An 18th Century Portuguese Slave Ship Rediscovered off Cape Town Sheds Light on the Middle Passage of the African Slave Trade

by Owen James Burke

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“To our knowledge, this is the first full scale effort to document a shipwreck that was carrying slaves”, reports The Smithsonian. Art: “Table Bay Cape Town”. Table Bay in the 1790’s by Thomas Luny (1759-1837)/Iziko Museums.

On December 27th, 1794, a Portuguese slave ship named the São José was full of human cargo and on its way to Brazil when it rounded Cape Point, South Africa and blew onto the rocks about 100 yards from shore.