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HIST311: The Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1500-1900

Unit 5: New World Slave Societies  

New World slave societies were highly varied colonial outposts of powerful European empires. Many of these colonies turned to African slave labor after two other sources of labor – native Amerindians and European indentured servants – succumbed to death and disease. Although African laborers were used throughout the Caribbean, mainland North America and Central and South America, the nature of enslavement and the role of African laborers in each society varied widely. There were many reasons for this. First, the nature of slavery depended upon the goods being produced; slavery on sugar plantations in Barbados, for example, was far different than slavery in the gold mines of Peru. Second, New World societies often perceived slavery (and slaves) differently. In some colonies, for example, manumission (release from slavery) was more common and accepted than in others. And third, many New World societies were shaped by their importation of slaves from specific regions in Africa. Rice planters in the Carolinas, for example, wanted to import African ethnic groups who had experience growing rice in Africa.

In this unit, we will compare and contrast the slave societies that emerged in the New World between the 16th and 18th centuries. We will consider how African ethnicities, plantation production, and colonists’ perception of enslavement all contributed to the development of highly varied New World slave societies.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 13.25 hours.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 4.5 hours ☐    Subunit 5.1.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.3: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 5.5 hours ☐    Introduction: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.1: 0.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.2: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4: 2.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify and discuss the nature, characteristics, and factors that contributed to the development of New World slave societies; and - identify, compare, and contrast the emerging slave societies in the New World in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as discuss their impact on the Atlantic slave trade.

5.1 British and French America   5.1.1 Growth of the Slave Labor System in British America   - Reading: George Mason University’s History Matters: “‘They That Are Born There Talk Good English’: Hugh Jones Describes Virginia’s Slave Society, 1724’” Link: George Mason University’s History Matters: “‘They That Are Born There Talk Good English’: Hugh Jones Describes Virginia’s Slave Society, 1724” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this selection. In this document, Hugh Jones describes the beginnings of African-American culture as slavery spread in the Chesapeake. Virginia’s slave population grew from 3,000 in 1680 to 27,000 in 1720. Jones depicts the enslaved population’s contact with whites, the growth of a smaller group that spoke English, and the emergence of strong kinship bonds among enslaved people.

 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation from the Public Domain. This resource has been dedicated
to the Public Domain under a [Creative Commons Public Domain
Dedication 1.0
Universal](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). 
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage's “First Hand Views of Slavery”

    Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage's “First Hand Views of Slavery” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read Theodore Weld’s excerpt from Slavery As It Is and Frances Anne Kemble’s excerpt. As you read, consider the following questions: How do Weld and Kemble describe the work they performed, the conditions under which they performed their work, and their overseers and masters? In what ways did Weld and Kemble’s experiences differ? In what ways were they similar?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 3 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 Freedom and Slavery in British America   - Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Colonial Life: Faith, Family, Work”

Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s [“Colonial Life: Faith,
Family,
Work”](http://www.sageamericanhistory.net/colonial/topics/colonialsociety.html)
(HTML)


 Instructions: Scroll down to read the “Slavery in the Colonial
World” section. As you read, consider the following questions: How
and why did the institution of  
 slavery come to consist of lifetime slavery in British North
American colonies? Besides the slave trade, what accounts for an
increase in the slave population?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 30 minutes.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.3 French America   - Reading: National Park Service’s African American Heritage and Ethnography: “Africans in French America”

Link: National Park Service’s *African American Heritage and
Ethnography*: [“Africans in French
America”](http://www.nps.gov/history/ethnography/aah/aaheritage/FrenchAmA.htm)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article to get a sense of the system of
slavery in French colonies in North America, particularly in
Louisiana.


 Reading this article should take approximately 45 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 The West Indies   - Reading: Alexander Falconbridge’s “Various Deceptions Are Used in the Disposal of Sick Slaves” Link: Alexander Falconbridge’s “Various Deceptions Are Used in the Disposal of Sick Slaves” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this slave narrative. As you read, consider the following questions: What is sale by scramble, and how does Falconbridge describe it? What deceptions were used to sell sick slaves?
 
Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.1 The Sugar Revolution   - Reading: Sandra W. Meditz and Dennis M. Hanratty (eds.)’s Caribbean Islands: A Country Study: “The Sugar Revolutions and Slavery”

Link: Sandra W. Meditz and Dennis M. Hanratty (eds.)’s *Caribbean
Islands: A Country Study*: [“The Sugar Revolutions and
Slavery”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST-311-5.2.1-The-Sugar-Revolutions.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article to get a sense of how the sugar
revolution in the Caribbean influenced the rise of the Atlantic
slave trade and the rise of the plantation complex. This reading
partially covers the topic outlined in subunit 6.2.5.


 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation from the Public Domain. This resource has been dedicated
to the Public Domain under a [Creative Commons Public Domain
Dedication 1.0
Universal](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). 

5.2.2 Slavery and Slave Labor   - Reading: Emory University: David Eltis’s “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” Link: Emory University: David Eltis’s “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” (PDF)

 Instructions: This article provides a general history of the
African slave trade.  

 Reading this article should take you approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: This resource was reposted by The Saylor Foundation
under a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United
States License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/).
It is attributed to David Eltis and the original version can be
found
[here](http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/assessment/essays-intro-01.faces) (HTML). 
  • Reading: Emory University: Stephen D. Behrendt’s “Seasonality in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” Link: Emory University: Stephen D. Behrendt’s “Seasonality in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade” (PDF) 

    Instructions: This article examines the trade patterns and exchange systems of the African slave trade.

    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: This resource was reposted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to David Eltis and the original version can be found here (HTML).

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: James Stirling’s “The Life of Plantation Field Hands, 1857”

    Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: James Stirling’s “The Life of Plantation Field Hands, 1857” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this primary source document. As you read, consider the following questions: According to Stirling, what is the most important factor influencing the well-being of slaves? How does he describe the conditions of houseservants? How does he describe the conditions of fieldhands? What is the primary interest of an overseer? In Stirling’s opinion, which category of slaves are the best off?

    Reading this article and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Perceptions of Slavery   - Reading: C. Ingersoll’s “African Slavery in America” Link: C. Ingersoll’s “African Slavery in America” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read this document. As you read, consider the
following questions: How does Ingersoll describe Britain’s position
on slavery? How did this position change over time? How many
sovereign states permit slavery, and on what grounds do slaveholders
in those states claim their right to hold slaves? Why does Ingersoll
argue that the end of slavery “would be a tremendous catastrophe”?
How does he characterize the calls for abolition? What role does he
ascribe to England in the development of American slavery? How does
Ingersoll describe the history of the American abolition movement?
What groups or individuals play a leading role in this movement? In
what ways were slavery and its abolition a key political issue from
the beginning of the nation to the time at which Ingersoll writes?
What role did the annexation of Texas play in the controversy over
slavery? In what ways were foreign nations involved in the
controversy over slavery in the United States? According to
Ingersoll, why must slavery be an issue for individual states to
decide and regulate?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 4 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Spanish America   5.3.1 Africans in Spanish America   - Reading: National Park Service’s African American Heritage and Ethnography: “Africans in Spanish America”

Link: National Park Service’s *African American Heritage and
Ethnography*: [“Africans in Spanish
America”](http://www.nps.gov/history/ethnography/aah/aaheritage/SpanishAmA.htm)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article to get a sense of the role of
African slaves in Spain and Spanish America.


 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.2 Slavery in New Spain   - Reading: National Humanities Center’s “Enslaved Africans in Mexico”

Link: National Humanities Center’s [“Enslaved Africans in
Mexico”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-5.3.2-Enslaved-Africans-in-Mexico.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the introductory information and the primary
source text. This material, a primary source document from 1537,
will give you a sense of the problems and the violence precipitated
by Spain’s importation of African slaves into its colonies.


 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation from the Public Domain. This resource has been dedicated
to the Public Domain under a [Creative Commons Public Domain
Dedication 1.0
Universal](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/). 

5.3.3 Slavery in Hispaniola   - Reading: Anti-Slavery International’s Breaking the Silence Project: “Slave Routes: Dominican Republic”

Link: Anti-Slavery International’s Breaking the Silence Project:
“[Slave Routes: Dominican
Republic](http://old.antislavery.org/breakingthesilence/slave_routes/slave_routes_dominicanrepublic.shtml)” (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read this article. As you read, consider the
following questions: When and why did the Spanish on Hispaniola turn
to enslaved Africans as a labor force? What role did slaves play in
the construction of Hispaniola’s capital Santo Domingo? How many
enslaved Africans came to Santo Domingo in its first 20 years of
existence? Describe the two economic systems that co-existed on
Hispaniola after the arrival of the French and the Treaty of
Renswyk. What was the ratio of enslaved to free persons in each
system?  

 Reading this article and answering the questions above should take
approximately 15 minutes.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.4 Portuguese America (Brazil)   5.4.1 Gold and Sugarcane   - Reading: Country Studies US: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) Brazil: A Country Study: “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming”

Link: Country Studies US: Rex A. Hudson’s (ed.) *Brazil: A Country
Study:* [“Gold Mining Displaces Cane
Farming”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST311-5.4.1-Gold-Mining-Displaces-Cane-Farming.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read this section for information on how the
discovery of gold in colonial Brazil began supplanting the sugar
economy.


 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation from the Public Domain. This resource has been dedicated
to the Public Domain under a [Creative Commons Public Domain
Dedication 1.0
Universal](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/).

5.4.2 Slavery in Brazil   - Reading: Mediations: Dr. Luiz Felipe de Alencastro’s “Brazil in the South Atlantic, 1550–1850”

Link: Mediations: Dr. Luiz Felipe de Alencastro’s [“Brazil in the
South Atlantic,
1550–1850”](http://mediationsjournal.org/articles/brazil-in-the-south-atlantic)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the journal article for an overview of Brazil’s
role in the slave trade, the development of the plantation complex,
and the rise of African slavery.


 Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource has been reposted by The Saylor
Foundation with permission for educational, noncommercial use by
Mediations. It can be viewed in its original form
[here](http://mediationsjournal.org/articles/brazil-in-the-south-atlantic) (HTML).
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without the explicit permission from the
copyright holder.