Page:Boys Life of Booker T. Washington.djvu/18

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BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

about Palestine. The Greeks and the Romans also kept slaves. We must not think of the people that were enslaved by the Hebrews and Greeks and Romans as negroes. They were of all races. Whenever one people conquered another, it mattered not of what race, the conquerors made their captives slaves. This often resulted in the most cultured and highly educated people being made slaves. This was especially the case when the Romans captured Greeks.

Later on in the history of Europe, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the enslavement of negroes became very general, so that, by the time North America began to be settled by the people from Europe, negro slaves were bought and sold throughout the principal European countries and their colonies.

So it came about that, in Virginia, negro slavery was introduced into the United States. It was in 1619 that a Dutch ship, after a cruise in the West Indies, landed at Jamestown, and while there, engaging in trade with the inhabitants, sold them nineteen negroes. These were the first slaves sold in North America, and it was from this beginning that the system grew up in the country.

In Virginia too we had the first big plantations. Tobacco was the most important crop in the early history of the colony. The planters could sell tobacco at a great profit in England. Negro slaves could cultivate tobacco very successfully.