Selected Virginia Statutes relating to Slavery
The following selections indicate that Africans and their descendants
received unequal treatment in the years before the General Assembly
decided that children of enslaved women would be slaves for life. The
documents also reveal that relations between English and Africans had a
degree of fluidity during the seventeenth century as Virginia developed
into a society where race, instead of status, determined one's place in
the social hierarchy.
- March 1642/3-ACT I:
An act creating the first legal distinction between English and African
- March 1661/2-ACT CII:
An act discouraging white indentured servants from running away
with enslaved blacks.
- March 1661/2-ACT CXXXVIII:
An act stating that Native American and English servants were
to serve their masters the same length of time.
- March 1661/2:
A ruling providing freedom for a Native American slave.
- October 1670-ACT IV:
An act prohibiting Free blacks and Native Americans from owning
- October 1670-ACT XII:
An act creating further additional distinction between African
Americans and Native Americans.
- 1670 -
Enquiries to the Governor of Virginia from the Lords Commissioners
of Foreign Plantations; Answered by Sir William Berkeley in
- February 1676/7 - An act by the
Royal Commissioners discouraging the treatment of Native Americans as
- April 1692-ACT III:An act stating the
procedure for a slave brought to trial for a capital offense.
- April 1699-ACT XII:An act that
established a tax on servants and slaves imported into this
- August 1701-ACT II:An act that
offered a reward for the apprehension of a notorious runaway
- October 1705-CHAP. XI:An act
denoting further procedures used in prosecuting slaves committing
- October 1705-CHAP. XII:An act
preventing the clandestine transportation of persons in debt,
servants, or slaves out of this colony.