New York Slave Revolt of 1712
In 1607, Jamestown was established by England as its first permanent colony on the North American continent. The principal crop of the colony was tobacco. Once it became
clear that tobacco was going to drive the Jamestown colony economy, more labor was needed. The British nobility needed to find a labor force to work on its plantations in
the Americas. The major possibilities were indentured servants from Britain, Native Americans, or West Africans.
Indentured servants were used initially as the necessary labor force. These servants provided up to seven years of service in exchange for having their trip to Jamestown paid for by someone in Jamestown. Once the seven years was over, the indentured servant was free to live in Jamestown as a regular citizen. Soon, colonists began to see indentured servants as too expensive, and in 1619, Dutch traders brought the first African slaves to Jamestown.
The Dutch West India Company introduced slavery to New Amsterdam (present day New York City) in 1625 with the importation of eleven enslaved blacks who worked as farmers, fur traders, and builders.
During the 18th century, New York City was a major hub for the North American slave trade, with thousands of men, women and children passing through the slave market that operated in the heart of what is now the financial district. Life was wretched for the slaves brought to New York. Many of the city’s early landmarks, from City Hall to the eponymous wall of Wall Street were built using slave labor. The city even constructed an official slave market in 1711. It was a city-run slave market because they wanted to collect tax revenue on every person who was bought and sold there, and the city hired slaves to do work including building roads. By 1712, as a result of its involvement in trade with the Caribbean, New York City had a large population of enslaved Africans.
Conditions in the city…
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