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8 inhumane ‘slave codes’ created to keep black people in bondage in the 1700s

April 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm | History

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Staff Writer

April 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm | History

An illustration of a plantation owner punishing a slave. Pic credit: Bristol Radical History Group

For many people, the disturbing history of the slave trade brings to mind the horrifying experiences enslaved Africans had to go through while working on plantations in the Americas and other parts of the world.

Africans were, for centuries, captured and chained down, forced onto ships and taken into new lands against their will. Some even died before getting to their new homes due to the awful experiences on the ships that packed them like spoons, with no room even to turn.

For those who survived, it was the start of several hours of work on large plantations with little to eat and with never having to forget their status as property.

But the slaves did not simply accept their fate without protest. Slave rebellions were at the time known, and this created a source of worry in the American colonies – and, later, in the U.S. states – with large slave populations.

As African Americans in the colonies grew in number, there were fears among white settlers that an uprising could occur in their own neighbourhoods, said the U.S. History.

It was due to this fear of rebellion that made each colony pass a series of laws restricting the behaviours and movement of slaves. These laws became known as slave codes. The slave codes regulated the relationship between slave and owner and reinforced white legal sanctions over the enslaved black population.

While each state had its own slave code, they shared many similarities, and with each new rebellion, the slave codes became ever stricter. The following slave codes were used to torture enslaved blacks and protect slave owners from the danger of slave violence:

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