Origins of Slavery in Virginia
Slavery in Virginia was a trend that spread throughout the state. Many factors made slavery possible in Virginia. Some key factors that lead to the development of slavery was the supply of labor, the cost of labor, the life span of colonist, the fear of lower class rebellion, the legal structure, and racism.
The supply of labor in Virginia before the 1660’s was mostly done my indentured servants. Indentured servants were males usually under 25, single, and lacked land in England and came to America for a new beginning. Indentured servant’s contracts usually lasted three to five years and occasionally seven in some cases. Many indentured servants were treated poorly and often abused. These indentured servants would often write back to their home in England tell of their horrific treatment that was bestowed upon them. A shortage of indentured servants was also brought about by the Plague of 1665 which devastated the English population along with London Fire the following year which created a new need
Racism was very prevalent in Virginia and this also lead to the development of slavery. Poor white colonist looked down to Africans and thought they were better than them. A slave, on the other hand, was bought and could provide many years of service because they could not be freed after a few short years of service. A landowner had to buy an indentured servant every few years to take the place of another indentured servant due to their contract expiring. African slaves would also produced healthy offspring that would be for work as they grew older. Hundreds indentured servants were earning their freedom every year. After 1660 many laws were past that affected the legal structure of slaves. A law in 1692 made it illegal for white and blacks to marry and to engage in sex. In 1676 a law was passed that forbid blacks to have indentured servants. Another factor that lead to the development of slavery was the cost of an African slave compared to an indentured servant. for workers of all kinds to rebuild the capital. The legal structure was also setup to promote racism. For these many reasons, the supply of indentured servants fell while the demand for labor rose. Many landowners were scared by Bacon"tms Rebellion and this forced them to think about African slaves compared to indentured servants.