History of Connecticut Slavery: Did You Know?

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History of Connecticut Slavery: Did You Know?
Witness Stones Project ’23

By Samir Iydroose and Sid Srihari ’25

Did you know that the one of the first documented instances of slavery in Connecticut was in 1638 when Pequots captured during the Pequot War were enslaved?

Did you know that Connecticut was the second state to legally acknowledge slavery as an institution in 1650, and it fully assimilated into Connecticut as an accepted form of labor in 1680?

Did you know that by the 1700s Connecticut prospered from coastal trading with other colonies and in the West Indies?  

Did you know that Connecticut was part of the Triangle Trade and involved with the shipping of sugar, rum, and enslaved Africans?

Did you know that for at least 100 years (from about 1749–1856 or so) free and enslaved black people in Connecticut had a custom of electing a leader?  

Did you know that a man named Hercules, who lived in New London, Connecticut, may have been the first Black governor?

Did you know that Connecticut outlawed bringing enslaved people into the colony for the purpose of selling them in 1774?

Did you know that Connecticut was one of the last states to enact a gradual emancipation policy, in 1784?

Did you know that Gradual Emancipation policies eventually freed enslaved people born after ratification when they reached a certain age?

Did you know that Connecticut, despite being a smaller state, had the most enslaved people in New England? According to the 1790 Federal Census, Connecticut had 2,648 enslaved blacks or 1.1% of the population. 

Did you know that slavery was not outlawed in Connecticut until 1848 (or 13 years before the start of the Civil War)?  

Did you know that even after Connecticut abolished slavery, they still profited majorly from the imported goods from the South? 

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