Hunting on the last slave ship from USA ” after 160 years, opened again

Some scientists are convinced that they are the ‘Clotilda’, a slave ship that 160 years ago, lost after the captain put fire to the death penalty, to escape, discovered.

In the summer of 1860, the trans-Atlantic slave trade was already a half-century, banned in the United States, smuggled captain William Foster 110 African slaves Alabama. Since he but too well realized that his ship is sufficient evidence contained of his illegal act, he decided the ‘Clotilda’ to make it disappear by her in fire. Nearly 160 years, the exact location of the ‘last slave ship of the U.S.’ a mystery, but now a storm may be the remains of the vessel uncovered.

The story of the last slave ship from the US actually starts when the prosperous plantation-owner, Timothy Meaher and captain William Foster. The two wanted to as a sort of obscure bet to see if they have a ship full of negroes’ under the nose of the police, the US could smuggling, according to a report from historian Sylviane Anna Diouf.

Foster departed on a months-long mission in the direction of Dahomey, African kingdom in the south of the current Benin. The true purpose of the ship was hidden by a few stops in to welding in Caribbean ports and the stocks to the prisoners, to feed and hide under piles of wood.

Although they have not been noticed were, made the trip anything but hassle-free. So did the Clotilda road but just a collision with a Portuguese ship to avoid, there was a mutiny among the crew and became one of the masts had been snatched away by a heavy storm.

Finally the captain the coast of Dahomey to achieve. On the spot he could 110 slaves buy by making use of local conflicts between rival tribes, after which he again price continued in the direction of US.

The death penalty

The original plan was to release the slaves to ‘solve’ in Mobile (Alabama), and then to sail on to Mexico, where the ship is cleaned and a new name would get. Meaher understood, however, that the Clotilda unmasked was and feared that the federal troops on his heels were.

He also knew what him and Foster was waiting for them when they are caught, the death penalty and amended the plan. The slaves were transferred on a smaller riverboat, and Foster had the Clotilda to a secluded area and burn. That had to be done, because there were too many clues that it is a slave ship: the barrels for water and food, the stench of urine, feces, vomit and blood of the slaves, etc.

Foster, sailed to a branch of the Tensaw Delta, and did what Meaher he is assigned. With success, both men were never convicted for their crime. The exact location of the ship, he took with him into the grave, and would almost 160 years a secret. Until now.


Ben Raines, a reporter from the Birmingham News and the part-time nature guide, believes that he is the Clotilda – or what remains – found. Thanks to investigative journalism, but also thanks to luck. The wreck is normally under water, but was exposed by the abnormally low tide following the passage of the ‘bomcycloon’ on the east coast of the U.S. early this year.

The wreck is in a bay that is filled with abandoned and sunken ships, but according to experts Raines ever been on the right track. Based on the location and construction of the wreck is possible, very possible even that it was the Clotilda, says Greg Cook, the archaeologist that the wreck could study. ‘The wreck was also clearly on fire, what the chances only increase.’ To be definitive, more research is needed.

Raines himself is certain of his piece. “According to his own journal would Foster the Clotilda in Mobile bay and then to a place near 12 Mile Island dragged. That is exactly where I the wreck have found’, he writes.

End slavery

Shortly after the mission of Foster and Meaher broke the American civil War. That raged until 1865, but eventually led to the abolition of slavery in the US. The 110 slaves of the Clotilda were given the freedom and founded together a settlement on that bekendraakte as Africatown. In 2012, acknowledged the Us government Africatown as a historically valuable place.

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