This coffee mug features the official artwork which commemorates the arrival of the First Africans in America. One of the first Africans was Angela, who lived and worked in the household of Captain William Pierce of New Towne, a well-connected and wealthy planter-merchant.
“About the latter end of August” in 1619, the prominent planter-merchant John Rolfe reported, “20 and odd” Africans were forcibly brought to Point Comfort, at the mouth of the James River. Taken from their homeland in Angola by Portuguese slave traders and subsequently captured by English privateers in the Gulf of Mexico, these men and women were the First Africans in mainland English America. In their new book Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans, the Jamestown Rediscovery team chronicles the life of Angela—one of the Africans dwelling at Jamestown—as revealed through archaeology, history, and historical research.
Listed in the household of Captain William Pierce in Jamestown in 1625, “Angela,” like the other Africans who ended up in the colony, was a victim of brutal wars in West Central Africa. Angela and hundreds of other Angolans were put on board a slave ship bound for Veracruz, Mexico. En route, the ship was attacked by two English privateers who then sailed to Virginia, and afterwards Bermuda, to sell the Africans as enslaved laborers to wealthy tobacco planters. Once in English America, the Angolans survived, persisted, and adapted to an unfamiliar new world and in so doing changed the course of American history.