Archaeologists Discover Wreckage of Notorious Slave Ship Off Brazil
The wreckage of a 19th-century U.S. ship with more than 500 slaves on board may have been identified by archaeologists in the sea of Angra dos Rei, Brazil, according to the local news outlet TV Prefeito.
Though researchers are still investigating, they believe it was a North American ship led by slave trader Nathanial Gordon, who was en route to deliver 500 enslaved Africans from Mozambique to Bracuí in Angra dos Reis in 1851.
Gordon illegally participated in the slave trade to Brazil, for which he was later tried, convicted, and executed under the Piracy Law of 1820.
Police had been chasing Gordon because the slave trade and the sailing of ships were illegal in Brazil and believe he may have sunk the ship to cover his tracks.
He lived as a fugitive for the next decade before being hung for his crimes in the U.S. in 1862.
Last year, archaeologists from the AfrOrigens Institute, the Fluminense Federal University, the Federal University of Sergipe, and multiple North American research institutions started searching for the ship.
Brazil was built on the enslavement of millions of Africans and Indigenous peoples. Research conducted by Princeton University observes that, “Of the 12 million enslaved Africans brought to the New World, almost half—5.5 million people—were forcibly taken to Brazil as early as 1540 and until the 1860s.”