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Anthropologist traces Dorothea, a slave, from her capture in Africa to St. Croix

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Dr. Holsoe

Elizabeth Rezende, a historian and writer who lives on St. Croix, published an article, "Anthropologist traces Dorothea, a slave, from her capture in Africa to St. Croix," featuring the late Dr. Holsoe's work. Below is an exert including Dr. Holsoe's contributions to the subject:

"Anthropologist Svend Holsoe, 1939-2017, studied the Atlantic slave trade from several perspectives. He first became interested in Liberian history as a child when in the late 1940s and early ‘50s his father was a member of the supervising team building the Freeport of Monrovia. After his college studies, he spent several years as a professor of African history and founder of the African studies program at DePauw University in Indiana.

In the 1980s, while professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware, Holsoe traced hundreds of records documenting the ships and their cargoes that left the Gold Coast and came to the former Danish West Indies, now the Virgin Islands. He believes Dorothea was, as were thousands of others, caught up in this warfare, taken as a captive and sold on the coast as a slave in the Americas.

Holsoe scoured the ships’ manifests of individuals listed by their gender and age. In his article, “Coping with Enslavement: A Woman’s Network in Christiansted,” he estimated that Dorothea arrived on the Danish ship “Eleonora,” which left the Gold Coast on Aug. 28, 1770, with 195 Africans and arrived in Christiansted, St. Croix, on Dec. 19, 1770, with 176 Africans; 19 had perished during the transatlantic voyage. There is no record of slave sales, however later records show that Dorothea was purchased directly from the slave vessel by Dr. Johan August Naeser."

Click here to read the full article!

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