Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carolinas Offered 20 FREE Acres of Land to Encourage Slavery

South Carolina's culture and economy were primarily based on "plantations," that had flourished in all of the English Caribbean colonies for decades prior to Charles Town being established in 1670. North Carolina, on the other hand, was settled first in an area that was not conducive for "plantations," and was much more suited for smaller farms along the many waterways in the northeastern part of the colony.

From the beginning of the existence of the Carolina colony, slavery was encouraged. Four of the eight Lords Proprietors of the colony were members of the slave trading company, the Royal African Company. In 1663, the Lords Proprietors encouraged settlers to have slaves by promising that they would be given 20 acres of land for every black male slave and 10 acres for every black female slave brought to the colony within the first year.

This encouragement worked. By 1683, the black population was equal to the white population.

Like the other slave holding colonies, because of the sizeable slave population, South Carolina was in fear of slave insurrections. In order to help keep slaves from revolting, slave codes prohibited the sale of alcohol to slaves. In addition, to prevent cruelty to slaves, thereby dissuading rebellion, owners were prohibited from working slaves more than 15 hours between March 25 and September 25 and not more than 14 hours between September 25 and March 25.

North Carolina, on the other hand, had a large Quaker population that was opposed to slavery. Even though the slave population was small, Quakers established regular religious meetings for slaves and urged slaveholders to treat them well. In 1770, Quakers sought the prohibition of slavery. Unlike other slaveholding colonies, North Carolina did not have a concern about slave insurrections. There was not a slave rebellion until the 19th century.
The early English and English-Caribbean colonists experimented with several crops including rice. Although, rice production did not take a permanent hold until about 1694 when Landgrave Thomas Smith successfully cultivated rice from Madagascar, there is some debate over who actually introduced rice culture into South Carolina.

The historian Peter Wood points out that in contrast to the European settlers, those slaves from the West Coast of Africa had been familiar for centuries with rice planting. Thus they, and not their owners, probably introduced the techniques which made rice take hold as a primary and lucrative source of income in the last decade of the seventeenth century. Furthermore, these were the very years when the African portion of the population began to surpass that of the white. Thus there would have been a ready population to implement rice culture technology.

From 1700 to the 1865, Charles Town (Charleston) was the primary port-of-call for slave ships, and more slaves passed through Charles Town than any other city in the English Colonies.

Black Stevedores loading cotton in Charleston

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