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The Yehudah Project: Whatz happening now?!

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The Yehudah Project

The Yehudah Project


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Slavery during the 16 th to 18th centuries:

African slaves were transported to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central & South America, starting very early in the 16th century.

Landowners in the American colonies originally met their need for forced labor by enslaving a limited number of Natives, and "hiring" many more European indentured servants.  In exchange for their transportation across the Atlantic, the servants committed to work for the landowner for 4 to 7 years. A few slaves were imported from Africa as early as 1619. With the spread of tobacco farming in the 1670's, and the diminishing number of people willing to sign-on as indentured servants in the 1680's, increasing numbers of slaves were brought in from Africa. They replaced Native American slaves, who were found to be susceptible to diseases of European origin. "...small numbers of white people were also enslaved by kidnapping, or for crimes or debts." 2 The Africans "came from many racial stocks and many tribes, from the spirited Hausas, the gentle Mandingos, the creative Yorubas, from the Igbos, Efiks and Krus, from the proud Fantins, the warlike Ashantis, the shrewd Dahomeans, the Binis and Sengalese." 3 Eventually 600 to 650 thousand slaves arrived in America against their will. 4

Both slave transportation, and slavery itself in the U.S. were brutal institutions. It was  not unknown to have a 50% mortality rate during the passage from Africa. Slaves who were too ill to survive the trip were sometimes thrown overboard to drown. Once on American soil, slaves were largely treated as property, to be freely bought and sold.  Some slave owners allowed their slaves to marry; others imposed marriages on them. Slave marriages were not recognized by the states. The owner was free to split up a couple or families.