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Yearsort iconEventsSubjectCountryStateEra
1603Mathieu Da Costa, a free black explorer, guides the French through parts of Canada and the Lake Champlain region of what is now New York state. 16031601-1700
1607Jamestown is founded in Virginia. 01-011601-1700
1613Jan Rodriquez, a free sailor working for a Dutch fur trading company is assigned to live with and trade among the Native Americans on the island of Manhattan.16131601-1700
1619Approximately 20 blacks from a Dutch slaver are purchased as indentured workers for the English settlement of Jamestown. These are the first Africans in the English North American colonies. 01-011601-1700
1620The Pilgrims reach New England. 01-011601-1700
1624The first African American child born free in the English colonies, William Tucker, is baptized in Virginia. 01-011601-1700
1625The first enslaved Africans arrive in the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam (now New York City) with the Dutch West India Company. They quickly become the city's first municipal labor force, clearing land of timber, cutting lumber, cultivating crops, and constructing roads and fortifications. 01-011601-1700
1629The first enslaved Africans arrive in what is now Connecticut. 01-011601-1700
1634Slavery is introduced in Maryland. 01-011601-1700
1636Dutch minister Everadus Bogardus summons a teacher from Holland to Manhattan Island to provide religious training to Dutch and African children. This is the first example of educational efforts in Colonial North America which are directed toward persons of African descent. 16361601-1700
1641Massachusetts explicitly permits slavery of Indians, whites, and Negroes in its Body of Liberties. It is the first mainland British colony to legalize slavery. 01-011601-1700
1641Mathias De Sousa, an African indentured servant who came from England with Lord Baltimore, is elected to Maryland's General Assembly. 01-011601-1700
1642Virginia passes a fugitive slave law. Offenders helping runaway slaves are fined in pounds of tobacco. An enslaved person is to be branded with a large R after a second escape attempt. 01-011601-1700
1643The New England Confederation reaches an agreement that makes the signature of a magistrate sufficient evidence to reenslave a suspected fugitive slave. 01-011601-1700
1645Merchant ships from Barbados arrive in Boston where they trade their cargoes of enslaved Africans for sugar and tobacco. The profitability of this exchange encourages the slave trade in New England. 01-011601-1700
1645 (ca.)Dutch colonists transfer some of their landholdings in New Amsterdam to their former enslaved Africans as compensation for their support in battles with Native Americans. A condition of the land transfer, however, is the guarantee of a specified amount of food from those lands to their former owners. 01-011601-1700
1650Connecticut legalizes slavery. Rhode Island by this date has large plantations worked by enslaved Africans. 01-011601-1700
1650The Dutch West India Company introduces new rules concerning slavery in New Netherlands. After gaining freedom, former slaves, for example, are required to give fixed amounts of their crops to the company. After the English capture of the colony, greater restrictions are imposed on free blacks and enslaved people. 01-021601-1700
1651Anthony Johnson, a free African American, imports several enslaved Africans and is given a grant of land on Virginia's Puwgoteague River Other free African Americans follow this pattern. 01-011601-1700
1652Massachusetts enacts a law requiring all African American and Native American servants to undergo military training so as to be able to help defend the colony. 01-011601-1700
1652Rhode Island enacts first anti-slavery law in the British colonies. The law limits slavery to ten years. 16521601-1700
1653Enslaved African and Indian workers bulid wall across Manhattan Island to protect the Dutch colony from British invasion. The site of the wall is now Wall Street.16531601-1700
1655Anthony Johnson successfully sues for the return of his slave John Casor, whom the court had earlier treated as an indentured servant. 01-011601-1700
1656Fearing the potential for slave uprisings, Massachusetts reverses its 1652 statute and prohibits blacks from arming or training as militia. New Hampshire, and New York soon follow. 01-011601-1700
1657Virginia amends its fugitive slave law to include the fining of people who harbor runaway slaves. They are fined 30 pounds of tobacco for every night they provide shelter to a runaway slave.16571601-1700
1660A Connecticut law prohibits African Americans from serving in the militia. 01-011601-1700
1662Virginia reverses the presumption of English law that the child follows the status of his father, and enacts a law that makes the free or enslaved status of children dependent on the status of the mother. 01-011601-1700
1663Black and white indentured servants plan a rebellion in Gloucester County, Virginia. Their plans are discovered and the leaders are executed. 01-011601-1700
1663Maryland slave laws rules that all Africans arriving in the colony are presumed to be slaves. Free European American women who marry enslaved men lose their freedom. Children of European American women and enslaved men are enslaved. Other North American colonies develop similar laws. 01-021601-1700
1663In South Carolina every new white settler is granted twenty acres for each black male slave and ten acres for each black female slave he or she brings into the colony. 01-031601-1700
1663A planned revolt of enslaved Africans and indentured servants is uncovered in Gloucester County, Virginia. 01-041601-1700
1664In Virginia, the enslaved African's status is clearly differentiated from the indentured servant's when colonial laws decree that enslavement is for life and is transferred to the children through the mother. Black and slave become synonymous, and enslaved Africans are subject to harsher and more brutal control than other laborers. 01-011601-1700
1664Maryland establishes slavery for life for persons of African ancestry. 01-021601-1700
1664New Jersey and New York also recognize the legality of slavery. 01-031601-1700
1664Maryland enacts the first law in Colonial America banning marriage between white women and black men.16641601-1700
1667England enacts strict laws regarding enslaved Africans in its colonies. An enslaved African is forbidden to leave the plantation without a pass, and never on Sunday. An enslaved African may not possess weapons or signaling mechanisms such as horns or whistles. Punishment for an owner who kills an enslaved African is a 15-pound fine. 01-011601-1700
1667Virginia declares that baptism does not free a slave from bondage, thereby abandoning the Christian tradition of not enslaving other Christians. 01-021601-1700
1670The Massachusetts legislature passes a law that enables its citizens to sell the children of enslaved Africans into bondage, thus separating them from their parents. 01-031601-1700
1670Massachusetts permits the separate sale of children of enslaved parents.16701601-1700
1670The Virginia Assembly enact law that allows all non-Christians who arrive by ship to be enslaved.16701601-1700
1671A Maryland law states that the conversion of enslaved African Americans to Christianity does not affect their status as enslaved people. 01-011601-1700
1672King Charles II of England charters the Royal African Company, which dominates the slave trade to North America for the next half century. 01-011601-1700
1672Virginia law now bans prosecution for the killing of a slave if the death comes during the course of his his or her apprehension.16721601-1700
1673The Massachusetts legislature passes a law that forbids European Americans from engaging in any trade or commerce with an African American. 01-011601-1700
1675An estimated 100,000 Africans are enslaved in the West Indies and another 5,000 are in British North America. 01-011601-1700
1676Nathaniel Bacon leads an unsuccessful rebellion of whites and blacks against the English colonial government in Virginia. 01-011601-1700
1680Virginia enacts a law that forbids all blacks from carrying arms and requires enslaved blacks to carry certificates at all times when leaving the slaveowner's plantation.16801601-1700
1681Maryland laws mandate that children of European servant women and African men are free. 01-011601-1700
1682A new slave code in Virginia prohibits weapons for slaves, requires passes beyond the limits of the plantation and forbids self-defense by any African Americans against any European American. 01-011601-1700
1682New York enacts its first slave codes. They restrict the freedom of movement and the ability to trade of all enslaved people in the colony.16821601-1700
1685New York law forbids enslaved Africans and Native Americans from having meetings or carrying firearms. 01-011601-1700
1688Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania denounce slavery in the first recorded formal protest in North America against the enslavement of Africans. 01-011601-1700
1690By this year, all English colonies in America have enslaved Africans. 01-011601-1700
1690Enslaved Africans and Native Americans in Massachusetts plan a rebellion. 01-021601-1700
1690South Carolina enacts its first laws regulating slave movement and behavior.16901601-1700
1691Virginia enacts a new law which punishes white men and women for marrying black or Indians. Children of such interracial liaisons become the property of the church for 30 years. 16911601-1700
1694The success of rice cultivation in South Carolina encourages the importation of larger numbers of enslaved laborers especially from Senegal and other rice producing regions of West Africa.16941601-1700
1695Rev. Samuel Thomas, a white cleric in Charleston, South Carolina, establishes the first school for African Americans in the British North American colonies.16951601-1700
1696Quaker religious leaders warn that members who own slaves may be expelled from the demonination.16961601-1700
1700The publication of Samuel Sewall's The Selling of Joseph, is considered the first major condemnation of slavery in print in British North America. 17001601-1700
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