How was slavery legalized in English colonies like Virginia, Maryland and Barbados

The English Colonies

Lands “claimed” by Spain, France, Holland, Sweden, and Great Britain

Notice that “claimed” land does not mean “controlled” land.

Three different approaches to empire building



Large institutions (missions, presidios)

Church, state and military interconnected

Based on encomienda system

Indian labor

Mestizaje (mix between Spanish and Indian)


Late arrivals

Smaller colonies




Proprietary colonies (when king provides large areas of land to an individual to govern)

Mainly Protestant



Less interested


Few colonists

Alliances with natives

Trappers would marry and live among Indians

Fewer colonists

Early English Northern Colonies

English attempt to settle the northeastern coast of the United States.

This region is now known as New England.

Six colonies appeared in the region between 1620 and 1640, settled by thousands of people fleeing religious, political, and economic upheavals in England.

Native Groups in the Northeast

Many groups existed in the northeast area of North America by the late-1600s. As you read through the readings, think about what the groups had in common and how they were different. Were there any ways to avoid the conflicts with American Indian groups?

Wars in Old and New England

Locate the significance of the following:

The English Civil War (1640s-1660)

King Philip’s or Metacom’s War (1675-1676)

Bacon’s Rebellion (1675-1676)

III. Pilgrims and Puritans Settle New England

E. Wars in Old and New England

2. The English civil war—In the 1640s, England, in the midst of a civil war, neglected its colonies. Puritans led by Oliver Cromwell had overthrown the monarchy and established a republican commonwealth. After the English civil war, the restored monarchy redirected its attention to North America, acquiring New Amsterdam from the Dutch, renaming it New York, and growing increasingly dominant in trade, population, and politics on the continent.

3. King Philip’s War—In 1671 the English sought to exert more complete control over the Wampanoags and demanded that they surrender their weapons. The Wampanoags raided English communities, and English authorities retaliated. Metacom, the leader known as King Philip by the English, tried to force the English out. Metacom forged an alliance with the Narragansett and the Nipmuck Indians. The ensuing war was brutal and bloody, almost completely annihilating Native Americans in New England.

The English Seek an Empire

English Competed for West Indies Possessions by:

Creating a settlement in Barbados

Shifting the to sugar cultivation

II. The English Seek an Empire

D. The English Compete for West Indies Possessions

1. English settlement in Barbados—Hoping to gain a foothold in the West Indies, the English gravitated to Barbados, where they brought indentured servants, planted tobacco and cotton, and raised livestock. The English saw their stake in Barbados waver as tobacco prices declined.

2. Sugar cultivation—Planters mitigated their losses by shifting Barbadian agriculture over to sugarcane. This transformation generated economic growth in Europe through the refinement industry, and English planters, by the 1640s, were at the center of the growing sugar economy.

Expansion, Rebellion, and the Emergence of Slavery

Expansion, Rebellion, and the Emergence of Slavery

Maryland established in 1632 as a Catholic refuge

How was slavery legalized in English colonies like Virginia, Maryland and Barbados?

What were conditions like for indentured servants in the Chesapeake?

Plot out the causes and effects of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1675.

II. The English Seek an Empire

C. Expansion, Rebellion, and the Emergence of Slavery

1. Maryland—Established by King Charles I in 1632, the Maryland colony was established as a refuge for Catholics; in 1649 the Maryland assembly passed the Act of Religious Toleration, ensuring religious freedom for Christians.

2. Legalization of slavery—In addition to indentured servants, both Virginia and Maryland relied on African laborers to contribute to tobacco cultivation. In 1660 the House of Burgesses passed a law in Virginia that African laborers could be enslaved; Maryland passed a similar law four years later. The expansion of slavery gradually reduced the status of Africans to chattel.

3. Indentured servitude in the Chesapeake—Though it differed from slavery, indentured servitude was harsh and cruel: servants were beaten and suffered extreme abuse and female servants who became pregnant had contracts extended. Abuses of the indentured servitude system fostered rebellion.

4. Causes and effects of Bacon’s Rebellion—Former servants struggled and expressed resentment toward their former masters. Those who went west met hostile Indians and received no support from Governor Sir William Berkeley. In 1675 Nathaniel Bacon organized former servants and led an attack on all Indians, allies or not. After being charged with treason, Bacon marched his followers through Jamestown and burned the capital to the ground. Berkeley remained in power, but Bacon’s Rebellion did significant damage to the English relationship with Indians and hastened the transition to widespread use of African slaves rather than indentured servants.

Defining slavery

Barbados passed a Slave Code in 1661 that lays the ground work for how English colonies will legalize slavery.

What would be possible consequences of Virginia defining slavery as inherited from the status of the mother in 1662?

Note the “goods” that were traded in the Atlantic’s mercantile economies.

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