Image 'Landing negroes at Jamestown from Dutch man-of-war, 1619'

TLF ID M008726

This is a black-and-white illustration showing how the well-known American artist Howard Pyle (1853-1911) imagined the landing of the first Africans at Jamestown in the colony of Virginia nearly 300 years after the historical event. Pyle depicts 20 emaciated captives kneeling or sitting on the ground, guarded by men with guns as other other people look on. The illustration was published in the January 1901 issue of Harper's Monthly Magazine.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This illustration is an interesting secondary source for the year 9 history depth study elective Movement of peoples (1750-1901), which studies the influence of the industrial revolution on the movement of peoples throughout the world, including the transatlantic slave trade. It recognises the significance of the landing as the beginning of African slavery in the English colonies of North America.
  • The African men brought to Jamestown in 1619 were described in documents of the time as 'Angolans' but how they came to Virginia is unclear. The generally accepted explanation and the one illustrated here is that they had been on board a Spanish slaving vessel en route to a Spanish-American colony when the vessel was captured by a Dutch man-of-war. Spain and Holland were at war at the time. The Dutch then offloaded the Africans at Jamestown in exchange for provisions.
  • The ultimate fate of the African men is also unclear. It is widely believed that they were enrolled as indentured servants, contracted to work for a period of years and then freed. The colony of Virginia had been established only 12 years earlier, in 1607. With the new export crop of tobacco in production by 1619, the need for cheap labour was becoming clear.
Learning area
  • History

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: Howard Pyle
  • Description: author
  • Contributor
  • Name: The Library of Congress
  • Organization: The Library of Congress
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: UNITED STATES
  • URL:
  • Person: Howard Pyle
  • Description: author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, communicate and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.