Slavery in Florida

As early as the 16th century when Europeans began coming to Florida’s shores, slaves have been an important component of the cultural and social dynamic of the state. By the time Florida became a United States territory in 1821, slavery had become an integral part of the Middle Florida plantation economy. The system of African slavery in Florida was more closely related to other southern states of the time leading up to the American Civil War however. Florida has become part of the great cotton belt which produced a large quantity of the country’s cotton from this slave labor system. This module will focus on the decades leading up to 1861 when slavery had reached its pinnacle in Florida. Students will read and discuss primary documents relating to the institution of slavery in Florida. Each document is accompanied by suggested review questions that will help students engage with the documents in a meaningful way.