Asked • 4d

Were the first African Americans in Jamestown slaves or indentured servants?

Recently, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia referred to the first African Americans to arrive in Jamestown as [indentured servants](https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/02/10/ralph-northam-indentured-servants-sot-nr-vpx.cnn). This quickly created a twitter storm of corrections, first by [random users](https://twitter.com/WvuAlphaSoldier/status/1094793776588042240), then by [historians](https://twitter.com/historianess/status/1094683488614338560?s=19). However, wikipedia seems to [bear the governor out](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery_in_Virginia). It's pretty clear that the institution of the pure chattel slavery was in completely in place a generation later, with all the horrific consequences thereof. But was this something in place from the start, or was it something that evolved in the first few dacades of the colony.

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