Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Middle Passage
If the Atlantic were to dry up, it would reveal a scattered pathway of human bones, African bones marking the various routes of the Middle Passage.
-Dr. John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998)
From 1502 to 1860, the trans-Atlantic slave trade brought over 10 million Africans to North and South America. For the persons enslaved, this journey began with capture in the African interior, followed by transport to the coast, sale to slave traders, and an ocean voyage packed in a ship’s hold. The Middle Passage, as it came to be called, proved a brutal ordeal. An estimated one and one half million persons died along its various routes, their bodies committed to the ocean.
The first Africans brought to Virginia landed at Point Comfort n 1619, ten years after the Jamestown Colony had been established. Between then and 1808, when the U.S. government banned further importation of African slaves, hundreds of ships brought thousands of captured Africans to the Chesapeake Bay region. They were brought directly to river plantations on the James, York, and Rappahannock rivers as well as to ports at Yorktown, Jamestown, Richmond,
Transporting human cargo entailed a cold calculation of inevitable losses against ultimate profits.
The trans-Atlantic slave trade was a huge and complex endeavor that created unprecedented wealth, but at an enormous human cost.
Erected by Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism Office.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Colonial Era • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Virginia, Fredericksburg: Timeless. series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1502.
Location. 38° 17.812′ N, 77° 27.236′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Sophia Street, 0.2 miles south of Frederick Street, on the left when traveling south. This marker is located on the grounds of the City Dock Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Sophia Street, Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Slave Ship Othello (here, next to this marker); No Outlet (here, next to this marker); c. 1830 (a few steps from this marker); Irish Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Fredericksburg City Dock (within shouting distance of this Fredericksburg City Dock (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fredericksburg City Dock (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington's Boyhood Home (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 462 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.