By Nathan Barton
That dean of the mainstream media, as it continues to fail and decline, has a special series this year to commemorate the 400th anniversary the first known slaves to arrive in the English Colony of Virginia (at Jamestown). This is called the “Dawn of American Slavery,” and the other media, the Tranzis, and too much of our fellow Americans seem to be lapping it up. They seem to be pushing the idea that the “founding” of American civilization began in 1619 with this traumatic event. Indeed, working with scholars, they have put a name (if not yet a face) to the very first slave, a black girl from what is now probably the Congo, traded to colonists in Virginia for food by a privateer. (The “Treasure” now condemned as the “first” slave ship.)
Of course, the very concept, as well as much of the information in their many articles, is dead wrong.
I can only skim the top of the errors of this concept and can’t really but touch on the many errors. But let me try.
First off, slavery existed a LONG time before 1619. In the entire world, as well as [North] America. We know that slavery in general, and racial slavery in particular, was in existence for more than 4,000 years before the present, and only a few generations after Noah. The warmongering empire builders of the Old World (Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, etc.) enslaved people wholesale, including women and children (and the men that were not killed outright in conquest). This slavery was often done by race or ethnic group: the Hebrews’ 400 year of slavery in Egypt to name just one well-known case. We know that slavery was practiced in Ancient Greece, in Roman (republican and imperial times), in India, in China (who bought slaves from Persians as well as breeding slaves), and even in ancient Israel. The practice continued right up to modern times: not just is Islamic nations (where it was often racial in nature) but in the “modern nations” of Europe in the 1400s, 1500s, and beyond. As well as the rest of the world: the Ottoman Empire, Persia, India, Southeast Asia, Japan, China, and Korea (see “nucai” and “booi” among other words.
We know that many tribes in the Americas practiced slavery, including tribes that had early contact with Europeans. These include the Iroquois (whose confederation was one of the examples used to create the American federal republic), the Azteca, the Anasazi (and their descendants the Hopi and Pueblo), the Ute and Comanche, and many others.
And we know that “European” or Old World slavery came to the Americas in 1492, when Columbus and his crews kidnapped and enslaved AmerInd from the islands of the Caribbean. At that time, there was still what today is called “peonage” or “serfdom” which was a very common form of slavery in Europe (and continued in Russia until 1861). In Northern Europe, slaves were called “Thralls,” and existed for millennia. Not just war captives or criminals, but people born into slavery. We know that Arab and Berber and Moors began capturing and enslaving black Africans as early as the 800s (or sooner), selling them into other Mediterranean lands. And we know that both the Spanish and Portuguese bought slaves in Africa either from native and invading Muslims or native kingdoms and shipped them to Brazil and New Spain within decades of the Spanish conquest – which also resulted in enslaving tens of thousands of AmerInd, including people just “liberated” from the Azteca and the Inca.
“But we are just talking about ‘America,'” the media will protest. By that they show their disregard for history and others: they mean the Fifty States. Well, we know that numerous black African slaves were part of Spanish expeditions into Florida, Tcxas, the Great Plains and then New Mexico and California. And we know that the Spanish enslaved thousands of Pueblo (who revolted and then were again conquered and enslaved) and Californio AmerInd. We know that the Vikings (Northmen), Welsh, Irish, Scots, other Celts, and French enslaved and bought and sold slaves and brought some of them to North America, probably from the first Viking discovery and settlement as early as 1000. (There were slaves in Iceland and Greenland.)
And of course, in 1619, Virginia was an English (later British) colony. It was not “American” or one of the “United States.” (And ditto for Florida, Texas, New Mexico and later California.)
So slavery – even black (“African”) chattel slavery was NOT something unique to North America, nor to Americans, nor even to English/British nationals or colonies. And it did not suddenly appear in what is now the Fifty States or North America in 1619. Indeed, those slaves in 1619 were bought by Portuguese slave traders in what is now Angola (from black slavers), and then taken as prizes by English-flagged privateers. And those black slaves joined “indentured servants” in the Jamestown colony. Indentured servants are just a nice, politically-correct name for slaves, which were first brought to Jamestown in 1609, a decade earlier.
I do not support any sort of slavery, racial or not, “indentured servitude” or not, prison labor or not. It is immoral, should be illegal, and was made unconstitutional (with limits, which many States are now removing from their own constitutions). It is an affront to God and to the dignity and liberty of all humans. But it is NOT and was NOT integral to the United States, and though a stain on the history of the Fifty States, is not something that condemns the work done in the Union to establish and proclaim liberty.
More on this in later commentaries.