Virginia's First Slaves: American Indians

24 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2019

See all articles by Robert J. Miller

Robert J. Miller

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: January 10, 2019


A little known fact of American history and law is the ubiquitous legal enslavement of Indian peoples over much of what is now the United States during colonial and early American times. In the Virginia colony, it seems that the first slaves of the English settlers were local Indian peoples and then large numbers of Indians captured elsewhere and transported to Virginia to serve as slaves on plantations. Much of this activity appears to have occurred before Virginian planters and traders began importing Africans to be enslaved. Complicating this history is that several Indian nations and many individual Indians actively participated with the English in raiding, enslaving, and trading Indians from other tribes and cultures and transporting them to Virginia, other American colonies, and even to the Caribbean.

Keywords: American Indian Slaves, Virginia, Slave-Raiding, Virginia Enslavement of Indians

Suggested Citation

Miller, Robert J., Virginia's First Slaves: American Indians (January 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Robert J. Miller (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
4809654085 (Phone)

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