Rossweisse RIP Rossweisse, HellHost and long-time Shipmate.

Robert Armin RIP Robert Armin, Shipmate of long-standing.

The White Lion, 400 Years Later

The exact date is uncertain but 400 years ago in late August* an English ship named the White Lion unloaded a very portentous cargo in Virginia.
About the latter end of August, a Dutch man of Warr of the burden of a 160 tunnes arrived at Point-Comfort, the Comandors name Capt Jope, his Pilott for the West Indies one Mr Marmaduke an Englishman. They mett with the Treasurer in the West Indyes, and determined to hold consort shipp hetherward, but in their passage lost one the other. He brought not any thing but 20. and odd Negroes, which the Governor and Cape Marchant bought for victualls (whereof he was in greate need as he pretended) at the best and easyest rates they could.

That's from a letter by John Rolfe, secretary and recorder general of the Virginia colony. The White Lion was actually an English ship but was operating under a Dutch letter of marque, which likely led to Rolfe's description of it as "a Dutch man of Warr".

These "20. and odd Negroes" were the first African slaves to arrive in the English colonies that would become the United States. It's hard to think of anything that had a greater impact on the trajectory of North American history than this event and what it represented. On one hand the event itself was an accident of history. The White Lion wasn't a merchant ship that decided to sell slaves in Virginia, it was a privateer that, in cooperation with another privateer (the Treasurer), attacked a Portuguese ship and seized its cargo. On the other hand it seems like the kind of "accident of history" that was just waiting to happen given how easily the twice-stolen human cargo was sold in Virginia.

The New York Times is observing this anniversary with The 1619 Project in its magazine section. For those who don't have a Times subscription and don't want to use their monthly ration of Times clicks on this series of articles the Pulitzer Center hosts a PDF version of the project.

I thought I'd start this thread for a discussion of slavery and race in America on this notable quadricentennial. It seems like something that's been four hundred years in the making.


* England was still operating under the Julian calendar in the seventeenth century so the likely anniversary would be in early September under the current Gregorian calendar. Old anniversaries often fall victim to calendar reform.
«1

Comments

  • >>It's hard to think of anything that had a greater impact on the trajectory of North American history than this event and what it represented. <<

    No it's actually easy.

    I'd advance the settlement in New France as more important and the battles between England and France to the north of the American colonies as much more important to us. ....I think you mean important to USA history, which is decidedly not the majority of the territory of North America.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    I think you mean important to USA history, which is decidedly not the majority of the territory of North America.

    I was casting about for a term that would encompass both the United States and the pre-U.S. colonies existed before the United States. Though I will note that New France also participated in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    In demographic terms, in human suffering, in injustice, it's the White Lion for the whole of North America including Mexico, for 400 years and counting.
  • edited August 2019
    Slavery is integral to the formation of an independent collection of American colonies, and the Caribbean, and parts of South America, e.g., Brazil, Guyana. Decidedly not for the territories to the north and south of the current boundaries of the USA. The relationships of the French and English to the indigenous peoples and fur trade to the north. For the territories to the south in North America, and those invaded by America previously owned by Mexico, the history seems to me to be mostly affected by the imposition of a Spanish conquest on top of indigenous peoples, and the relations thereof. Again the African slave trade thing as pivotal is for the USA does not apply to the rest of us.

    Don't get me wrong, your history is important, but it's your's. It does and did affect the other parts of the continent but I do not agree at all that slavery forms a significant part of the other parts of it. Even if it existed there and here.

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    I would say that, indirectly, slavery had a pretty substantial influence on Canada. First off, without the importation of slaves into the 13 colonies, it is debatable whether their economies would have developed to the point where they were able to challenge the British for independence. And no independence means no Loyalists.

    And the US Civil War was a pretty major shot in the arm for Confederation; even the Fenians were mostly demobbed Union soldiers, I am taken to understand.

    But no, Canada does not for the most part experience the contemporary legacy of slavery in the way that the USA does. It would be an interesting alternate-history scenario, though, if Canada had annexed a few of the former slave colonies in the Caribbean, as has been proposed now and then over the years.

  • IIRC, some runaway US slaves made it to Canada, and (presumably) stayed there. I think the mighty Harriet Tubman (:notworthy:) took some of her Underground Railroad "passengers" up to the border.

    Anyone know if/how this had any effect on Canada? (Other than maybe inspiring US draft evaders to go there during the Vietnam war.)

    Thx.
  • My New Brunswick brother in law is descended from slaves. Ancestors fought the American traitors to the British crown. Freedom from slavery, not freedom from racism.

    I don't think draft dodgers were inspired by slaves. Inspired perhaps to avoid a very stupid war. Like so many others since and current.
  • My wife has been telling me about the 1614 project. She subscribes to the NYT. It seems like a good initiative. I wonder whether Americans feel their nation is divided on racial lines? It seems so from the outside. I wonder whether that reflects lived experience in your neck of the woods? I think it was my experience at High School in Lodi, CA in 1983/4, but High School seems to exacerbate difference. Mind you, we nerds tended to group together for protection regardless of ethnicity.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    I wonder whether Americans feel their nation is divided on racial lines?

    Yes, literally. The redlining that kept people of color in separate, rundown neighborhoods had effects that last to this day.

    You can tell how important the 1619 project is by how huffy a lot of conservatives are getting about it.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    I wonder whether Americans feel their nation is divided on racial lines?

    Yes, literally. The redlining that kept people of color in separate, rundown neighborhoods had effects that last to this day.

    You can tell how important the 1619 project is by how huffy a lot of conservatives are getting about it.

    Yes, I agree. The conservatives are a good indication of how important this project is. I personally am quite excited and interested in it. I’ve also been trying to expand my reading of black authors, so it’s well timed for me.

  • Yeah. My brother and I were talking about Homeowners Associations and their weird little rules yesterday, as he is off to the Bay Area in October. I understand that redlining is something else entirely, more blatantly racist. The other thing that steams me and my brother right up are gated communities. They really piss me off. I told my brother to head down Monterrey way, and drive down that putrid piss-pool of privilege called 17-mile drive. That place made we want to do some serious property damage. What really got my goat was the claim that they restrict access to the rich due to their conservation values and yet they have 5 GOLF COURSES!!!!!! Bastards. My silver lining for climate change is that region drowning.

  • I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Ruth wrote: »
    ...You can tell how important the 1619 project is by how huffy a lot of conservatives are getting about it.
    Indeed. And they are hardly limited to Southerners.


  • lilbuddha wrote: »

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.

    "Canada was part of England"?! Nope, not ever, nor was it part of Great Britain or the United Kingdom. Being a British Colony did not make it part of any of the home nations nor part of the kingdom. If we're going to engage in pointless pedantry then at least let's do it right. Saying Canada was part of England is a bit like saying Guam is part of Texas.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.

    "Canada was part of England"?! Nope, not ever, nor was it part of Great Britain or the United Kingdom. Being a British Colony did not make it part of any of the home nations nor part of the kingdom. If we're going to engage in pointless pedantry then at least let's do it right. Saying Canada was part of England is a bit like saying Guam is part of Texas.
    OK, Canada did not technically exist prior to the Act of Union. However, there was an active English presence in what would become Canada before that.
    But the main point stands, Canada, as part of a country engaging in slavery, likely received at least secondary benefit.
    The Race for Africa affected Europe, and therefore her colonies.
  • You really don't understand the difference between the legal state, the nations that make up that state, and the colonies thereof that are not part of the state. The triangular trade and other substantial British involvement in the slave trade does post-date the creation of Great Britain, and the pre-union colonies were a mix of English and Scottish (clue is in the name, Nova Scotia, and the legacy of the Gaelic in Cape Breton island).
  • You really don't understand the difference between the legal state, the nations that make up that state, and the colonies thereof that are not part of the state.
    If the colonies are not part of the state, then separation from that state is not necessary. Big surprise to those countries with patriation days and the ones that had rebellions/revolutions. Technical definitions of membership are blinds, control is the key.
    The triangular trade and other substantial British involvement in the slave trade does post-date the creation of Great Britain,
    "substantial" Nice weaselling. England was involved from the 15th century. Simply because it took a while to ramp up to full scale doesn't change that.
    and the pre-union colonies were a mix of English and Scottish (clue is in the name, Nova Scotia, and the legacy of the Gaelic in Cape Breton island).
    Yes and Scotland benefited from the trade, though most strongly post Union.
    Again, the point is that the benefit from slavery is wider than the main participants. So Np's pointing out that there were not too many slaves in Canada is not absolution from the sin of slavery.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    You really don't understand the difference between the legal state, the nations that make up that state, and the colonies thereof that are not part of the state.
    If the colonies are not part of the state, then separation from that state is not necessary. Big surprise to those countries with patriation days and the ones that had rebellions/revolutions. Technical definitions of membership are blinds, control is the key.
    The triangular trade and other substantial British involvement in the slave trade does post-date the creation of Great Britain,
    "substantial" Nice weaselling. England was involved from the 15th century. Simply because it took a while to ramp up to full scale doesn't change that.
    and the pre-union colonies were a mix of English and Scottish (clue is in the name, Nova Scotia, and the legacy of the Gaelic in Cape Breton island).
    Yes and Scotland benefited from the trade, though most strongly post Union.
    Again, the point is that the benefit from slavery is wider than the main participants. So Np's pointing out that there were not too many slaves in Canada is not absolution from the sin of slavery.

    Nobody is asking for absolution, and both Bristol and Glasgow bear witness to the benefits the UK reaped from the slave trade.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Just to add to what @lilbuddha has been pointing out about that wider involvement in slavery.

    In 2015, the wreck of a Portuguese slaver's ship was discovered off Clifton near Cape Town.
    The São José-Paquete de Africa was sailing from what is now Mozambique to Brazil in 1794 when it went down with approximately 200 slaves from Portuguese East Africa on board. The 300 slaves who survived were resold back into slavery in the Cape.

    The Slave Wrecks Project estimates that more than 400 000 slaves, shackled in ships’ holds, made the four-month journey from Mozambique to the sugar plantations of Brazil between 1780 and 1865. Some trade with the Cape took place since the Cape was both a source of obtaining slaves and a place where slaves were bought in by early settlers

    The early development of the Cape from a trading post to a flourishing settlement and city would not have happened without a steady supply of slaves as free labour. Most slaves were brought to the Cape by slavers of the Dutch East Indies Company, from Madagascar, SE Asia, the Indian subcontinent and West Africa. As with the British East India Company, it's important to distinguish between these proto-mega corporate companies with their immense militarised colonising powers, and the nations of Holland or England. Most of the profits and benefits of the developing Cape of Good Hope went directly into the coffers of the Dutch East Indies Company.

    Later, slavers from the British East India Company on the route from India via the Cape would trade in slaves. Privately owned slavers from France and Portugal would bring slaves to the Cape as part of the broadening Trans-Atlantic slave trade. This history is perhaps the best documented in the Cape's complex history because detailed records were kept by Cape burghers and DEIC as well as British officials.

    When the British took over the Cape by military force in 1795, their slavers came in almost at once: in the first two years of British rule more than 630 slaves arrived. There are now studies emerging to show the extent to which the Royal African Company shared personnel, coastal infrastructure and trade in slaves with the British East India Company in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

    My impression from what I've looked at in recent research is that the global reach of slavery is much wider than was thought some years ago when the role of British traders was downplayed. I have particular interest in this field of study because my mother's family history stretches back to Claasje van Angola, a female slave seized from a Portuguese trader by the notorious Dutch slaver Amersfoort in the Gulf of Guinea in 1731.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    England was involved from the 15th century. Simply because it took a while to ramp up to full scale doesn't change that.
    It's still unwise to use 'England' to mean the British Isles collectively if you don't want to be called on it.

    As I understand it the privateer Hawkins made one transatlantic slaving trip under Elisabeth. After that there were no transatlantic slaving trips until the seventeenth century.

    There was a case in the Southampton law courts in the later reign of Elisabeth in which a group of Italian merchants sued a salvage operator they'd hired for stealing goods. One of the salvage operator's employees, and I mean employees, was from Senegal. The Italians tried to make out that people of African ancestry were all pagans who couldn't be trusted and whose testimony should be disbelieve. The Southampton court was having none of that. At that stage Italian cities were involved in slave trading; England wasn't yet.
    Morals: it is a falsehood that there were no free Afrocans in Europe until after the slave trade; it is equally false that racism is natural or inevitable.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Dafyd wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    England was involved from the 15th century. Simply because it took a while to ramp up to full scale doesn't change that.
    It's still unwise to use 'England' to mean the British Isles collectively if you don't want to be called on it.
    Rubbish nitpicking¹ The evolving nature of the political structure in the British Isles mean any one designation is going to be problematic without a history lesson and¹ and²
    Dafyd wrote: »
    As I understand it the privateer Hawkins made one transatlantic slaving trip under Elisabeth. After that there were no transatlantic slaving trips until the seventeenth century.
    Innacurate. Elisabeth herself complained there were too many slaves in too many slaves in London. Considering Hawkins made at least three trips and sold the first group in Santo Domingo, the second group in Venezuela and the third in Santo Domingo, Margarita island and Borburata; where did all those slaves in London come from? Hawkins though so much of slavery that he incorporated it into his family crest.
    Hawkins wrote about his third voyage in detail in A true declaration of the troublesome voyadge of M. John Haukins to the parties of Guynea and the west Indies, in the yeares of our Lord 1567. and 1568. (London: Thomas Purfoote, 1569). Specifically he noted that trading and raiding were closely related in the English slave trade, and European success in the trade directly depended on African allies. He also commented on the amount of violence he and his men used to secure the captives and force their submission.
    The idea that no one else got involved is fairly ludicrous.
    The transatlantic salve trade switched to high gear in the 17th C, yes. But to pretend that it wasn't active and profitable earlier is incorrect. And again.²
    Dafyd wrote: »
    There was a case in the Southampton law courts in the later reign of Elisabeth in which a group of Italian merchants sued a salvage operator they'd hired for stealing goods. One of the salvage operator's employees, and I mean employees, was from Senegal. The Italians tried to make out that people of African ancestry were all pagans who couldn't be trusted and whose testimony should be disbelieve. The Southampton court was having none of that. At that stage Italian cities were involved in slave trading; England wasn't yet.
    What do you think this proves?
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Morals: it is a falsehood that there were no free Afrocans in Europe until after the slave trade;
    So what? There were free black people in the Americans during the worst of slavery, why would free people in Europe mean anything?
    Dafyd wrote: »
    it is equally false that racism is natural or inevitable.
    Who has said this? Humans are naturally tribal, so divisions will occur. Colour is a division that doesn't change as one's socio-economic status changes, so I disagree that racism wasn't inevitable. And if it isn't, that makes its adoption that much worse. If you are pretending that Europe was egalitarian or colour didn't matter, than you are wrong.

    ¹Which conveniently avoids talking about the OP. ETA: This is relevant to the White supremacy thread as well.
    ²Which misses the main point about the widespread benefit from the slave trade that Canada likely benefited from at least secondarily.
  • This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education and this one from The Nation, while focusing on the United States, both expand their discussions to address how the institutions built around the trade of slaves and the goods produced by slaves helped build the global economic system we have today - from industrialization to finance, technology, and regional imbalances in development.

    They don't talk much about Canada, though, so I can't really comment there!
  • lilbuddha wrote: »

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.
    Actually, Canada was part of France until Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham. in Québec City, 1759. You make an assumption about secondary benefit, about which you cite no information. I don't think it is true. All I could find with clear information pertains to Atlantic Canada and New France: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/acadiensis/article/view/22039/25571 . It's not a significant factor. The important factors in Canada have to do with indigenous peoples, relationship with colonists, and trade, mostly the exploitation of the territories for European benefit.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education and this one from The Nation, while focusing on the United States, both expand their discussions to address how the institutions built around the trade of slaves and the goods produced by slaves helped build the global economic system we have today - from industrialization to finance, technology, and regional imbalances in development.

    A similar, though briefer, article discusses how many modern accounting and management practices were developed for American slavery. These include:
    1. Depreciation
    2. Productivity Analysis
    3. Middle Managers ("Plantation overseers were among the first salaried managers in the country")
    4. Workforce Planning
    5. Lobbying to Protect their Interests

    It's a brief read that summarizes Caitlin Rosenthal's book Accounting for Slavery. The hierarchy Rosenthal worked out for a Jamaican sugar plantation looks disturbingly like a modern org chart.
  • My family had extensive history in slavery from three of the four lines, sad to say. My surname family owned slaves in Connecticut when it was legal there. Segments of my maternal family also owned slaves--some of them coming through the very Virginia colony mentioned above. The only line that did not appear to own slaves is from my paternal grandmother's line since they came to the United States after the civil war.

    Seems like, as I recall reading the history of the settlement of the Virginia colony, many of the original shipment of slaves ran away from their owners and joined or were welcomed into the tribal villages around the English settlement.

    Kind of a tangential question: how did the slavery of 1619 differ from the feudalism of prior years? I ask that because it appears my Scottish heritage owned a lot of territory there. Didn't they also owned the people that lived on their land?
  • lilbuddha wrote: »

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.
    Actually, Canada was part of France until Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham. in Québec City, 1759.
    Not exactly.

    St. John's, Newfoundland (from 1583 English)
    British Arctic Territories — (16th century to 1880)
    Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland (from 1610 English)
    Renews, Newfoundland – (from 1615 English)
    Nova Scotia – (1621-2 Scottish)
    Cape Breton – (1625 Scottish)
    Saint John, New Brunswick (from 1631 English)
    Port Royal Colony – (1629 to 1632 Scottish)
    Rupert's Land – (1670 to 1870)
    Nova Scotia – (from 1710)
    You make an assumption about secondary benefit, about which you cite no information.
    Not exactly. Colonists would be under the protection of the home country, therefore receive from the general coffers. So, there is an argument for tertiary benefit rather than secondary, but that doesn't remove the benefit. How much benefit is arguable, but you link to primary benefit, of which I am not contesting.
  • edited August 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »

    I won't belabour this tangent to your topic further, but just reaffirm that your topic is an American one.
    No, not it is not. There were very few slaves in Britain, but Britain was very much part of the slave trade. The countries that benefited from the slave trade are a larger group than just those that participated directly. Canada was part of England during the time of chattel slavery, so likely received at least a secondary benefit.
    Actually, Canada was part of France until Wolfe defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham. in Québec City, 1759.
    Not exactly.

    St. John's, Newfoundland (from 1583 English)
    British Arctic Territories — (16th century to 1880)
    Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland (from 1610 English)
    Renews, Newfoundland – (from 1615 English)
    Nova Scotia – (1621-2 Scottish)
    Cape Breton – (1625 Scottish)
    Saint John, New Brunswick (from 1631 English)
    Port Royal Colony – (1629 to 1632 Scottish)
    Rupert's Land – (1670 to 1870)
    Nova Scotia – (from 1710)
    You make an assumption about secondary benefit, about which you cite no information.
    Not exactly. Colonists would be under the protection of the home country, therefore receive from the general coffers. So, there is an argument for tertiary benefit rather than secondary, but that doesn't remove the benefit. How much benefit is arguable, but you link to primary benefit, of which I am not contesting.
    "Canada" did not include any of those areas at the times in question. None of them. There was Lower Canada, which is Québec, and Upper Canada which is Ontario. And the boundaries of both did not extend north because that was Rupert's Land: is all of the territories draining into Hudson's Bay. Atlantic Canada, the current maritime provinces were not part of "Canada". And Newfoundland did not become part of Canada until until 1948.

    Here's a link about Ontario's boundaries for example. http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/maps/ontario-boundaries.aspx
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Kind of a tangential question: how did the slavery of 1619 differ from the feudalism of prior years? I ask that because it appears my Scottish heritage owned a lot of territory there. Didn't they also owned the people that lived on their land?

    I'm not familiar with Scottish feudalism specifically, but serfdom usually involved a lord owning the right to a serf's labor whereas slavery involved bodily owning the slave. On the one hand a serf was responsible for feeding him/herself. On the other hand a serf didn't have to worry about his wife or children being sold off to cover the lord's gambling debts.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Kind of a tangential question: how did the slavery of 1619 differ from the feudalism of prior years?
    I gather one (African-American) theorist, possibly Gates, defines slavery as overriding family ties. That is, in slavery the owner can separate families at will. In serfdom, while the serfs may need the lord's permission to marry, once they're married the lord can't separate them or remarry them at his or her convenience. Also, a serf has a finite duty to their lord: once they've discharged their duties the rest of their time and labour is their own, whereas a slave owner has unlimited rights over their slave.
    (This is an anthropological classification: some historical phenomena that are called 'slavery' are by this standard serfdom, and presumably vice versa.)

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    There was a case in the Southampton law courts...At that stage Italian cities were involved in slave trading; England wasn't yet.
    What do you think this proves?
    And the very next word of my post was...
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Morals:
    Dafyd wrote: »
    it is equally false that racism is natural or inevitable.
    Who has said this?
    Er... you apparently....
    Humans are naturally tribal, so divisions will occur. Colour is a division that doesn't change as one's socio-economic status changes, so I disagree that racism wasn't inevitable. And if it isn't, that makes its adoption that much worse. If you are pretending that Europe was egalitarian or colour didn't matter, than you are wrong.
    If you cut the third sentence this paragraph could come straight from a white supremacist.

    You are right about Hawkins making three voyages.
  • edited August 2019
    Serfdom on the continent of Europe continued until at least the revolutions of 1848 in Central and Eastern Europe. For example, Austria-Hungary abolished serfdom Jan 1849 (includes much of includes Austria, Hungary, parts of Poland and Ukraine, Romania, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Czech, Slovakia and some other lands) . Workers owed up to a third of their labour time or more to the lord, this included supplying their own horses, oxen and tools, and it was specifically legal to hit serfs with a cudgel. Not full on slavery, but certainly not free. In these lands, the rules varied but usually did not give feudal masters the right of eviction and break-up of families as you note, but in practicality a lord could make it difficult to feed the serf's family and force them out in the interests of farming large tracts with other serfs.

    Russian serfdom ended in 1861, and the conditions were more variable and often harder.

    (Reference: 1848: Year of Revolution, Mike Rappaport 2008)
  • edited August 2019
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Kind of a tangential question: how did the slavery of 1619 differ from the feudalism of prior years?
    I gather one (African-American) theorist, possibly Gates, defines slavery as overriding family ties. That is, in slavery the owner can separate families at will. In serfdom, while the serfs may need the lord's permission to marry, once they're married the lord can't separate them or remarry them at his or her convenience. Also, a serf has a finite duty to their lord: once they've discharged their duties the rest of their time and labour is their own, whereas a slave owner has unlimited rights over their slave.
    (This is an anthropological classification: some historical phenomena that are called 'slavery' are by this standard serfdom, and presumably vice versa.)

    One difference is the feudal focus on allegiance and loyalty, and the exchange of this for the right to protection, as against the more capitalist (if I may use the term) focus on absolute rights of ownership (there's an interesting parallel here between the early French approach to relations with the aboriginal population, versus the British approach as time went on). In theory, the feudal system relied on mutual obligations. So the habitants of New France, while owing feudal allegiance to their seigneurs, were not slaves.

    In my former RL, having had to sit through many sessions on slavery in what is now Canada and having funded learning materials on the topic, we need to distinguish 3 periods: 1) slavery in New France, which involved many aboriginal slaves (panis) and only a relatively few of African origin, and which involved many limitations on account of RC policies on baptism and marriage; 2) a very minor presence of African slaves owned by British settlers and Loyalists-- arguments on numbers continue; 3) the presence of self-emancipated slaves from the newly separated colonies. At no time did authorities or parliaments in now-Canada have much say on slavery's existence, although judges and administrators limited its effects greatly (and Upper Canada was among the first jurisdictions in the Americas to abolish the trade).

    Likely now-Canada's greatest benefit from slavery was in the trade of dried cod to the Caribbean to feed slaves, and Britain's coffers (with a significant bit of funding from the trade) paying for the protection of the Royal Navy. The former is easily quantified, and the latter is the subject of dissertations as we speak.

    In terms of @NOprophet_NØprofit's claim as opposed to that of @Crœsos, I would say that the struggle between Britain and France was perhaps more important as, without the British victory, it's not certain that slavery could have flourished with the same security and provided the US with a key to its economic development and its current divisions. So if we're talking about the Americas, perhaps @NOprophet_NØprofit might be right, but if we're speaking of the US, then @Crœsos is correct without question.
  • This is interesting about serfdom in Poland: https://culture.pl/en/article/slavery-vs-serfdom-or-was-poland-a-colonial-empire

    The conditions certainly approach slavery if they're not that.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    it is equally false that racism is natural or inevitable.
    Who has said this?
    Er... you apparently....
    No one had said anything of the sort prior to your statement. Which appears to be some sort of "Europe wasn't racist before the slave trade" sort of thing. Made up for lost time then, didn't they?
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Humans are naturally tribal, so divisions will occur. Colour is a division that doesn't change as one's socio-economic status changes, so I disagree that racism wasn't inevitable. And if it isn't, that makes its adoption that much worse. If you are pretending that Europe was egalitarian or colour didn't matter, than you are wrong.
    If you cut the third sentence this paragraph could come straight from a white supremacist.
    I think you mean the second half of the second sentence. But you need to isolate that sentence and ignore pretty much every thing I've ever said on this site.
    An example of what I am saying is immigration. White people are only immigrants into the UK (or US or Canada or Australia, etc) for the first generation. Black people do not get that luxury.
    I've Black American friends who've been told to "go back to Africa" by white people whose families have been in the US for fewer generations.
    And in the UK, it is a standard part of Black and Brown comedian's repertoire. "Go back to where I came from? You mean Hackney?"
    Racism is not inherent in the human psychology by itself, but tribalism fairly much guaranteed it would arise. However, just like it was inevitable that there would be war, it doesn't mean we need to accept that it remain.
    But go ahead, ignore reality. Ignore what exists and wonder why we do not progress.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    An example of what I am saying is immigration. White people are only immigrants into the UK (or US or Canada or Australia, etc) for the first generation. Black people do not get that luxury.
    I've Black American friends who've been told to "go back to Africa" by white people whose families have been in the US for fewer generations.

    Yeah, for some reason I doubt Charlize Theron has ever been told (unironically) to "go back to Africa".
  • Continuing on the serfdom question, a bit: would a serf have the right to move from one country to another? If a Lord would have to sell part of his property on which serfs do live, would the serfs find themselves beholden to a new Lord?
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Continuing on the serfdom question, a bit: would a serf have the right to move from one country to another? If a Lord would have to sell part of his property on which serfs do live, would the serfs find themselves beholden to a new Lord?

    In most systems of serfdom serfs were bound to the land, not to a specific lord or lineage. Thus transfer of the land would involve transfer of the serf's obligation to labor. A serf was typically not allowed to leave the land he was obligated to work, though during certain historical periods in central Europe a serf who lived in a city for a year and day was thereafter considered free of his former obligations.

    The big exception was Russian serfdom, which involved two different classes of serfs. One was bound to the land as was typical of serfs, while "landless serfs" were essentially what we would consider slaves. Russia abolished slavery semantically in the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century when it renamed all slaves "serfs" but maintained the same legal framework.
  • While meandering back home in the democratic and bohemian confines of the Number 11 westbound, I began to reflect on a comment from a graduate student at one of the interminable seminars I attended. She stated that in discussing the period of slavery, we erred in looking at maps of the North American continent. We needed to look at a map centred on the Atlantic Ocean, which was the highway of the 17th and 18th centuries. European settlements in North America were on the fringe of that map. The ocean highway was the centre.

    I'm not sure if that's relevant to the OP, but might help some of the discussion.
  • jbohnjbohn Shipmate
    "Canada" did not include any of those areas at the times in question. None of them. There was Lower Canada, which is Québec, and Upper Canada which is Ontario. And the boundaries of both did not extend north because that was Rupert's Land: is all of the territories draining into Hudson's Bay. Atlantic Canada, the current maritime provinces were not part of "Canada". And Newfoundland did not become part of Canada until until 1948.

    Here's a link about Ontario's boundaries for example. http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/maps/ontario-boundaries.aspx

    But "Canada" does include those areas now.

    Edging awfully close to "no true Canadian" here...
  • >>It's hard to think of anything that had a greater impact on the trajectory of North American history than this event and what it represented. <<

    No it's actually easy.

    I'd advance the settlement in New France as more important and the battles between England and France to the north of the American colonies as much more important to us. ....I think you mean important to USA history, which is decidedly not the majority of the territory of North America.

    I think you'll find the greatest impact on the trajectory of North American history can be summed up in two words: European colonists.
  • Just jumping in to say that there's a free audio companion to the 1619 Project - the main reporter on the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is releasing a podcast. It might be easier to access than the magazine for those of us without an NYT subscription. I've only listened to part of the first episode yet but it's pretty good.
  • >>It's hard to think of anything that had a greater impact on the trajectory of North American history than this event and what it represented. <<

    No it's actually easy.

    I'd advance the settlement in New France as more important and the battles between England and France to the north of the American colonies as much more important to us. ....I think you mean important to USA history, which is decidedly not the majority of the territory of North America.

    I think you'll find the greatest impact on the trajectory of North American history can be summed up in two words: European colonists.
    I understand this thread began about North America, but that is true for nearly the entire planet.
  • Just jumping in to say that there's a free audio companion to the 1619 Project - the main reporter on the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is releasing a podcast. It might be easier to access than the magazine for those of us without an NYT subscription. I've only listened to part of the first episode yet but it's pretty good.

    She was also on today's radio broadcast of Reveal, an investigative reporting show, heard here on NPR. The podcast version is here: episode "The Return". She was in the middle section. The rest was on related topics. It was a good show.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    edited August 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I understand this thread began about North America, but that is true for nearly the entire planet.

    Unfortunately, yes.
  • Just jumping in to say that there's a free audio companion to the 1619 Project - the main reporter on the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, is releasing a podcast. It might be easier to access than the magazine for those of us without an NYT subscription. I've only listened to part of the first episode yet but it's pretty good.

    cheers alto. I may well look it up, and also note that Avril Hannah-Jones is a prominent Uniting Church minister downunder. I reckon that's unusual!
  • FriendlyFireFriendlyFire Shipmate Posts: 31
    I'm currently doing a lot of studies regarding the Dano-Norwegian slave trade. We weren't the biggest in that particular playground, but are still responsible for roughly a 100.000 Africans brought across the shores to America (primarily to what is today the US Virgin Islands, then the Danish West Indies).

    Unlike the English and the French, the Dano-Norwegian ambitions were almost purely economic. There was little in the form of strategic purposes, cultural ambitions, etc. The colonies were there to produce sugar, which in turn would be turned into money.

    That ambition might have been the reason (or at least a reason) why the slave laws of the Danish West Indies were purely punitive. There were no laws whatsoever protecting slaves. The punitive laws on the other hand, were very harsh, possibly more so than other colonizing nations.

    Comparatively, France had a Code Noir, and the various English colonies had their own respective slave laws, which usually guaranteed slaves a minimum of food and clothing. Sure, they were not always obeyed. But they indicated at least some interest in trying to maintain a facade to hide the abuse and exploitation.

    I'd be interested to know if Americans perceive there being any difference in how current generations are affected by the slavery of the past, and how it has shaped their culture, dependening on which colonizing / slave owning nation developed that territory (particularly in the context of how they treated slaves).
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Unlike the English and the French, the Dano-Norwegian ambitions were almost purely economic. There was little in the form of strategic purposes, cultural ambitions, etc. The colonies were there to produce sugar, which in turn would be turned into money.

    French ambitions were somewhat similar, regarding their New World colonies largely in terms of resource extraction. In the north this meant fur, which didn't require the kind of labor intensity justifying a slave-labor system. In the Caribbean and around New Orleans the resource extracted was sugar, so those places were pretty slave-intensive.

    The English took a different approach, regarding their New World colonies not just in terms of resource extraction but also as a useful dumping ground for inconvenient people. Religious dissidents, younger sons of lesser nobles, debtors and other convicts, etc. This is why the English colonies were much more populous than their French, Dutch, or Spanish counterparts.
    I'd be interested to know if Americans perceive there being any difference in how current generations are affected by the slavery of the past, and how it has shaped their culture, depending on which colonizing / slave owning nation developed that territory (particularly in the context of how they treated slaves).

    New Orleans and the surrounding area had a different racial caste system than the rest of the United States at the time of the Louisiana Purchase. It was based more on skin tone than the much more rigid system in the former English colonies. The U.S. took steps to "Americanize" this situation by imposing its much more rigid racial caste system on the area, though it should be noted that the state of Louisiana is one of the few antebellum Southern* states to tolerate a significant free black population. In 1820 (the first year Louisiana appears in a U.S. census) 7.1% of the state's total population is free black people. This is quite a contrast to the 0.6% in neighboring Mississippi that year.


    * In this case I'm equating "Southern" with "future member of the Confederacy".
  • I'm currently doing a lot of studies regarding the Dano-Norwegian slave trade. We weren't the biggest in that particular playground, but are still responsible for roughly a 100.000 Africans brought across the shores to America (primarily to what is today the US Virgin Islands, then the Danish West Indies).

    Unlike the English and the French, the Dano-Norwegian ambitions were almost purely economic. There was little in the form of strategic purposes, cultural ambitions, etc. The colonies were there to produce sugar, which in turn would be turned into money.

    That ambition might have been the reason (or at least a reason) why the slave laws of the Danish West Indies were purely punitive. There were no laws whatsoever protecting slaves. The punitive laws on the other hand, were very harsh, possibly more so than other colonizing nations.

    Comparatively, France had a Code Noir, and the various English colonies had their own respective slave laws, which usually guaranteed slaves a minimum of food and clothing. Sure, they were not always obeyed. But they indicated at least some interest in trying to maintain a facade to hide the abuse and exploitation.

    I'd be interested to know if Americans perceive there being any difference in how current generations are affected by the slavery of the past, and how it has shaped their culture, dependening on which colonizing / slave owning nation developed that territory (particularly in the context of how they treated slaves).

    From my acquaintance with many in the US, including teachers and historians, I think that precious few who are not specialists have the slightest notion that other colonizing etc states had developed their territory. Outside of Louisiana, there will only be some (not all) students of southern US history who will know of the significant differences between that state and the other slave states (disclosure: I have just finished reviewing a dissertation which compares the ancien régime slavery practices in pre-Conquest Canada with those of Louisiana).

    As a tangent, I've just finished reading The Man Who Stole Himself, an account of a Danish slave from Saint Croix who got himself to Iceland, and whose descendants still live there. This fascinating book gives lots of information on the lives of slaves in Denmark, a topic about which few are conversant.
  • FriendlyFireFriendlyFire Shipmate Posts: 31

    As a tangent, I've just finished reading The Man Who Stole Himself, an account of a Danish slave from Saint Croix who got himself to Iceland, and whose descendants still live there. This fascinating book gives lots of information on the lives of slaves in Denmark, a topic about which few are conversant.

    It is a fascinating tale. Quite possibly the best part though, is how his story in some ways mimic the Somerset trial in England. In both cases, a slave is brought from the colonies to the mother country. In both cases, the slave refuses to remain a slave. And in both cases, due to the (former) slave finding supporters in the mother country, this forces a trial.

    The difference being that while in England the trial more or less ends with the happy result of freedom, in Denmark-Norway it results in the court deciding that the man in question remained property. This despite the Danish slave having proven himself a war hero in the interim.

    Not a great moment in time for this former country. And one that inspires quite a bit of gratitude for the efforts of the abolitionists in Britain. Without the special circumstances that turned Britain into a leading anti-slave trading nation, it is hard to tell for how many more years and decades the horrid practice would have continued.

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Denmark stopped raiding for slaves in Europe in about the 11th century but still had hereditary thralls till the early 1400s, then they got involved in the African slave trade from the 1600s to the 1800s. (Or so wiki tells me.). I wondered if there was any legal continuity between the two practices.
Sign In or Register to comment.