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US History – European Colonisation, 1607-1754

4. Slavery

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on the institution of slavery to see how it became established in North America. Widespread English use of slavery began in their West Indian colonies. Initially North American settlers had little need for slaves. Virginians were happy with indentured labourers and New Englanders used their own abundant population resources as a labour force. However, by the 1650s slavery became increasingly popular in the Chesapeake Colonies. At this time slavery took on the key characteristics that would define it for centuries. These characteristics were its establishment as a permanent condition for the enslaved, its racial basis, and its matrilineal grounding.


In this course, Professor Peter C. Mancall (University of Southern California) discusses the European colonisation of the North American continent. This course seeks to explain how and why various European colonies developed and expanded from 1607 to 1754. We start by looking at what the Atlantic world looked like in 1607. We then turn to examine the establishment of England's first successful colony on the North American continent, Virginia. In the third module, we travel northwards to look at the establishment of the New England colonies by English Puritans. In the penultimate module, we focus in on the institution of slavery to see how it became established in North America. In the final module, we examine the instability of the 1670s and how this decade set a course that would shape America for centuries.


Professor Peter Mancall is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Linda and Harlan Martens Director of the Early Modern Studies Institute and Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Southern California. He specialises in early modern history and the early modern Atlantic world and has written widely on the process of European colonisation of the Americas, including Hakluyt's Promise: An Elizabethan's Obsession for an English America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007) and Virginia 1619: Slavery, Freedom, and the Emergence of English America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Mancall, P. (2021, October 27). US History – European Colonisation, 1607-1754 - Slavery [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Mancall, P. "US History – European Colonisation, 1607-1754 – Slavery." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Oct 2021,