Simon P. NewmanA New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013

by Dan Kilbride on October 10, 2013

Simon P. Newman

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Ask most educated people about the development of American slavery, and you’re likely to hear something about Virginia or, just maybe, South Carolina. In his far-reaching but concise and elegantly written new book A New World of Labor: The Development of Plantation Slavery in the British Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), Simon Newman takes us to the tiny Caribbean island of Barbados to trace the beginnings of African slavery in British America. The cotton slavery we know from the killing fields of Mississippi and Louisiana can be traced back to the sugar regimen that developed in Barbados. And that slavery, Newman shows, must be understood amidst the larger trajectory of bound labor in England and Scotland, and even in the British forts on Africa’s Gold Coast. A New World of Labor shows how the regime of bound servant labor — not the institution of West African slavery — provided the foundation for slavery as it developed in Britain’s New World plantation colonies.

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