Why were more Africans forced into slavery after U.S. importation was outlawed?
The U.S. Congress banned importing slaves "into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States ... from any foreign kingdom, place, or country” in 1808. The act was deemed punishable by death in 1820. But the practice continued, with as many as 10,000 Africans brought to the U.S. in the next four decades.
The slave ship Clotilda, whose discovered remnants in Mobile Bay were confirmed earlier this year, smuggled 109 Africans into the country in 1860. Importantly, Clotilda was not an isolated incident.
The smugglers took advantage of a massive need for labor. America’s brutal dispossession and ejection of Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians from their homelands in the South opened up new areas for