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
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