New research sheds light on 1619 arrival of Africans to English North America

There’s still a bit of mystery surrounding the arrival of the first-recorded Africans in English North America. But a recent research breakthrough has shed a little more light on a key moment in early American history.

In late August 1619, some “20 and odd” Africans were taken from the ship White Lion at Old Point Comfort in modern-day Hampton. The enslaved Africans were exchanged with English colonists for supplies, according to a letter written by colonist John Rolfe.

A few days later, another ship, the Treasurer, arrived with more enslaved Africans in the hold. Only one of them, a woman named Angelo, is known by name to modern-day historians.

And that’s about all they knew for a while.