An indentured servant is a person who either willingly wants to serve, or is kidnapped and forced to. It was commonly required that they be provided with clothing, a gun, and a small tract of land upon which to establish themselves after their service ended. Most of the English colonists arrived as indentured servants, under contracts to work as laborers for a fixed period to pay for their passage. In the case of freed slaves of the United States, many became sharecroppers and indentured servants. The first kidnapped Africans in English North America were classed as indentured servants and freed after seven years. In 1619 the first black Africans came to Virginia.
The American abolition of imprisonment of debtors by federal law passed in 1833 made prosecution of runaway servants more difficult, increasing the risk of indenture contract purchases. This group was most common in Pennsylvania. An illustrative example is that of 1730—1799. With no slave laws in place, they were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites. In northern Maryland, servants worked alongside slaves and wage laborers in the growing iron industry. After 1700, most immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants, young unmarried men and women seeking a new life in a much richer environment. Displaced from their land and unable to find work in the cities, many of these people signed contracts of indenture and took passage to the Americas.
In the Organic Act of 1900, the U. The consensus view among economic historians and economists is that indentured servitude became popular in the in the seventeenth century because of a large demand for labor there, coupled with labor surpluses in Europe and high costs of transatlantic transportation beyond the means of European workers. Indentured servitude's decline for white servants was also largely a result of changing attitudes that accrued over the 18th century and culminated in the early 19th century. However, most debtor prisons were still in service when indentured servitude disappeared and many regulations on indentured servitude were put in place well before the disappearance. The first attempt at importing Indian labour into , in 1829, ended in failure, but by 1834, with abolition throughout most of the , transportation of Indian labour to the island gained pace. Text of Whaling Indenture Contract of Isaac Pepenie Indian to James Lovell Jr. These Africans wrought a demographic revolution, replacing or joining with either the indigenous Caribs or the European settlers who were there as indentured servants.
I think he felt a little like an indentured slave. Two years later he died of swamp fever, the leader of a rebel army made up of former indentured servants. But as the commodification and trafficking of human beings grew, the numbers of people tricked, cajoled, and kidnapped into servitude exploded. Indentured persons were numerically important mostly in the region from north to. I was indentured to him.
It provided that no indentured servant should be sold into another government without the approval of at least one justice. The Journal of Economic History. Their years of work usually lasted for about 3-5 years. In the Chesapeake and North Carolina, tobacco constituted a major percentage of the total agricultural output. The database offers both simple and advanced search options, as well as a Soundex.
An estimated 60 percent of registered servants during the period from 1725 to 1750 described themselves as skilled, and that proportion jumped to 85 percent in the 1770s. For adults, who were sometimes able to negotiate their contract based upon their skill level, periods of service usually lasted from four to seven years. Perhaps there was an indentured servant who could teach her a little. Their status was closer to chattel property than human beings. It started from in 1833 and continued until 1920.
As addressed in this article, many indentured servants were forced into service and treated horrendously — including those accused of petty crimes and servant women who were impregnated by their employers — but they were still considered human and had some rights, however minimal. Thus, one of the main reasons people cameover as indentured servants, high passage fares, disappeared. This increase in relative income may have been further supplemented by a demonstrated increase in savings among European labourers, meaning European emigrants would have the capital on hand to pay for their own passage. A rise in European compared to passage fare during the nineteenth century may also explain the disappearance of indentured servitude. As the Northern colonies moved toward industrialisation, they got significantly less indentured immigration.
In 1666 he was engaged by the French West India Company and went to Tortuga, where he worked as an indentured servant for three years. During the many Scottish and Irish prisoners of war were sold as indentured labourers to the colonies. Voluntary migration and labour only provided so many people, and since the journey across the Atlantic was dangerous, other means of encouraging settlement were necessary. How to Find Free Records About Your Indentured Servant Ancestors You might think that records of indentured servants are long gone since most of these individuals However, you may be in luck when searching for this information — indentures were written contracts so some of these records do still exist. Many Europeans who arrived in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries came under contract as indentured servants.