Labor in the Colonial and Early National Periods, to 1828
The colonies established on the North American mainland and the Caribbean islands by rival European empires in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, an age of mercantilism, aimed at enriching the colonial powers. The Spanish, who led the way, wrested silver, gold, and other precious materials from their Western Hemisphere possessions. The Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British who followed sought similar riches but failed to find the precious metals dug from the earth by indigenous and imported slave labor under Spanish domination. Instead, the Dutch, French, and British relied on other avenues of trade and exploitation to amass wealth. All three imperial nations, the Dutch and the British most especially and the French less so, turned to private entrepreneurs in the form of joint-stock companies to nourish the streams of trans-Atlantic commerce that would fill the coffers of the home country with bullion, the residue of a positive balance of trade.
KeywordsLima Bean Indenture Servant Documentary History Colonial Population Indian Corn
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.