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Initially the Spanish tried to use Native Americans to work the New World plantations, but they often died through overwork and disease. European countries then tried to use indentured Scots and Irish immigrants, but plantation owners demanded a cheaper source of labour. As a result, black Africans were shipped across the Atlantic to work as slaves in the fields.

Classroom Ideas

Students could investigate indentured servitude and its relation to industrialisation. Discuss how a surplus of labour leading to lower wages may have made this seem as an appealing option for poor workers.
Compare the conditions for indentured workers with those of slaves and try to explain similarities and differences.