1790 was the year of the first US Census and it recorded a black population of 760,000, with the biggest concentrations in the southern states of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. This represented about 19 per cent of the population, of which most were slaves. There was also a considerable number of free African Americans, with 27,034 in the north and 32,162 in the south. The southern states, which later made up the Confederate States of America, depended on slave labour for the cultivation and harvesting of their rice, corn, indigo and wheat crops. Later, in the 1800s, cotton would take over as the most labour intensive crop. Most of the black Americans were of West and Central African ethnicity and many were first generation slaves. Eighteen years later, in 1808, a federal law was introduced prohibiting the importation of slaves.
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