Indentured Servants

Servants and Colonists in Colonial America

Indentured Servants and Colonists in Colonial America

This article on Indentured Servants of Colonial America provides facts and information about:

  • The Indentured Servants system
  • The contracts signed by Indentured Servants
  • The terms of Indentured Servants and the freedom dues
  • An overview of the Indentured Servants
New England Colonies
Middle ColoniesSouthern Colonies
American Colonies Index
Colonization, Trade & Colonialism

History of trade, plantations, colonialism and colonization in the 13 Colonies

Indentured Servants: Colonialism, Triangular Trade, Mercantilism, Trade, Industries and Plantations

Definition of Indenture
Definition of Indenture: An indenture was a legal, written contract binding one party into the service of another for a specified term.

Indentured Servants Summary
The system of Indenture and Indentured servants was introduced in Colonial America to meet the growing demand for cheap, plentiful labor in the colonies. Indentured servants were contracted to work for a fixed period of time usually from five to seven years in exchange for transportation and the prospects of a job and a new life in the American colonies.

Indentured Servants - Work & No Wage
The Indentured servants were provided with basic necessities such as food, clothing and lodging during their term of Indenture but they were not paid any wages. Unlike slaves, the Indentured servants from Europe could look forward to a release from bondage. The first Indentured servants in Colonial America were introduced by the Virginia Company in 1619. For additional facts and info refer to Colonial Society.


Indenture Contract     

Indenture Contract 

Indentured Servants

Discover interesting  facts and information about Indentured Servants via this fast source of information. The Indentured Servants fact files provides fast access to interesting facts and stats about this infamous labor system used in Colonial America.

Facts about Indentured Servants

 Indentured Servants Fact 1The first Indentured servants in Colonial America were introduced by the Virginia Company in 1619
 Indentured Servants Fact 2There were three classes of Indentured servants:
  • Willing Migrants who wanted to start a life in the colonies and agreed to sign contracts
  • Unwilling Migrants who needed to escape religious persecution or were forced to go for other reasons
  • Convicts, Vagabonds, Rogues and Undesirables - these types of Indentured servants chose America, rather than prison
 Indentured Servants Fact 3A staggering 80% of of the total British and continental emigration to America prior to the American Revolutionary War were Indentured Servants
 Indentured Servants Fact 4Upon completion of an Indenture contract, the servant would receive "freedom dues," that included items such as  land, money, a gun, clothes or food.

 Indentured Servants Fact 5A woman who became pregnant as an Indentured servants often had years tacked on to the end of her service time
 Indentured Servants Fact 6The idea of indentured servitude was born of a need for cheap labor
 Indentured Servants Fact 7Punishments for Indentured Servants were harsher than those for non-servants
 Indentured Servants Fact 8Before slave laws were passed black Africans were initially treated as indentured servants, and given the same opportunities for freedom dues as whites.
 Indentured Servants Fact 9Indentured servants had few rights, they could not vote, they were not allowed to marry or to leave their houses and travel without permission

 Indentured Servants Fact 10They were not allowed to buy or sell anything
 Indentured Servants Fact 11Many indentured servants were put to work in the tobacco fields of Virginia and Maryland - hard work and no pay, but unlike slaves, they were eventually free
 Indentured Servants Fact 12Some were bought and sold when they arrived in the colonies, much in the same manner as slaves.
 Indentured Servants Fact 13An advertisement in the Virginia Gazette read, "Just arrived at Leedstown, the Ship Justitia, with about one Hundred Healthy Servants, Men Women and Boys."

 Indentured Servants Fact 14Some poor people in England sometimes sold themselves into indenture just to survive
 Indentured Servants Fact 15Poor English were offered a trip to North America, along with four to seven years of unpaid work for their masters in exchange for the journey
 Indentured Servants Fact 16The system of indentured servitude was the answer to clearing the streets of the many beggars and homeless in England.
 Indentured Servants Fact 17indentured servants and slaves had joined in Bacon's Rebellion.

 Indentured Servants Fact 18The failure of the indentured servitude system helped develop the need and use of slaves


Facts about Indentured Servants

Indentured Servants
The Indentured Servants were considered the personal property of their masters. Voluntary indentured servants were often trained in a craft or skill, similar to an apprentice system. The people who travelled to America under this system often endured highly unsettled lives - indenture contracts could be bought and sold or exchanged for goods. In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ended slavery and involuntary servitude.

Farming in the Middle Colonies

Idealistic Picture of a farm with Indentured Servants in Colonial America


Indentured Servants

  • Interesting Facts and information about Indentured Servants

  • Indentured Servants history

  • Fast Facts and info about Indentured Servants timeline

  • The Indentured Servants article is a great history resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on Indentured Servants

Pictures and Videos of the Indentured Servants
The Indentured Servants were classified in three separate regions consisting of the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies.  Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Bay Colony (which included Maine), New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. We hope that this article on the Indentured Servants will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the colonists. A great educational resource for kids on the subject of the Indentured Servants.

Indentured Servants - Colonial America - America - Facts - Great Britain - Colonists - England - English - Colony - Colonies - History - Kids - American Native Indians - US - Summary - Definition - Interesting - Information - Info - Events - Short - Kids - Children - Studies - US - United States - America - USA - French - English - British - Years - Social Studies Teaching resource - Social Studies - History - Teachers - Kids - Famous - Events - Colonial America - Indentured Servants