The Indian Slave Trade


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The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717

Alan Gallay

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This absorbing book is the first ever to focus on the traffic in Indian slaves during the early years of the American South. The Indian slave trade was of central importance from the Carolina coast to the Mississippi Valley for nearly fifty years, linking southern lives and creating a whirlwind of violence and profit-making, argues Alan Gallay. He documents in vivid detail how the trade operated, the processes by which Europeans and Native Americans became participants, and the profound consequences for the South and its peoples.

The author places Native Americans at the center of the story of European colonization and the evolution of plantation slavery in America. He explores the impact of such contemporary forces as the African slave trade, the unification of England and Scotland, and the competition among European empires as well as political and religious divisions in England and in South Carolina. Gallay also analyzes how Native American societies approached warfare, diplomacy, and decisions about allying and trading with Europeans. His wide-ranging research not only illuminates a crucial crossroad of European and Native American history but also establishes a new context for understanding racism, colonialism, and the meaning of ethnicity in early America.

Alan Gallay is professor of history at Western Washington University.

“Gallay has pulled together the unseemly and complicated story of Indian enslavement in a way that will shock and fascinate everyone interested in the strange and violent evolution of the early South.”—Peter Wood, Duke University

“No one will again be able to deny the significance of Indian slavery in the story of early America or its devastating impact on Native American people.”—Daniel K. Richter, American Historical Review

"Powerfully argued and densely detailed. . . . Gallay’s stunning and engrossing work, aimed especially at advanced students and scholars, seems to spur a renewed debate on the origins and meaning of racial slavery."—Choice

“For more than a decade Alan Gallay has shown how careful scholarship can help us learn new things about the American South, and his latest volume continues this service. . . . Anyone interested in understanding the development of America as a society of diversity and nuance will have a great time with Gallay’s new book.”—Emma J. Lapsansky, Enterprise & Society

"[A] majestic volume. . . . The Indian Slave Trade will reshape our understanding of the geopolitics and economy of the colonial South. . . . This engaging transnational story deserves the attention of colonial and southern historians."—Andrew K. Frank, Georgia Historical Quarterly

“The book is essential reading for scholars of early American and Native American history. It will also be an excellent addition to graduate seminars, as it provides many opportunities for discussion and debate. Gallay’s work is an important and exciting contribution to the field.”—History: Reviews of New Books

“A carefully nuanced narrative of Indian-settler relations. . . . The definitive study of a subject that can truly redefine our understanding of the early colonial South.”—John M. Murrin, International History Review

“Drawing on English, Spanish, and French sources, Alan Galley has written a superb book on the Indian slave trade that played a central role in the emergence of South Carolina’s economy and political relations while shaping the character of its people. Not since Verner Crane’s The Southern Frontier, 1670–1732, published seventy-four years ago, have we had such a detailed and insightful account of the horrific series of Indian wars that engulfed the lower southern colonies in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.”—Gary B. Nash, Journal of Social History

“Allan Gallay has produced the finest study yet completed of Indian slavery in the colonial South. . . . Gallay offers a critical yet objective interpretation of the English trade in Indian slaves that will serve as the benchmark for all future studies on the topic. All students of early American history will learn from this important study, and it should become required reading in colonial and Southern history.”—Greg O’Brien, Louisiana History

Selected by Choice as a 2003 Outstanding Academic Title

Winner of the 2003 Bancroft Prize for a Distinguished work in American History from Columbia University
ISBN: 9780300087543
Publication Date: February 8, 2002
464 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
4 b/w illus.