Virginia

1619

The Beginning of Slavery

The Portuguese had arrived in Jamestown in search of supplies. Even though they had no money for food, they did have 20 slaves. The captain of the ship sold 20 Africans to the settlers, who were in need for laborers to work on their tobacco fields. With the deaths due to war, disease, and accidents their population was low, so farmers were desperate for workers. At this early stage in American Slavery, it was not race based, it didn’t become race based till the end of the 17th century. And some of these slaves were even granted freedom, because they were seen like indentured servants. The idea of large scale slavery did happen at this early stage because slaves were expensive, so their main source of labor came from Indentured servants from Europe.

Government in the New World

The second event was the finding of the House of Burgesses. Not only was it Virginia's first governing body, but it was also the first representative assembly in the New World.

It started when the London Company directed the Virginia Governor, Sir George Yeardley, to summon a “General Assembly” elected by all the free, white, landowning males. Twenty-two representatives and Master John Pory was appointed the assembly’s speaker. Its first law required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. All their laws had to be passed, first, by the London Company. This self-governing through local elected representative became a reality in America.

the first unmarried woman

The final event was the news that unmarried, white woman would be arriving in the colony, her name was Anne Burras. This was important because the Chesapeake region was predominantly males, and the women who were there were the wives and daughters of the colony's wealthiest planters. The Virginia Company, decided that women were essential for population stability and welfare of the colony, so they decided to have 100 unmarried women to come to the colony. One year later, 90 women arrived. Any man marrying one of a of 90 women was required to pay 120 lb of tobacco, this covered the cost of her transportation. The women didn’t even have to marry, if she did not find a man to her liking.

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