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Origins of enslaved Africans who died after liberation on remote Atlantic Island revealed by DNA analysis


A first-of-its-kind DNA analysis has revealed the origins of thousands of enslaved Africans who died on a remote Atlantic island after being liberated and offloaded there by the British Navy.

Roughly 27,000 Africans were taken from seized slave ships between 1840 and 1867 and deposited on the island of St. Helena as part of Britain’s attempt to eliminate the transatlantic slave trade. Housed in ramshackle tents in the middle of an arid valley, up to 8,000 of the liberated people died of disease and malnutrition. 

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