Between 1670 and 1717 far more Indians were exported than Africans were imported. In southern coastal regions entire tribes were exterminated through slavery compared to disease or war. In a law passed in 1704, Indian slaves were conscripted to fight in wars for the colony long before the American Revolution. The historical record of the Indian slave trade is based on many disparate and scattered sources including legislative notes, trade transactions, journals of slavers, government correspondence and especially church records, making it difficult to account for the entire history. It is well known by historians that the slave trade began with the Spanish incursions into the Caribbean and Christopher Columbus’s taking of slaves, as documented in his own journals.As the Indian slave trade gave way to the African slave trade by the late 1700’s (by then over 300 years old) Native American women began to intermarry with imported Africans, producing mixed-race offspring whose native identities became obscured through time. In the colonial project to eliminate the landscape of Indians,
these mixed-race people simply became known as “colored” people through bureaucratic erasure in public records. In some cases such as in Virginia, even when people were designated as Indians on birth or death certificates or other public records, their records were changed to reflect “colored.” Census takers, determining a person’s race by their looks, often recorded mixed-race people as simply black, not Indian. The result is that today there is a population of people of Native American heritage and identity (particularly in the Northeast) who are not recognized by society at large, sharing similar circumstances with the Freedmen of the Cherokee and other Five Civilized Tribes. So well over 300 years old the “Indian Slave Trade” was replaced and used alongside the African introduced to America.