Compare and Contrast Slavery in Dutch Netherland, Virginia and South Carolina

We need to use the sources in the information the Instructor gives, no outside research is necessary. The Spanish monopoly over the Americas did not last long. Under the leadership of a Huguenot opens in new window named René Goulaine de Laudonnière, the French, in 1564, established Fort Caroline in northeastern Florida on the St. Johns River near modern-day Jacksonville. The Spanish raided the settlement a few years later and massacred the inhabitants. The English arrived on a small barrier island on the coast of modern-day North Carolina, establishing their first colony in America called Roanoke in 1585 (which we will further explore in Module 2). The English settlers made minimal efforts to live peaceably with their indigenous neighbors, who still possessed overwhelming numbers, and therefore experienced extensive problems. Native people destroyed the Roanoke colony on two occasions before the English completely abandoned it. A permanent English colony would not be founded in America until 1607.

English colonists all along the Atlantic coastline recorded their encounters and exchanges with Native Americans, and some provide the perspective of the natives themselves. As Ronald Takaki stated earlier, the Indians of America “tried to relate the strangers to what was familiar in their world.” Penobscot Indians described the English as “tribes of strangers” from across the “great salt water,” while those of Massachusetts Bay “took the first ship they saw for a walking island, the mast to be a tree, the sail white clouds, and the discharging of ordnance for lightning and thunder.” An English observer commented that the “shore for many miles were filled with this naked Nation, gazing at this wonder.” Some shot arrows into the ship and, believing it to possibly be a large animal, wondered why “it did not cry.” Native people were shocked by the “ugliness” and “deformity” of the English visitors. Their white complexions, bearded faces, and blue eyes led the natives to believe they might be gods or spirits. The Indians in Rhode Island called the settlers Mannittoo, their word for god. From Massachusetts to Virginia, native shaman dreamed dreams and had spirit visions, predicting that these new arrivals portended the end of native culture and independence. These visions proved prescient.

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The arrival of the French and English (and later the Dutch) in America launched a heated competition between the European imperial powers for land, resources, and trade routes. This imperial economic competition set the tone for much of American history, as we’ll see in later discussions, and frequently led to costly wars that regularly Native Americans.


Economic exchanges drove and shaped the exploration and colonization of the Americas. Trade enriched the coffers of Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and Dutch merchants and their government’s treasuries which profited from the taxation of the Triangular Trade between Europe, Africa and America. In this system, merchants from Europe shipped huge quantities of all kinds of goods from their homelands to their countries’ colonies, selling to settlers and natives alike. The purchased raw materials and cash crops from colonists and colonial governments and then transported these to Europe where they were sold to manufacturers. European merchants also sold extensively in Africa where they traded goods for gold or slaves or both (as we saw earlier with the Portuguese). By the seventeenth century, Portugal had lost their monopoly on the African coast and one could easily find French and English merchants conducting business there. The slaves purchased from African merchants were shipped across the Atlantic to sugar colonies in the Caribbean and Brazil. On a map, this this trade network connecting the eastern and western ends of the Atlantic looks like a triangle (hence the name triangular trade).

“The Atlantic economy was a vast, complicated network of mines, haciendas, fisheries, trading posts, plantations, shipyards, and industries, which governments vainly attempted to monopolize. The political economy of the Atlantic world was as ruthless as the traders, consumers, and producers of all nations were cooperative when profit so demanded. Governments and their allied chartered companies thought nothing of stealing cargoes, ships, convoys, factories, ports, and entire colonies and empires. The stakes were enormous for everyone involved, from princes to pioneers: never had the world seen such wealth created, transported, exchanged, won and lost.”

– Thomas Benjamin, Timothy Hall, & David Rutherford As we’ll see later there was a general competition between these imperial powers, but not within their respective colonies. You would not find French or Dutch merchants selling goods to English colonists, and you would not find English colonists selling their crops to Spanish merchants. Each imperial power operated a closed, tightly regulated, mercantilistic colonial economy with no competition or free-market system.

The new economic opportunities that colonialism and trade produced led to the mass movement and migration of people around the Atlantic World. We will briefly discuss immigration next, but will come back to the topic later and in much more detail in Module 2.

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