Slavery: Slavery and Virginia Company Essay

Submitted By K_Hanvey
Words: 1130
Pages: 5

Without the thousands of enslaved African’s there would be very little profit in the America’s. The English thrived from the labor of the African’s. The idea of becoming very rich helped cement slavery into the English colonies. The English grew up believing that black was the symbol of evil and a sign of danger and repulsion. The development of slavery came at a time when the ideal picture of beauty was a fair mixture of rose and white. The ethnocentric English saw their culture as superior so it was easy for the English to justify slavery because profits were tremendous. In 1606, King James granted a charter to colonize Virginia, the whole area claimed by England in the New World, to a joint-stock company called the Virginia Company of London. The primary motivation for colonization was the promise of gold. Other motivations were finding a sea passage through the New World to Asia and the indies. In late 1606, the Virginia Company set sail with about 100 male settlers aboard. Three ships landed near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay area. There they founded Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in the New World. The local Indians helped the colonists with food during their first hard winters and taught them how to farm and live off the land. Europeans came to call these Indians as the Powhatan Indians. John Smith, once a soldier, provided much needed leadership to the Jamestown settlers. Smith impressed the Virginia Company and was appointed a member of the resident council. This was a wise move because Smith made a rule that “he that will not work shall not eat.” This rule kept the colonists from starving to death. As time went on hardships continued for the colonists and cultural clashes with the Indians increased. In 1614, a peace settlement ended the first Anglo-Powhatan war. The treaty with the Indians however was not what saved the settlers. It was John Rolfe’s realization that tobacco could be sold profitably in England. This was a critical turning point. As the black population grew after 1660 and the demand for a steady labor force became critical, white planters adopted the institution of chattel slavery. It was not until the reign of Queen Elizabeth that Englishmen came to realize that overseas exploration and plantations could bring home wealth, power, glory, and fascinating information. Tobacco plantations played a big role in the enslavement of African’s. Tobacco plantation economies became the first thing to save the south and provide wealth for the colonists. In 1619 a Dutch ship stopped in Jamestown and dropped off twenty Africans, establishing the beginning of the North American slave system. The origins of slavery can be traced back much further than the eighteenth and nineteenth century plantations in the southern United States. The Spanish and Portuguese model of slavery was critical for the development of slavery in the New World. In the African system, slavery was not generational. A child did not become a slave to his mother’s owner. Also, under the African system, slaves were not defined as property. As demand for labor increased, indentured servants were the first thing to come to mind. During their servitude, individuals received food, shelter, and clothing and upon completing their service they were issued “freedom dues.” Newly released indentured servants were free to make their own living in the New World. Horrific conditions on slave voyages limited the number of slaves that arrived on the mainland. These voyages each carried hundreds of African slaves chained by their neck on the cargo deck. In a lot of cases the saves were so crowded that they had to lay on their back for the entire trip. Some captains allowed the slaves to be washed regularly, but harsher captains kept the slaves captive and had them lay in their own excrement for the three to six month voyage. By the early 1620’s the tobacco boom made it apparent that slaves