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Slavery in Colonial America

Slavery in Colonial British America was introduced in imitation of labor practices used by the Spanish and Portuguese in their South American colonies. The first Africans to be brought to North America landed in Virginia in 1619. It is unclear if they were outright slaves or indentured servants. By the 1670s slave codes enacted by individual colonies made slavery a legal, racially based institution throughout the American Colonies. Until the American Revolution, slavery existed legally in all American colonies, north and south.

Following the Revolution, some of the new states began to write constitutions that eliminated slavery, though the new Constitution of the United States protected the rights of slaveholders.

Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

See also Slavery in Canada