New York City once had higher percentage of slave owners than Southern states in 1860
In a fascinating report published today by the Slave Dwelling Project, it was revealed that in 1703, 42% of the households in New York City, owned slaves. Many of those slaves were either Native Americans or Mustees (mixed Native-African heritage.) As late as 1790, the State of New York still had 21, 123 slaves. For comparison, the State of Georgia had 29,264 slaves in 1790.
The full article may be read at: Slaves in New York City
The article had a mistake. It states that New York ended slavery in 1727. The actual date is 1827. After 1799, the children of slaves were born in New York were free, but their parents remained slaves until 1827. Slavery was never popular outside New York’s largest cities, but for several generations after emancipation, African residents of New York typically had a serf status, with very little hope of economic advancement. They were frequently attacked or even murdered by Irish immigrants, with whom they competed for the most menial jobs.
The year 1703 was during the peak period of Native American slavery. At that time, 20% of the population of the Colony of South Carolina was Native American slaves. Forty percent were African slaves. Because slaves from tribes in the Southern colonies could easily find sanctuary after running away, they were typically exported to Caribbean sugar plantations or to Northern colonies. Yes, all the Northern colonies originally had slavery – mostly Native American slaves.
King George III issued a proclamation to the North American colonies, banning Indian slavery in 1751, at the same time he legalized African slavery in the Colony of Georgia. However, many colonial assemblies, from South Carolina northward, immediately passed amendments to their slave codes that defined an African slave as any slave having more than 1/64th African ancestry.
Slaves from Turkey, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia were left in a never-never land, in which they were not specifically mentioned by the proclamation, one way or another. South Carolina had a separate slave code for these peoples.
Percentage of households that owned slaves in 1860
Southern states that would secede from the Union in 1861 – 30.8%
Alabama – 34%
Arkansas – 20%
Delaware – 3%
Florida – 34%
Georgia – 37%
Kentucky – 23%
Louisiana – 29%
Maryland – 12%
Mississippi – 49%
Missouri – 13%
New Mexico – 7% (mostly Native American slaves)
North Carolina – 28%
South Carolina – 46%
Tennessee – 25%
Texas – 28%
Utah – (less than 1%)
Virginia – 26%
Source: United States Census in 1860
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