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1619: 400 years ago, a ship arrived in Virginia, bearing human cargo

By February 8, 2019 No Comments

THE ARRIVAL OF 20 AND ODD ENSLAVED AFRICANS IN 1619 HAS BEEN CALLED THE BEGINNING OF U.S. SLAVERY. IT’S ACTUALLY FAR MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.

After having been kidnapped from their villages in what is present-day Angola, forced onto a Portuguese slave ship bound for what Europeans called the New World and stolen from that ship by English pirates in a confrontation off the coast of Mexico, “some 20. and odd Negroes” landed at Point Comfort in 1619, in the English settlement that would become Virginia.

Their arrival was duly noted by the colony’s secretary, John Rolfe, famous as the widower of the Native American woman called Pocahontas.

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