A yr earlier than the Civil Conflict, an Alabama businessman got down to win a guess with associates. The worldwide slave commerce had been outlawed for many years, however he wagered he might smuggle slaves from Africa to the USA with out being caught.
To show it could possibly be carried out, the businessman, Timothy Meaher, purchased an 86-foot-lengthy sailboat, the Clotilda, and employed its builder to captain a trek to West Africa. Underneath the duvet of night time in July 1860, the Clotilda returned to the waters off Alabama with one hundred ten slaves, rigorously navigating the tributaries round Cellular to evade the authorities.
However a number of miles north of Cellular, the captain and its crew grew involved that the authorities have been on their path. They unloaded the slaves and set the boat on hearth within the muddy banks of the Cellular-Tensaw Delta, the proof of their illicit voyage, and the final recognized American slave ship, by no means to be discovered.
A reporter in Alabama wrote in an article published on Tuesday that he might have discovered the wreckage on the shore of a swampy island within the delta. When the tide is low, the boat reveals itself — charred beams forming the form of a vessel with virtually the precise dimensions of the Clotilda.
Whereas the wreckage has not been formally recognized because the Clotilda, the reporter, Ben Raines of AL.com, just lately took a shipwright skilled and a group of archaeologists to survey it. What’s left of the boat — blackened beams and timber, threadless bolts and iron drifts — dates its development to similar interval of the Clotilda, they stated.
“The situation is true, the development appears to be proper, from the right time interval, it seems to be burnt,” Gregory D. Prepare dinner, one of many archaeologists who visited the location, advised AL.com. “So I’d say very compelling, for positive.”
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