icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Turns of the Centuries Exhibit > African Americans 1680-1720
This theme in other eras: 1680-1720 | 1780-1820 | 1880-1920

African Americans 1680-1720

1680-1720African Americans

African Americans 1680-1720 The first African immigrants to England's North American colonies arrived in Virginia in 1619. The status of these newcomers apparently differed little from that of the white indentured servants who far outnumbered them. By the end of the century, however, the black population had grown and colonial laws recognized a new sort of bondage based upon race: chattel slavery. Slavery existed throughout the colonies before the American Revolution. Few if any colonists challenged the prevailing belief system regarding slavery and indentured servitude. The relatively low number of people living in slavery in the New England colonies was not due to antislavery sentiments. Rather, economic, social and geographic conditions resulted in a distinctly New England pattern of slavery.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), from her book, "Poems on Various Subjects," 1773

See the Digital Collection for further information.

Explore these subthemes to better understand African Americans at this time.

Struggle for Freedom

Struggle for Freedom : "Run-away from his Master"

Surviving evidence reveals some of the ways in which many slaves resisted their masters and the slave system in general.


Working : "Servant for Life"

Economic, social and geographic conditions rather than antislavery sentiments limited the growth of slavery in New England.

African Americans

African Americans : Slavery in New England

Slavery existed throughout the English colonies by the late 1600s, including New England.


top of page

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback