The Last Ship to Bring Slaves to the U.S. Has Not Been Found

In 1860, slave smugglers burned the Clotilda to hide their crimes. A promising recent find has turned out not to be the vessel's remains.

This story was first published on January 24, 2018 and updated on March 6, with information based on additional research into the ship. The remains thought to be from the Clotilda in January are now thought to be from another, larger ship from the same century.

It was 52 years after the U.S. had banned the international slave trade when Timothy Meaher, a wealthy slave-owning planter, boasted that he could smuggle in a ship full of slaves.

To hide the evidence of their crime, the crew set the Clotilda on fire after the human cargo was removed.

For more than a century, the remains of the Clotilda have been a mystery. Thanks to reporting from Alabama news outlet AL.com and preliminary investigations by archaeologists, the ship was thought to have been found in January 2018—but subsequent research didn't bear that out.

When a "bomb cyclone" hit the U.S. East Coast earlier this winter, many were concerned with flooding and the record low temperatures.

In the Mobile-Tensaw

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