upload image

First Slave Ships, White Lion and Treasurer, August 1619

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: Aug 1619 [unknown]
Location: Old Point Comfort, Hampton, Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Slavery Us_black_heritage Jamestown
This page has been accessed 75 times.

From History.com: [1]

"On August 20, 1619, “20 and odd” Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrive in the British colony of Virginia and are then bought by English colonists. The arrival of the enslaved Africans in the New World marks a beginning of two and a half centuries of slavery in North America.
Founded at Jamestown in 1607, the Virginia Colony was home to about 700 people by 1619. The first enslaved Africans to arrive in Virginia disembarked at Point Comfort, in what is today known as Fort Monroe. Most of their names, as well as the exact number who remained at Point Comfort, have been lost to history, but much is known about their journey. "

Below is data from 1620, which may help understand the identities of the Africans who first arrived:

Historian Beth Austin: [2]

Virginia Muster, March-May 1620. Ferrar Papers, Document 159. citation#62

The Sums total of all the Persons, Cattle, Corn, Arms, Houses, and Boats Contained in the general Muster of Virginia taken in the beginning of March 1619[1620]

  • The number of all the Persons men women and children English and other Christians in Virginia
    • Able men 670
    • Women 119
    • Boys serviceable 039
    • Younger Children 057
    • [Total] 885
  • Others not Christians in the Service of the English
  • Indians in the service of several planters 04
  • Negros in the service of several planters 32
    • Negro men 15
    • Negro women 17
    • [Total population] 921

Research Notes

  • Quoting from Hampton Virginia History Museum: [3] Were the first Africans indentured servants or enslaved?

"The historical record does not say for sure, but most historians agree the vast majority of Virginia’s earliest Africans were enslaved. Certainly, they were enslaved on board the Spanish ship San Juan Bautista. When they arrived in Virginia, they were traded as commodities. There are no historical records to indicate they were given regular indenture contracts used by English servants. Once in Virginia, a few Africans may have been treated in a manner similar to white indentured servants or had an opportunity to earn freedom, but existing records do not indicate this was the experience for most Africans, who were enslaved from the outset."


  1. "First enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown, setting the stage for slavery in North America Author: History.com Editors. Last Updated: August 23, 2021. Original Published Date: August 13, 2019 Live link and Archived Link
  2. Austin, Beth. https://www.hampton.gov/DocumentCenter/View/24075/1619-Virginias-First-Africans?bidId=
  3. Hampton Virginia History Museum FAQS. https://www.hampton.gov/Faq.aspx?QID=813

See also:

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Elaine Martzen and US Black Heritage Project WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.