Slavery and Servitude in the Colonies

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Why were slaves brought to the colonies?

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Slaves were brought to the colonies in order to solve a labor shortage problem on the major plantations. Sugar, tobacco, and cotton are very labor-intensive crops. Indentured servants would often die of malaria or yellow fever before their period of indenture ended. Those that survived were freed to pursue their...

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Slaves were brought to the colonies in order to solve a labor shortage problem on the major plantations. Sugar, tobacco, and cotton are very labor-intensive crops. Indentured servants would often die of malaria or yellow fever before their period of indenture ended. Those that survived were freed to pursue their own interests, thus leaving a void in the workforce. The early colonists tried using Native Americans, but the Native Americans often escaped back to their own people or contracted European diseases and died. They were also unfamiliar with European farming practices. Those desiring slaves in the American colonies and the Caribbean then turned to African slaves. The first of these were bought from Dutch merchants. African slaves were familiar with European-style agriculture. They also had some immunity to tropical diseases. They could be kept as slaves until they died, and their children could also be used in the plantation labor force. Slavery allowed the major plantations of the South and the Caribbean to thrive, much to the detriment of the United States's future political stability.

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