In 1670, about two hundred colonists from Barbados established the colony of Carolina on the bank of the river next to Charles Town. Locating on the route of trading to Virginia, English colonists wanted to develop the colony into a commercial enterprise. However, they had to face a lot of challenges. With a desire to take advantage of the huge amount of land, plantation, an early method of colonization, was the first choice that came to mind. Many settlers decided to establish these large farms as economical basis. However, lacking labor was a big problem. The authorities even promised to give extra land to anyone who brought more indentured servants to promote the increase in labor. Contradicting to Jamestown colony where there was only one group of Native Indians, Carolina was surrounded by hundreds of different groups of indigenous people with different sophisticated cultures, which were called “Mississippian” societies. Slavery did exist amongst these groups. Due to the big number of groups, conflicts were inevitable. Slaves were prisoners of wars and were treated as servants until they got either tortured and slain and ransomed back to their original groups or inducted into Powhatan society. Indians, therefore, used this as a method to create profits. Tassantassas from Jamestown colony could use the money to buy Indian captives to work on their plantations, but the number of war prisoners was not enough to satisfy the labor problem for the Powhatan or the Englishmen. For Indian groups, the number of captives represented power and vengeance. Slaves were forced to work in fields to perform menial tasks. Or else they could be given away as gifts, especially female slaves were often used to please the male visitors’ sexual endeavor. Slaves were also traded in for weapons such as axes, knives, metal pots and most important, guns.
Moreover, the surrounding danger was one of the reasons why native slavery became very popular at the time. In the late 17th century, a new kind of gun called flintlock was brought to the colonies. This advanced technology was considered to be the first weapon that Natives saw as superior to the traditional bows. They were smaller, lighter, deadlier, and more accurate than matchlocks. They fired quickly and could be used in wet conditions. Feared of being out-powered by the English or the native rivals, southeastern confederacies tried to catch up by purchasing more guns. However, they needed capital to afford this kind of weapon. They had to raid their enemies to obtain slaves to sell, which led to the fact that they needed even more firearms to defend themselves against adversaries. Europeans were in demand of labor, so the exchange of slaves and guns both benefitted Native Americans and colonists. On the other hand, the Carolina colony was surrounded by Spanish Florida and French Louisiana and the risks of conflicts. So Carolina’s leaders came up with a plan that worked for all. They asked nearby native groups to provide them indigenous labor by raiding Indians who were allied with Spain and French. This smart move could have killed two birds with one stone. It could not only indirectly attacked their enemies progressively but also solve the lack of labor.
Another reason that explains the popularity of the utilization of native slaves was the low cost of maintaining the labor source and the profits that slave trading brought about. Due to the high demand of labor, the price of each slave was pushed to be as worthy as 160 deerskin. According to a Carolina slave owner, “One slave brings a Gun, ammunition, horse, hatchet, and a suit of Cloathes, which would not be procured without much tedious toil a hunting.” The cost of maintaining a native slave was also way cheaper than an English indentured servant because slaves did not have to be released after a period of time, additionally, could produce more slaves for the owner.
This seemed to be a flawless system that could be sustained for a long time. But nothing was perfect. No matter how profitable the slave trade was, this was only a short-term solution. Uncountable slave raids led to the destabilization of the native Indian and the colonists. It also turned the Southeast region into a battlefield. Besides, Indians who were sold to other places tended to show aggressive and violent behavior towards other people. The crime rate at that time was relatively high, mostly caused by captive Indian laborers. This problem was so serious that states could not do anything but to ban slavery for the sake and safety of their own people. Using native slaves as a source of labor did not seem to work well in long term process, because of diseases like malaria and yellow fever. These diseases only appeared after rice, sugar and tobacco plantations affected the ecology of the land. These plantations anticipated the grown of mosquitoes, the cause of all diseases. Especially during the hot, humid weather in summers. Nearly half of the deaths were in the fall, and three out of four native children did not survive until the age of twenty. English colonist did not see that under the negative impact of the disease, Indians were somehow even more vulnerable than them. Malaria and Yellow fever wiped out most of the regions. Thousands declined to hundreds. Others even vanished completely. The brutal death of native Indians and the false in the system led to the inevitable destruction of these colonies and confederacies, especially Jamestown Colony.