In The Words of Others…

The First Africans to Virginia—1619

“About the latter end of August, a Dutch man of Warr of the burden of a 160 tunes arrived at Point-Comfort, the Comandor name Capt Jope, his Pilott for the West Indies one Mr Marmaduke an Englishman. They mett wth the Trer in the West Indyes, and determyned to hold consort shipp hetherward, but in their passage lost one the other. He brought not any thing but 20. and odd Negroes, wth the Governor and Cape Marchant bought for vietualle (whereof he was in greate need as he p’tended) at the best and easyest rate they could. He hadd a largge and ample Comyssion from his Excellency to range and to take purchase in the West Indyes.” (Emphasis added) (Records of the Virginia Company, 1606–26)

The Dutch were involved in the slave trade from an early period. It is believed the ship that carried the first Africans to British North America in 1619 was a Dutch pirate ship, the Trier. In alliance with the British pirate ship, Treasurer, the Trier had captured the Portuguese slave ship Sâo Joâ Bautista on its way from Angola to South America. The Trier and the Treasurer both sold their captured slaves at the English colony of Jamestown.

NPS Ethnography Program