2.1 – Slavery in the Americas


Drescher, Abolition, 36-44

Indian Slavery

william-macleod-economic-aspects-of-indigenous-slavery (632-638)

Bartoleme de las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (excerpt)

Low Country Digital History, Early Atlantic Slave Trade

Dani Anthony, Las Casas and 500 years of Racial Injustice

Discussion questions

[1] What were some of the main characteristics of slavery among Central American Native Americans?

[2] Europeans initially attempted to use Native Americans as their major labor force in the Americas, but gradually shifted to Africans as the group they primarily targeted for enslavement. Why did this transition occur?

[3] What economic factors fueled the European-led expansion of slavery in the Atlantic World after 1500?

[4] What were de las Casas’s views on the enslavement of Native Americans and Africans? How did they change over time? Should de las Casas be considered an abolitionist?

[5] In your view, was pre-Columbian slavery in the Americas substantially similar to the type of slavery instituted by Europeans in the Americas? Make your case for either “yes” or “no.”


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