The Mysterious Arrival: Unveiling the Roots of Slavery

Categories: Biography Prose Fiction

"Sails furled, flag dropping at her rounded stern, she rode the tide in from the sea. She was a strange ship, indeed, by all accounts, a frightening ship, a ship of mystery." (Pg. 23, J. Redding)

Without knowing what was to come, observers looked at the ship with likely shock. This vessel, however, marked the beginning of an era of misery. This essay explores the introduction of slavery in the American colonies, delving into the motives, treatment of enslaved Africans, and disparities between white and black "servants.


Motives Behind Slavery

The Europeans faced difficulties in forcing Native Americans to work, learning from Columbus's unsuccessful attempts. The fear of retaliation and conflicts led them to consider an alternative solution: enslaving black individuals. Notably, slavery was not yet legalized; instead, they were referred to as "servants" despite having no rights.

The origins of the regular slave trade date back fifty years before Columbus, with the Portuguese taking ten African blacks to Lisbon (Pg. 26). This marked the beginning of exploiting Africans for labor, setting the stage for a deeply troubling historical chapter.

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Enslavement of Africans

Enslaving Africans was deemed easier as they were not on their own land and did not resist like the Native Americans. The Africans, with their unique cultural practices and religion, were seen as different. Their advanced farming skills made them valuable assets for the struggling Europeans. Consequently, they were forced to work in harsh conditions while Europeans reaped the benefits.

The Africans were in a dire situation, having nowhere to go and no knowledge of their whereabouts.

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The Europeans exploited their vulnerability, considering them a workforce that could be controlled and manipulated. The cultural disparities between Europeans and Africans, especially in religious practices, added to the dehumanization of the enslaved individuals.

Differences Between White and Black "Servants"

A stark contrast existed between white and black "servants." Legalized status favored white servants, granting them more rights and the ability to eventually stop working. In contrast, black slaves earned little or no money and could have years continually added to their sentence at their master's discretion.

Legal injustices further accentuated the disparities. In a case from 1640, two white servants attempting to run away faced punishment through an extension of their service, while a black servant, John Punch, was sentenced to serve for life (Pg. 30). This blatant discrimination was a grim reflection of the racial bias embedded in society.

The legal system further exemplified its bias in an incident where a Negro woman servant bore a child by a white man named Robert Sweat. The court ruled that she should be whipped while Sweat had to confess his sins publicly (Pg. 30). This injustice emphasized the deep-rooted racism and skewed morality prevalent during that period.

Author's Perspective

The author refrains from explicit agreement or disagreement but expresses strong disapproval of how Europeans treated people. The intention is to inform readers about the harsh realities of slavery and the racial disparities in treatment. The chapter serves as a historical lens, providing insight into the troubling origins of slavery.

By shedding light on the historical injustices and the prevailing attitudes towards race, the author prompts readers to reflect on the deeply rooted biases that have shaped societies. The narrative serves as a wake-up call to acknowledge the grim aspects of history and advocate for a more just and equitable future.

Personal Reflection

Personally, the content of the chapter evokes feelings of disgust at societal norms and the treatment of people based on skin color. The author's intention becomes clear: to reveal the historical truth and prompt readers to question societal values. The recognition of the sadness endured by black individuals prompts a reflection on the flawed nature of societies and a call for equality.

The chapter acts as a poignant reminder that historical injustices should not be forgotten or ignored. It challenges readers to consider how these past attitudes may still influence contemporary perspectives and to actively work towards dismantling systemic inequalities.


In conclusion, the chapter unfolds a grim historical truth: the introduction of slavery and the unfair treatment of black individuals. It unveils a society riddled with discrimination and selfishness. The narrative serves as a reminder that, irrespective of skin color or ethnic background, all humans should be considered equal.

The call for equality echoes through history, urging us to learn from the past and strive for a more just and inclusive world. By understanding the origins of slavery, we equip ourselves with the knowledge to challenge ingrained prejudices and work towards building a society that values every individual, regardless of their racial or ethnic background.

Updated: Jan 02, 2024
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The Mysterious Arrival: Unveiling the Roots of Slavery. (2016, Mar 18). Retrieved from

The Mysterious Arrival: Unveiling the Roots of Slavery essay
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