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Fri, 05.29.1553

Rupert’s Valley, African Slave Community, a story

Rupert's Valley

*Rupert's Valley is affirmed on this date in 1573. It is a village on the island of Saint Helena, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Many Africans of the Middle Passage were quarantined in St. Helena's Rupert's Valley. Thousands died of dehydration, dysentery, smallpox, and malnutrition. Some of those who survived were repatriated to Africa or taken to the West Indies, while others could stay on the island. Plantation slavery may have originated in Rupert's Valley at the equator, according to archaeologists who investigated its 16th-century sugar mill and estate.

On November 24, 2006, at the start of the Airport project, graves of Africans were discovered. In May 2008, archaeologists arrived at St Helena to work on the graves there. The concern at the time was how much burials might be disturbed. The bones were reburied in the churchyard at St. Paul's Cathedral on the island. In early August 2022, a revised plan to rebury the remains was announced. An area between St. Michael's Church and the Fuel Tanks as the reburial site and the actual internment would take place on August 20, 2022, to honor those who had been laid to rest.

DNA Research published in 2023 in The American Journal of Human Genetics indicates that they most likely originated from diverse communities within the general area of northern Angola, the Congo, and Gabon. Rupert's is in the district of Jamestown on Saint Helena. It is by road from Jamestown, separated by a hill. The village comprises the zones of Rupert's Valley, further in and between two hills and Rupert's Wharf, by the sea and in front of Rupert's Bay. Rupert's Valley main road runs into the Valley to the harbor area, and the settlement spans it for about 800 meters.

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