Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Woody Holton


When Carolina colony was established, its early financial success was inherently bound to its enslavement and exportation of countless Indigenous people in the colonial pursuit of Native land, wealth, and enslaved labor. However, given the Indian slave trade was largely illegal in Carolina, how did colonists export Indigenous people? This study seeks to expand the land-locked historiography and explore how enslaved Indigenous people appear in the historical record across the Atlantic world. Utilizing term proximity as a methodological approach in reading historical records, and privileging Carolina’s black-market trade with pirates, I propose that the trade with pirates also included enslaved Indigenous people. Contextualizing Carolina’s Indian slave trade in the larger Atlantic world, I investigate New England’s enslavement of Indigenous people as a precursor to Carolina’s Indian slave trade. As Carolinians began to enslave Indigenous people, contemporary discourse about enslavement demonstrates how conversations of morality and abolition hid more practical concerns about the impact of the Indian slave trade in Carolina. I also seek to complicate the historiographical debates over piracy and the African slave trade, racial preferences for enslaved labor, and the numerical calculations of Carolina’s exportation of enslaved Indigenous people. In doing so, I advocate for a more complex understanding of the colonial slave trade and the role of enslaved Indigenous people in the Atlantic world.


© 2023, Jordan Stenger