US History: Enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia 400 years ago – National Geographic Magazine

Slave Traders

400 years ago, enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia.

Stolen by Portuguese slave traders, kidnapped by English pirates, and taken far from home, African arrivals to colonial Virginia in 1619 marked the origins of U.S. slavery.

In late August 1619, “20 and odd” captive Africans first touched the soil at Point Comfort (now Fort Monroe National Monument), part of England’s new colony in Virginia. These men and women had been stolen from their homes in Africa, forced to board a ship, and sailed for months into the unknown. The first Africans in an English colony, their arrival is considered by many historians to be the beginning of a 400-year story filled with tragedy, endurance, survival, and a legacy of resilience, inequality, and oppression.       

These first Africans in Virginia were not the first Africans in North America, but they were a significant part of the ever changing Atlantic world during the colonial era. Their travels and experiences represent those of more than 12.5 million other captives, who were taken from Africa to be sold in the Americas during the five centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Their story marks an important historical transition, as the North American colonies began to turn away from indentured servitude and instead rely on chattel slavery.

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Atlantic Slave Trade to North America – Click to enlarge

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On August 24, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Dr. Julia Hare …. Explains:

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