African Privateers and Sailors In Colonial Rhode Island

sloop1The peculiar institution of slavery in Rhode Island had its start and evolution with the sea. The town of Newport, aptly named the “City by the Sea,” would become the fifth most active seaport in all of Thirteen Colonies by the mid-18th century, an era that historians refer to as the “Golden Age.” At this time Newport would lead Colonial America in the participation in the notorious Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In fact, between 1705 and 1805, Rhode Island merchants sponsored at least 1,000 slaving voyages to West Africa and carried over 100,000 slaves back to America. Continue reading