2019 MARKS 400 YEARS

Next year marks 400 years since the first arrival, on record, of enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia. For the City of Richmond, the capital of the former Confederacy and one of this country's largest auction sites for the trade of enslaved Africans, 2019 becomes even more powerful when we can trace Richmond's African-American heritage to tangible places and spaces on the African continent. For instance, nearly 400 enslaved Africans arrived to Greater RVA from the Port of Ouidah, Benin. A tiny country next to Nigeria, Benin is positioning itself as a hub of both cultural tourism and economic innovation. Learn more below.

FROM OUIDAH to richmond

Two years after Richmond's founding in 1737, nearly 400 enslaved Africans came to the Greater Richmond area directly from Ouidah, a port city in the Republic of Benin in West Africa. These men, women, and children arrived to Greater RVA aboard the British vessel, the Anna. The Anna’s captain, James Stratchan, allegedly hails from Midlothian, Scotland, which shares a name with one of Richmond’s largest, wealthiest suburbs. 


Today, Ouidah is re-emerging as a focal point for distinctly Afrocentric heritage tourism and technological innovation, all at the core of Revealing Benin, Benin's five-year economic growth plan and yes, the inspiration for Richmond Revealed. Click on the 'Strategic Research' tab under Projects above for more information.


Revealing Benin is spearheaded by President Patrice Talon. President Talon won the Mandela Institute Governance Prize last year for his work that is set out to advance Benin as a model of a stable democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. He is leveraging his experiences as a multi-continental business tycoon to position Benin as one of the world's fastest growing economies for decades to come.


The core drivers of Benin's economic growth story match those driving Richmond's growth. From agriculture to logistics to technology led by youth entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic, there is tremendous potential to unlock new avenues for economic growth that reflect and honor the diversity at the heart of this transatlantic corridor. Click around this site to learn more.

SEE BELOW FOR Places from where enslaved Africans came directly to the greater Richmond  from the African continent between 1737 and 1776. 

(These years mark Richmond's "founding" and US independence, respectively).



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The voyages


We recognize that any data tied to the trade in enslaved Africans is inherently incomplete. We recognize that so much more than numbers of lives were lost to this horrific trade. We honor those lost, and we honor the resilience of descendant communities across the African diaspora communities worldwide. In the short term, by aggregating data from tools like the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database,  along with sources like Documents Illustrative of the Slave Trade to America, compiled by Dr. Elizabeth Donnan and Virginia Slave Trade Statistics 1698-1775, we can begin naming Greater RVA's African heritage. And from here, the information, stories, connections will continue to reveal themselves.

Please find below aggregated information on 23 voyages that transported enslaved Africans directly from the African continent to Greater RVA between the years 1737 and 1776, per the sources and texts above. For more information, click the 'Looking Back' tab under our growing Strategic Research portfolio. You can find more information under the relevant projects tab above.