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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - January 29.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Dana Weiner

HI330 Lecture – Chesapeake Slaves’ Lives January 29, 2013 Chesapeake Slaves’ Lives -Most owned fewer than 5 slaves and most of them worked closely with their owners but over time there were larger plantations and masters didn’t see their slaves  more characteristic of Virginia and Maryland -Owners with larger number of slaves would divide them into smaller numbers – thought they might be in danger of a slave rebellion if they allowed too many to live together -Over time, as the percentage newly arrived from African declined in the slave population, larger concentrations of slaves became more common -Work -Before the mid 18 century, nearly all slaves worked in the fields -Usually worked for dawn and dusk for breaks for food and rest and during the colonial era they didn’t work Sundays -Many men saw men as women’s work and many avoided trying to do it -Post 1750 – see more specialization among the slave population and some males had skilled jobs on the plantation (tanning, shoe making, etc) -Slave women had less access to these specializations – they were mostly in the home caring for children, cooking, cleaning, etc The Changing Labour Profile *Over time, the development of slavery altered and affected almost all aspects of society -1750 -Virginia and Maryland: 61% of slaves in BNA -South Carolina and Georgia : 17% of slaves in BNA -40 000 in the rice producing areas -Huge leap in the number of slave people and most of the slaves in BNA are in VA and MD -Biggest change over time – Northern and middle colonies had slavery before the Revolution and did not after -Largest institution of slavery changed over time -In the south, the economic development depended on slavery -1680 – Africans were 7% VA and MD population -1780: nearly 40% -Whites -Economy depended on slave labour -Punishment -New control as the slave populations grew -Grew harsher and harsher over time -Slaves having ears cut off, disfiguring punishments and whipping -Where are the free blacks? -As slavery grew there was a smaller population of free blacks in the colonies Slave System – the Lowcountry – The Carolinas and Georgia -Developed a distinctive slave society -What makes this slave region unique -More focused on rice rather than tobacco (main staple crop) -The influence of the West Indian plantation system was much stronger here than in the Chesapeake -Carolinas in particular were an outpost of the West Indies initially Deep South Origins -Similarities with the Deep South and the Chesapeake -Their beginnings -South Carolina was the oldest of the Colonies in the Deep South region and was the most important and influential -South Carolina: 1670 -Violence, slavery – absolutely central to the beginning -“Colony of a colony” -Founders? -Close ties with the West Indies -First settlers were mostly immigrants from the West Indies (Barbados, etc) -Resembled the West Indies more than other colonies -Islands were fairly small and didn’t have as much space for harvesting lumber, etc and they were also supplying the West Indies with beef -Barbados was over crowded by the 1650s so they needed another way to get food -Strategic location -The British Crown intended it as a barrier to protect the Chesapeake colonies to protect it from the French and the Spanish to the South and the East -Substandard land: -Coast  milaria, subject to flooding -Inland  sandy land, not good for growing, settling, etc Deep South Prosperity -Charleston – largest port city of the South -Population -Small number of white elites -Small leading, very wealthy white elite and many had been slave holders in Barbados and brought slaves with them -Few indentured servants -Small number of white indentured servants -Majority was the large non-free black population -White indentured servants would not want to come here because there was much less opportunity for advancement here than much of the other colonies -Sub-tropical climate and unattractive to white settlers and made the colony more dependent on black labour -18 century slaves (indentured servants) -1708: over 50% of the population of the Carolinas was enslaved -Cash Crop? -Rice: 1695 -Successful and profitable crop -Slaves from particular areas of West Africa that have grown rice for years -Indigo: 1740s -Plan dye – dark blue -Never rivals rice in the long term -High demand for slaves and land Early Disputes over Slavery -Slave malaria resistance (sickle cell anemia) -Genetics -> some people were more resistant to malaria and more suited to rice production than others – some use this to explain why slavery was a natural solution/reaction (their reasoning) -Deep South slaveholders -Arguments arise earlier that slavery was natural -Virginia slaveholders -Unnecessary evil – but knew that it wasn’t really ok -Slaves: high mortality rate -Despite malaria resistance -Over work, malnutrition and mistreatment -Wasn’t a natural increase of the slave population until just before the Revolution -Georgia, 1732 -Originally founded without slavery -Founded as a slave-free colony -Refuge for debtors and criminals -Idea was to have this neutral zone between Chesapeake and Spanish colonies -Refuge for England’s poor and a place for them to become virtuous from their own labour -Saw that slavery would create disadvantaged to the white slave owners there and they initially rejected it -By 1749 – had economic difficulties that could not compete with the colonies beside them -Before the American Revolution – Georgia had the same number of slave blacks and free whites -Georgia – failed experiment for having a free society in the Deep South Massive Slavery -North and South Carolinians – enslaves more Native people than any other BNA -Exported Native slaves to the West Indies and other areas of the colonies----- -1720, regions 70% Black -W. African Cultures -Work schedules – absentee landowner
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