With the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the new opportunities were endless, and everyone wanted their share of the riches. Spain, England, Portugal all wanted pieces of the New World and were willing to pay the ultimate price in search of gold and glory. Across Europe, Africa, and most of the Old World, slavery has been used in almost every society dating back to before the ancient Greek and Roman empires.
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The need for labor is ultimately what fuels the desire to own slaves to build what would eventually become the Americas that we know today. Just as in their homelands, the people who came to the Americas brought over their version of slavery. For years, Portugal and Spain were enslaving Africans and transporting them all over the world. This is the beginning of the slave trade that will ignite the expansion of agriculture economies in the Southern half of colonial America. In England, and also in the colonies, there was no English law on slavery.
There were indentured servants that would serve for a specified amount of time and then would eventually gain their freedom but none were actual slaves as we know the word today. Even though to the south in Spanish colonies, the slave trade was exploding, the British Colonies did not adopt race based slavery right away. Instead it was a gradual transition from servitude to slavery that also encompassed a transition from slavery based off of individual circumstance to slavery based off of race. This occurred due to a multitude of reasons but two crucial factors were ease of acquiring African slaves and the need for massive amounts of labor.
The discovery of the New World was not only about land, there was also the discovery of all new goods that were otherwise not known to anyone in Europe or Africa. Goods such as tobacco from Virginia or Sugar from the Caribbean were in high demand across Europe and thus resulted in the vast expansion of production in the Americas. Tobacco farms expanded immensely across Virginia due to the states excellent growing conditions. With many people flocking to the Chesapeake region to stake their claim in order to get rich, there was a major need for labor. In the beginning, the English farmers knew that in order to get rich off of tobacco, it would need to be produced in massive quantities. First, the English tried to enslave the Chesapeake tribes that were native to the region. This proved very difficult due to their numbers and knowledge of the region.
At the time in Virginia, land was readily available to anyone who wanted some. This in turn created a huge problem for plantation owners because People who could make a living for themselves from the land had little reason to work for someone else (Clark,
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