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060 What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
• Africans
• people from Africa

When Europeans began to live in the United States, they had a lot of work to do. They needed to make farms so that people would have enough to eat, build towns and cities, and build roads so that people could go between the towns and cities. There was too much work to do and not enough people to do it. So Europeans began to use slaves (or people who are forced to work without pay and are owned by other people). Most of the slaves were black people from Africa who were taken to America and sold to wealthy (or rich) people.

Africans were treated very poorly on the slave ships, which were large boats that brought slaves from Africa, and many of them died before getting to America. Historians (or people who study history) estimate (or guess) that about 645,000 Africans were brought to the United States. By 1860, the number of Africans had grown to around 4 million slaves. Most of these slaves lived and worked in the Southern United States, where cotton fields (or areas where something is grown for food or clothing) needed a lot of labor (or hard work). Many of them worked on large plantations, which were very large farms.

Slavery was legal (or allowed by law) from 1654 to 1865. During this time, most slaves were treated very badly by their owners. Slaves were often whipped (or hit with a long piece of leather to cut a person’s back) and beaten (or hit badly). Female slaves were often raped (or forced to have sex) by their owners. Black families were often separated (or forced to leave each other) when children were sold separately from their parents. For all these reasons, over time people began to think that slavery was wrong. Eventually slavery was made illegal (or against the law) when the 13th Constitutional Amendment was passed (or made into law) in 1865.


slave – a person who is forced to work without pay and is owned by another person
* Many of the big farms in the southern United States used hundreds of slaves.

slave ship – a large boat that brought slaves (people who were forced to work without pay and were owned by other people) from Africa to America
* Many Africans died on slave ships without ever reaching America.

estimate – to guess at the amount of something without calculating it or knowing the exact amount
* They estimated that about 4,000 people were at the concert.

field – an area where something is grown for food, clothing, housing, or other things
* We have large corn fields around our house.

labor – hard work done by people; physical work
* Labor is the biggest expense of owning and running a restaurant.

plantation – a very large farm, mostly in the southern United States
* Gone with the Wind is a popular book about a woman who grew up on a large cotton plantation.

to whip – to hit a person with a long piece of leather to cut a person's body and cause pain
* The man was whipped for having stolen bread.

to beat – to hit a person very badly to cause pain
* Our neighbor was arrested for beating his wife.