The Duke of York's Role

“New York, originally called New Netherlands, was so named for the Duke of York and Albany, England, to whom territory was granted on its conquest from its first settlers, the Dutch.”

Colony of New York: A Brief History at, accessed Sept. 25, 2020.

“In order to counter Dutch control over the African slaves to the English colonies, the government of King Charles II participated in forming a slave trading company in 1663 called the Royal Adventurers, which traded in Africa. This company was financed by some of the leading aristocrats at Court, including the Duke of Buckingham and the Duke of Albermarle. The king’s brother, the Duke of York, was also elected president of the company. In this way, the monarch and government of England formally engaged in the development of the transatlantic slave trade, since, though the company also traded in ivory and gold, slaves were the single most lucrative commodity…

“[The Royal African Company, after reorganization,] soon became the largest single company involved in the slave trade, having a remit to supply the English colonies with slaves at [a] competitive unit price… .

“The 30 years following the establishment of the Royal African Company saw a substantial upsurge in the size of the transatlantic trade ….”

Dr. Hilary Beckles, Slave Voyages-The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans at 52 (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

“The patent to the Duke, dated March 16, 1664, for the lands lying between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers, granted to him, “his heirs, deputies, agents, commissioners, and assigns,” “full and absolute power and authority, &c.”

John Codman Hurd, The Law of Freedom and Bondage in the United States, Vol. I, at 278, n.2 (Little, Brown & Co., 1862), available from the Library of Congress at digital_library.

“Colonial officials encouraged the company’s trade in New York by removing the property tax on slaves and imposing tariffs on imported slaves that favored African imports”

Dr. Leslie Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery-African-Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 at 26-28 (Univ. of Chicago Press 2003).

“In practice, the legal concept of dominion took the form of headrights, which encouraged lordship, large estates, and bound labor. Barbados’s first proprietor, the Earl of Carlisle, gave men ten acres of land for each servant they owned. By royal proclamation, Charles I and Charles 11 promised “headrights” of fifty acres of land in Virginia to anyone who bought a servant, whether white or black.”

Dr. Holly Brewer, Slavery, Sovereignty, and “Inheritable Blood”: Reconsidering John Locke and the Origins of American Slavery at 1045-46 (American Historical Review Vol. 122, Issue 4, Oct. 2017).

“Slaves purchased for the Royal African Company of England were branded ‘DY,’ Duke of York, after the president of the company …. “

Dr. Hilary Beckles, Slave Voyages—The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans at 86 (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).