Slavery in the New World: The Saga of the Amerindians

  • Caf Dowlah


This chapter covers cross-border labor mobility focusing on the saga of the Amerindians—the indigenous populations that lived in the New World before Columbus discovered the Americas. Available literature suggests that almost 90 percent of the Amerindians had perished within 100 years of European colonization of the Americas. Originally, this catastrophic decline in the indigenous population was attributed largely to the population’s apparent incapacity to resist ‘virgin soil pandemic.’ Recent literature however suggests that the trauma of coerced labor and slavery was also largely responsible for the precipitous decline of the population. The slavery and servitude of the Amerindians was indeed the first large-scale exploitation of foreign workers by European colonial powers outside Europe, which had far exceeded that of the black Africans in the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.


  1. Barkan, E. (2003). Genocides of Indigenous Peoples: Rhetoric of Human Rights. In R. Gellately & B. Kiernan (Eds.), Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (pp. 117–140). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Batstone, D. (2010). Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  3. Bergreen, L. (2011). Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492–1504. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  4. Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery: 1776–1848. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Charny, I. (1999). Encyclopedia of Genocide. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
  6. Churchill, W. (1994). Indians Are Us: Culture and Genocide in Native North America. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.Google Scholar
  7. Churchill, W. (1997). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas—1492 to the Present. San Francisco: City Lights Books.Google Scholar
  8. Davis, D. (2006). Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Denevan, W. (Ed.). (1992). The Native Population of the Americas in 1492 (2nd rev. ed.). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fisher, M. (2014). Migration: A World History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fixico, D. (2019, August 16). When Native Americans Were Slaughtered in the Name of Civilization.
  12. Fogel, R. (1989). Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery. New York: Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  13. Fogel, R. W., & Engerman, S. L. (1974). Time to Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery (Vol. 1). Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  14. Gallay, A. (2002). The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gallay, A. (Ed.). (2009). Indian Slavery in Colonial America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gellately, R., & Kiernan, B. (Eds.). (2003). The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Haines, M., & Steckel, R. (2000). A Population History of North America. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lewy, G. (2004). Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide? Available from:
  19. Mann, C. (2005). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  20. Marissa, F. (2016). Colonial America Depended on the Enslavement of Indigenous People: The Role of Enslaving Native Americans in Early American History Is Often Overlooked. Accessed January 29, 2016.
  21. Moreno-Mayar, J. V., Potter, B. A., Vinner, L., Steinrücken, M., Rasmussen, S., Terhorst, J., et al. (2018, January 3). Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan Reveals First Founding Population of Native Americans. Nature. Available from:
  22. Newell, M. (2009). Indian Slavery. In A. Gallay (Ed.), Indian Slavery in Colonial America (pp. 33–66). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  23. Potts, L. 1990. The World Labor Market: A History of Migration (T. Bond, Trans.). London and Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  24. Resendez, A. (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. Boston and New York: Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  25. Rosenbaum, A. (Ed.). (1996). Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  26. Rubenstein, W. D. (2004). Genocide: A History. New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
  27. Sherman, W. (1971). Indian Slavery and the Cerrato Reforms. Hispanic American Historical Review, 51(1), 25–50.Google Scholar
  28. Simpson, B. (1950). The Ecomienda in New Spain: The Beginning of New Spanish Mexico. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Stannard, D. (1993). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Taylor, A. (2002). American Colonies: Volume 1 of the Penguin History of the United States. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  31. Wright, R. (2017). The Poverty of Slavery: How Unfree Labor Pollutes the Economy. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caf Dowlah
    • 1
  1. 1.New York CityUSA

Personalised recommendations