The first slaves in the American colonies arrived on a dutch ship in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. These were the very first slaves brought to America.
By 1860, there were almost four million slaves in the united states. Virginia and other states in the South depended on the free labor of slaves to work the fields on farms called plantations.
In the 1600s,many plantations grew tobacco. In the 1700, the big crops in the south were rice and indigo. In the 1800s, the main crop was cotton.
Slaves did not like their masters. Their life was mostly work. If they did something wrong, they were often beaten or whipped. Slave children did not go to school. Slaves were not allowed to read or write. They could not vote or own a home. They couldn’t own anything.
The field slaves were watched all day long by an overseer with a whip. The overseer was usually a white man. He made sure the slaves never wasted a moment. If they did, a flick of the whip made them get back to work.