The first English colony in North America, based on the bones of white slaves

Before the advent of black slaves in the colonies of England toiled white slaves — are obliged servant. The bulk of the servants were obliged to thousands of homage and other small-holder farmers, evicted from the land in England and Ireland, as well as the industrial revolution ruined artisans who sell themselves "on-time" back in the UK for travel to America.

During the arduous journey across the ocean, many of them died from hunger, disease, and shipwrecks. Upon arrival on the American continent, if not in the harbor were buyers, white slaves, chained to each other, have led to the search for a buyer in the villages and cities. Some of the white slave fell down and sold for debts colonists. There are other, often illegal methods to produce white slaves to the colonies. For example, the theft of children practiced in England for sale into slavery in America. Political and criminals, vagrants and beggars from England, where vagrancy prosecuted as a felony, and replenish the frames of white slaves in the colonies.

The position of white slaves were often no better than blacks. The owner was their temporary owner, and therefore was not at all interested in the preservation of their lives and health at the end of the contract term. For attempting to escape them was the most ferocious punishments, including the death penalty. At the end of the contract period, usually seven years, bound servants received clothes, a musket, a little bit of money. In some colonies had laws on the allotment of land. But part of the servants are obliged not stand back-breaking slave labor and tsogibala before his release.

By … 1610 in Virginia was delivered about 500 settlers. By the spring of that year in only 60 survived — barely move, the fallen spirit of the besieged Indians constantly quarreling.

By this time the London-based company has achieved greater independence from the king. The members of the Board and Treasurer of Virginia, which carried out the current administration, now elected by shareholders, which are regularly convened general meetings to decide important issues.

In the colony gradually evolved a certain social structure. Upper stratum of society Virginia were members of the colonial administration, headed by the Governor, the middle layer — a few English gentlemen, shareholders and other settlers who paid their own passage to America. It was the freemen of the colony. The lower layer contained men sent to America at the expense of the Virginia Company. With them is a contract for a fixed term (7 years, sometimes less), during which they undertook for "quite reasonable" food and equipment to perform the work required of them in the specialty or any prescribed by the colonial administration. It was assumed that after the expiration of the contract, each of them will receive an allotment. However, the specific obligations of the company itself did not take. Contracted settlers called serventami.

Serventy (servant — Engl.: Servant) were recruited mainly from the poorest people, and partly recruited from criminals. In other words, a large part of the colonists to Virginia set off against their will or because of extreme need. They drove to an unknown country with barely smoldering hope of getting a piece of land in the far future. According to the then English law position serventov not much different from that of slaves.

Following the instructions, the governors have resorted to draconian measures to restore order, trying to make the maximum effort from the colonists in the execution of works. This, as well as the placement of the colonists in the "common home", a joint compulsory labor, rationing of products and their constant lack, fear of attack by the Indians, forced to always be on guard, made life hard-labor colony in a military settlement. Hunters go to the colony became less and less.

The right to receive allotment for the move to the colony, or for sending a settler there eventually became known as capitation law. It was the starting point for many to expand their land holdings. However, the first large landowners Virginia were mostly senior officials of the company and the colonial administration, which for the performance of their duties should now receive allotments of hundreds of acres, in accord with the position and the award for "zeal." Imposed rules allow joint ownership of land owners — "associations", which were made up of people who subsidize sending settlers to the colony. Some associations have become so by the owners of vast areas. Capitation right serventov on earth associations company did not specify. It is stipulated in the contracts entered into by serventami and their employers.

A person who has paid their own travel and has lived in Virginia for three years, has acquired rights of the owner of a share, the company servent who served 7 years (rarely happened because of the huge mortality serventov) — the same right with the obligation to pay a fixed rent (rent-quits) in 2 w. ("Old settlers"). The man who has paid his fare, after three years was to receive 50 acres at a rent of 1 w.; Servent sent by the company, the same allotment and at the same rent in 7 years (the "new settlers"). The land was provided in the use of the eternal inheritance, nominally remaining crown land assigned in the company's charter.

To combat hunger (and savings), the company and its governors forced the colonists to engage in arable farming and cattle-breeding, gave orders to free the land from tobacco. The effort brought no results. Virginia experienced then "tobacco fever", which lasted for many years. She was stimulated by the fact that the fine root in the colony tobacco in great demand in Europe and became the only profitable sector of the local economy. It seemed easier to buy the necessary revenue from the sold tobacco than with great efforts to expand into other crops or raise cattle. Expected enrichment of tobacco plantations came to a few, but come. So tobacco grown on the lands governor, it was diluted with priests, those who had at least a tiny piece of land. In Virginia drove to engage in tobacco farming.

"The tobacco fever" has sparked a passion for the colonists of profit, which could meet the expansion of plantations of tobacco and increase labor in the tobacco sector. This has led to a more predatory and ruthless repression of Indians from their lands and attempts to turn them into slaves. In March 1622 the Indians responded to this uprising, the aim of which was to expel foreigners. It killed more than 300 colonists. Many died from deprivation, left without shelter and supplies. After the "massacre," as in English and American historians called the uprising of Indians, the colony population of less than 500 inhabitants eke out a miserable existence …

Land of Virginia in a large part was still a virgin. Clearing the grounds for its tobacco plantations absorb a lot of time and a considerable force. Tobacco crop — consuming work. For 5-6 years, he was draining soil, which required the transfer of the plantation to another place, which was to be prepared again. Without labor, additional to that which could have a colonist, even with the family to create a profitable plantation was very difficult. General Labor — serventy — delivered from England for a lot of money.

In other words, to maintain profitable enterprise, funds were needed. Former shareholders and colonial officials did not always have enough of them, and do not always possess the necessary business skills. Over time, therefore the major influential landowners and tobacco planters became mostly enterprising people have the means. Mined these funds are often the darkest paths, sometimes at the cost of crime.

Funds were started "in the case." In Virginia, it was the extensive tobacco-growing, export-oriented for commercial gain. Those who managed to get rich, leading plantation economy, the historical tradition calls "virgin aristocrats", although, as a rule, in their veins flowed not a single drop of "blue blood."

The need for funds to maintain the plantation economy increased with the gradual fall in tobacco prices (competition of British Bermuda colonies of other powers), which pushed to expand the planting of tobacco. Lack of funds for the purchase of additional capitation rights and serventov made poor landowners uncompetitive. Their situation was complicated by the same policy of the mother country, which sought to raise the price of tobacco reduction of its landing or destruction of low grades. If the price increase at the same offset to some extent the loss of large landowners, the loss of small proved irreplaceable, which led to the ruin. Due to the liberated serventov number of smallholders hardly increased.

With the liquidation of the company (in 1624 by James I) has ceased to act imposed by it, but have not yet had time to enter into full force on vesting rule serventov ground. For private contracts, such a rule from the outset was not mandatory. No new legislation in this area has not appeared. The changes also have taken place in the life of Virginia after the liquidation of the company, have created the conditions under which the position serventov could not get worse. The interest of the hosts in the hands of the workers and the labor intensity serventov led to increased exploitation of the latter. Strengthening local "aristocrats", their presence on the board of the colony — the main judicial institution in the country — allowed them to lay down the law that served their interests. This gradually became the norm signing only the master. And as he did before, but fraudulently. As a result, understanding of the servente as a legal entity is becoming obsolete, asserted look at it as a part of the property owner, which he could dispose of as freely as the rest of his property.

The obligation to transfer land serventu, even if it has entered into a contract, in many cases, was not carried out by all sorts of tricks (debts, compensation of damages, the deliberate destruction of the host contracts, and so on). It is often performed in bad faith — the release of crude or trudnovozdelyvaemogo site that colonist could not handle physically. Even respectable often been put beyond the power of the former serventu, who had no funds for furnishing the necessary equipment and seeds. Returned to his former owners for little pay, sometimes just throwing looking for happiness elsewhere. The condition of the provision of land is sometimes replaced by another — the payment of a small fee, usually tobacco or the issuance of clothing and the right tools, of course after the expiry of the contract. The home team is often not carried out and these conditions. The severity of the treatment serventami and cruelty penalties applied to them were custom-virgin life.

Indirect and direct coercion, violence, lying from the beginning in relation to the basis serventu. Even if he voluntarily agreed to go to America, it is not a good sign of life bonded contract. Violence, hidden or open, serventa deprived of land in Virginia and in any case difficult to receive it. It was an economic need for the economy of the colony. Plantation colony is required serventy — disempowered, bonded laborers without land, whose work provided the production and sale of tobacco to receive from the sale of commercial profits.

Serventy Virginia were expropriated by the working people (accounting for some of them) that in England, deprived of land and tools, get replenished and reserve personnel capitalist manufactories, as well as farm laborers and tenants from the landowners, the transition to bourgeois methods of farming. In other words, in Virginia, was created capitalist production, but at a level and in a manner that corresponded to the time and place: then undeveloped capitalist relations in Britain and the specific conditions of the tobacco-producing colony. Thirties XVII. have been a period of development of relations in Virginia, which lasted until the end of the colonial period.

Serventy provide possible resistance to exploitation and oppression: fled to the woods, complained about the owners colonial authorities and the local courts, killing the host for the injuries caused. However, the belief in the release after the expiration of the contract and the hope of getting a plot of land, on the one hand, the severity of punishment for disobeying the owners and runners — on the other, as well as the fear of the Indians held off libertarian impulses and prevented any serious organizing forces for active performances.

Although the influx of serventov in those years did not stop, he did not meet the needs of the virgin economy. Made repeated attempts to make slaves of the Indians. All they have not given any significant results. Indian or resisted enslavement, or left of the places that are close to European settlement. Captured and converted to slaves ran away or died, unable to endure captivity.

Therefore, the plantations were admitted immediately appeared in the new colony of working hands. They were the hands of black slaves — slaves are not temporary, is not under contract, slaves for life. The first batch of black slaves sold Virginians in 1619, the Dutch captain. British merchants and planters virgin did not realize represents them to the slave trade and slavery …

U.S. History

Author — Nicholas Bolkhovitinov — Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences. 

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