Black Slavery Did Not Begin In 1619

Once Christianity became widespread throughout Europe, there was a distinction pertaining to the enslaving of Christians that endured through to the latter part of the 17th century a baptized Christian could not be sold as a lifetime slave. This held true when the first black “slaves” were traded for food from a Dutch slave ship. “1619: First Africans brought into Virginia”, John Rolfe wrote in his diary, "About the last of August came in a dutch man of warre that sold us twenty negars. They were needed for the booming tobacco crop, but had been baptized, so as Christians they could not be enslaved for life, but only indentured, just like many of the English colonists, for 5-7 years.”[i] Yet, as the entrenchment of slavery mounted for both blacks and whites, the characteristic of race became a dominating factor inasmuch as a response to the familiarity among all slaves and the very real fear of their collusion for rebellion against the owners.[ii]

[i] From the diary of John Rolfe in the Virginia Company Colonial Records

[ii] White Servitude in the Colony of Virginia A Study of the System of Indentured Labor in the American Colonies

by James Curtis Ballagh, A. B. Baltimore The Johns Hopkins Press , Copyright, 1895,

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