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Rhode Island's Slave Trade

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by kathryn simoneau on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of Rhode Island's Slave Trade

1636: America's slave trade begins when the first American slave carrier, Desire, is built and launched in MA.

1652: First record of black slaves in Rhode Island. RI also passes laws restricting slavery and forbidding enslavement for more than 10 years.

1711: Rhode Island prohibits the clandestine importation of slaves.

1715: Rhode Island legalizes slavery 1774: Rhode Island prohibits the importation of slaves

1784: Emancipation Act passed; provided for gradual abolition of slavery

1787: Rhode Island forbids residents from participating in the slave trade.

1808: United States bans the slave trade; Importing African slaves is outlawed, but smuggling continues.

1819: U.S. law declares slave trading to be a capital offense. What was Rhode Island's role in the slave trade? Why was this such a popular market for America?? Americans were NEW. Free white men looked eagerly to start a new, wealthy life for themselves in the New World. White laborers escaped more easily, were more expensive to maintain, ill-suited for the hard work. in the early 1700's, New England had developed trade with the West Indies for molasses. This molasses was the "engine in the hands of the merchant to effect the great purpose for British manufacturers." Molasses, Rum, Slavery Racial Bias. Towns In RI That Contributed to the Trade: Newport
Bristol
Providence Molasses, when distilled, turns into rum, which was New Englands greatest and most valueable export. The Rhode Island Slave Trade An Introduction: Slavers of Newport: The Malbones The Vernons Slavers of Providence: The Brown's Slavers in Bristol: The De Wolfe Family first generation
Godfrey Malbone Sr. began slaving around 1728
dealt mainly with West Indies
His success was limited by serious losses
in 1740 he was the most considerable trader of Newport
in 1760 he possessed the largest fortune in Newport two brothers; Samuel and William
began slaving in the 1730's
War & politics seriously affected their profits
dealt mainly with SC and VA four brothers: John, Joseph, Nick, and Moses
first and only significant traders from Providence
eventually the trade divided the family
they were not very profitable or successful the De Wolfe's are the most notorious and successful slavers known today
began trading in 1774
they dominated the trade
of the De Wolfe family, and in all the slave trade, James De Wolfe is by far the most successful James De Wolfe born in 1763
by the age of 26, James had accomplished a lot he got his finances together
started his own bank
his brother William started the family insurance company
aquired a distillery from his father-in-law
won political favor of current President "Havanna, September 11th, 1806, John De Wolfe of Bristol. Sale of 121 Negroes. Total income, $36,300."

Today that equals around $553,000. Rhode Island was the most complicit state
in the US slave trade Little Rhody's Gruesome Statistics:
1709 to 1806
10,980,724 gallons of rum
934 voyages to Africa
106,544 slaves (known)
RI vessels accounted for 3/5 of US Slavers "An Ethiopian could as soon change his skin as a Newport merchant could be induced to change so lucrative a trade..." - William Ellery The End Work Cited:

Champlin, Robert, and Verner Winslow Crane. A Rhode Island Slaver; Trade Book of the Sloop Adventure, 1773-1774, from Original Manuscript in the Library of George L. Shepley,. Providence: Shepley Library, 1922. Print.

Coughtry, Jay. The Notorious Triangle: Rhode Island and the African Slave Trade, 1700-1807. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1981. Print.

Preston, Howard W. Rhode Island and the Sea. Providence: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Office of the Secretary of State, State Bureau of Information, 1932. Print.

Rawley, James A. The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1981. Print.

"Slavery and the Making of America." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.<http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/timeline/1641.html>

Traces of the Trade: A Story From Deep North. Dir. Katrina Browne. 2008. DVD.
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