How did slavery begin in America?
In regard to North America, slavery began by accident. The
English Colonist arrived at Jamestown in 1607. They began importing
White endentured servants from England but as many as 50% of the
White servants died in the fields from disease or the harsh
conditions of the environment that were drastically different from
the cool and damp environment of England.
Virginia Governor George Argall supported piracy although it was
illegal. He commissioned the ship Treasurer to go to the West
Indies and pirate Portuguese and Spanish ships. In August 1619 the
Tresurer met up with the White Lion, an English ship flying a Dutch
flag, and they agreed to partner and attack ships.
The first ship thay attacked was the Sao Joa Bautista, a
Portuguese ship laden with enslaved Africans headed for Mexico. The
two ships mistook the slave ship for a merchant ship. After
capturiing the Bautista, they found their cargo to be Africans. So
the attack would not be futile they took 60 Africans and headed to
Virginina where the White Lion traded 20 and odd Negroes for food
at Point Comfort, today's Fort Monroe in Hampton, VA.
There would not be another slave ship landing in Virginia until
1628. During those first nine years the plantations that had
acquired the negroes reaped the benefits of free labor and
prospering tobacco crops to be sold in England. Slavery then began
to grow and by 1860 there were 4 million slaves in North America.
So what began as an accidental attack on a slave ship, led to
slavery in North America.