On this dayJul 14, 1804

200 Kidnapped Africans Trafficked to New Orleans

The Historic New Orleans Collection

On July 14, 1804, two hundred enslaved Africans were trafficked to New Orleans on board the vessel Margaret. The Margaret left Liverpool, England in July of 1803, and sailed to Africa where traders kidnapped 222 Africans from the Congo and forced them into enslavement. During the Trans-Atlantic voyage, 22 enslaved people aboard the vessel Margaret died. The Margaret reached the port of New Orleans with the remaining 200 enslaved Africans on July 14, where they were humiliated and sold to traders. 

Beginning in the 15th century, European slavers relied on Trans-Atlantic slave trade routes to kidnap and traffick Africans, who were then sold in the Americas. Researchers have documented 36,000 Trans-Atlantic slave trading voyages between 1514 and 1866, and have estimated that 12.7 million Africans were enslaved and forcibly transported from their homelands during this period. 

The 22 Africans who died aboard the Margaret were among the 2 million Africans killed at sea during the Middle Passage. Nearly 13 percent of enslaved Africans who were forced to endure the Middle Passage did not survive the journey.

Across the eastern seaboard and the gulf region, cities like New Orleans served as the points of entry into the United States, where thousands of enslaved people were bought and sold. Slave traders in the port of New Orleans began trafficking enslaved Africans in 1719. Most enslaved people arriving in New Orleans in the 18th century had been transported from the Caribbean. Between 1801 and 1803 slave traders had to petition the Spanish government for approval, thus restricting the numbers of enslaved people who arrived in New Orleans through legal means. Once the territory was ceded to the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, however, the trafficking of enslaved Africans increased as traders tapped into extensive trade routes from Africa, Cuba, and Jamaica. Approximately 2,000 enslaved Black people were trafficked through New Orleans in the year 1804 alone. 

The trafficking of enslaved Black people in the port of New Orleans skyrocketed after 1808 when Congress made the Transatlantic Slave Trade illegal. As merchants and slave traders recognized the increased demand for enslaved labor, enslaved Black people were brought to New Orleans from Africa and the Caribbean through illegal means. Relying on rivers and overland routes, slave traders also forcibly transported nearly 1 million people from the Upper south to the Lower south, including to thriving markets like New Orleans. During this period, New Orleans became a major site for the Domestic Slave trade and became the largest export site of cotton in the American South.

About EJI

The Equal Justice Initiative works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

Learn more

About this website

Until we confront our history of racial injustice and its legacy, we cannot overcome the racial bias that exists today.

Learn more

Explore more events