The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717.

By ALAN GALLAY. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2002. Pp. xviii, 444. $35.00.) Reviewed by Brett Rushforth, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture In 1703, French cartographer Guillaume Delisle produced a map of North America unprecedented in its detail and accuracy. Published in Paris, the map gained instant recognition throughout Europe as the most reliable synthesis of available data on the continent’s land, waterways, and peoples. In his new book on the Indian slave trade in the colonial Southeast, Alan Gallay invokes Delisle’s map as a metaphor for his work. “We can identify with his task,” he writes, “as we reconstruct a distant world that we cannot visit, and attempt to make a representation that is coherent and valuable” (p. ix). Although earlier works contain most of the details about slave raiding at individual times and places, Gallay’s The Indian Slave Trade provides the first comprehensive map of Carolina’s Indian slave system. Bringing coherence to the topic of this southern slave trade is no small task. Spanning half a century and reaching into Spanish Florida, French Louisiana, and the Carolina interior, the trade involved three competing colonial powers and hundreds of Indian villages. Gallay draws connections among the diverse peoples and places of the colonial Southeast to reveal the contours of a slave trade more pervasive and destructive than previously imagined. As the book’s subtitle suggests, Gallay argues that Indian slavery played a central role in the rise of the English empire in the early South. Carolinians consistently used “slaving expeditions as a tool for imperial growth” (p. 164), targeting Indian peoples allied with the Spanish and French to weaken their European enemies. The most successful application of this strategy came between 1702 and 1706 when the colony provisioned its allies for massive slave raids against Florida’s mission Indians. In addition to decimating Florida’s mission system, the raiders returned with thousands of captives to sell to Carolina traders. Thus, although the expedition failed to conquer the Spanish at St. Augustine, it accomplished an important imperial aim while generating massive profits from the resulting slave sales. From this experience, writes Gallay, Carolinians “learned that they could make greater profits by attacking and enslaving a European foe’s allies than by assaulting the Europeans directly” (p. 197). That lesson would prove to be a dangerous one. During Queen Anne’s War, Carolinians hoped to destroy the fledgling French Louisiana. French weakness made them easy targets for a naval attack at Mobile, the success of which could have prevented the development of a strong French colony in the South. Rather than pursue this option, however, Carolina’s officials preferred to profit from slaving raids by continuing to support the Chickasaw against the French-allied Choctaw. By doing this, Gallay concludes, the Carolinians ensured a continued friendship between the French and the Choctaw and missed their best opportunity to defeat the French and thus expand their trade and settlement westward. Slavers’ greed also hindered efforts by Carolina’s proprietors to abolish or regulate Indian slavery. Although the proprietors demanded, as early as 1671-1672, that “no Indian upon any occasion or pretense whatsoever is to be made a Slave” (p. 49), none of the colony’s traders complied. Recognizing their inability to ban the trade, the proprietors then tried unsuccessfully to limit its scale, but governors and assemblymen who profited from slave exports refused to punish errant traders. A rapid proliferation of slave raids throughout the region resulted in a series of Indian wars in the 1710s. “Carolina’s inability to control its traders and bring justice to Indian relations,” Gallay suggests, “led to the near destruction of the colony in a few short years” (p. 287). Despite threatening South Carolina’s security, the Indian slave trade made an important contribution to its economic development. During the colony’s formative years, many planters

7).” Gallay reminds us. Most of these nations also suffered from forced relocation. where investment brought quicker returns” (p. for instance. 49) than agriculture. while culturally meaningful. “the planters looked to the Indian slave trade. “What is surprising about these figures. telling us more about Scots coastal settlements. but at times he takes his own advice too seriously. French. were destroyed in the violent disputes between peoples” (p. 29)? This oversight is especially apparent because the book so successfully articulates the English cultural context for the slave trade. 173). “Beyond the carnage that is documentable by the physical damage wrought.wished to expand their plantations but lacked the funds to buy more servants and African slaves. he calculates that as many as 51. 8). too. which disrupted subsistence patterns and severed social ties. 342). how is it that they “adapted to European slave trading practically overnight” (pp. If conference programs and dissertations-in-progress are any indication. .” he notes. Indian slavery thus financed the establishment of the colony’s staple-producing plantation economy. “personal relationships. one oddity immediately stands out: California is an island.” but offers only a brief and generalized description of precolonial “slavery” (p. unattached to the larger story of the Indian slave trade.” he writes. was an entirely new enterprise” for Indians. or Spanish sources. These frequent. The Indian Slave Trade should be judged not only by what it tells us. 8. there will be many explorer/historians grateful to Alan Gallay for plotting the course of slavery and empire so that they do not get lost along the way. Indian peoples attacked in slave raids felt the effects of this substantial trade most powerfully. “this fact alone forces us to reconsider the character and impact of English colonialism on the American South” (p.000 Indian slaves were shipped out of Charles Town during this period. but also by the journeys it inspires. “To obtain that capital. As Gallay argues. Quapaw calumet ceremonies. If he is correct in his assertion that “the slave trade . Florida’s Apalachee and Timucua. and Anglican missionization than we really need to know. Nowhere is this claim better demonstrated than in Gallay’s quantification of the Indian slave trade. Violence severed long-standing friendships between individual traders on both sides of the cultural divide. Despite the remarkable quality of Guillaume Delisle’s 1703 map. . that “Europeans did not introduce slavery or the notion of slaves as laborers to the American South. Gallay makes a good case for the importance of providing sufficient historical context for the slave trade. He tells us. In their own right. 299). slaving was primarily determined by a group’s “geopolitical circumstances” (p. 156). Yet such diversions are a small price to pay for an otherwise well-crafted guide to this complicated territory. The author’s inattention to the cultural meanings of Indian warfare stems not from carelessness but rather from his contention that. Yet his analysis of the cultural meanings of captive taking and exchange fall somewhat short of his own high standard. Gallay therefore attributes the actions of Indian societies to their participation in ever larger and more competitive English colonial markets rather than to any specifically cultural development. some portions of Gallay’s book seem to stand alone. and dozens of other groups lost not only those who were successfully enslaved. but also those who died defending them. This bolsters Gallay’s claim that “the trade in Indian slaves was the most important factor affecting the South in the period 1670 to 1715” (p. “is that Carolina exported more slaves than it imported before 1715” (p. 29) among the region’s Indians. Like Delisle’s California. Like any good map. . North Carolina’s Tuscarora. but those insights do not always contribute to an understanding of the topic at hand. many of these digressions are truly insightful. Louisiana’s Choctaw and petites nations. Tallying only those slaving raids documented in English. often quite lengthy asides distract from the study’s narrative flow and make the argument harder to follow. Gallay insists that “only by exploring the cultural values and meaning of native warfare can we understand the meaning and consequences of Indian engagement in slaving and in Europeaninitiated wars” (p.

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