A basic history education of slavery in the United States focuses primarily on the South, cash crops, and the Civil War. However, as Wendy Warren's new book New England Bound: Slavery And Colonization In Early America discusses, slavery arrived in America before the United States was even formed and it started in the New England colonies. Using original documents from the 1600s, including ledgers, letters, and wills, Warren explains how chattel slavery in these early colonies not only included African slaves but Native Americans as well.
That's right. Indians were enslaved. It's not the primary objective of the English when they go to North America. What they want is the land. But the - there are Indians all over North America, of course, and they're not readily usable, I guess, as labor in the way that the Spanish - so the Spanish in Latin America encounter sedentary civilizations, large sedentary civilizations, and by sort of allying or co-opting the authorities who are already in charge of those sedentary civilizations, they are able to harness the labor to their own ends.
But that doesn't exist in North America. You have much more mobile populations, smaller, more scattered populations. And they're not useful as a labor force. The English, moreover, want the land really. They want to settle. They want to establish what we call a settler colony, where large numbers of English people come over of both sexes and what they want is to establish sort of satellite little Englands or New Englands. In that sense, Indians are in the way. Some of them are removed by wars. So a very bloody process of...Killed or displaced. Some, it turns out, are actually sold, war captives. About a thousand at least, maybe, are sold to the West Indies, part of the Atlantic slave trade.
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