Black slavery in America began in 1619, when the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia to work on plantations of tobacco. It was widely spread through English colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries and existed more than 200 years. African slaves were the main labor force that helped to build the economy of the American nation.
Initially, New England had the fewest amount of black slaves, because the residents, who were primarily Puritans, preferred to work on land themselves. Later, however, Puritans were dominating in the slave trade. The British colonies legalized black slavery in Maryland, making it as a life-long condition. In 1670, African slaves got the status of being inheritable and racial in Virginia.
Thus, black slavery was growing and there was a need to regulate it. Due to these regulations and codes, for example, slaves had to be taught to read and write. The research asserts that black slaves had lost all their rights and were treated as property of the whites. Not all slaves worked on plantations and farms. Many of them were working as blacksmiths, dockworkers and domestics. Thus, the population of black slaves had been growing and some cities had 20%-30% of them. In the 18th century, for example, Richmond, the capital of Virginia, had the largest population of blacks than any American city.
Slave owners had absolute control over their slaves and could abuse, assault and kill them without any restriction on their punishment. For example, slaves could be burned alive for their crimes. Black slavery became more entrenched in American law, which was stifling and cruel. Black slave resistance grew in colonial times, but seldom had any results. Slaves` work on sugar cane plantations was very exhausting and led to the high death rate among slaves. The plantations owners did not care about that, they simply bought new, stronger slaves. Despite the hard life conditions, the blacks began to develop their own culture, identity, families, and beliefs. Black developed an independent culture trying to maintain family life.
It is worth mentioning that slavery was not practiced in Great Britain, but the British colonists established it in America, because they need free labor force and servants. They could not rely on the Native Americans, who were very independent and aggressive. Black slaves were the perfect choice for their needs. Actually, the British were not the first in the history to establish slavery. Entire Africa was built on slavery, as well as ancient Rome and Greece, who used slaves and their free labor.
The British needed slaves to develop economy and agriculture in the New World. Black slavery was spread throughout English colonies in America because of two main factors: economics and racism. Racism has been the main issue of African Americans of their struggle for equal rights with the whites. This process is still in progress now in most of the American States till now. Surprisingly, slaves were able to save their national identity and culture regardless their slavery conditions during such a long period of time.
Black slavery has become a significant part of American history. It has benefitted from African slavery labor. Economic exploitation led it to economically developed country. The free labor force contributed to the development of agriculture and economy, besides it was a good business for those, who took part in slave trade. The majority of slaves in the British colonies in America produced the biggest amount of sugar cane, tobacco, cotton, and rice. They also were involved in other working activities, such as servants, woodwork, building-trade, leather work and others.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that though most of historians overview black slavery in America as inhuman, it has made the great contribution into the development of the American economy and agriculture.