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The Last Slave Ship From Africa Has Been Found

Clotilda located in Alabama
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2019 5:05 PM CDT
Old Plateau Cemetery, the final resting place for many who spent their lives in Africatown, stands in need of upkeep near Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.   (AP Photo/Julie Bennett)

(Newser) – Alabama historical officials say researchers have located the wreck of the last ship known to bring enslaved people from Africa to the United States, the AP reports. A statement issued Wednesday by the Alabama Historical Commission says remains of the Gulf schooner Clotilda have been identified and verified after months of assessment. The commission's executive director, Lisa Demetropoulos Jones, calls the discovery "an extraordinary archaeological find." The ship was thought to have been located last year, but that turned out to be a different wreck.

In 1860 the wooden ship illegally transported 110 people from what is now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile, Alabama. The Clotilda was then taken into delta waters north of the port and burned. The captives were later freed and settled a community that's still called Africatown. "Residents of Africatown have carried the memory of their ancestors who were forcefully and violently migrated from Africa to the shores of Alabama. Since then, the final chapter of the Clotilda story has been shrouded in mystery," the commission says in a statement, per AL.com. "For nearly 160 years, the waters around Mobile have concealed the final destination of the Gulf Schooner Clotilda." (The last African-born slave in the US arrived on the Clotilda.)


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