"JUST IMPORTED, Directly from the Coast of ANGOLA…a parcel of choice healthy slaves…"
Quote from advertisement for the sale of enslaved people at London Town in the July 17, 1760, issue of The Maryland Gazette.
Our history cannot be told without slavery.
Four hundred years ago, the first enslaved Africans were sold in British America at Jamestown, Virginia. Enslaved people quickly became essential to the tobacco economy throughout the Chesapeake. Almost a century later, all ships sailing the South River were required to “Unlade and put on Shore, all Negroes” here at the tobacco port of London Town.
The sale of enslaved people in London Town advertised in The Maryland Gazette, July 15-22, 1729.
We remember those who did not survive the Middle Passage and whose bodies lie at the bottom of the Atlantic. Chained and naked, largely unable to understand their captors’ language, enslaved people were packed aboard floating prisons for two to three months. Among the twenty slave ships known to have called in at London Town, nearly 700 of the enslaved Africans held aboard them died before ever reaching our shores.
Illustration of how enslaved people were packed aboard slave ships. From Plan, Profil et Distribution du Navire La Marie Séraphique de Nantes by René Lhermitte, 1770.
We remember the hundreds or perhaps thousands of survivors of the Middle Passage that were sold here between 1708 and 1760. The enslaved survivors were taken from the rich and varied cultures of Sierra Leone through Angola along the West African coast. They brought with them their diverse languages, religions, foods, and cultures, all of which became woven into this new American culture.
Historic London Town and Gardens joins thirty other sites in the United States as a “Site of Memory” associated with the UNESCO Slave Route Project. We are proud to stand with the global community in remembering the unwilling sacrifice and suffering of millions throughout the Atlantic world.
About The UNESCO Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage
Launched in 1994, the international and inter-regional project ‘The Slave Route: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage’ addresses the history of the slave trade and slavery through the prism of intercultural dialogue, a culture of peace and reconciliation. It thereby endeavours to improve the understanding and transmission of this human tragedy by making better known its deep-seated causes, its consequences for societies today and the cultural interactions born of this history. The project is structured around five key fields of activity: scientific research, development of educational materials, preservation of written archives and oral traditions, promotion of living cultures and contributions by the African diaspora and, lastly, preservation of sites of memory.
The promotion of the memorial heritage related to the slave trade and slavery plays a decisive role not only in educating the general public, and young people in particular, but also in facilitating national reconciliation and social cohesion processes in societies.
It is in this perspective that The Slave Route project has created a label to encourage the preservation of sites of memories and the establishment of itineraries that can tell this story and ensure that this heritage receives due attention at the national, regional and international levels.
This site fulfills the quality criteria set by the UNESCO Slave Route Project in conjunction with the International Network of Managers of Sites and Itineraries of Memory.
Thanks to the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project
Thanks to the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP) for their assistance in achieving this designation. The MPCPMP is a non-profit tax-exempt organization established in 2011 to honor the two million captive Africans who perished during the transatlantic crossing known as the Middle Passage and the ten million who survived to build the Americas.