Both Virginia and Barbados were characterized by racism and the oppression of slaves in the plantations. Taylor points out two crucial moments, one in Virginia and the other in Barbados. In Virginia, the indentured servants are replaced by slaves as a result of an act concerning servants and slaves implemented by the government thus leading to massive importation of African slaves. On the other, in Barbados, the English law did not provide precedents for managing a system of racial slavery. Thus a primitive slave code was developed by Barbadians which was also adopted in other colonies.
The two moments in Virginia and Barbados are significant as they point out the origin of racial discrimination and the high number of slaves and skyrocketing slave trade in the 16th Century (Taylor 2002). The plight of slaves is also revealed as they are under harsh punishments, torture, and public execution for committing minor mistakes. Through the events in Virginia and Barbados, the Atlantic trade is also exposed.
The events described by Taylor in Virginia and Barbados have relevance to us today as they point out why there is still some traces of racial discrimination in the modern age. The moments also call for increased awareness of the consequences of racism, inequality, slavery, and prejudice in the current generation (Rushforth, & Mapp, 2016). There is a need to understand the historical roots of racism which was in the slave trade in the colonial regime.
Taylor’s work points out some new knowledge about African slavery. The sources reveal that by 1660, Barbados had become dominated by slaves as compared to the whites; 27,000 slaves as compared to 26,000 whites. The sources also explain that there were significant intermarriages between the Africans and the whites despite the inhuman punitive measures imposed.
Primary sources of information tend to be the best form of acquiring knowledge. Nevertheless, there are few primary sources which could assist in the understanding of the slave trade. Thus, secondary sources are embraced when researching on the slave trade because of small first-hand accounts.
Slave trade and racial discrimination are disastrous as it infringes on human rights. Efforts should be made to eliminate the traces of discrimination in the modern world and promote equality at all levels.
Rushforth, B., & Mapp, P. W. (2016). Colonial North America and the Atlantic world: A history in documents. New York, N.Y: Routledge.
Taylor, A. (2002). American colonies. New York: Penguin Books.