Crispus Attucks was the product of the colonial environment in which Africans and Native peoples lived in the 18th century. Native peoples, dispossessed of nearly all land bases by arriving English colonists, were forced into market economies which led to debts and indentured servitude, while some were enslaved outright.
As they worked alongside one another on white farms, in white households, on the docks, and on whaling and merchant ships, romantic relationships between people of African and Native descent became common. Demographic trends were also at play. There were more men than women among enslaved blacks in New England. In addition, Native women outnumbered Native men, who lost their lives both in battles and accidents at sea. Native women also owned land, which created opportunities for black men in relationships with them to work their family’s own land.
More in this Section
- A Man of Many WorldsAttucks’s views were likely shaped by his life as a mariner of African and Native descent living in British-occupied Boston.Read more →
- Putting the Pieces TogetherKey written documents offer clues to Attucks’s life.Read more →
- African and Native FamiliesAttucks belonged to a blended community created by the forces of colonialism, slavery and love.Read more →
- Connection to Native PeoplesAs a man of Native ancestry, Attucks would have had many reasons to resent both the colonists and the British.Read more →
- Connection to Black CommunitiesAttucks likely interacted with Bostonians of African descent who were pressing for their freedom before the Revolution.Read more →
- Life at SeaOn the docks, Attucks encountered many discontented sailors and colonists who opposed British authority.Read more →