Slavery in the Carolinas
By the mid 18th century the American colonies were enjoying the prosperity their economy was bringing them. One major industry that profited both the colonies as well as the British Empire was mercantilism. Two of the most profitable crops, rice and indigo, came from South Carolina, and because of this the colony was one of the wealthiest in America. However, it would have never developed that way if it never established itself as a slave holding community. Although South Carolinian’s treatment of African slaves was cruel, slavery was a crucial part of economy because it allowed profitable crops to be harvested and later exported to New England and Britain.
Although North and South Carolina were established as one major colony in the 1650s by Charles II, over the years they became extreme opposites. Originally a restoration colony, the Carolina’s were ruled by a series of English proprietors and were home to a manorial court system that dispensed laws. In 1729, after a long period of tyrannical rulers, the Carolina’s split into two royal colonies. The north not only differed greatly from the south, but from the rest of the colonies as well. North Carolina was made up entirely of frontier, and its setters were Englishmen who tired of organized law and sought freedom and isolation. Unlike the south it had no major seaport, metropolis, and its farmers rarely practiced slavery. Because of an absence of a port city, the north had little communication with New England or Europe. South Carolina on the other hand enjoyed a steady increase in population, urbanization, and being one of the wealthiest colonies in America by 1700.
Southern Carolina’s wealth came from its large plantations that mainly harvested rice and later indigo, which proved to be profitable staple crops. Rice could only be grown in marshes located from cape fear to Georgia. In addition to being extremely humid, the marshes were infested with mosquitoes that carried...