Slavery existed in each of the thirteen original colonies, though it was far more widespread in the southern colonies (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) than further north. The southern colonies depended on staple crops--tobacco in Virginia and rice in the eastern Carolinas and Georgia--and deemed enslaved labor the most profitable means of cultivating them. Further north, enslaved people worked as servants and in other jobs, like dockworkers. New York City had a very large enslaved population throughout the colonial period. But in New England in particular, there were only very small numbers of slaves, and slavery was first outlawed--by a series of state court decisions--in Massachusetts in 1781-83, after the American Revolutionary War. Other states followed over the next few decades with gradual emancipation schemes, and by the 1840s, the institution was illegal everywhere north of the Chesapeake. But none of the original thirteen colonies banned slavery before the Revolution.