Slavery and Free Blacks, 17th century

  • Da Costa Leads French Expedition

    Mathieu Da Costa, the French free black explorer, headed a French trip up Lake Champlain and parts of Canada.
  • First Africans Arrive to English Colonies

    About 20 Africans became indentured servants for the colony of Jamestown.
  • Tucker Born

    William Tucker, the first free African-American born in the English colonies, comes into the world and is baptized in Virginia.
  • Introduction of Slaves

    Slaves were introduced that year by the Dutch West India Company.
  • De Sousa Elected to Maryland General Assembly.

    African-American Mathias De Sousa becomes a member of Maryland’s General Assembly. De Sousa was previously an indentured servant under Cecelius Calvert and came from England.
  • Johnson Imports Slaves

    Anthony Johnson, a free African American, imports a bunch black slaves and receives a large land grant in Virginia. Some other free blacks do the same type of thing.
  • Rhode Island Passes First Anti-Slavery Law

    Rhode Island enacted the first anti-slavery law in the English colonies at this time, limiting slavery to ten years.
  • No Blacks Permitted In Militia

    In 1660, Massachusetts passed a law that no African American could serve in the Militia.
  • Doctrine of Partus Passed

    This law stated that any child born in the colony would follow that status of its mother for life.
  • Failed Attempt at Rebellion

    Black and white indentured servants plan an uprising in Virginia, but their plot is discovered and the leaders are killed.
  • Birth of Royal African Company

    King Charles of England began the Royal African Company, which for the next 50 years was the largest company in the slave trade.
  • Bacon's Rebellion

    Bacon’s Rebellion, a rebellion in Virginia protesting indentured servants’ rights and policies of the colonies towards Indians, worried plantation owners that their slaves might do the same thing.
  • First Slave Codes in New York

    New York State enacts its first slave codes. These laws limiting African-American rights restricts movement and the ability to trade of all enslaved people.
  • Quakers Speak Out

    The Quakers, a relatively disiked religious group based in Pennsylvania, denounce slavery in the first formal protest against slavery in North America.
  • First African-American School Opens

    Rev. Samuel Thomas opens up the first school for African Americans in the British North American colonies in Charleston, South Carolina.