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Gulf Coast wreck ruled out as last slave ship

Investigators have determined that an old wooden wreck found on the Alabama Gulf Coast isn't the last slave ship to land in the United States, the Alabama Historical Commission said Monday.

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 2:41 PM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Investigators have determined that an old wooden wreck found on the Alabama Gulf Coast isn't the last slave ship to land in the United States, the Alabama Historical Commission said Monday.

A statement released by the state agency said the ship remains found north of Mobile are too large and new to be those of the Clotilda, which was burned nearly 160 years ago after delivering captives from what's now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile in 1860.

A reporter found ship remains on a river bottom during an unusually low tide in January and published an article, prompting a historical review.

Even though the remains are not the Clotilda, the discovery shows the need for a wider study of shipwrecks on the coast, said James P. Delgado, a senior vice president of SEARCH, Inc., which participated in the examination.

"We believe that a comprehensive survey of the area with a range of modern technology, followed by an examination of each wreck encountered by knowledgeable professionals will be the best means to find the physical remains of Clotilda," Delgado said in the statement.

State and federal experts who examined the wreck recently said the ship in the mud was about 160 feet (50 meters) long, while the Clotilda was 86 feet (25 meters) long. Also, the wreck had three masts, while the Clotilda had two.

The wreck in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta had what appeared to be marks indicating fire damage, but the review showed those marks actually were caused by wood-eating marine organisms, the statement said.

Also, the construction methods used on the wreck didn't become common until after the Clotilda was built, and the wreck didn't appear to include oak, which was used on the slave ship.

The Clotilda sailed to Africa on a bet by an Alabama steamboat captain and plantation owner who wanted to show he could sneak slaves into the country despite federal troops stationed at forts that guarded the mouth of Mobile Bay.

The ship delivered 110 captives to Mobile in the last known instance of a slave ship landing in the United States. The captain took the ship up the delta and burned it; the people became slaves, and they and their descendants lived after the Civil War in an area near Mobile known as Africatown.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 143879

Reported Deaths: 3676
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
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Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
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Prentiss139526
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Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
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Wayne115722
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Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
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Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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