BlackFacts Details

Enslavement: 1619 to 1696

Historian Frances Latimer argues that enslavement happened one law at a time, one person at a time. As the American colonies grew throughout the 17th Century, human bondage transformed from indentured servitude to a life of enslavement.

1612: Commercial tobacco is raised in Jamestown, Va.

1619: Twenty Africans are transported to Jamestown. They were imported to work as slaves in Great Britains American colonies.

1626: The Dutch West India Company brings eleven African-American men to the New Netherlands

1636: Desire, the first carrier in the United States to participate in human trade. The ship is built and first sails from Massachusetts. This marks the beginning of colonial North Americas participation in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

1640: John Punch becomes the first documented slave to receive servitude for life. An African servant, John Punch, is sentenced to life after running away. His white friends, who also ran away, received extended servitude.

1640: Residents of New Netherlands are prohibited from providing any assistance to fugitive slaves.

1641: The DAngolas become the first recorded marriage between people of African descent.

1641: Massachusetts becomes the first colony to legalize enslavement.

1643: A fugitive slave law is established in the New England Confederation. The Confederation includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven.

1650: Connecticut legalizes enslavement.

1652: Rhode Island creates laws restricting and then forbidding slavery.

1652: All black and Native American servants are mandated to take military training by Massachusetts law.

1654: Blacks are granted the right to be slaveholders in Virginia.

1657: Virginia passes a fugitive slave law.

1660: The Council of Foreign Plantations is ordered by Charles II, King of England, to convert slaves and indentured servants to Christianity.

1662: Virginia passes a law establishing hereditary slavery. The law states that children of African-American mothers shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother.


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