.....Once Europeans arrived as colonialists in North America, the nature of Indian slavery changed abruptly and dramatically. Indians found that British settlers, especially those in the southern colonies, eagerly purchased or captured Indians to use as forced labor in cultivating tobacco, rice, and indigo. More and more, Indians began selling war captives to whites rather than integrating them into their own societies. And as the demand for labor in the West Indies became insatiable, whites began to actively enslave Indians for export to the so-called "sugar islands."
The resulting Indian slave trade devastated the southeastern Indian populations and transformed Native American tribal relations throughout the region. The English at Charles Town, the Spanish in Florida, and the French in Louisiana sought trading partners and allies among the Indians, offering trading goods such as metal knives and axes, firearms and ammunition, intoxicants and beads, and cloth and hats in exchange for furs (deerskins) and Indian slaves captured from other tribes. Unscrupulous traders, frontier settlers, and government officials encouraged Indians to make war on other tribes to reap the profits from the slaves captured in such raids or to weaken the warring tribes.
It is not known how many Indians were enslaved by the Europeans, but they certainly numbered in the tens of thousands. It is estimated that Carolina merchants operating out of Charles Town shipped an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Indian captives between 1670 and 1715 in a profitable slave trade with the Caribbean, Spanish Hispaniola, and northern colonies. Because of the higher transportation costs of bringing blacks from Africa, whites in the northern colonies sometimes preferred Indian slaves, especially Indian women and children, to blacks. Carolina actually exported as many or even more Indian slaves than it imported enslaved Africans prior to 1720. The usual exchange rate of captive Indians for enslaved Africans was two or three Indians to one African.....
Slavery in America