and 11 million Africans were taken from their homes, herded onto ships where they were sometimes so tightly packed that they could barely move, and sent to a strange new land. Since others died before boarding the ships, Africa’s loss of population was even greater. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

Projected Exports Of That Portion Of The French And English Slave Trade Having Identifiable Region Of Coast Origin In Africa, 1711-1810

"Were these people called by that name during that time in that place?" Excluding some nomadic and semi-nomadic groups

Please send comments (see web page below) on whether the following groups should be included as a "Ancestral group" of African Americans, and in what region: Fulani, Tuareg, Dialonke, Massina, Dogon, Songhay, Jekri, Jukun, Domaa, Tallensi, Mossi, Nzima, Akwamu, Egba, Fang, and Ge. (Compid by Kwame Bandele from information in P.D. Curtin's book, "Atlantic Slave Trade" p. 221).

In the 1700s the coasts of West Africa had three main divisions controlled by Europeans in their effort to monopolize the slave trade. The three divisions were Senegambia, Upper Guinea and Lower Guinea. Senegambia's two navigable rivers, the Senegal and the Gambia, were controlled by the French and the English, respectively. The West Africans who became slaves from the Senegambia included the Fula, Wolof, Serer, Felup, and the Mandingo. Upper Guinea had a two thousand miles coastline from the Gambia south and east to the Bight of Biafra. This coastline was also designated the Windward Coast because of the heavy winds on the shore. The West Africans who became slaves from the Upper Gambia included the Baga and Susu from French Guinea, the Chamba from Sierra Leone, the Krumen from the Grain Coast, and the Fanti and the Ashanti from the Gold Coast, commonly referred to today as Ghana. East of the Volta River was the Slave Coast which was so named because the slave trade was at its height there since the African kings (Slattees) permitted Europeans to compete equally for Africans to become slaves. Those West Africans who became slaves from this region included Yoruban, Ewe, Dahoman, Ibo, Ibibio, and the Efik. Lower Guinea had fifteen hundred miles of coastline from Calabar to the southern desert. The West Africans who became slaves from this region were all Bantus. The trading of Africans from the West Coast provided an economic boon for the Europeans. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the heinous Middle passage. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the African American! (Connections: A Culturally Historical Prospective of West African to African American, by Kelvin Tarrance, Revised: May 3, 1996)

The slave trade from Africa is said to have uprooted as many as 20 million people from their homes and brought them to the Americas. Slavery had existed as a human institution for centuries, but the slaves were usually captives taken in war or members of the lowest class in a society. The black African slave trade, by contrast, was a major economic enterprise. It made the traders rich and brought an abundant labor supply to the islands of the Caribbean and to the American Colonies. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online )

The mortality rate among these new slaves ran very high. It is estimated that some five percent died in Africa on the way to the coast, another thirteen percent in transit to the West Indies, and still another thirty percent during the three-month seasoning period in the West Indies. This meant that about fifty percent of those originally captured in Africa died either in transit or while being prepared for servitude. Even this statistic, harsh as it is, does not tell the whole story of the human cost involved in the slave trade. Most slaves were captured in the course of warfare, and many more Africans were killed in the course of this combat. The total number of deaths, then, ran much higher than those killed en route. Many Africans became casualty statistics, directly or indirectly, because of the slave trade. Beyond this, there was the untold human sorrow and misery borne by the friends and relatives of those Africans who were torn away from home and loved ones and were never seen again. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 2 The Human Market, The Slave Trade)

It was obvious, however, that the victims of the modern slave trade could not be said to have been acquired directly in war. They had been purchased from African rulers who had seized them in raids whose only purpose had been to acquire this valuable human commodity for the insatiable European market. To this, the advocates of the trade replied by claiming that the Africans purchased by the traders had originally been taken prisoner in "just" wars between Africans. The speciousness of this argument was evident from the beginning. But most slavers accepted what they claimed were African assurances that their human merchandise had indeed been "saved" in a just war, on the principle that it is not up to the purchaser to discover if the goods he is buying have been acquired legitimately or not. In this way slavery remained linked, throughout its 300-year history, to internecine African warfare. Thomas seems to imply that Africans, since they were involved in the trade, must take some measure of the blame for it. This can hardly be denied. What Thomas overlooks, though, is the degree to which the European slave trade contributed to the situation from which it benefited. The abolitionists had always been fully aware of the possible impact of the trade upon Africa. "The slave trade," bewailed Granville Sharp, one of the earliest of the English abolitionists, in 1776, "preyed upon the ignorance and brutality of unenlightened nations, who are encouraged to war with each other for this very purpose." The consequences of this for the continent have only just begun to be examined, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that at least some of the horrors that modern African rulers continue to inflict upon their peoples, and that African states continue to inflict upon one another, can be linked not only to the disastrous process of de-colonization, but also to the long experience of the European slave trade. Modern slavers were faced with a further problem: religion. (Anthony Pagden he Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; 12-22-1997)

Africans cooperated with Europeans in the slave trade, and some slaves transported to America were already of the slave class. But most slaves were simply hostages of the trade, and very few were slaves before. A set of political and military circumstances that the Portuguese, the Dutch, and other Europeans imposed on the West Africans forced many African kingdoms to cooperate with the slave trade. Stronger nations had driven many coastal kingdoms from the interior before the arrival of the Europeans. Yet with the coming of European tools and weaponry as payment for African slaves, these coastal kingdoms found themselves in power positions and began slave-raiding expeditions against their former enemies. European slave traders used these rivalries to increase tensions among the African kingdoms for their own mercenary purposes. By fomenting war between kingdoms and by introducing superior arms to those cooperating with the trade, the Europeans obligated many unwilling kingdoms to collaborate with them or face enslavement themselves--raid or be raided. The "most abominable aspect of the slave trade, was fueled by the idea that Africans, even children, were better off Christianized under a system of European slavery than left in Africa amid tribal wars, famines and paganism" (p. 218). (Willie F. Page. _The Dutch Triangle: The Netherlands and the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1621-1664_. Studies in African American History and Culture. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. xxxv + 262 pp. Bibliographical references and index. $66.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8153-2881-8. Reviewed for H-Review by Dennis R. Hidalgo, Central Michigan University)

Essay argues that slavery existed and sometimes flourished in Africa before the transatlantic slave trade, but neither the African continent nor persons of African origin were as prominent in the world of slaveholding as they would later become. Second, the capture and sale of slaves across the Atlantic between 1450 and 1850 encouraged expansion and repeated transformation of slavery within Africa, to the point that systems of slavery became central to societies all across the continent. Third, even after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade (largely accomplished by 1850) and the European conquest of Africa (mostly by 1900), millions of persons remained in slavery in Africa as late as 1930. (For full reading see Slavery in Africa, Microsoft, Encarta, Africana content, 1999 Microsoft Corporation)

But what American Slavery eventually developed into was somewhat unique in several respects. Slavery in other parts of the world had typically involved prisoners of war, and was considered a humane alternative to being put to death. Rarely were the children of those prisoners also placed into slavery. America had not waged a war with Ireland, nor had it waged a war with Africa, or with China. And although it had waged several wars with the Native Americans, they found that Natives made poor slaves and frequently escaped. America was...after all, their homeland...their turf. They knew the land far better than these European upstarts. Many of the Irish came to America voluntarily to escape the horrid economy and famines of their homeland. They choose to be here.

African Slaves were brought to America against the choice. They were kept here against their choice. If they choose to become a part of "America"...they were denied the choice to exercise their full access and full rights within America.

And that choice...is what makes the American Slavery of blacks so unique when compared to most other forms of historical slavery. America was one of the first nations to declare that the rights of the individual were paramount, that "all men were created equal". That a man's freedom to choose was one of his most sacred freedoms. These concepts contrasted radically with the idea that a man could be taken from his home, away from his family, forced to work against his will, and force to breed more people to be borne into the same life.

It is one thing to be a slave, in a land where few even understand what "Freedom" truly is, such as the Sudan (which continues to have slaves even in modern times). But it is a completely different matter to be a slave, in the "Land of the Free". ( Debunking Dinesh D'souza's "End of Racism". 1998 F.V. Walton Also read Racism in Modern America for a discussion of modern Racism )

The attempt to legitimate slavery was a powerful contributing factor in the spread of modern racism. For modern slaves were almost all Africans, and the fact that the Africans were black made it possible to defend their enslavement in terms of the color of their skin. One argument, widespread at a time when most people were prepared to accept the literal truth of the Bible, took the Africans to be the descendants of Canaan. In the biblical account of the peopling of the world by the sons of Noah after the Flood, Canaan was condemned to be "a servant of servants unto his brethren," because his father Ham had seen "the nakedness of his father"; and Canaan was believed to have settled in Africa. Noah's curse served conveniently to explain the color of the Africans' skin and their supposed "natural" indebtedness to the other nations of the world, particularly to the Europeans, the alleged descendants of Japheth, whom God had promised to "enlarge." This reading of the Book of Genesis merged easily into a medieval iconographic tradition in which devils were always depicted as black. Later pseudo-scientific theories would be built around African skull shapes, dental structure, and body postures, in an attempt to find an unassailable argument--rooted in whatever the most persuasive contemporary idiom happened to be: law, theology, genealogy, or natural science--why one part of the human race should live in perpetual indebtedness to another. (Anthony Pagden he Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; 12-22-1997)

For an analysis of the bible’s teachings on Slavery from one modern fundamentalist Christian perspective, read on; "If the Bible is from God, why did it tolerate the institution of slavery?" " The slavery tolerated by the Scriptures must be understood in its historical context. Old Testament laws regulating slavery are troublesome by modern standards, but in their historical context they provided a degree of social recognition and legal protection to slaves that was advanced for its time (Exodus 21:20-27; Leviticus 25:44-46) "20 If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. 22 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.. (see 1997 RBC Ministries--Grand Rapids, MI 49555-0001 For more on religion in this Chronology see 1831)

Journal article refutes the notion that Protestantism contributed to harsher treatment of slaves in North America, compared to Catholic South America. The Anglican Church in Virginia underwent 50 years of debate regarding the desirability of providing religious instruction to slaves. Several church leaders and political officials were involved in the ongoing discussion, including scientist Robert Boyle, Bishop Henry Compton, William and Mary College President James Blair, Governor Edmund Andros, and Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. Ultimately, efforts to convert slaves to Christianity were thwarted by the landowners and slaveholders who served as the church vestry in most parishes. Fearful that if blacks were converted they could no longer, as Christians, be enslaved, these men successfully opposed efforts to convert their valuable chattel. (Based on writings of William Berkeley, Alexander Spotswood correspondence, Anglican Church documents and manuscripts, the Virginia Statutes, House of Burgesses journals, and the Executive Journals of Colonial Virginia; 83 notes, 6 illus. (Anesko, Michael. SO Discreet A Zeal: Slavery And The Anglican Church In Virginia 1680-1730. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1985 93 (3): 247-278.)

Lucille Clifton also has a tremendously powerful poem on the Middle Passage available on the "Language of Life" video produced by Moyers and PBS. It can also be found in the book, _Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep: An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans Since 1945_ (Little, Brown, and Company, 1994). The text of the poem can be found here. ( Dave Nathanson in a posting in SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU)

Height of Atlantic SlaveTrade:
Between the years 1650 and 1900, historians estimate that at least 28 million Africans were forcibly removed from central and western Africa as slaves (but the numbers involved are controversial). A human catastrophe for Africa, the world African Slave Trade was truly a "Holocaust."

THE HOLOCAUST:

(Cora Agatucci’s African Timeline, Central Oregon Community College, )

Throughout the first half of 18th century, France and England battled for control of the Guinea Coast. In Lower Guinea, the British`s main adversary was the Dutch. But when the Dutch Company was liquidated, the British soon gained control of the entire Ivory, Grain, and Gold Coasts. France, Britain’s main adversary in Upper Guinea, soon lost interest because of lack of profits. The sparsely populated Upper Guinea coast did not provide enough slaves. In addition, interior ethnic groups were very hostile to European influence. By the mid-18th century, Britain had full control of West African trade. In addition, the British won the Assiento, the sole license to ship black slaves from Africa to Spanish controlled territories in America, in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. British dominance in the slave trade began a new period of change in the European/African relationship. The English would begin to explore, conquer and rule African peoples. The Age of Trade shifted into the Age of Colonization.(Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade 1450-1750 ThinkQuest )

1667
A Virginia act declared that "Baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedome. (Slavery in America Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995)

1670
Virginia- Voting rights are removed from recently freed slaves and indentured servants. All non-Christians imported to the territory, "by shipping," are to be slaves for life, whereas those who enter by land are to serve until the age of 30 if they are adult men and women when their period of servitude commences. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

1671
Virginia- A law is enacted providing for a bounty on the heads of "Maroons" black fugitives who form communities in the mountains, swamps, and forests of southern colonies. Many Maroon communities attack towns and plantations. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

Maroon societies (also "marron," "cimarron,") were bands or communities of fugitive slaves who had succeeded in establishing a society of their own in some geographic area, usually difficult to penetrate, where they could not easily be surprised by soldiers, slave catchers, or their previous owners. Africans enslaved in Spanish New World territories were most likely to run away and form such communities. Maroon societies were of several degrees of stability. At the least stable end were the gangs of runaway men who wandered within a region, hiding together, and who sustained themselves by raids or by prevailing upon their friends and relatives for food. Other societies included both men and women and might have developed a trade relationship with outsiders. Some maroon societies felt themselves safe enough to plant crops and attempt at least a semi-permanent settlement. The threat of maroons emerging from their hiding places to merge with slaves in revolt was another concept that troubled slave owners. (The Underground Railroad In American History National Park Service)

1672
English merchants form the Royal Company to exploit the African slave trade. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

In 1660, the English government chartered a company called the "Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa." At first the company was mismanaged, but in 1663 it was reorganized. A new objective clearly stated that the company would engage in the slave trade. To the great dissatisfaction of England's merchants, only the Company of Royal Adventurers could now engage in the trade.

The Company did not fare well, due mainly to the war with Holland, and in 1667, it collapsed. But out of its ashes emerged a new company: The Royal African Company

Founded in 1672, the Royal African Company was granted a similar monopoly in the slave trade. Between 1680 and 1686, the Company transported an average of 5,000 slaves a year. Between 1680 and 1688, it sponsored 249 voyages to Africa.

Still, rival English merchants were not amused. In 1698, Parliament yielded to their demands and opened the slave trade to all. With the end of the monopoly, the number of slaves transported on English ships would increase dramatically -- to an average of over 20,000 a year. By the end of the 17th century, England led the world in the trafficking of slaves. (Timeline from the PBS series Africans In America )

1676
Dutch traders buy black slaves at 30 florins each in Angola and sell 15,000 per year in the Americas at 300 to 500 florins each. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

Regarding Jewish investment in the Dutch West India Company (WIC), which had a monopoly of the Dutch slave trade in the 17th Century, Jews accounted for a share of 1.3% of the founding capital. When the Governor of New Amsterdam (now New York) attempted to bar the entrance of Jewish refugees from Brazil, Jewish investors accounted for about 4% of the investors in the WIC. Jews could not, of course, participate in the management of the WIC. (Seymour Drescher citing what will appear in a collective volume on Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, forthcoming from Berghahn Books. From "The history of slavery, the slave trade, abolition and emancipation" SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU> 20-AUG-1998 08:27:34.45)

"Jews established their most significant niche in the trade as purchasers of lower-priced slaves, or "refuse slaves." These were usually the weakest or unhealthiest of the Africans who landed in Jamaica. Such slaves were re-exported to colonial systems in the islands, or to the South American coast. For a time Sephardic Jews may have had a business advantage deriving from their familiarity with the Spanish language and prior trade links to "New Christian" merchants - descendants of Jews - in mainland South American ports. In any event, Jews in Jamaica purchased up to 6% or 7% of all Africans landed by the Royal African Company at the end of the 17th century, just when their co-religionists in London reached the peak of their own involvement with the trade." (Review by Seymour Drescher in the forward 01/06/99 of a book by Eli Faber, "A Painstaking Rebuttal To an Incendiary Charge" A Historian Sets the Record Straight on Slavery) (Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight 1998 New York University Press)

1675 – 1676
Bacon's Rebellion "[We must defend ourselves] against all Indians in general, for that they were all Enemies." This was the unequivocal view of Nathaniel Bacon, a young, wealthy Englishman who had recently settled in the backcountry of Bacon’s Virginia. The opinion that all Indians were enemies was also shared by a many other Virginians, especially those who lived in the interior. It was not the view, however, of the governor of the colony, William Berkeley.

Berkeley was not opposed to fighting Indians who were considered enemies, but attacking friendly Indians, he thought, could lead to what everyone wanted to avoid: a war with "all the Indians against us." Berkeley also didn't trust Bacon's intentions, believing that the upstart's true aim was to stir up trouble among settlers, who were already discontent with the colony's government.

Bacon attracted a large following who, like him, wanted to kill or drive out every Indian in Virginia. In 1675, when Berkeley denied Bacon a commission (the authority to lead soldiers), Bacon took it upon himself to lead his followers in a crusade against the "enemy." They marched to a fort held by a friendly tribe, the Occaneechees, and convinced them to capture warriors from an unfriendly tribe. The Occaneechees returned with captives. Bacon's men killed the captives They then turned to their "allies" and opened fire.

Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel and charged him with treason. Just to be safe, the next time Bacon returned to Jamestown, he brought along fifty armed men. Bacon was still arrested, but Berkeley pardoned him instead of sentencing him to death, the usual punishment for treason.

Still without the commission he felt he deserved, Bacon returned to Jamestown later the same month, but this time accompanied by five hundred men. Berkeley was forced to give Bacon the commission, only to later declare that it was void. Bacon, in the meantime, had continued his fight against Indians. When he learned of the Governor’s declaration, he headed back to Jamestown. The governor immediately fled, along with a few of his supporters, to Virginia's eastern shore.

Each leader tried to muster support. Each promised freedom to slaves and servants who would join their cause. But Bacon's following was much greater than Berkeley's. In September of 1676, Bacon and his men set Jamestown on fire.

The rebellion ended after British authorities sent a royal force to assist in quelling the uprising and arresting scores of committed rebels, white and black. When Bacon suddenly died in October, probably of dysentery, Bacon's Rebellion fizzled out.

Bacon's Rebellion demonstrated that poor whites and poor blacks could be united in a cause. This was a great fear of the ruling class -- what would prevent the poor from uniting to fight them? This fear hastened the transition to racial slavery. (Timeline from the PBS series Africans In America )

All the Indians about the Chesapeake Bay were made tributary to the whites as the result of a campaign against them by Nathaniel Bacon, who defeated and nearly exterminated them in a battle fought on the present site of the city of Richmond, VA (Richard Sylvester, District of Columbia Police, Washington DC 1894, Page 2)

Bacon's Rebellion illustrates class dynamics in the colonies. In 1676 landless, poor, and frontier colonists and other residents of Virginia were mobilized by a wealthy demagogue, Nathaniel Bacon. The rebels set Jamestown ablaze and took over the colonial government. Britain sent an army to restore law and order. The rebellion was a popular, anti-aristocratic uprising--but not just that. The rebels had grievances against their rich and powerful rulers in the east. The elite of seventeenth century Virginia already owned huge tracts within the colony. It served their interests to minimize conflict with Native Americans, so the colonial government they controlled set limits on the settlers' drive west. The rebellion began when Bacon defied the Governor's order by leading attach on friendly Native American villages, stealing furs, slaughtering the inhabitants or taking them into slavery. What the rebels mainly sought was freedom to secure land by killing or driving Native Americans further west. (Lyons, David, The balance of injustice and the War of Independence.., Vol. 45, Monthly Review, 04-01-1994, pp. 17)

Nathaniel Bacon prepared to lead the largest insurrection against a colonial government until the American Revolution, many of the men marching alongside Bacon were black slaves and former black servants. (Lorena S. Walsh. _From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of a Virginia slave Community_. Colonial Williamsburg Studies in Chesapeake History and Culture. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997. Xxii + 335 pp. Illustrations, maps, bibliographical references, and index. $34.95 (paper), ISBN 0-8139-1719-0. Reviewed for H-Review by Karen R. Utz , History Department, University of Alabama-Birmingham)

Journal article states that a central paradox and a challenge to historians of America's colonial past is the simultaneous rise of liberty and equality and the rise of slavery. With particular attention to Jefferson's Virginia, the author offers a tentative resolution of the paradox. In keeping with general 18th-century commonwealth notions, Jefferson feared the presence of large numbers of landless and dependent poor people as antithetical to political liberty and social well-being. Yet, this is what was happening in Virginia before Bacon's Rebellion. Large numbers of young, armed, single white men found themselves working for wages and without much prospect of becoming landowners. They became a source of peril in the society and invited repressive measures by government. Black slavery reduced the need to import white servants, opened opportunities for whites who remained, and enabled Virginia to build its free political institutions upon slavery. 78 notes. (Morgan, Edmund S. Title: Slavery And Freedom: The American Paradox. Journal citation: Journal of American History 1972 59(1): 5-29.)

1680
The system of American slavery developed and became codified beginning in the mid-seventeenth century; by about 1680, it was fully established. Under this system, a slave was chattel--an article of property that could be bought, punished, sold, loaned, used as collateral, or willed to another at an owner's whim. Slaves were not recognized as persons in the eyes of the law; thus they had no legal rights. Slaves could not legally marry, own property, vote, serve as witnesses, serve on juries, or make contracts. The offspring of female slaves also belonged to their owners, regardless of whom their fathers were. (Theresa Anne Murphy, Scholarship On Southern Farms And Plantations 1996 American Studies Department of George Washington University, for the National Park Service Web Page on Slavery)

Since the beginning of the 20th century, historians have disagreed as to whether slavery in colonial Virginia was made politically and psychologically acceptable by an inherent racism among white Europeans, or if slavery emerged as a result of economic factors and racism developed as a consequence of it. What evidence there is indicates that the enslavement of Africans was due to economic requirements for labor, to the inability of Africans to resist slavery, and to European beliefs that Africans were an inferior branch of humanity, suited by their characteristics and circumstances to be lifelong slaves. Based on contemporary philosophical and legal writings, and secondary sources; 130 notes. (Vaughan, Alden T. The Origins Debate: Slavery And Racism In Seventeenth Century Virginia. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1989 97 (3): 311-354.)

While there was much sentiment in North America supporting marriages among slaves, and there was much animosity against masters who separated families through sale, the law was unambiguous on this point. Slaves were property, and therefore could not enter into contracts including contracts of marriage. Jurists also noted that to prevent the sale of separate members of a family would lower the sale price, and this was to tamper with a man's property. Therefore, property rights had to be placed above marriage rights. In contrast, in South America the Church insisted that slave unions be brought within the sacrament of marriage. The Church also strove to limit promiscuous relationships between slaves as well as between masters and slaves, and it encouraged marriage instead of informal mating. Also, the law forbade the separate sale of members of the family, husband, wife, and children under the age of ten. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 3b, North American and South American Slavery)

Typical sermons admonished slaves to be obedient, not to steal, and to remember that "what faults you are guilty of towards your masters and mistresses, are faults done against God himself, who hath set your masters and mistresses over you in His own stead, and expects that you will do for them just as you would do for Him. ("Plantation Agriculture in Southeast USA by Jim Jones West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Cause in African History to 1875 taught Fall 1997; The Decision To Become A Planter. See also John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, New York: Oxford University Press, 1979)

Farming in North America, for example, developed out of traditional farming in the Old World. Corn was soon seen to be a valuable crop and became the dominant grain raised. Tobacco, cotton, and rice, which require many hands to tend, stimulated slavery. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)

1688
Germantown, Pennsylvania- Mennonite Quakers sign an anti-slavery resolution, the first formal protest against slavery in the Western Hemisphere. In 1696 Quakers importing slaves are threatened with expulsion from the Society. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

1692/06/10
Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, the first official execution of the Salem witch trials. Bridget Bishop "I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it." Following her death, accusations of witchcraft escalated, but the trials were not unopposed. Several townspeople signed petitions on behalf of accused people they believed to be innocent. (The Salem Witch Trials 1692 A Chronology of Events )

1698
Parliament opens the slave trade to British merchants, who will in some cases carry on a triangular trade from New England to Africa to the Caribbean islands to New England. The merchant vessels will carry New England rum to African slavers, African slaves on "the middle passage" to the West Indies, and West Indian sugar and molasses to New England for the rum distilleries. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

The colonists imported their manufactured goods from Britain, payment for which had to be made in sterling funds. The colonists gained control over sterling funds as the result of their exports. In the Southern colonies trade between the colonies and Great Britain was direct. A Virginia planter might export his tobacco to Britain, consigning it to a commission merchant who would sell it and place the proceeds to the Virginia planters account. The proceeds produced a fund of sterling money upon which the Virginia planter might draw. Perhaps he accompanied the shipment of his tobacco with an order for goods. His correspondent in Britain would buy the goods and debit his account for the cost. The goods would then be shipped to the colony when the tobacco ships again returned to Virginia. Here no more than a bookkeeping transaction was necessary. If, however, the Virginia planter wished to transfer some of his balance with his London correspondent to Virginia for use in the colony, he might draw a bill of exchange on his correspondent for, say, £100 sterling. The bill was in the nature of an order to his correspondent to pay £100 sterling. The planter then sold the bill at the going rate of exchange to a fellow Virginian who had need of sterling funds to pay an obligation in Britain. The purchaser forwarded the bill to his creditor in Britain, who presented it to the correspondent of the Virginia planter for acceptance--for the custom was to draw bills of exchange payable thirty days after sight. If the correspondent accepted the bill, the creditor then held it for thirty days, at the end of which time he presented it for payment. The rate at which sterling bills were sold in the colonies was determined at any one time by the effective supply of, and demand for, sterling bills. Footnote 11 ( Despite Ernst's statement to the contrary, the author and Ernst have never been at variance on this point. Ernst wrote: "In holding rigidly to the quantity theory [of money] and trying to show how monetary policy influenced overall price levels, historians have tended to ignore the other forces at work at the time and to overlook the seasonal, short-run, and cyclical nature of colonial prices. On the other hand they have also generally failed to take into account the effect on exchange rates of swings in the volume of British loans to America, shifts in British wartime expenditures in the colonies, and changes in the colonies terms of trade and volume of trade. The most important example [of this] is Brock, Currency of the American Colonies, "Ernst, Money and Politics, 6-7. Ernst, in the paragraph quoted, scarcely does justice to the views expressed by in Currency of the American Colonies, where many of the forces that Ernst mentions that affect the price of foreign exchange are discussed by Brock in his Colonial Currency. One may consult pages 58, 62-63, and 352. )

The basic question, however, concerning the effect of currency issues upon exchange rates revolves around the effect of such issues upon the demand for, or, to a lesser degree, the supply of, bills of exchange. In the case of New England and the Middle colonies, where direct trade between the colonies and Britain was at a minimum, it was necessary for the colonies to have recourse to a roundabout trade to procure the necessary bills of exchange and specie to pay their adverse balances with Britain. (The Colonial Currency, Prices, and Exchange Rates Leslie V. Brock Professor Emeritus of History, College of Idaho with Introductory Comments by Ron Michener, Associate Professor Department of Economics, University of Virginia)

Slave trade from 1701 to 1810 (UC Santa Barbara, The Growth of the Slave Trade) England North American Colonies- Slave population is place at 23,000, with 23,000 in the South. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1712/04/07
New York Slave revolt. Nine whites killed, Twenty-one slaves executed. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower) Twenty-three slaves rose up in rebellion because of mistreatment. They killed nine whites before they were defeated. The captured slaves were all either hanged or burnt at the stake. (Dr. Melissa Soldani Africans Americans in America. history Florida State University)

1705
Virginia- The Assembly declares that "no Negro, mulatto, or Indian shall presume to take upon him, act in or exercise any office, ecclesiastic, civil or military." Blacks are forbidden to serve as witness in court cases and are condemned to life-long servitude, unless they either been Christians in their native land or free men in a Christian country. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1712
A slave revolt at New York ends with six whites killed before the militia can restore order; 12 blacks are hanged July 4 (six have hanged themselves). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

The colonial era witnessed two significant slave rebellions. In 1712, some twenty-five slaves armed themselves with guns and clubs and set fire to houses on the northern edge of New York City. They killed the first nine whites who arrived on the scene and then were killed or captured by soldiers. In the aftermath, eighteen participants were executed in the most brutal manner (individuals were burned alive, broken on the wheel, and subjected to other tortures). The event set a pattern for subsequent uprisings - the violence of the retribution far exceeded the mayhem committed by the rebelling slaves. (Slave Rebellions., The Reader's Companion to American History Edited by Eric Foner sources used, Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943); Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution (1979) entry date 01-01-1991.)

1713
The South Sea Company receives asientos to import 4,800 African slaves per year into Spain’s New World colonies for the next 30 years. Founded 2 years ago in anticipation of receiving the asientos, the company is essentially a British finance company, but it begins the most active period of British participation in the slave trade (see 1720). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1715
Maryland State Constitution enforced slavery. (Lisa Cozzens the American Revolution)

1715
Black slaves comprise 24 percent of the Virginia colony’s population, up from less than 5 percent in 1671. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1715
Georgian Style, neoclassical style of architecture and interior design, popular in Great Britain during the reigns of the first four Georges, or from about 1715 to 1820. The style developed from the Roman Palladian style and was largely employed in domestic architecture and in planned sections of towns. Georgian-style architects included Scottish-English architect Robert Adam and English architects John Wood the Elder, John Wood the Younger, Sir William Chambers, and James Gandon. By 1785 the Georgian style was popular in the United States as a native version called the Federal style. The Georgian style was superseded in England by the Greek and Gothic revivals of the 19th century. (Encarta 98 Desk Encyclopedia Microsoft Corporation)

1717
The province of Maryland, in 1717, (ch. 13, s. 5,) passed a law declaring "that if any free Negro or mulatto intermarry with any white woman, or if any white man shall intermarry with any Negro or mulatto woman, such Negro or mulatto shall become a slave during life, excepting mulattos born of white women, who, for such intermarriage, [**38] shall only become servants for seven years, to be disposed of as the justices of the county court, where such marriage so happens, shall think fit; to be applied by them towards the support of a public school within the said county. And any white man or white woman who shall intermarry as aforesaid, with any Negro or mulatto, such white man or white woman shall become servants during the term of seven years, and shall be disposed of by the justices as aforesaid, and be applied to the uses aforesaid." the other colonial law to which we refer was passed by Massachusetts in 1705, (chap, 6.) It is entitled "An act for the better preventing of a spurious and mixed issue," &c.; and it provides, that "if any Negro or mulatto shall presume to smite or strike any person of the English or other Christian nation, such Negro or mulatto shall be severely whipped, at [*409] the discretion of the justices before whom the offender shall be convicted. (Dred Scott, Plaintiff In Error, v. John F.A. Sanford. Supreme Court Of The United States, 60 U.S. 393; 1856 U.S. LEXIS 472; 15 L. Ed. 691; 19 HOW 393, December, 1856)

1720/05/06
South Carolina slave revolt resulted in the death of three whites. (Dr. Melissa Soldani Africans Americans in America. history Florida State University))

1721
Onesimes was the property of a Puritan leader. In 1721 Onesimus developed a cure for the smallpox virus. (The Timeline of African American Contributions to Science, Technology and Medicine. University of California, Irvine, by Cynthia Clark )

1723
Virginia Act directs that where any female mulatto or Indian, by law obliged to serve till thirty or thirty one, shall have a child during her servitude, such child shall serve the same master to the same age. (Howell v. Netherland. Supreme Court Of Virginia, 1770 Va. LEXIS 1; Jeff. 90, April, 1770)

Virginia- The colony enacts laws to limits the increase of free blacks to those who are born into this class or manumitted by special acts of the legislature. Free blacks are denied the right to vote and forbidden to carry weapons of any sort. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis ))

1723-82
A Negro slave could not be freed in Virginia except by acts by the Governor and the Council for "meritorious service." (see Hening, Vol. 4, p 132). This function was taken over by the legislature from 1775 on and slaves could be freed only by special act of the legislature until 1782. The permissive emancipation stature of 1782 (see Hening, vol. II pp 39 & 40) allowed a person to free his Negroes provided he, or his estate if freed by will, were responsible for the support of the sick or crippled, all females under 18 or over 45, and all males under 21, or over 45. (Paper Titled About General Washington's Freed Negroes part of a fax sent by Barbara McMillan of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association to the Society of the Cincinnati. August 26, 1994)

1727: ECONOMY:
"Tobacco notes" Become Legal Tender in Virginia. Tobacco Notes attesting to quality and quantity of one's tobacco kept in public warehouses are authorized as legal tender in Virginia. Used as units of monetary exchange throughout 18th Century. The notes are more convenient than the actual leaf, which had been in use as money for over a century. (Tobacco Timeline by Gene Borio )

1727
Philadelphia- The Junto, a benevolent association founded by Benjamin Franklin, opposes slavery. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1730
Slave conspiracy discovered in Norfolk and Princess Anne counties, Va. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)

1734
The Great Awakening begins in Massachusetts. The movement spreads to other areas, encouraging new religious fervor among both blacks and whites. This movement encourages blacks to join the Methodist and Baptist Churches. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/)

1739
South Carolina- Three black revolts occur, resulting in known deaths to 51 whites and many more slaves. One of the insurrections led by the slave, Cato, results in death of 30 whites. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

1739/09/09
Slave revolt, Stono, S.C., Sept 9. Twenty-five whites killed before insurrection was put down. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)

Cato's Conspiracy, originated in Stono, South Carolina, in 1739. England at this time was at war with Spain, and a group of about eighty slaves took up arms and attempted to march to Spanish Florida, where they expected to find refuge. A battle ensued when they were overtaken by armed whites. Some forty-four blacks and twenty-one whites were killed. (Slave Rebellions., The Reader's Companion to American History Edited by Eric Foner sources used, Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts (1943); Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution (1979) entry date 01-01-1991.)

Escapes into Spanish Florida were among the earliest successful attempts at freedom and community, beginning near the end of the 1600s and concluding only with Andrew Jackson's march into Florida to eradicate the "Negro forts." In 1738, the Spanish governor of Florida offered freedom to British colonial slaves who escaped to St. Augustine. While Spain had long been part of the international slave trade and had used slave labor throughout its colonies, that nation disputed British claims to Georgia and South Carolina and wanted to keep those colonies as disrupted as possible. Encouraging runaways was a good way to do it. After the edict, slaves ran away in groups and singly to Saint Augustine and nearby Florida villages. Georgia advised its citizens to keep a sharp lookout for runaways from South Carolina on their way to Florida and scout boats patrolled the water routes near the Georgia-Florida border. Many of the Florida villages consisted of the remnants of Southeastern Indian tribes, gathered together for survival, who became known as Seminoles. (From 16 Lathan Algerna Windley, A Profile of Runaway Slaves in Virginia and South Carolina from 1730 through 1787, in Graham Hodges, ed., Studies in African American History and Culture (New York: Garland Publishing Company, 1995), 27; Kenneth Porter, "Negroes on the Southern Frontier, 1670-1763," Journal of Negro History 53 (January 1948):53-78 cited in The Underground Railroad In American History by the National Park Service)

1740
The Slavery system in colonial America was fully developed. A Virginia law in that year declared slaves to be "chattel personal in the hands of their owners and possessors for all intents, construction, and purpose whatsoever." (Slavery in America Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995 see )

1741
Series of suspicious fires and reports of slave conspiracy led to general hysteria in New York City, March and April. Thirty-one slaves, five whites executed. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower) New Yorkers charge a "Negro Conspiracy" with having started fires that break out through March and April. Roman Catholic priests are inciting slaves to burn the town on orders from Spain, they say; four whites and 18 blacks are hanged December 31, and 13 blacks are burned at the stake. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

Virginia - The colony amends its 1705 law declaring that blacks cannot serve as witnesses in court cases; it decides, instead, to admit "any free Negro, mulatto, or Indian being a Christian," as a witness in a criminal or civil suit involving another Negro, mulatto, or Indian. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1748
Records of Washington, Parts of the District of Columbia is Part of Frederick County which was formed from Prince Georges County. (Montgomery Country Historical Society)

1749
Fairfax County was dominated by slave labor, the majority of slaves were held in groups of over twenty slaves by old established families, and the large slaveholders governed the county. Much land and many of the slaves wee held by men who lived outside the Fairfax County. It was a slave empire in the classic sense. (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 31-32)

Georgia- Prohibitions on the importation of slaves are repealed in a law which also attempts to protect slaves from cruel treatment and from being hired out. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1750
The English Colonies- Slaves population reaches 236,400 with over 206,000 of the total living south of Pennsylvania. Slaves comprise about 20% of colonies' population, over 40% of Virginia's. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1750
Massachusetts has 63 distilleries producing rum made from molasses supplied in some cases by slave traders who sell it to the Puritan distillers for the capital needed to buy African natives that can be sold to West Indian sugar planters (see 1733). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1751/05/15
The Maryland Assembly appoints commissioners to lay a town on the Potomac River, above the mouth of Rock Creek, on 60 acres of land to be purchased from George Gordon and George Beall. This settlement becomes Georgetown. (DC Homepage "Office of Public Records")

1752
The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar in England and her colonies.

1752
After the death of his half-brother, George Washington purchased his sister-in-laws share in the Mount Vernon estate including 18 slaves. The ledgers and account books which he kept show that he bought slaves whenever possible to replenish the original 18. In the account books of Washington, the entries show that in 1754 he bought two make and a female; in 1756, two males, two females and a child, etc. In 1759, the year in which he was married, his wife Martha, brought him thirty –nine "dower-Negroes." He kept separate records of these Negroes all his life and mentions them as a separate unit in his will. Washington purchased his slaves in Alexandria from Mr. Piper and perhaps in the District in 1770 "went over to Colo. Thos. Moore's Sale and purchased two Negroes. (Matthew T. Mellon, Early American Views on Negro Slavery, Boston 1934, 1969)

Mount Vernon - There are 18 slaves at Mount Vernon at the time George Washington acquires the estate there. Under Washington, the number grows to 200, Washington's record shows a concern for their physical welfare, but vacillation about their right to freedom and his willingness to dispense with their services. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1752/11/04
George Washington a member of Alexandria Masonic Lodge No. 22 took the first step into Masonry on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg. (Charles H. Callahan, Washington, The man and the Mason, George Washington Masonic National memorial Association, 1913)

1755
After the passage of the Transportation Act in 1718, 50,000 convicts were sentenced to foreign exile in the American colonies. The bulk were transported to Maryland and Virginia for sale as servants. By 1755, convicts formed 10% of all adult white males in four of Maryland's most populous counties. Although colonists agonized about the presence of such persons in their midst, they neither worked to cease transportation nor returned convicts to England unpurchased. Socially, convicts occupied a position just above black slaves and just below indentured servants. For the most part, they were ill-treated and exploited. As free, white, and British, the convicts deeply resented their lot as servile laborers in the American colonies. (Ekrich, A. Roger. Exiles In The Promised Land: Covict Labor In The Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake. Maryland Historical Magazine 1987 82(2): 95-122.)

1758
Slaves on William Byrd III's plantation on the Bluestone River in Lunenburg County formed the earliest black church in Virginia. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

Many Africans had little trouble adopting Christianity because it preached many of the same beliefs that were central to African religions--supreme being, creation myths, priest-healers, moral and ethical systems. Christianity's "life after death" was also attractive because it offered the promise that they would someday regain contact with their ancestors. A Baptist missionary to the Yoruba of Nigeria in 1853 observed that they had words for monotheistic god, sin, guilt, sacrifice, intercession, repentance, faith, pardon, adoption; and they believed in heaven and hell. Muslim slaves had even more points of identification with Christianity, since they were used to a religion based on a written text, some of which was the same as that of Christianity (Old Testament). An American minister reported in 1842 that Muslim Africans called God Allah, and Jesus Mohammed. According to them, "the religion is the same, but different countries have different names." ("Plantation Agriculture in Southeast USA by Jim Jones West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Cause in African History to 1875 taught Fall 1997 The Decision To Become A Planter. See also John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, New York: Oxford University Press, 1979)

1758
John Tayloe II completed his great house, Mount Airy, in Richmond County, Virginia. The design was inspired by James Gibbs's (1682-1754) pattern book. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783 )

1759/01/06
Martha married George Washington. The marriage changed George from an ordinary planter to a substantially wealthy landowner. He had resigned his commission in the militia and so, George, Martha, Jacky (4), and Patsy (2) moved into the enlarged and remodeled Mt. Vernon. (Historic Valley Forge, Who served her? Martha Washington by the Independence Hall Association)

1761
Slave traders are excluded from the Society of Friends by American Quakers despite the fact that many Quakers own slaves. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

Despite Quaker opposition to slavery, about 4,000 slaves were brought to Pennsylvania by 1730, most of them owned by English, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish colonists. The census of 1790 showed that the number of African-Americans had increased to about 10,000, of whom about 6,300 had received their freedom. The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States. (Pennsylvania State History, "The Quacker Province: 1681-1776" Pennsylvania state Web page, July 22, 1996)

The Quakers were the first group in America to attack slavery. In his book Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes, John Woolman contended that no one had the right to own another human being. In 1758 the Philadelphia yearly meeting said that slavery was inconsistent with Christianity, and in 1775 Quakers played a dominant role in the formation of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, the first antislavery society in America. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution)

Diane Richardson had a personal interest in this topic: "Two of my ancestors, Abraham and Isaac Op den Graeff (Updegraff), along with Pastorious, wrote the first protest against slavery in the 1690s and presented it to their monthly meeting. The monthly meeting decided that it was too weighty of a question to be decided, and passed the protest to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. They talked about it, but refused to make any decision on it. This is pretty much what happened to the issue for nearly 100 years. Some monthly meetings came out very strongly opposed to slavery, while others tolerated it to some extent until the 1800s. It seems as though the issue would 'take fire' at a meeting for awhile and then lapse. I imagine some of it had to do with visits by traveling Quaker preachers, several of whom were strongly opposed to slavery. (from: ftp://ftp.msstate.edu/pub/docs/history/afrigen/Slavery/quakers-slavery posted by Cgka@aol.com See also Gary B Nash and Jean R Soderlund, "Freedom by Degrees" Oxford NY, 1991 p 43)

1756
The Virginia colony’s population reaches 250,000; more than 40 percent are slaves, up from 24 percent in 1715. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

1759
George Washington, having gained 17,000 acres of farmland and 286 slaves from his new wife, Martha Dandridge Custis (these added to his own 30 slaves), harvests his first tobacco crop. The British market is unimpressed with its quality, and by 1761, Washington is deeply in debt. (Tobacco Timeline by Gene Borio)

1763/02/10
The Treaty of Paris, ending the French and Indian War, was signed. The French relinquished claims to Canada and all land east of the Mississippi except New Orleans. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783 )

1763/10/07
George III signed the Proclamation of 1763, which restricted settlement west of the Appalachians and reserved land for the Indians. Virginians resented limitations on western lands. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1763
The war against France and its Native American allies impressed on Britain the high cost of securing and especially of expanding colonial settlements. The British government imposed new taxes on the colonists. [8] To minimize conflict with Native Americans and reduce its costs, the government sought to check the colonies' westward expansion. Its Proclamation of 1763 prohibited colonial settlement beyond the crest of the Appalachians. Its Quebec Act of 1774 invalidated the colonies' claims to vast Native American lands by assigning territory north of the Ohio to Quebec. These policies became significant sources of conflict between the colonists and the Crown. One of the aims of colonial partisans of independence was to eliminate the British government's limits on expropriation of Native American lands. This helps explain why Native Americans sided mainly with the British against the rebellious colonists, just as they had mainly sided earlier with the French against the British and their colonists. From 1. Francis Jennings, "The Indians' Revolution," in The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism, ed. Alfred F. Young (De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1976 cited in David Lyons, The balance of injustice and the War of Independence, Vol. 45, Monthly Review, 04-01-1994, pp 17)

1763/12/01
Patrick Henry (1736-1799) argued the Parsons' Cause before the Hanover County Court, challenging the Crown's right to nullify colonial laws. This case brought Henry both popular acclaim and political leadership. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1763
Mason and Dixon survey Pennsylvania boundary with Maryland. Part of the original Mason and Dixon's Line was marked by stones that bore on one side the arms of Lord Baltimore and on the other those of William Penn. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)

1764
Massachusetts- Slave ship captions and merchants oppose efforts to raise the price of sugar and molasses, declaring them essential to the slave trade, which they deem the "vital commerce" of New England. But, representing another viewpoint, Samuel Adams refuses the offer of a slave for his sick wife. Though penniless, Adams insists the women be freed before she enters his house. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

1765
Colonial American shipping interests have 28,000 tons of shipping and employ some 4,000 seamen. Exports of tobacco are nearly double in value the exports of bread and flour, with fish, rice, indigo, and wheat next in order of value. The major shippers are the Cabots and Thomas Russell of Boston, Thomas Francis Lewis of New York, and Samuel Butler of Providence. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1765
There were more than 35 newspapers in the colonies. The Stamp Act tried to impose heavy taxes on printed materials. The Stamp Act ignited public protests and publishers were happy to oblige the need for news. Business dominated publishers wanted to capitalize on potential profits, were against taxation without representation, and the loss of liberty. (Selected Review Of Important Media Related Historical Events And Facts. Oklahoma Baptist University)

1766
Virginia planter-miller George Washington ships an unruly slave off to the West Indies to be exchanged for a hogshead of rum and other commodities. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

By the time of Washington's death, (in 1799) more than 300 (314 given by Mt. Vernon) slaves resided at Mount Vernon. Besides the field hands, there were blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, brickmakers, and spinners. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)

Though in death Washington willed that his slaves would be freed upon the death of Martha. The will provided that a special fund, be set up for the support of the aged and infirm. No evidence was found that the executors set up a trust fund as specified in the will. (Paper Titled About General Washington's Freed Negroes part of a fax sent by Barbara McMillan of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association to the Society of the Cincinnati. August 26, 1994, vertical file Society of Cincinnati)

An African American, Samuel Fraunces, was Chief household Steward to President George Washington and Patriot Member of the Holland Lodge Number Eight of New York City – 1762. He was a West Indian black man who was owner and keeper of "Fraunces Tavern," in the Wall Street area of New York City, between 1762-1765 and from 1789 to 1794. (Masonic Documentation: "Ten Thousand Famous Masons." Cited in Joseph Mason Andrew Cox, Great Black men of Masonry, Alpha Books, NY 19822, 1987)

(I)t is usually the large plantations and estates that have been preserved and memorialized as museums and tourist destinations in twentieth century America (Thomas Jefferson's house at Montecello is a very good example of this). When persons wish to travel to see those places where slaves lived and work, they usually end up on large estates. The reality is that in North America--where only about 6% of the slaves transported westward across the Atlantic from Africa were brought--most slaves lived on small and medium sized farms and most masters owned few slaves. In the late eighteenth century, for example, most whites did not own slaves and more than half of Chesapeake slaveowners owned fewer than five slaves. Two of the larger slave owners during this period, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were among the richest persons in their counties. In 1774 Jefferson owned 45 slaves who he kept at Montecello and 142 slaves at six other locations. George Washington held 67 slaves at his own estate in 1786 and owned another 149 distributed at five other farms. Even those who owned a large number of slaves, then, distributed them out into smaller farms rather than concentrating them all together at one place. This pattern of small slave holding remained the norm through the nineteenth century. In 1860, for example, only 2.7% of southern slave holders owned more than 50 slaves and only 0.1% of slave owners held 200 or more slaves. What this meant was that slaves were not concentrated in only a few hands (as in the Caribbean and South America), but more widely spread. The majority of slave owners held less than ten slaves. If we look at these statistics in terms of slaves' experiences, 1/4 of all southern slaves lived on holdings of 1-9 slaves; 1/2 of all southern slaves on holdings of 10-49 slaves; and 1/4 of all southern slaves on holdings of more than 50 slaves.

The primary exception to the norm of small to medium sized holdings of slaves was the sea coast or Low Country area of South Carolina and Georgia, where plantations of rice were generally very large in size and where many slaves lived together on any one plantation. As a result of these patterns of slave holding, a characteristic of North American slavery was the high degree of contact between slaves and masters. When large numbers of slaves were concentrated on a few plantations, as they generally were in the Caribbean and South America (especially Brazil), there were few situations in which masters and slaves even saw each other. In North America, however, masters and slaves generally saw each other daily; masters lived on their farms and worked them along with slaves (as the bosses, of course) but the pattern of slaveholding created conditions in which masters and slaves influenced each other culturally and socially to a much greater extent than elsewhere in the Americas. The dispersal of slaves on North American farms also helps to explain why it was so difficult for slaves to unite in rebellion in North America: they were spread out, not concentrated. By thinking of huge plantations of the past, Americans tend to deny the degree to which Africans and Europeans mixed socially, culturally, and sexually on American farms. Mixing created lasting features of cultural uniformity across important cultural differences; it is one of the distinguishing features of North American slavery in comparison to slavery in other regions of the Americas. (History Museum of Slavery in the Atlantic Web site by Pier M. Larson, an assistant professor of history at the Pennsylvania State University)

For a discussion of sexual relations under slavery see: Katy Riley, Sex Relations Between Female Slaves And Their Masters

1772/06
Less then two weeks after purchasing slaves for his estate, Washington signed a resolution framed by the "Association for the Counteraction of Various Acts of Oppression on the Part of Great Britain." This resolution read in part, "we will not import or bring into the Colony, or cause to be imported or brought into the Colony, either by sea or land, any slaves, or make sale of any upon commission, or purchase any slave or slaves that may be imported by others, after the 1st day of November next, unless the same have been twelve months upon this continent." It is important to not that his resolution neither condemns slaveholding or the slave trade. It appears to have been drafted in a spirit of retaliation and is not in the least inspired by a moral disapproval. (Matthew T. Mellon, Early American Views on Negro Slavery, Boston 1934, 1969)

1772 The Somersett case marks a turning point in British toleration of slavery. James Somersett, one of 10,000 black slaves in Britain, has escaped from his master and been apprehended. Britain’s Lord Chief Justice William Murray, 67, Baron Mansfield, rules after some hesitation June 22 that "as soon as any slave sets foot in England he becomes free" (see 1763; 1787). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

The landmark judgment in the case of Somerset v. Stewart in England, decided by Lord Mansfield in June of 1772, declared the state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only by positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: It's so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged. Thus slavery could not exist in England, regardless of socioeconomic implications, and the final push for statutory abolition began, culminating a half century later an the empire-wide ban. (Charles P.M. Outwin, Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625 – 1791, footnote taken from Catterall, Helen Honor Tunnicliff. Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, vol. I, Cases from the Courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and vol. IV, Cases from the Courts of New England, the Middle States, and the District of Columbia. Washington, D. C., Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1926 & 1936. Page 15)

1772
George Washington was a member of the House of Burgesses which drafted a petition to the throne labeling the importation of slaves into the colonies from the coast of Africa "a trade of great inhumanity" that would endanger the "very existence of your Majesty's American dominions." And two years later he was certainly involved in the composition of the July 1774 Fairfax Resolves one of the resolutions of which recommended that no slaves should be imported into the British colonies. The resolutions took the opportunity of "declaring our most earnest Wishes to see an entire Stop forever put to such a wicked cruel and unnatural Trade." On the other hand in 1772 Washington himself purchased five additional slaves for use on his plantations. (The Papers of George Washington "That Species of Property": Washington's Role in the Controversy Over Slavery Dorothy Twohig, Originally Presented at a Conference on Washington and Slavery at Mount Vernon, October 1994. Note 8 from. John P. Kennedy, ed., Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1770-1772 (Richmond, 1906), 283-84); PGW, Colonial Series, 10:119-28.)

1773
Massachusetts slaves petitioned legislature for freedom, Jan. 6. There is a record of 8 petitions during Revolutionary War period. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)

The African Lodge of Freemasons, which started up in the 1770s in Boston under the leadership of Prince Hall, was considered clandestine by many white Freemasons--although it did receive a charter from the Grand Lodge in England. Among Freemasons, Debates about the authenticity of Prince Hall Masonry persisted into the twentieth century. Two sources you may want to consult: Charles H. Wesley, _Prince Hall. Life and Legacy._ 1977. Joseph A. Walkes, Jr., _Black Square and Compass: 200 Years of Prince Hall Freemasonry._ 1979. (Contributed byJoanna Brooks Department of English UCLA in Electronic Association in Early American Studies Wed, 24 Jun 1998 09:01:42 EDT)

The Prince Hall lodges included a number of distinguished gentlemen on their rosters such as former Supreme Court Justice Marshall, Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, Dr. Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, Mayor Andrew Young of Atlanta, and Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit. Of course, none of these black Masons would be allowed to visit a white Masonic lodge. (Freemasonry's History of Racism, 1996 Acacia Press, Incorporated )

1773/03/07
England ordered all colonial governors to cease granting lands except to veterans of the French and Indian War. In Virginia, Dunmore gave this order the most liberal interpretation possible and included colonial troops as well as regular British Army soldiers. (Colonial Williamsburg's online Historical Almanack. Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1774/05
The Virginia House of Burgesses proposed that an intercolonial congress meet annually in a "convenient" location to discuss the united interests of the colonies. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)

1774/09
The First Continental Congress did agree to a temporary termination of the importation of Africans into the colonies, but, in reality, this was a tactical blow against the British slave trade and not an attack against slavery itself. In an early draft of the Declaration of Independence, the British king was attacked for his in involvement in the slave trade, and he was charged with going against human nature by violating the sacred rights of life and liberty. However, this section was deleted. Apparently, Southern delegates feared that this condemnation of the monarch reflected on them as well. Although neither slavery nor the slave trade was mentioned in the Declaration, it did maintain that all men were created equal and endowed with the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This seeming ambivalence concerning the future of slavery on the part of the Continental Congress left Samuel Johnson's ironic question about American hypocrisy unanswered. From a logical point of view, the Declaration of Independence either affirmed the freedom of the African immigrant, or it denied his humanity. Because each state continued almost as a separate sovereign entity, the Declaration of Independence became a philosophical abstraction, and the status of the African in America was determined independently by each. (The Black Experience In America. Published electronically by its author, Norman Coombs, and Project Gutenberg. (C 1993) by Norman Coombs)

1775
Philadelphia - The Continental Congress bars blacks from the American Revolutionary army.(Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

About one-fifth of the people of the mainland colonies were of African ancestry. Unlike Latin America and the West Indies, North American slaves had a high rate of natural increase. About 250,000 Africans were brought to the mainland colonies before 1775, but the total black population numbered 567,000 on the eve of independence. Most lived as slaves working on tobacco and rice plantations in the Southern colonies. Slaves and some free blacks also lived in the Northern colonies, working on small farms or in cities. ("American Revolution," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

Lord Dunmore, the British governor of Virginia offered to grant freedom to any slave who ran away from his master and joined the British army. Earlier that year, in spite of the fact that both slaves and free men had served at Lexington and Concord, the colonists had shown an increasing reluctance to have any blacks serving in their Army. The Council of War, under Washington's leadership, had unanimously rejected the enlistment of slaves and, by a large majority, it had opposed their recruitment altogether. However, the eager response of many slaves to Lord Dunmore's invitation gradually compelled the colonists to reconsider their stand. Although many colonists felt that the use of slaves was inconsistent with the principles for which the Army was fighting, all the colonies, with the exception of Georgia and South Carolina, eventually recruited slaves as well as freedmen. In most cases, slaves were granted their freedom at the end of their military service. During the war some five thousand blacks served in the Continental Army with the vast majority coming from the North. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution.)

The Pennsylvania Abolition Society is established to protect fugitives and freed blacks unlawfully held in bondage. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)

The first American abolition society is founded in Pennsylvania to free the slaves, whose population below the Mason-Dixon line now exceeds 450,000. Black slaves outnumber colonists two to one in South Carolina, while in Virginia the ratio is about equal. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1775/08/23
George III declared the colonies in a state of rebellion and threatened to deal harshly with traitors. The Virginia Gazette printed the proclamation on November 10. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Site, Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1775/10/12-21
British troops raided areas around Norfolk, Virginia. They captured or destroyed more than 70 cannon hidden by the rebels. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Site, Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1775/10/24
John Adams believes that if the British were to land in Georgia with "arms and cloth, and proclaim freedom to all the Negroes who would join his camp, twenty thousand Negroes would join it from the two Provinces in a fortnight. The Negroes have a wonderful art of communicating intelligence among themselves; it will run several hundred miles in a week or fortnight. They say their only security is this; that all the King's friends, and tools of government, have large plantations, and property in Negroes; so that the slaves of the Tories would be lost, as well as those of the Whigs." (Works of John Adams, vol. 2, p 428 from MacGregor and Nalty, Blacks in the United States Armed Forces, Vol. I, 1977)

1775/11/07
British loyalist Lord John, Earl of Dunmore, Governor-General of the Colony of Virginia, issues Dunmore Proclamation, encouraging indentured servants and free blacks to enlist in British service, Virginia blacks began to flee to British lines in the mistaken belief that British views on slavery varied from those of the slaves' Virginia masters. Most slaves and free blacks who fled to the British continued to be employed in a service capacity, chiefly working as military laborers.[note 10] The emergence of Dunmore's plan to enlist slaves and offer them their freedom and Washington's own desperate need for men in the face of failed recruiting policies and massive desertions, forced him--and Congress--to reconsider their initial positions at least in regard to free blacks. Indeed early in the war an important distinction came to be made in recruiting policies between slaves and free blacks. By 30 Dec. 1775 Washington had altered his views to accommodate the situation, issuing orders that since "Numbers of free Negroes are desirous of enlisting, he gives leave to the recruiting Officers, to entertain them, and promises to lay the matter before the Congress, who he doubts not will approve of it."[note 11] note 10. Virginia enacted stringent regulations to prevent defection by slaves, ranging from execution to transportation to the West Indies. Because the state was required by law to compensate the owners of executed slaves, a more convenient punishment was a sentence to labor in the lead mines of remote Fincastle and Montgomery counties, serving the dual purpose of removing rebellious slaves and contributing to the war effort. See Sylvia R. Frey, "Between Slavery and Freedom: Virginia Blacks in the American Revolution, Journal of Southern History, 49 (1983), 383-85. Indeed the appalling indifference to the plight of former slaves, hit by devastating epidemics of smallpox and by overwork and exposure in British service should not have encouraged enlistment on either side. Rumors, often unsubstantiated, persisted of slaves offered for sale by the British. In Virginia at least slaves were used by the British "as a tool instead of as a weapon" (ibid., 394-95, 398). (The Papers of George Washington "That Species of Property": Washington's Role in the Controversy Over Slavery Dorothy Twohig, Originally Presented at a Conference on Washington and Slavery at Mount Vernon, October 1994) (Dunmore's Proclamation in MacGregor and Nalty, Blacks in the United States Armed Forces, Vol. I, 1977)

Dunmore's strategy was one that he had considered before. In a 1772 report to Lord Dartmouth, the British secretary of state for the colonies, Dunmore had suggested that in case of war with foreign powers, the colonists "trembled at the facility that an enemy would find in procuring Such a body of men." Dunmore had further expressed a belief that the slaves would rise up in huge numbers against their masters, "and therefore are ready to join the first that would encourage them to revenge themselves." [Gerald W. Mullin, Flight and Rebellion: Slave Resistance in Eighteenth-Century Virginia (New York, 1972), p. 131.] Shortly after the Gunpowder Incident in April 1775, Dunmore threatened the Mayor of Williamsburg by stating that he would destroy the town and "proclaim liberty" for slaves in response to civil unrest.

Dunmore misunderstood the slaves' potential motivation. It was not the opportunity to avenge themselves that caused them to join the British, it was the desire to secure freedom. Noted historian Dr. Benjamin Quarles assessed that the slaves "reserved allegiance for whoever made them the best and most concrete offer." [Benjamin Quarles, "The Revolutionary War as a Black Declaration of Independence," in Ira Berlin and Ronald Hoffman, eds., Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (Charlottesville, Va., 1983) pp. 292-293.] The fact that Dunmore was basically in exile on board a ship, did little to motivate large numbers to join him, but, nonetheless, a considerable number made the attempt. When a slave, owned by Robert Brent of Northern Neck, escaped, Brent noted that the slave's action "was long premeditated." Brent also noted that the slave's escape "was from no cause of complaint . . . but from a determined resolution to get liberty, as he conceived, by flying to lord Dunmore." [Virginia Gazette, November 17, 1775, Supplement.]

The number of slaves that actually joined the British is questionable. Dr. Quarles estimates that it may have been about 800. It should be noted, however, that other historians now suggest that this figure may be conservative. Accounts from the period support the view that there may have been considerably more. Robert Carter Nicholas, president of the Virginia Convention, wrote to the Virginia Delegates in Congress that "many of our Natives it is said have been intimidated and compelled to join them [the British] and great Numbers of Slaves from different Quarters have graced their Corps." The British, he continued, are "using every Art to seduce the Negroes." (Letter dated Nov. 25, 1775, quoted in Robert L. Scribner and Brent Terter, eds., Revolutionary Virginia and the Road to Independence, IV: The Committee of Safety and the Balance of Forces ([Charlottesville, Va.], 1978), p. 470.)

Edmund Pendleton, wrote to Richard Lee that "letters mention that slaves flock to him [Dunmore] in abundance; but I hope it is magnified." (from letter dated Edmund, Virginia)]. Even George Washington warned, "Dunmore should be instantly crushed. . . . otherwise like a snowball rolling, his army will get size." (Pendleton to Lee, Nov. 27, 1775, quoted in Mullin, Flight and Rebellion, p. 131; Washington to Joseph Reed, Dec. 15, quoted ibid.)

The decision to join Dunmore and support the British cause must have created tremendous debate and concern throughout the slave community. What factors influenced whether a slave's allegiance was given to the British or the colonists? There are a variety of possible answers. It is likely that the desire for freedom was so overwhelming that the slaves seized the first viable offer. It is also possible that the slaves wanted to show that they were worthy of respect and the rights of citizenry by remaining faithful to the authority of the British government. On the other hand, how does one explain the numbers of blacks, such as Salem Poor, Oliver Cromwell, and Peter Salem, who whole-heartedly supported the colonists? Were their reasons for supporting the American cause the same as white patriots? Possibly. After learning of the death of Crispus Attucks, a free black killed in the Boston Massacre in March 1770, the colonists revered him for having lost his life for liberty. But the slaves must have surely asked, whose liberty? Even as free blacks, the full rights of citizenry were denied African-Americans. Generally, they were still subject to the same curfews and laws that applied to slaves. The only difference between free blacks and slaves in the 18th century was that free blacks had the right to own and protect property.

The decision to join the British or support the patriots was one that surely split some slave families and friendships, just as it did the white citizenry. The American Revolution, for all intents and purposes, was a civil war that affected every member of society in some way. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Site "Don't Wanna Slave No More: African-American Choices in the American Revolution1.")

1775/11/15
After a clear victory at Kemp's Landing near Norfolk, Dunmore issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which declared martial law and freed "all indented Servants, Negroes, or others . . . that are able and willing to bear Arms, they joining His Majesty's forces." Eventually, several hundred African-Americans joined his ranks. The governor also raised the king's standard at the battle site and in Norfolk the next day. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Site, Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1775/12/9
The Battle of Great Bridge was fought between the British 14th Regiment and Woodford's Virginia forces. British deaths and injuries were numerous, while only one Virginian was injured. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Site, Cultural & Political Chronology 1750-1783)

1775-1783
The American Revolution or War of Independence The American Congress, and individual states. finance their war effort overwhelmingly by printing money. This eventually leads to hyperinflation rendering the continentals worthless – but the Revolution is successful. (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1750 – 1799, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p. ISBN 0 7083 1351 5)

1776
Washington DC records east of Rock Creek changed from the jurisdiction of Frederick to Montgomery Country Maryland. (Montgomery County Historical society)

1776
American Revolution. Along "Tobacco Coast" (the Chesapeake), the Revolutionary War was variously known as "The Tobacco War." Growers had found themselves perpetually in debt to British merchants; by 1776, growers owed the mercantile houses millions of pounds. British tobacco taxes are a further grievance. Tobacco helps finance the Revolution by serving as collateral for loans from France. (Tobacco Timeline by Gene Borio )

1776
Britain’s House of Commons hears the first motion to outlaw slavery in Britain and her colonies. David Hartley, 44, calls slavery "contrary to the laws of God and the rights of man," but his motion fails (see 1772; Wilberforce, 1787; 1789). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

1776 Declaration of Independence from Britain. Fifty five signers, Fifty two of whom were known to be Master Masons. (Kenton N Harper, History of the Grand Lodge and of Freemasonry in the District of Columbia. Washington, DC 1911)

"How is it," asked Samuel Johnson, "that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?" The British author was only one of many Europeans who thought it strange that a nation run by slave owners should be so noisily demanding its own freedom. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution)

1776
Washington's writings display no need to denigrate black ability. On the contrary, compared to most of his contemporaries, Washington readily recognized and applauded the talents among the enslaved. In early 1776, he received a poem from a young woman and, "with a view of doing justice to her great poetical Genius, I had a great Mind to publish the Poem." In gratitude for her gift, he invited her to visit his headquarters in Cambridge. The poet was the now famous Phillis Wheatley, who was then an enslaved Bostonian. In writing of and to her, Washington made no reference to her race: a remarkable omission by the standards of his day (and of our own). In private correspondence during the 1780s and 1790s, Washington repeatedly expressed a devout hope that the state governments would legislate "a gradual Abolition of Slavery; It would prevent much future Mischief." (Alan Taylor, Review of "The Good Father, George Washington:" The New Republic 01-19-1998)

1776
Establishment of an independent United States is a set-back for women. Married women are not granted legal status apart from their husbands; women are forbidden from obtaining education beyond elementary school (except for the wealthy) learning anything except domestic tasks owning property keeping earnings from any employment they might have inheriting money or property in their own right obtaining a divorce except in dire circumstances (adultery, desertion, non-support, extreme cruelty) enjoying custody of their children voting, serving on a jury, testifying in a trial being tried by a jury of peers signing legal contract; suing or being sued engaging in public speaking having a voice in the laws that might convict them handling money (in certain states) - in Massachusetts women cannot even serve as treasurers of their sewing societies As states adopt their new constitutions, they more clearly define qualifications for voting (i.e., free, white, male citizen) and exclude women from participating in the democratic experiment; women property owners are even taxed without representation. In 1777 New York, takes away women's right to vote. In 1780, Massachusetts takes away women's right to vote. In 1784 New Hampshire takes away women's right to vote. In 1791, The Constitution is finally ratified without granting women right to vote. The Constitution also sanctions slavery (Article IV, Section 3). (Leslie Blankenship, Woman's Suffrage And Abolition Movement Lest We Forget Publications, P.O. Box 26148 , Trotwood, Ohio 45426-0148 E-mail: lwf@coax.net )

1776/12
Because of the threat of invasion, Congress moved from Philadelphia to Baltimore, Maryland and met in the house of Henry Fite. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)

Travel from Europe to U.S. via ship 50 days. (Selected Review Of Important Media Related Historical Events And Facts.. Oklahoma Baptist University)

1777
Vermont became the first U.S. territory to abolish slavery (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)

1777/03/04
Congress moves back to Philadelphia from Baltimore, but then had to move its meetings to Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania for fear of the British Forces. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)

Rhode Island - A black battalion consisting of 300 former slaves in formed. They are compensated on a par with their white comrades-in-arms and promised freedom after the war. In August, the battalion kills 1000 Hessians and later sees action under Colonel Green at Ponts Bridge in New York. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

1778/10
A law was passed in Virginia, that thereafter no slave should be imported into that Commonwealth by sea or by land, and that every slave who should be imported should become free. A citizen of Virginia purchased in Maryland a slave who belonged to another citizen of Virginia, and removed with the slave to Virginia. The slave sued for her freedom, and recovered it; as may be seen in Wilson v. Isabel, (5 Call's R., 425.) See also Hunter v. Hulsher, (1 Leigh, 172;) and a similar law has been recognized as valid in Maryland, in Stewart v. Oaks, (5 Har. and John., 107.) (Dred Scott, Plaintiff In Error, v. John F. A. Sandford. Supreme Court Of The United States, 60 U.S. 393; 1856 U.S. LEXIS 472; 15 L. Ed. 691; 19 HOW 393, December, 1856)

New York- Alexander Hamilton endorses the plan of South Carolina's Henry Laurens to use slaves as soldiers in the south. "I have not the least doubt that the Negroes will make very excellent soldiers," says Hamilton , ". . . for their natural faculties are as good as ours." Hamilton reminds the Continental Congress that the British will make use of Negroes if the Americans do not. In Hamilton's words: "The best way to counteract the temptations they will hold out, will be to offer them ourselves."(Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1779
Thomas Jefferson, A Bill Concerning Slaves enacted by the Virginia General Assembly by Thomas Jefferson, " If any white woman shall have a child by a Negro or mulatto, she and her child shall depart the commonwealth within one year thereafter. If they fail so to do, the woman shall be out of the protection of the laws, and the child shall be bound out by the Aldermen of the county, in like manner as poor orphans are by law directed to be, and within one year after its term of service expired shall depart the commonwealth, or on failure so to do, shall be out of the protection of the laws. No slave shall go from the tenements of his master, or other person with whom he lives, without a pass, or some letter or token whereby it may appear that he is proceeding by authority from his master, employer, or overseer: If he does, it shall be lawful for any person to apprehend and carry him before a Justice of the Peace, to be by his order punished with stripes, or not, in his discretion. (Thomas Jefferson, A Bill Concerning Slaves, 1779, From the Founders Library)

1779 American recalls its currency to counteract the effect of undermining by Britain. (General Chronology Of Events 1994/1995 Leading Edge Research Group)

Thomas Johnson (1732-1819), finishes term as Governor of Maryland. 1777-1779

1780
Federal Style, in architecture, the dominant phase of neoclassicism in the United States, reaching its peak between 1780 and 1820. Characteristic features include elliptical fanlights; oval interiors; circular, freestanding stairs; freestanding porticoes framed by columns; and slender proportions. Contemporaneous Federal style furniture designs were classically inspired and featured marquetry, veneering, and inlay. (Georgian Style," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation)

In colonial North America, the influence of the Georgian style is evident in very few buildings before the American Revolution. By 1785, however, in the newly formed United States, the Georgian style had become extremely popular in a native version called the Federal style. This evolved into a monumental neoclassical style exemplified by Thomas Jefferson's elegant designs (1817-26) for the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. This version of the Georgian style remained popular for public buildings in the U.S. well into the 20th century. (Georgian Style, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia)

The Federal Style The federal style is more delicate than the colonial style which was so popular during the 1700s. Colonial style buildings were rigidly symmetrical, with the central hall balanced by two rectangular rooms on each side. Although federal style buildings have symmetrical facades, their interiors are far more varied. A main hall may be surrounded by oval, rectangular and circular rooms and may feature a grand spiral staircase. The exteriors of these three-story square structures are characterized by low-pitched, balustraded roofs, and are often surrounded by ornate fences. The massive size of a federal style building, combined with its simplicity, creates a feeling of restrained elegance which was very attractive to the Quakers of New Bedford. (Created by DFinnerty, March 28, 1995, http://www.umassd.edu/SpecialPrograms/DFinnerty/federal.html)

1780
By the Constitution of 1780 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared that persons of color, [**413] descended from African slaves, were by that Constitution made citizens of the State; and such of them as have had the necessary qualifications, have held and exercised the elective franchise, as citizens, from that time to the present. (See Com. v. Aves, 18 Pick. R., 210.) (Dred Scott, Plaintiff In Error, v. John A. Sandford. Supreme Court Of The United States, 60 U.S. 393; 1856 U.S. LEXIS 472; 15 L. Ed. 691; 19 HOW 393, December, 1856)

1780
The first coal mine in America was opened in Virginia, in the Appalachian bituminous field, during the 1750s; the mining of anthracite began in the late 1700s. Extensive mining in the United States commenced about 1820; until 1854 more than half of all the coal that was produced in the U.S. was Pennsylvania anthracite. ("Mining," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia Microsoft Corporation)

Journal article discusses eastern Virginia coal field development. Although free workers were employed in the mines, slave labor was essential to these enterprises, in high- and low-skill jobs. Relates the nature of and the response to mine safety problems, including insurance on the miners. The mines declined when capital investments shifted to the Appalachian area. 2 tables, 60 notes. (Lewis, Ronald L. "The Darkest Abode Of Man": Black Miners In The First Southern Coal Field, 1780-1865. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1979 87 (2): 190-202.)

1780/03/01
Pennsylvania became the first state to abolish slavery. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)

The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States. (Pennsylvania State History, " The Quaker Province: 1681-1776" Pennsylvania state Web page, July 22, 1996 for the text of the Act, see The Avalon Project)

In 1780, "the State of Pennsylvania passed a Law for the gradual abolition of slavery, which they set out at length. The third section enacts, that all persons, as well Negroes and mulattos as others, who shall be born within this State, from and after the passing of this Act, shall not be deemed, and considered as servants for life, or slaves, and that all servitude for life, or slavery of children, in consequence of the slavery of their mothers, in the case of all children born within the State from and after the passing of the Act shall be, and is hereby utterly taken away, extinguished and abolished. By the fourth section, the children of slaves born within the State after the passing of the Act, are to be held by the owners of their mothers, until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-eight years, upon the same terms and conditions, that servants bound by indenture for four years are subject to, unless the person entitled to the service of such child, shall abandon his claim, in which case, the Overseers of the Poor shall be indenture, bind out every such child as an apprentice, for a time not exceeding the age before limited. The fifth section directs, that all slaves, or servants for life, or thirty-one years, shall be registered by their owners, with the Clerk of the County, &c., in which he resides, before the 1st November following, and that no Negro or mulatto now within the State shall be deemed a slave unless his, or her name shall be entered as aforesaid on such Record, expect as after excepted. The tenth section contains the exception, which extends to domestic slaves attending upon Delegates in Congress, Foreign Ministers and Consuls, and persons passing through, or sojourning in the State, and not becoming residents therein, and seamen, &c. employed in ships not belonging to inhabitants of the State." (Spotts v. Gillaspie., Supreme Court Of Virginia, 27 Va. 566; 1828 Va. LEXIS 38; 6 Rand. 566, November 17, 1828)

1780-1810 Almost as many slaves are brought into the Unites States as had been brought in over the previous 160 years. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/)

1780-1781
Virginia: "Tobacco War" waged by Lord Cornwallis to destroy basis of America's credit abroad (Richard Kluger's monumental Ashes to Ashes (RK), The American Tobacco Story cited Tobacco Timeline by Gene Borio Tobacco Timeline by Gene Borio )

1781
Virginia- Black soldiers participate in defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Maroon attacks on plantations and an uprising in Williamsburg are reported. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)

1781/02/02
Property of Loyalists and British subjects confiscated in Maryland (Maryland Historical Chronology)

1781/03/01
The Articles of Confederation were finally ratified by all thirteen colonies.. Maryland was the last to ratify. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)

1782
George Washington is the major slave owner in Fairfax County Virginia that year with 188 slaves, followed by George Mason with 128 slaves; William Fitzhugh with 122 slaves Penelope French and B Dulany with 102 slaves; Thomas Fitzhugh with 91 slaves; Philip Lee with 82 slaves; Alexander Henderson with 72 slaves: Elenor Custis with 65 slaves; and John Carlyle with 49 slaves. (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 35)

1782
The Virginia legislature authorizes manumission of slaves as the "peculiar institution" begins to die out in some parts of the South. Some 10,000 Virginia slaves will be freed in the next 8 years largely because they are too old, ill, or costly for their masters to maintain. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

1783
The United States- The war ends. Some 10,000 blacks had served in the continental armies, 5000 as regular soldiers. The famed "Black Regiment" is deactivated. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History (1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )

Maryland forbids further importation of slaves. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)

Montgomery County Tax records list Col. George Beall's "Addition to the Rock of Dumbarton" consisting of 281.5 acres value at £200, (1300 acres in original grant or deed – 455.5 acres defining in original grant) 1 dwelling house, kitchen, Stable and Negro quarter, 150 acres cleared land. (Records of the Montgomery County Historical Society) Note there was also an entry for George Beall JR on the "Rock of Dumbarton 567 acres valued at 637 pounds, 17 shillings and 6 pence with a log dwelling house, old mill and other log houses 50 acres cleared sapling land and middling soil.

In the middle of the seventeenth century, Colonel Ninian Beall received from the Crown of England extensive grants of land in the upper Potomac Valley. These grants were made at the behest of the second Lord Baltimore in acknowledgement of the services rendered to him by Colonel Beall as the settlement of Maryland in 1634. Of all this vast property the new owner was most enamored of the region in and near the present Georgetown, because topographically it afforded many reminders of his native Scotland, and so he established his hunting lodge here and patented his holdings under the name of Rock of Dumbarton. Nearby was the Indian village of Tohogee which was a permanent encampment, not a nomad tribe, who were skilled craftsmen in stone. The section abounds with relics of their early work. (A Century and a Half of Freemasonry in Georgetown, 1789-1939, Potomac Lodge No. 5, F.A.A.M., Georgetown DC, 1939 page 1)

Steven R Potter, an Archeologist with the National Park Service and author of a book on Alogonquan culture, believes that the Tohogee village was not located near present day Georgetown, but rather somewhere else. His belief is based upon the soon to be published work of J. Frederick Fausz, who has done research on the original 1633 Journal account by Henry Fleet, "A brief Journal of a Voyage in the Barque Warwick to Virginia and other parts of the Continent of America." According to Potter, Fleet's account transcript was defective in the 1871 book by Edward Neal, and further mangled in an account by Raphael Semmes. (Telephone Interview with Steven R. Potter, Washington, DC. May 20th 1998)

Contrary to the story that European Americans have been all too willing to accept, European immigrants came to inhabited territory in North America. Native Americans were numerous and many dwelt in stable communities. They had cleared land on the eastern seaboard and cultivated extensively. Their nations had established territories which were vital to the hunting component of their economies. These facts were evident to European settlers---especially to those who escaped starvation by accepting as gifts the fruits of Native American agriculture. (Lyons, David, The balance of injustice and the War of Independence.., Vol. 45, Monthly Review, 04-01-1994)

Maryland (Montgomery County). Documents. Economic Conditions. Social Conditions The Maryland General Assembly levied an assessment on the state's counties in 1783, and the schedule for Montgomery County provides detailed information on soil and land quality, housing, farm improvements, chattel, demographics, and wealth. A portrait of the county emerges as a relatively barren landscape with soil depleted by continual tobacco crops, poor and landless people, young people forced to seek opportunity elsewhere, and scattered, transitory communities. The high number of slaves, a third of the population, can be explained by their mobility, which made them a better investment than land. The better state of neighboring counties shows that cultural rather than physical factors were responsible for the conditions. (Barnett, Todd H. Tobacco, Planters, Tenants, And Slaves: A Portrait Of Montgomery County In 1783. Maryland Historical Magazine 1994 89(2): 184-203.)

1784
George Washington becomes president of the Potomac Company, which had for its purpose the development of trade and commerce with the West. (H. Paul Caemmerer, The Life of Pierre Charles L'Enfant Planner o the City of Beautiful, The City of Washington, Washington DC, 1950)

In the later part of his life, Washington had to raise funds by selling off most of the Ohio Valley lands that he had acquired at the Indians' expense during the 1760s. (Review of The Good Father By Alan Taylor, George Washington: in The New Republic 01-19-1998)

1785
In Virginia, Carter H. Harrison made a motion, in the 1785 session of the Virginia House of Delegates, to repeal a 1782 act that allowed slave owners to voluntarily manumit their slaves. Harrison thought slavery was a great blessing. Harrison's measure passed by a single vote. James Madison wrote to his brother, Ambrose, that the backward step would not only be dishonorable but would make the dreaded freeing of all slaves that much sooner. Madison dreaded the freeing of all slaves because neither he or Thomas Jefferson thought that it was the proper time to advance the proposition of total emancipation. During that same year, 1785, Madison spoke in favor of a Jefferson bill for the gradual abolition of slavery; it failed. A young French observer, who wrote about this described Madison as, "A young man [who]. . . astonishes . . . his eloquence, his wisdom, and his genius, has had the humanity and courage (for such a proposition requires no small share of courage) to propose a general emancipation of the slaves...." (6 Marquis de Chastellux, Travels in North American the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782, Howard C. Rice, ed. 2 vols. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, for the Institute for Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va., 1963), 653, [from footnote by George Grieve eighteenth century translator].h See James Madison and Slavery by Kenneth M. Clark )

1785/0/11
Congress convened in New York City, first in City Hall and then in Fraunce's Tavern where it continues to sit until the fall of 1788.

1785/10/21
In a letter to George Washington, Governor Thomas Johnson, writes that slaves would be used to build the canals to circumvent Great Falls on the Potomac River. (McPherson-Johnson Papers, Maryland Historical Society Manuscript Collection. Manuscript #1714)

"It was in May 1785 that the gentry of Virginia and Maryland met in Alexandria at Lomax's Tavern on Princess Street to organize the much heralded company to improve the navigation of the Potomac River. Known as the Potomac Company. It was spearheaded by Gen. George Washington who served as its first president. The enterprise was formed to construct a lateral canal around the Great Falls of the Potomac as Matilaville and to improve navigation along this commercial artery as far north ad Cumberland, Maryland. Opened by 1801, the canal linked the western frontier to the eastern ports of Georgetown and Alexandria, thus ensuring that trade would flow east instead of down the Mississippi River. Beset by many problems including labor riots and foul weather, the canal was not a viable financial venture and the company passed into oblivion on August 15, 1828, when it was purchased by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. (William Francis Smith and T. Michael Miller, A Seaport Saga, p 301) In November 1784, the first meeting had Daniel Carroll was elected chair, George Washington elected President, George Gilpin, John Fitzgerald, Thomas Johnson and Thomas Simms Lee, directors, Present were many people including William Deakins, Thomas Beall. Ad on 11/1785, 100 Negroes wanted to work on the canal; (Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia 1780-1820 Vol. 2 Compiled by T. Michael Miller, Lloyd House. P44-46, footnoted Corra Bacon-Foster, "The Patowmack Company, 1784-1828, NY Burt Franklin Press, 1912)

1786/04/12
In 1786, George Washington wrote on behalf of a fellow Virginia slave holder to Robert Morris, a wealthy Philadelphian. Morris was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, served as superintendent of finance for the Continental Congress, and later founded the Bank of America. Washington's letter explained that a Mr. Dalby would be visiting Philadelphia "to attend... a vexatious lawsuit respecting a slave of his, whom a Society of Quakers... have attempted to liberate." Washington pointed out that visitors "whose misfortune it is to have slaves as attendants" would avoid the city if the activities of the Quakers continued. Washington hastened to add "that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of" slavery, but that the "only one proper and effectual mode" for accomplishing abolition would be through the Legislature. He concluded with the opinion that "when slaves who are happy and contented with their present masters, are tampered with and seduced to leave" such action "introduces more evils than it can cure." Washington's letter is believed to be the first documented reference to the Underground Railroad. (From the Public Broadcasting Service's Africans in America Resource Bank ) See also (George Washington to Robert Morris, 12 April 1786, Confederation 4: 15-17. Papers of George Washington editorial project at the University of Virginia, Confederation Series, Volume Four April 1786-January 1787, W.W. Abbot, editor on line)

1786/10/09
"I never mean (unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it) to possess another slave by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country may be abolished by slow, sure and imperceptible degrees."--George Washington, September 9, 1786 (Fritz Hirschfeld , George Washington and Slavery, A Documentary Portrayal, 1997)

1786
1,890 of a total of 18,791 methodists are black. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library)

1787
The Constitutional Convention adopts a "three-fifths rule" as a compromise to settle differences between Northern and Southern states over the counting of slaves for purposes of representation and taxation. Slaves are to be counted as three-fifths of a free man for both purposes. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)

Constitution is approved, extending slavery for 20 years. (The History Channels Chronology of Slavery in America)

Slavery was a fundamental issue in the debates surrounding the creation of the constitution. It was not only an economic issue but also one involving the political compromises and fundamental political powers. The recovery of fugitive slaves, the counting of slaves for congressional representation *and* for electing the president through the electoral college, control of the slave trade, the guarantee of federal troops to put down slave rebellions (used after Nat Turner's Rebellion and John Brown's raid) were all about power relationships, and the use of the national state to protect the social structure, the political power, and the social institutions of the South. (Paul Finkelman, author of Slavery And The Founders Race And Liberty In The Age Of Jefferson, Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe, 1996 posted in The U.S. Constitution and Slavery posted on 11 May 1999 in "Steven Mintz, U. Houston" list SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU)

Careful delineation of all the ramifications of slavery in the Constitutional convention and during the ratification struggle may be found in: Forrest McDonald, _We the People_; Donald Robinson, _Slavery in the Structure of American Politics_; Gary B. Nash, _Race and Revolution_; Duncan J. MacLeod, _Slavery, Race and the American Revolution_; William W. Freehling, _The Reintegration of American History_, ch.2; Herbert J. Storing, "Slavery and the Moral Foundations of the American Republic," in Robert H. Horwitz, ed., _The Moral Foundations of the American Republic_; Paul Finkelman, "Slavery and the Constitutional Convention: Making a Covenant with Death," in Richard Beeman et al., eds., _Beyond Confederation_; Larry Tise, _Proslavery_; and John P. Kaminski, ed., _A Necessary Evil? Slavery and the Debate Over the Constitution_. Charles Beard's work, though pioneering for its time, has since been superseded by these and many other studies. (From: "J. Douglas Deal" posted on SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU History of Slavery Listserv, Tue, 11 May 1999 07:00:39 –0500, moderated by "Steven Mintz, U. Houston" though the original posting appeared on H-Afro-Am, which is moderated by Abdul Alkalimat)

1787
The Free African Society is founded at Philadelphia by freedman Richard Allen, 27, and other blacks who were pulled off their knees in November at a "white" Methodist church. With Absalom Jones and others, Allen establishes the African Methodist Episcopal Church while working to improve the economic and social conditions of American blacks through the Free African Society. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf. Also see http://earlyamerica.com/review/spring97/allen.html)

As a result of the egalitarian notions of the American Revolutionary War and the Great Awakening, there was widespread abolitionist sentiment in southern churches between 1789 and the late 1820s. There is plenty of evidence that some southern planters were uneasy about owning slaves and made every effort to educate and manumit them. During the 1820s, one group of white southerners (American Colonization Society) arranged to transport freed slaves back to a colony on the West African coast in what became the independent country of Liberia. (Slave owners feared that the sight of free blacks would incite slaves to revolt). ("Plantation Agriculture in Southeast USA by Jim Jones West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Cause in African History to 1875 taught Fall 1997 The Decision To Become A Planter. See also John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, New York: Oxford University Press, 1979)

Methodist, John Wesley denounced human bondage as "the sum of all villainies," and early Methodists in Georgia joined their brethren elsewhere in condemning the institution. As the nineteenth century progressed, southern Wesleyans learned to subdue their critique, in order to grow in membership. Even in their most pro-slavery moments, however, they stopped short of saying that human bondage was a good thing. Unlike Calvinist intellectuals such as Charles Colcock Jones, Methodists rarely used the Old Testament patriarchs and their hierarchical values to buttress the pro-slavery case. Relying mainly on the letters attributed to Paul, Georgia Wesleyans argued that slavery was scripturally allowable, but not necessarily ideal. In the ante-bellum era their theoretical position was neither proslavery nor antislavery, but neutrality. Christians lived in an imperfect world where slavery was sanctioned by law; therefore, the church should coexist with slavery, just as it did in Paul's day. However, the Wesleyan religious press refused to carry notices of escaped slaves, claiming that Paul may have sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon, but the sainted apostle "never advertised" that Onesimus was a runaway. (Christopher H. Owen. _The Sacred Flame of Love: Methodism and Society in Nineteenth-Century Georgia_. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1998. xx + 290 pp. Notes, bibliography, and index. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8203-1963-5. Reviewed for H-AmRel by Thomas A. Scott <tscott@ksumail.kennesaw.edu>, Department of History and Philosophy, Kennesaw State University, Georgia)

1787
Dollar currency first introduced in the United States. (General Chonology Of Events 1994/1995 Leading Edge Research Group)

1788/06/17
A British bill designed to restrict the number of slaves carried by each ship, based on the ship’s tonnage, was enacted by Parliament on June 17, 1788; and that year the French abolitionists, inspired by their English counterparts, founded the Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of Blacks). Finally in 1807, the British Parliament passed an act prohibiting British subjects from engaging in the slave trade after March 1, 1808—16 years after the Danes had abolished their trade. In 1811 slave trading was declared a felony punishable by transportation (exile to a penal colony) for all British subjects or foreigners caught trading in British possessions. Britain then assumed most of the responsibility for abolishing the transatlantic slave trade, partly to protect its sugar colonies. In 1815 Portugal accepted £750,000 to restrict the trade to Brazil; and in 1817 Spain accepted £400,000 to abandon the trade to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo. In 1818 Holland and France abolished the trade. After 1824, slave trading was declared tantamount to piracy, and until 1837 participants faced the penalty of death. ("Blacks in Latin America," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)

1788/10/13
Alexandria Lodge No. 39 at Alexandria, Virginia, was warranted by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (Ancient) on February 3, 1783. It was constituted on the 25th of that month and has been in continuous existence ever since that date. The Grand Lodge of Virginia having been formed, October 13, 1778, the Lodge withdrew from Pennsylvania obedience and received a Virginia charter dated April 28, 1788 as Alexandria Lodge No. 22. George Washington, then serving as President of the United States, with his personal consent, was named Worshipful Master in the Virginia charter. Following George Washington's death on December 14, 1799, in 1804, the Grand Lodge approved the change of name to the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, conditioned upon the surrender of the 1788 charter. To this condition, the Lodge objected, not desiring to lose its original Virginia charter in which Washington was named Master. Accordingly, the Grand Lodge of Virginia adopted a resolution in 1805, permitting the change of name with retention of the old charter. (Official Web page: History of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 Maintained by Jack Canard)

1789/04/30
George Washington takes office in New York City, Washington acted carefully and deliberately, aware of the need to build an executive structure that could accommodate future presidents. Hoping to prevent sectionalism from dividing the new nation, he toured the New England states (1789) and the South (1791). An able administrator, he nevertheless failed to heal the widening breach between factions led by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Because he supported many of Hamilton's controversial fiscal policies--the assumption of state debts, the Bank of the United States, and the excise tax--Washington became the target of attacks by Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans. (George Washington, Composite from Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, I Love Washington Guide, by Marilyn J. Appleberg and The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia)

Washington was reelected president in 1792, and the following year the most divisive crisis arising out of the personal and political conflicts within his cabinet occurred--over the issue of American neutrality during the war between England and France. Washington, whose policy of neutrality angered the pro-French Jeffersonian, was horrified by the excesses of the French Revolution and enraged by the tactics of Edmond Genet, the French minister in the United States, which amounted to foreign interference in American politics. Further, with an eye toward developing closer commercial ties with the British, the president agreed with the Hamiltonians on the need for peace with Great Britain. His acceptance of the 1794 Jay's Treaty, which settled outstanding differences between the United States and Britain but which Democratic-Republicans viewed as an abject surrender to British demands, revived vituperation against the president, as did his vigorous upholding of the excise law during the WHISKEY REBELLION in western Pennsylvania. (George Washington, Composite from Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, I Love Washington Guide, by Marilyn J. Appleberg and The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia )

By the time the Revolution broke out in France, there was already a strong hostility to the trade among the educated elite. The Societe des Amis des Noirs, founded in 1788, included among its members not only the philosopher Condorcet (who wrote extensively, under a pseudonym, against slavery), Lafayette, and Brissot, but also Robespierre himself. Opposition to abolition set at least one member of the National Convention, Antoine Barnave, on the road to the guillotine. Ending slavery and the slave trade thus became part of the Revolutionary agenda; and in 1794, after bitter disputes between the deputies, the National Convention finally outlawed the trade. Eight years later, however, after the success of the greatest slave revolt in history on the former colony of Guadeloupe, Napoleon attempted to revive the trade. (He was prompted by Josephine, "the brilliant daughter of Martinique" as Thomas calls her.) His success was only partial and short-lived, but in most subsequent histories of slavery it has been allowed to eclipse the achievements of the revolutionaries. (Anthony Pagden The Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; ; 12-22-1997)

1789 Journal article describes the efforts of the Maryland Abolition Society, founded in 1789, to extend the natural rights principles of the new nation to include African Americans. While Maryland did not abolish slavery, the society's agitations caused the state legislature to loosen restrictions on the slaves' abilities to buy their own freedom and made it more difficult to export slaves from Maryland. The society also filed lawsuits in their effort to free slaves. Men from various social classes were members of the society, which suddenly disappeared in 1798. Based on the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Delegates of Maryland, documents from the Maryland Abolition Society, correspondence, and secondary sources; 24 notes. (Guy, Anita Aidt. The Maryland Abolition Society And The Promotion Of The Ideals Of The New Nation. Maryland Historical Magazine 1989 84(4): 342-349.

George Washington becomes President. John Adams, Vice President.

George Washington began the practice of selecting one newspaper to serve as a political party organ. Thomas Jefferson used the National Intelligencer. Hamilton used the Porcupine Gazette. The New York Evening Post catered to the wealthy Federalist such as Alexander Hamilton. The evening Post went to press with 600 subscribers in 1801. (Selected Review Of Important Media Related Historical Events And Facts. Oklahoma Baptist University)

End of 1619-1789 Chronology of Slavery. See next Chronology segment.

The Chronology is broken up into three parts

  1. 1619 – 1789.
  2. 1790 to 1829
  3. 1830 - the end

Citation information and credit: Chronology on the History of Slavery, Compiled by Eddie Becker 1999, see on line at http://innercity.org/holt/slavechron.html