Slavery in Louisiana and other Southern States

Before European Settlers Arrived

Before European settlers arrived, the inhabitants of Louisiana utilized people as slaves in their own country by capturing them from their encircled enemy. Spanish kings once controlled the region (Burin, 2008).

Arrival of French Colonies

When the French colonies arrived, they captured the region and gave it the name Louisiana. New Orleans, Biloxi, Natchitoches, Mobile, and other modern cities were founded by the early immigrants. The remaining women and children were taken as slaves by the French colonies after they had conquered the state. Following a conflict, the indigenous were mostly utilized to seize captives from their opponents, necessitating the need for more obedient subjects for the French colonists to use as slaves. In this respect, French colonists captured African slaves between the years 1717 to 1721 and transported them to New Orleans (Burin, 2008).

Slave Trade Restrictions and Revolts

According to Cole (2005), those captured agonized from scurvy and dysentery, with some ultimately succumbing to death as a result of overcapacity in the ships as well as reduced nutrition and public health. Spanish colonists promulgated law forbidding slave trade of Native Americans on December 7th, 1769 and legislated a subsequent law consenting the slaves to buy their freedom and that of other slaves. Between the years 1780-1784, Maroon group of slaves counterattacked the colonial rule in New Orleans which resulted in 23 slaves being hanged while 31 others were condemned to scourging and hard labor after hearing in Point Coupee. Three whites who were arrested with the slaves were deported, and two of them were sentenced to forced labor in Havana.

Increased Demand for Slaves

Cotton gin discovery in Louisiana led to rising in demand for slaves to work on the cotton farms in northern parts as well as to work on sugarcane plantation along Mississippi river delta. After the purchase of the state by the United States, slave importation was abolished in 1807. Internal slave trade developed whereby black slaves were sold by their holders to the lower southern region from upper southern region. Black slaves appalled against punitive working conditions in the sugarcane plantations outdoor of the New Orleans in 1811. The revolt of slaves in Haiti in 1791-1804 propagated the latter resistance. The US constitution in 1864 banned slave trade and gave the slaves in America liberty to settle freely. Some slaves left the plantations to seek military union lines for freedom while those who failed to reach the bases, stayed in the farms until the union gained control over the south (Foner, 2011).

Differences between Slavery in Louisiana and other Southern States

There existed clear differences between slavery in Louisiana and other southern states. Some of these differences are outlined below. During the eighteenth century, slavery in Louisiana changed entirely compared to another southern state. In the course of this period, slaves originated from Spanish and French colonies such as Congo, Benin, and Senegal rather than in other countries where Native Americans were still being used as slaves (Gross, 2006)

Privileges and Treatment

Formerly, the slave trade administered by French rulers and later by Spanish granted privileges to the slaves like rights to espouse as well as to worship whereby the French rule instigated the slave controllers to allow their slaves to join Catholic parishes. In Louisiana, the state also banned the parting of slave couples as well as torturing them though slaves received a substantial penalty after being convicted with strict frigging laws. On the contrast, the other colonists in southern employed harsh and restricted measures on the black slaves. For instance, Germany colonists executed revolting slaves in the New Orleans (Litwack, 2009).

Rights and Enslavement

The French colonizers employed the free people of color scheme which granted Anglo-Americans right to own properties, business, and even slaves. The colonists prohibited the intermarriages between slaves and natives. Antagonistically, the colonists in the other southern states held Anglo-Americans as captives and had to work for their masters for several years before being granted the right to live freely. In other countries like the New Orleans intermarriages between the black slaves and the natives was still being practiced (Singleton, 2016).

Religion and Faith

In Louisiana, an intermediate group which erupted after the intermarriages among whites and black commonly referred to the mulattoes were granted rights and treated like the natives while the mid society in the other southern states was not considered differently from the black slaves. Louisiana State was primarily denominated by Catholic faith as it was the only faith recommended by the French rulers through the other southern states were designated by the Protestant faith which the British employed (Mills & Elizabeth, 2013).

Similarities and Revolts

Despite the differences between slavery in Louisiana and other southern states, there were some similarities between the two. In both Louisiana State and the southern states, their existed adoption of slaves captured from the overpowered enemies. The inhabitants formerly arrested individuals who had survived wars. Commonly these entities were mainly women and children. Slaves were forced to work on the farms and also as servants in their master’s homes.

Forced Labor and Cotton Demand

After colonists arrived in America, they tried to force the Native Americans they found in both Louisiana and other southern regions of the America. British formerly tried to force red Indians to work in their plantation through the resistance they faced led them to opt for other sources of labor. Similarly, French colonists in the Louisiana region at the outset tried to dynamism the Native Americans in Biloxi, Natchto, Mobile and New Orleans to forced labor but failed (Scott, 2009).

Transportation and Religion

The introduction of the cotton gin in America led to high demand for slaves to work on the cotton farms in Louisiana as well as in other southern states hence the cotton farms required more labor thus need for importation of slaves from outside the America. Also, the sugarcane in the Louisiana region required enough worker to work in the plantations.

Slave Conditions and Different Colonists

The French colonists captured black slaves to work in the cotton and sugarcane farms. They transported the slaves in large numbers using ships. These slaves suffered from dysentery and scurvy due to poor sanitation and inadequate nutrition during their transit, and many of them died before reaching their destination. British colonies also adopted transporting slaves from Africa to work on the plantations in other southern states. Similarly, some of these slaves died due to poor nutrition and poor sanitation during their transits (Gross, 2006).

Religious Practices

In the Louisiana region, slaves were given the right to exercise their freedom to worship in the Catholic parishes as well as the slaves in the other southern states where the colonists used to instruct the slaves to join their congregation in Protestant churches. For example, Spanish colonists used to baptize the slaves before they were on board. French colonists in the Louisiana region recommended the slave master to allow their slaves to practice the Catholic faith (Litwack, 2009).

European Colonization

The state of Louisiana was colonized by European masters whereby French denominated after they displaced their Spanish counterparts. Similarly, the other southern countries were colonized by European masters who included, German, Spain, and Britain (Singleton, 2016).

Medical Knowledge and Treatment

In Louisiana, state slaves applied their knowledge of medical skills to treat each other. They depended on their herbs they had carried along from Africa before they discovered American herbs suitable for medical care. Similarly, the slaves in the other southern states had to depend on their medical skills for treatment their ill colleges since no advanced medical care was available at that time.

Slave Worship and Revolts

Slaves in both Louisiana and other southern states were not allowed to hold separate religious congregation on their own as they were perceived to plan the revolution. The slaves were supposed to attend church precision alongside their masters and seat at the back of the churches while white preacher presided over the service. During the late eighteenth century, both northern and southern slaves revolted against the colonist forced labor. In 181, slaves in Louisiana region rebelled against brutal forced labor in the sugarcane plantations this was after the revolt by the black slaves in Haiti (Litwack, 2009).


In conclusion, the slavery in Louisiana and other parts of the United States was conducted in a similar manner whereby most slaves were obtained from African colonized states. The slaves were subjected to forced labor under deteriorating conditions and harsh treatments. Later on, several states enacted laws which gave slaves rights and privileges to ownership, marriage, and religion. Despite these similarities, there were several differences which distinguished the slavery in Louisiana and other southern states. These included the fact that most slaves in Louisiana were captured from French and Spanish colonies rather than from British colonies and that they began issuing slaves with rights earlier on than in any other state.

Works Cited

Burin, Eric. Slavery and the peculiar solutions: A history of the American Colonization Society. Southern Dissent, 2008.

Cole, Shawn. “Capitalism and freedom: Manumissions and the slave market in Louisiana, 1725–1820.” The Journal of Economic History 65.4 (2005): 1008-1027.

Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s unfinished revolution, 1863-1877. Harper Collins, 2011.

Gross, Ariela J. Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom. University of Georgia Press, 2006.

Litwack, Leon F. North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States. University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Mills, Gary B., and Elizabeth Shown Mills. The forgotten people: Cane River’s Creoles of color. LSU Press, 2013.

Scott, Rebecca J. Degrees of freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after slavery. Harvard University Press, 2009.

Singleton, Theresa A. The archaeology of slavery and plantation life. Routledge, 2016.

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