Slavery in the Spanish American colonies was an economic and social institution central to the operation of the Spanish Empire – it bound Africans and indigenous people to a relationship of colonial exploitation. Spanish colonists provided the Americas with a colonial precedent for slavery; however, early on opposition from the enslaved Indians and influential Spaniards moved the Crown to limit the bondage of indigenous people, and initiated debates that challenged the idea of slavery based on race. Spaniards regarded some indigenous people as tribute under the encomienda system during the late 1400s and part of the 1500s.
Spanish slavery in the Americas did not diverge drastically from that in other European colonies. It reshuffled the Atlantic World's populations through forced migrations, helped transfer American wealth to Europe, and promoted racial and social hierarchies (castas) throughout the empire. Spanish enslavers justified their wealth and status earned at the work of the mines at the expense of captive workers by considering them inferior beings with limited capacities and holding them as personal property (chattel slavery), often under barbarous conditions. In fact, Spanish colonization set some egregious records in the field of slavery. The Asiento, the official contract for trading in slaves in the vast Spanish territories was a major engine of the Atlantic slave trade. When Spain first enslaved Native Americans on Hispaniola, and then replaced them with captive Africans, it established unfree labor as the basis for colonial mass-production. Subsequently, in the mid-nineteenth century when most countries in the Americas reformed to disallow chattel slavery, Cuba and Puerto Rico – the last two remaining Spanish American colonies – maintained slavery the longest.[a]
Enslaved people challenged their captivity in ways that ranged from introducing non-European elements into Christianity (syncretism) to mounting alternative societies outside the plantation system (Maroons). The first open black rebellion occurred in Spanish plantations in 1521. Resistance, particularly to the enslavement of indigenous people, also came from Spanish religious and legal ranks. The first speech in the Americas for the universality of human rights and against the abuses of slavery was also given on Hispaniola, a mere nineteen years after the first contact. Resistance to Amerindian captivity in the Spanish colonies produced the first modern debates over race and the legitimacy of slavery.[b] And uniquely in the Spanish American colonies, laws like the New Laws of 1542, were enacted early in the colonial period to protect natives from bondage. To complicate matters further, Spain's haphazard grip on its extensive American dominions and its erratic economy acted to impede the broad and systematic spread of plantations similar to those of the French in Saint Domingue or of the British in Jamaica. Altogether, the struggle against slavery in the Spanish American colonies left a notable tradition of opposition that set the stage for current conversations about human rights.
The Spanish had established precedents for regimes of forced labor prior to their encounter with New World peoples. Over centuries in Iberia, Muslims had enslaved Christians, and with the Christian reconquest, the victors enslaved the Moors. Slavery was an institution that was economic in function, but it had strong social dimensions as well. Enslaved persons were outsiders of some kind, by ethnicity, language, or religion or some combination. In Iberia, slaves were considered human and possessed some rights, but were at the bottom of the status hierarchy. There were some Muslim slaves remaining in Christian Spain after 1492, but increasingly enslaved Africans via the Portuguese slave trade became part of Spain's social mosaic. Black slaves in Spain were overwhelmingly domestic servants, and increasingly became prestigious property for elite Spanish households though at a much smaller scale than the Portuguese. Artisans acquired black slaves and trained them in their trade, increasing the artisans' output.
Both the Spanish and the Portuguese colonized the Atlantic islands off the coast of Africa, where they engaged in sugar cane production following the model of Mediterranean production. The sugar complex consisted of slave labor for cultivation and processing, with the sugar mill (ingenio) and equipment established with investor capital. When plantation slavery was established in Spanish America and Brazil, they replicated the elements of the complex in the New World on a much larger scale.
Another form of forced labor used in the New World with origins in Spain was the encomienda, the award of the labor to Christian victors over Muslims during the reconquest. This institution of forced labor was employed by the Spaniards in the Canary Islands following their conquest. The institution was much more widespread following the Spanish contact and conquest of indigenous in the New World, but the precedents were set prior to 1492.
Prior to the Spanish colonization of the Americas, slavery was a common institution among various Pre-Columbian indigenous peoples. The Spanish conquest and settlement in the New World quickly led to large-scale subjugation of indigenous peoples, mainly of the Native Caribbean people, by Columbus on his four voyages. Initially, forced labor represented a means by which the conquistadores mobilized native labor and met production quotas, with disastrous effects on the population. Unlike the Portuguese Crown's support for the slave trade, los Reyes Católicos (English: Catholic Monarchs) opposed the introduction of slavery in the newly conquered lands on religious grounds. When Columbus returned with indigenous slaves, they ordered the survivors to be returned to their homelands. In 1512, after pressure from Dominican friars, the Laws of Burgos were introduced to protect the rights of the natives in the New World and secure their freedom. The papal bull Sublimus Dei of 1537, to which Spain was committed, also officially banned enslavement of indigenous people, but it was rescinded a year after its promulgation. The other major form of coerced labor in their colonies, the encomienda system, was also abolished, despite the considerable anger this caused in local criollo elites. It was replaced by the repartimiento system.
After passage of the 1542 New Laws, also known as the New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians, the Spanish greatly restricted the power of the encomienda system, which effectively caused abuse by the encomenderos, and officially abolished the enslavement of the native population. The statutes of 1573, within the "Ordinances Concerning Discoveries," forbade unauthorized operations against independent Indian peoples. It required appointment of a "protector de indios", an ecclesiastical representative who acted as the protector of the Indians and represented them in formal litigation. Later in the 16th century, in the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru, thousands of indigenous people were forced to hard work as underground miners in the mines of Potosi, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas, in Peru, by means of the continuation of the pre-Hispanic Inca mita tradition.
When Spain first enslaved Native Americans on Hispaniola, and then replaced them with captive Africans, it established unfree labor as the basis for colonial mass-production. It was believed by Europeans that Africans had developed immunities to European diseases, and would not be as susceptible to fall ill as the Native Americans because they had not been exposed to the pathogens yet. In 1501, Spanish colonists began importing enslaved Africans from the Iberian Peninsula to their Santo Domingo colony on the island of Hispaniola. These first Africans, who had been enslaved in Europe before crossing the Atlantic, may have spoken Spanish and perhaps were even Christians. About 17 of them started in the copper mines, and about a hundred were sent to extract gold. As introduced diseases decimated Caribbean indigenous populations in the first decades of the 1500s, enslaved Blacks from Africa ("bozales") gradually replaced their labor, but they also mingled and joined in flights from slavery, creating mixed maroon communities in all the islands where Europeans had established chattel slavery. The newly enslaved workers continued to arrive in Spanish colonies as colonials imported them directly from Portuguese traders, who in turn purchased them from African traders on the Atlantic coast. With the increased dependency on enslaved Blacks developed also distinctive racial hierarchy and the hardening of racial ideologies, buttressed by prior ideologies of differentiation as that of the Limpieza de Sangre (en: Blood Purity). In the vocabulary of the time, each enslaved African who arrived at the Americas was called "Pieza de Indias" (en: a piece of India). Asiento (en: chair) was the name for the agreement between the Spanish authorities and slave traders. During the 16th century, the Spanish colonies were the most important customers of the Atlantic slave trade, claiming several thousands in sales, but the Dutch, French and British soon dwarfed these numbers when their demand for enslaved workers began to drive the slave market to unprecedented levels.
Some of the earliest black immigrants to the Americas were "Atlantic Creoles", as the charter generation is described by the American historian Ira Berlin. Mixed-race men of African and Portuguese/Spanish descent, some slaves and others free, sailed with Iberian ships and worked in the ports of Spain and Portugal; some were born in Europe, others in African ports as sons of Portuguese trade workers and African women. African slaves were also taken to Portugal, where they married local women. The mixed-race men often grew up bilingual, making them useful as interpreters in African and Iberian ports.
Some famous black Spaniards soldiers in the first stages of the Spanish conquest of America were Juan Valiente and Juan Beltrán in Chile, Juan Garrido (credited with the first harvesting of wheat planted in New Spain) and Sebastián Toral, in Mexico, Juan Bardales in Honduras and Panama, or Juan García in Peru.
The first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in the continental United States, an interracial union between a free black woman and a Spanish conquistador, happened in 1565 in the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine, Florida, between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville, and a Castillan soldier.
Estevanico, recorded as a black slave from Morocco, survived the disastrous Narváez expedition from 1527 to 1536 when most of the men died. After the ships, horses, equipment and finally most of the men were lost, with three other survivors, Estevanico spent six years traveling overland from present-day Texas to Sinaloa, and finally reaching the Spanish settlement at Mexico City. He learned several Native American languages in the process. He went on to serve as a well-respected guide. Later, while leading an expedition in what is now New Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Gold, he was killed in a dispute with the Zuñi local people.
Miguel Henríquez, known as the "Black Demon", was a prominent black Spaniard who served as a buccaneer at Spain's service during the 17th century in the Caribbean waters. He was known for his brutality against British and Dutch prisoners.
Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566) recorded the effects of slavery on the Native populations and argued for an end to it and for the rights of the people. He acquiesced to the Crown's decision to replace Natives with imported African slaves. Its counselors insisted on a source of labor to develop Caribbean plantations. However, he later spoke against African slavery as well, once he saw it in action.
In 1501 the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, allowed the colonists of the Caribbean to import African slaves. This permission was granted in the form of the Asiento, the official contract for trading in slaves in the vast Spanish territories was a major engine of the Atlantic slave trade. Opponents cited the weak Christian faith of the Africans and their penchant for escaping to the mountains. Proponents argued that the rapid decline of the Native American population required a consistent supply of reliable workers. In addition, the first years of Spanish presence in the Americas were marked by an outbreak of a tropical epidemic influenza that decimated both the native and Spanish populations. It was argued that the population would never be large enough to carry out all the labour needed to assure the economic viability of the Spanish colonies. In 1501, a first shipment of African-born slaves was sent to the West Indies (Hispaniola). The Spaniards chiefly purchased the slaves from the Portuguese and English traders in Africa. They did not engage directly in the trade and overall imported fewer slaves to the New World than did the Portuguese, British, or French.
The Spanish used enslaved Africans as workers to develop their agriculture and settlements. They also used them in defense of the colonies. Originally the Crown relied on private initiative and resources to protect colonial shipping and settlements. In some cases, colonists hired out their slaves or donated them for this purpose; in other cases, the Crown bought the slaves. Building forts and defense works relied on slave labor, but most were privately owned.
The slave populations were extremely low on Cuba and Puerto Rico until the 1760s, when the British took Havana, Cuba, in 1762. After that, the British imported more than 10,000 slaves to Havana, a number that would have taken 20 years to import on other islands. They used it as a base to supply the Caribbean and the lower Thirteen Colonies. This change is almost directly related to the opening of Spanish slave trade to other powers in the 18th century. Spain and Great Britain made a contract in 1713 by which the British would provide the slaves. The Spanish outlawed its own slave trade of Africans.
While historians have studied the production of sugar on plantations by enslaved workers in nineteenth-century Cuba, they have sometimes overlooked the crucial role of the Spanish state before the 1760s. Cuba ultimately developed two distinct but interrelated sources using enslaved labor, which converged at the end of the eighteenth century. The first of these sectors was urban and was directed in large measure by the needs of the Spanish colonial state, reaching its height in the 1760s. As of 1778, it was reported by Thomas Kitchin that "about 52,000 slaves" were being brought from Africa to the West Indies by Europeans, with approximately 4,000 being brought by the Spanish.
The second sector, which flourished after 1790, was rural and was directed by private slaveholders/planters involved in the production of export agricultural commodities, especially sugar. After 1763, the scale and urgency of defense projects led the state to deploy many of its enslaved workers in ways that were to anticipate the intense work regimes on sugar plantations in the nineteenth century. Another important group of workers enslaved by the Spanish colonial state in the late eighteenth century were the king's laborers, who worked on the city's fortifications.
The Spanish colonies were late to exploit slave labor in the production of sugarcane, particularly on Cuba. The Spanish colonies in the Caribbean were among the last to abolish slavery. While the British colonies abolished slavery completely by 1834, Spain abolished slavery in Puerto Rico in 1873 and in Cuba in 1886. On the mainland of Central and South America, Spain ended African slavery in the eighteenth century. Peru was one of the countries that revived the institution for some decades after declaring independence from Spain in the early 19th century.
Since the beginning of the 18th century, Spanish Florida attracted numerous African slaves who escaped from British slavery in the Thirteen Colonies. Since 1623 the official Spanish policy was that any and all slaves that touched Spanish soil and asked for refuge would be made a free man, alphabetized if he wasn't, helped to establish his own workshop if he had a trade or given a lot of land as his own to cultivate as a farmer. In exchange they would be required to serve for a number of years in the Spanish National Guard and convert to Catholicism. Francisco Menéndez escaped from South Carolina and traveled to St. Augustine, Florida for freedom.
Once the slaves reached Florida, the Spanish freed them if they converted to Roman Catholicism. Most settled in a community called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first settlement of free slaves in North America.
The former slaves also found refuge among the Creek and Seminole, Native Americans who had established settlements in Florida at the invitation of the Spanish government. In 1771, Governor John Moultrie wrote to the English Board of Trade, "It has been a practice for a good while past, for negroes to run away from their Masters, and get into the Indian towns, from whence it proved very difficult to get them back." When British government officials pressured the Native Americans to return the fugitive slaves, they replied that they had "merely given hungry people food, and invited the slaveholders to catch the runaways themselves."
After the American Revolution, slaves from the State of Georgia and the Low Country escaped to Florida. The U.S. Army led increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the 1817–1818 campaign by Andrew Jackson that became known as the First Seminole War. The United States afterwards effectively controlled East Florida. According to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the US had to take action there because Florida had become "a derelict open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them.". Spain requested British intervention, but London declined to assist Spain in the negotiations. Some of President James Monroe's cabinet demanded Jackson's immediate dismissal, but Adams realized that it put the U.S. in a favorable diplomatic position. Adams negotiated very favorable terms.
As Florida had become a burden to Spain, which could not afford to send settlers or garrisons, the Crown decided to cede the territory to the United States. It accomplished this through the Adams–Onís Treaty in 1819, effective 1821.
Support for abolitionism rose in Great Britain. Slavery was abolished under the French Revolution, for the French Caribbean colonies, (the slavery was abolished in European part of France in 1315 by Louis X) but was restored under Napoleon I. Slaves in Saint-Domingue established independence, founding the republic of Haiti in 1804.
Later slave revolts were arguably part of the upsurge of liberal and democratic values centered on individual rights and liberties which came in the aftermath of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in Europe. As emancipation became more of a concrete reality, the slaves' concept of freedom changed. No longer did they seek to overthrow the whites and re-establish carbon-copy African societies as they had done during the earlier rebellions; the vast majority of slaves were creole, native born where they lived, and envisaged their freedom within the established framework of the existing society.
The Spanish American wars of independence emancipated most of the overseas territories of Spain; in Central and South America, various nations emerged from these wars. The wars were influenced by the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and economic affairs, which also led to the reduction and ending of feudalism. It was not a unified process. Some countries, including Peru and Ecuador, reintroduced slavery for some time after achieving independence.
In the treaty of 1814, the king of Spain promised to consider means for abolishing the slave trade. In the treaty of September 23, 1817, with Great Britain, the Spanish Crown said that "having never lost sight of a matter so interesting to him and being desirous of hastening the moment of its attainment, he has determined to co-operate with His Britannic Majesty in adopting the cause of humanity." The king bound himself "that the slave trade will be abolished in all the dominions of Spain, May 30, 1820, and that after that date it shall not be lawful for any subject of the crown of Spain to buy slaves or carry on the slave trade upon any part of the coast of Africa." The date of final suppression was October 30. The subjects of the king of Spain were forbidden to carry slaves for any one outside the Spanish dominions, or to use the flag to cover such dealings.³
The Assembly of Year XIII (1813) of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata declared the freedom of wombs. It did not end slavery completely, but emancipated the children of slaves. Many slaves gained emancipation by joining the armies, either against royalists during the War of Independence, or during the later Civil Wars. For example, the Argentine Confederation ended slavery definitely with the sanction of the Argentine Constitution of 1853.
This constitutes the first documented mention that we know of, in a primary source of that time, of acts of resistance by enslaved blacks in La Española after the uprising of December 1521 across the south-central coastal plains of the colony, an event first reflected in the ordinances on blacks of January, 1522, and much later in the well-known chronicle by Fernández de Oviedo.
Equatorial Guinea–Mexico relations refers to the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the United Mexican States. Both nations are members of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, Organization of Ibero-American States and the United Nations.History of slavery
The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.Slavery occurs relatively rarely among hunter-gatherer populations because it develops under conditions of social stratification. Slavery operated in the very first civilizations (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BC). Slavery features in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BC), which refers to it as an established institution.
Slavery became common within much of Europe during the Dark Ages and it continued into the Middle Ages. The Byzantine–Ottoman wars (1265–1479) and the Ottoman wars in Europe (14th to 20th centuries) resulted in the capture of large numbers of Christian slaves. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Arabs and a number of West African kingdoms played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after 1600. David P. Forsythe wrote: "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom." The Republic of Ragusa became the first European country to ban the slave trade - in 1416. In modern times Denmark-Norway abolished the trade in 1802.
Although slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world (with the exception of penal labour), human trafficking remains an international problem and an estimated 25-40 million people were enslaved as of 2013, the majority in Asia. During the 1983–2005 Second Sudanese Civil War people were taken into slavery. Evidence emerged in the late 1990s of systematic child-slavery and -trafficking on cacao plantations in West Africa. Slavery continues into the 21st-century. Although Mauritania criminalized slavery in August 2007, an estimated up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population of Mauritania, are currently enslaved, many of them used as bonded labor. Slavery in 21st-century Islamism continues, and Islamist quasi-states such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Boko Haram have abducted and enslaved women and children (often to serve as sex slaves).History of the Caribbean
The history of the Caribbean reveals the significant role the region played in the colonial struggles of the European powers since the 15th century. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean and claimed the region for Spain. The First Spanish settlements were established in the Caribbean starting in 1493. Although the Spanish conquests of the Aztec empire and the Inca empire in the early sixteenth century made Mexico and Peru more desirable places for Spanish exploration and settlement, the Caribbean remained strategically important.
Beginning in the 1620s and 1630s, non-Hispanic privateers, traders, and settlers established permanent colonies and trading posts on islands neglected by Spain. Such colonies spread throughout the Caribbean, from the Bahamas in the North West to Tobago in the South East. In addition, beginning in the 1620s, French and English buccaneers settled in places like the island of Tortuga, the northern and western coasts of Hispaniola, and later in Jamaica.
After the Spanish American wars of independence in the early 19th century, only the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico remained part of the Spanish Empire in the New World. In the 20th century the Caribbean was again important during World War II, in the decolonization wave after the war, and in the tension between Communist Cuba and the United States. Genocide, slavery, immigration, and rivalry between world powers have given Caribbean history an impact disproportionate to its size.List of topics related to the African diaspora
This is a list of topics related to the African diaspora.Peon
Peon (English , from the Spanish peón [peˈon]) usually refers to a person subject to peonage: any form of unfree labour or wage labor in which a laborer (peon) has little control over employment conditions. Peon and peonage can refer to the colonial period in Latin America and other countries colonized by Spain as well as the period after U.S. Civil War when "Black Codes" were passed to maintain chattel slavery through other means.
The word peon also has a variety of related, less formal uses.Rice
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in 2014), after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion tonnes).
Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally.
Rice, a monocot, is normally grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years. Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems. Although its parent species are native to Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide.
The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. While flooding is not mandatory for the cultivation of rice, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.
The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera Zizania and Porteresia, both wild and domesticated, although the term may also be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza.Slavery
Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.
Slavery existed in many cultures since the time before written history. A person could become enslaved from the time of their birth, capture, or purchase.
Slavery was legal in most societies at some time in the past, but is now outlawed in all recognized countries. The last country to officially abolish slavery was Mauritania in 2007. Nevertheless, there are an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide subject to some form of modern slavery. The most common form of modern slave trade is commonly referred to as human trafficking. In other areas, slavery (or unfree labour) continues through practices such as debt bondage, the most widespread form of slavery today, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage.Slavery in Haiti
Slavery in Haiti started with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island in 1492. The practice was devastating to the native population. Following the indigenous Tainos' near decimation from forced labor, disease and war, the Spanish, under advisement of the Catholic priest Bartolomeu de las Casas and with the blessing of the Catholic church, began engaging in earnest in the kidnapped and forced labor of enslaved Africans. During the French colonial period beginning in 1625, the economy of Haiti (then known as Saint-Domingue) was based on slavery, and the practice there was regarded as the most brutal in the world. The Haitian Revolution of 1804, the only successful slave revolt in human history, precipitated the end of slavery not only in Saint-Domingue, but in all French colonies. However, several Haitian leaders following the revolution employed forced labor, believing a plantation-style economy was the only way for Haiti to succeed, and building fortifications to safeguard against attack by the French. During the U.S. occupation between 1915 and 1934, the U.S. military forced Haitians to work building roads for defense against Haitian resistance fighters.
Unpaid labor is still a practice in Haiti. As many as half a million children are unpaid domestic servants called restavek, who routinely suffer physical and sexual abuse. Additionally, human trafficking, including child trafficking is a significant problem in Haiti; trafficked people are brought into, out of, and through Haiti for forced labor, including sex trafficking. The groups most at risk include the poor, women, children, the homeless, and people migrating across the border with the Dominican Republic. The devastating earthquake in 2010 displaced many, rendering them homeless, isolated, and supremely vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. The chaos following the quake also distracted authorities and hindered efforts to stop trafficking. The government has taken steps to prevent and stop trafficking, ratifying human rights conventions and enacting laws to protect the vulnerable, but enforcement remains difficult. The U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2 Watchlist" in 2017.Slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping.
By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry. When the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789, a relatively small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens (male property owners). During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery. Northern states depended on free labor and all had abolished slavery by 1805. The rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased demand for slave labor to pick cotton when it all ripened at once, and the Southern states continued as slave societies. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation. Southern leaders also wanted to annex Cuba as a slave territory. The United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, split into slave and free states, in effect divided by the Mason–Dixon line which delineated (free) Pennsylvania from (slave) Maryland and Delaware.
During the Jefferson administration, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling (illegal importing) via Spanish Florida was not unusual. Domestic slave trading, however, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labor demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, and taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families. New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation.As the West was developed for settlement, the Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a political balance of power in Congress. The new territories acquired from Britain, France, and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises. By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, and tensions continued to rise. Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism. The largest denominations—the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches—split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, seven states broke away to form the Confederacy. The first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South. Shortly after, the Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked the US Army's Fort Sumter. Four additional slave states then seceded after Lincoln requested arms in order to make a retaliatory strike. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war effectively ended slavery, even before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States.Slavery in the colonial United States
Slavery in the colonial area which later became the United States (1600–1776) developed from complex factors, and researchers have proposed several theories to explain the development of the institution of slavery and of the slave trade. Slavery strongly correlated with Europe's American colonies' need for labor, especially for the labor-intensive plantation economies of the sugar colonies in the Caribbean, operated by Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic.
Most slaves who were brought or kidnapped to the Thirteen British colonies — the Eastern seaboard of what later became the United States — were imported from the Caribbean, not directly from Africa. They had come to the Caribbean islands as a result of the Atlantic slave trade. Indigenous people were also enslaved in the North American colonies, but on a smaller scale, and Indian slavery largely ended in the late eighteenth century though the enslavement of Indigenous people did continue to occur in the Southern states until the Emancipation Proclamation. In the English colonies, slave status for Africans became hereditary in the mid-17th century with the passage of colonial laws that defined children born in the colonies as taking the status of the mother, under the principle of partus sequitur ventrem.