The Portuguese had been in Angola for some time — building a large trade industry between Africa, Europe and the New World. There is evidence that some Africans had been baptized in the Christian faith before being enslaved. Others were baptized shortly before being loaded onto ships.
In August 1619, a privateer vessel, White Lion, landed in Virginia at Point Comfort, present day Hampton, with a cargo of more than 20 Africans. While raiding in the Caribbean the White Lion, along with privateers from another ship, Treasurer, had seized part of a cargo of Africans from a Portuguese slave ship named Sao Jao Bautista bound from the African city of Luanda to Veracruz, Mexico. A short time after the White Lion stopped at Point Comfort, the Treasurer arrived carrying more Africans.
The status of the Africans in Virginia is uncertain, but some were “bought” by Governor Yeardley and Abraham Peirsey — meaning they were either slaves or indentured servants. Without papers of indenture (as carried by most white servants), these new arrivals had no protected legal standing and could be easily exploited.
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