Wreck found by Alabama reporter may be last American slave ship, - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wreck found by Alabama reporter may be last American slave ship, archaeologists say

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Courtesy AL.com via NBC News Courtesy AL.com via NBC News
MOBILE, Ala. -

Relying on historical records and accounts from old timers, an AL.com reporter in Alabama may have located the long-lost wreck of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to bring human cargo to the United States.

The ship was burned nearly 160 years ago after delivering captives from what is now the west African nation of Benin to Mobile in 1860. 

The reporter, Ben Raines, found ship remains embedded in a river bottom weeks ago during an unusually low tide. According to AL.com, the tide was about two and a half feet below normal, thanks to north winds that blew for days. Raines, used the abnormally low tides to search for the ship after researching possible locations. The remote spot where the ship was found, deep in the swampy Mobile-Tensaw Delta, is accessible only by boat. 

What's left of the ship lies partially buried in mud alongside an island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, just a few miles north of the city of Mobile. AL.com reports that the entire length of the starboard side, however, is almost fully exposed. 

Experts say the wreck could be the Clotilda based on its location and construction methods.

"I'm quaking with excitement. This would be a story of world historical significance, if this is the Clotilda,"John Sledge, a senior historian with Mobile Historical Commission, and author of The Mobile River, an exhaustive history of the river told AL.com. "It's certainly in the right vicinity... We always knew it should be right around there."

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