Rhode Island played a leading role in the transatlantic slave trade. Not only did Rhode Islanders have slaves—they had more per capita than any other New England state—but they also entered with gusto into the trade.
When did Rhode Island get slaves?
Sometime after 1638, the first African slaves entered Rhode Island. They were sparse in the colony throughout the 17th century, with only 175 total African slaves in 1680.
Who were slaves in Rhode Island?
In 1755, 11.5 percent of all Rhode Islanders, or about 4,700 people, were black, nearly all of them slaves. In Newport, Bristol and Providence, the slave economy provided thousands of jobs for captains, seamen, coopers, sail makers, dock workers, and shop owners, and helped merchants build banks, wharves and mansions.
How many slaves were there in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island, of course, was among the most active Northern colonies in importing slaves. Between 1709 and 1807, Rhode Island merchants sponsored at least 934 slaving voyages to the coast of Africa and carried an estimated 106,544 slaves to the New World.
What did slaves do in Rhode Island?
By 1730, most of the trades and occupations in Rhode Island were somehow related to slavery. Slave traders kept busy shipbuilders, sailors, caulkers, sailmakers, carpenters, rope-makers, painters, barrel-makers, and dock workers.
How long did slavery last in Rhode Island?
In fact, the American slave trade was centered in New England, and enslaved people labored throughout the New England colonies from the mid-1600s through the American Revolution with slavery legally existing in Rhode Island until 1842.
What state ended slavery first?
In 1780, Pennsylvania became the first state to abolish slavery when it adopted a statute that provided for the freedom of every slave born after its enactment (once that individual reached the age of majority). Massachusetts was the first to abolish slavery outright, doing so by judicial decree in 1783.
Were there slaves in Newport RI?
Newporters had been importing slaves from the West Indies and Africa since the 1690s. By 1755, a fifth of the population was black. Only two other Colonial cities — New York and Charleston, S.C. — had a greater percentage of slaves. Twenty years later, a third of the families in Newport would own at least one slave.
Was there slavery in New Jersey?
New Jersey was the last of the Northern states to abolish slavery completely. The last 16 enslaved Africans in New Jersey were freed in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment.
Were there slaves in the middle colonies?
Although the largest percentages of slaves were found in the South, slavery did exist in the middle and Northern colonies.
Why were there slaves in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island fueled its rum trade by trafficking humans in Africa and the Carribean. Enslaved people performed numerous types of free labor throughout New England, and Clark-Pujara says that this northern slavery was just as brutal as it was in the South.
What percent of Rhode Island is black?
Rhode Island Demographics
White: 80.46% Black or African American: 6.77% Other race: 5.47%
Were there slaves in Providence Plantation?
African and American Indian slaves were eventually forced to work in towns and on farms both in Providence Plantations and on Rhode Island. The ports of Providence and Newport were both major points in the slave trade triangle.