Wikipedia reports that "The Georgia Experiment [from 1735 to 1751] was the colonial-era policy prohibiting the ownership of slaves in the Georgia Colony," and that this was done in order to "minimize the slave presence in Georgia."

So, did Georgia law "prohibit" all slavery during that time, or did it only mean to "minimize" slavery?  Details are very hard to find on line, beyond this puzzling summary from Wikipedia.  

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    The Wikipedia article seems clear that the ownership of slaves was illegal in Georgia under British law from 1735 to January 1 1751.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


Yes, despite the letter of the law, there were still slaves held in Georgia during this period.

The article "Slaveholding in Antebellum Augusta and Richmond County, Georgia" (p. 166) indicates a contemporary estimate, in Augusta alone, of about 100 slaves in 1740.

EDIT: It would seem that whatever efforts that were made to enforce the law were not effective in practice, in part because slavery was still legal just over the river in South Carolina.

The prohibition against slaveholding in colonial Georgia was extensively disregarded by South Carolina and Augusta Indian traders and farmers. Cashin correctly notes, "There is little doubt that the farming at Augusta [during the late 1730s and early 1740s] was done by Negro slaves hired from [South] Carolina masters or belonging to traders who had crossed" the Savannah River into Augusta. In 1741, Thomas Causton, first bailiff of the colony, wrote that Augustans "have little regard to the act against Negroes or other Laws and do all their planting by slaves."

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    Thanks. But was that evasion of the law, or were there clauses in the law allowing it? For example I wonder if there were slaves there prior to this law, and the law did not free them. Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 0:37
  • @ColinMcLarty I've made an edit to address this.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 1:50

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