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Overview

Papers of the American Slave Trade, provides scholars with access to primary source material on the business aspect of the trade in human beings. The collection documents the international slave trade in Britain_s New World colonies and the United States from 1718 to the trade_s demise after 1808. By the 1720s, Newport, Rhode Island, had established itself as one of the major seaports in British colonial North America. During the town_s Golden Age, Newport was the fifth most prosperous seaport in the colonies, behind New York, Charleston, Boston, and Philadelphia. Along with the business records created by prominent merchants, there are other collections that tell the story of Newport_s period of maritime prosperity. These include log books, Customs House documents, insurance records, and the archives of the Newport Marine Society. Also available is a large variety of shipping manifests, cargo inventories, and other documents illustrative of Newport_s role in the maritime economy of North America. Volumes from the society_s log book collection, including logs and journals from 18th and 19th century merchant vessels, document Newport_s role in the Triangular Trade and the routes and business practices of slave traders. This part comprises the largest collection of Aaron Lopez papers in the world. Lopez was a Jewish refugee who fled Portugal during a renewed wave of Inquisitorial activity in the 1750s. Though he arrived in Newport with little property or resources, he soon involved himself in mercantile activity, utilizing Jewish and non-Jewish contacts in Boston, Charleston, Halifax, New York, Jamaica, Lisbon, and Amsterdam.

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