What impact did the Indian slave trade have on North America? 

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Indian slave trade, often ignored in high school and even college textbooks, was an important factor in the development of the southern colonies in particular. From the late seventeenth century to the second decade of the eighteenth, when the Tuscarora and Yamassee Wars brought the trade to an end, the Indian slave trade was a major source of labor and capital for the Carolinas and Virginia. The trade was supplied by Indian peoples, including the Yamassee and Westos, who gained slaves through raids on surrounding peoples. The result for Indian peoples throughout the Southeast was endemic warfare, infighting within tribes, and population depletion. Many smaller groups sought refuge with larger groups like the Creeks and Catawbas. For the unfortunate people sold into slavery, most were bound for the Caribbean, and the money made from the trade was used as capital to purchase African slaves, among other things. The trade also existed in the North, where many Indian war captives, most notably the Pequot, were sold into slavery. Indian slavery was another form of unfree labor, which was perhaps the defining feature of life in many of the American colonies.

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