The 2,000 enslaved individuals coming into North Carolina port(s) arrived in Port Bath, Port Beaufort (consisting of both the locations of New Bern and Beaufort) Port Brunswick, and Wilmington which were central sites of importation. Both Portsmouth Island and Battery Island have also been identified as stops for vessels along importation routes. While the majority of the data on the voyages coming directly from Africa are unsure of the specific site of disembarkation, there are voyages coming from the Caribbean and other locations within the United States that are importing enslaved persons into these ports. For example, in 1754 the vessel Campbell imported “16 negroes” within Port Bath. Additionally, the vessel Virgin Catrene brought “three negroes” into Bath on May 15, 1755.
"From the time of the arrival of the ships to their departure, which is usually about three months scarce a day passes without some Negroes being purchased and carried on board; sometimes in small numbers and sometimes in large numbers."
- Alexander Falconbridge, The Account of the Slave Trade in Africa, 1788
Onboard these vessels, enslaved Africans endured violence, terror, and abuse. Enslaved Africans were kept in close quarters and bound together by chains. Diseases were spread through the cabin due to the unhygienic conditions. Dehydration and malnutrition impacted the captive Africans while under the decks of said vessels.” Olaudah Equiano also known as Gustavus Vassa, the African, a child captive in the book, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustaus Vassa, the African also details his experience onboard a slave vessel as an enslaved person.
“I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench and with my crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat… I know wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me.”
-Olaudah Equiano,The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustaus Vassa, the African, 1789
On the vessel, the Hannah, captain Edward Prescot, the following year upon arriving in North Carolina was taken to court by his crewmen due to unfair treatment and unpaid wages. According to the court documents, “That the repeated barbarity inhumanity and ill-usage of said Edward Prescott and a certain Harrison Hudson mate of the said Snow that the continual apprehension of the danger of their lives grounded not only upon bad treatment and violent beating with illegal weapons but also upon the fate of many of the mariners on board1.” The violent nature of the captain upon the crew, considered under the law to be human beings, cannot begin to describe what the enslaved persons onboard the Hannah must have endured.
1 Transcription of “Admirality Court—Minutes" (1754-1776). Maryland State Archives.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Berkley: Mint Editions, 2020
Falconbridge, Alexander. An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa. London: J. Phillips,1788.
Minchinton, Walter E. "The Seaborne Slave Trade of North Carolina." The North Carolina Historical Review 71, no. 1 (1994): 1-61.
Northrup, David, ed. The Atlantic Slave Trade. Massachusetts: D.C. Heath, 1994.
O'Malley, George E. "Beyond the Middle Passage: Slave Migration from the Carribean to North America, 1619-1807." The William and Mary Quarterly 66, no. 1 (2009): 125-172.
Rediker, Marcus. The Slave Ship. New York: Viking, 2007.
Smallwood, Stephanie E.Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007.
UNCG Walter Minchinton's Seaborne Slave Trade of North Carolina
Walter Minchinton's document "The Seaborne Slave Trade of North Carolina" discusses North Carolina's involvement during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability created a map of the various routes Minchinton recorded of ships arriving to and from North Carolina transporting enslaved Africans.
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Lloyd's Register of Shipping is a historical document that lists all the ships that arrived in various locations. This is an international registry of all the ships that were accounted for arriving in various locations such as Britain, the Americas, and other locations. This registry is hosted on the Internet Archive.
History in Focus Online Bibliography: Atlantic Slave Trade
History in Focus is a website provided by the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. This bibliography consists of books and articles that surround the Atlantic Slave Trade, Europe and Slavery, Slavery and Literature, The Americas and Slavery, Slavery and Economy, etc.
SlaveVoyages is a database that compiles and makes publicly accessible records of trading routes of enslaved people. The online database consists of records that are categorized into three different data sets which are: Trans-Atlantic, Intra-American, and People of the Atlantic Slave Trade. This website also includes resources that provide images, educational materials, and additional reading materials.
Library of Congress: Immigration and Relocation in U.S. History
This presentation is apart of the educational resources within the Library of Congress. This particular resource is about immigration and relocation in the United States. They follow numerous nationalities and their journey in how they obtained citizenship in the U.S. This particular source discusses the forced importation and journey of Africans into the U.S.