African Americans and Native Americans, free or enslaved,
were generally treated as a single group in colonial
Connecticut. The acts of legislation were frequently
amended and revised.
The colony of Connecticut declared that African Americans
and Native Americans were exempt from serving in the
military. Native Americans had been enslaved following
the Pequot War in the 1630s.
A colonial survey of Connecticut, answering questions
posed by England, estimates that there were fewer
than 30 slaves in Connecticut, with 3 or 4 being imported
annually from Barbados and sold for £22 each.
Two African Americans were known to have been baptized.
Killing a slave is declared a capital offense in New
The colony of Connecticut limits Native Americans
and African Americans travel beyond town borders.
African Americans, along with minors, apprentices
and servants, are prohibited from drinking in taverns
or inns without permission from their parents or masters.
The colony declares that former slave owners are financially
responsible for any slaves they free.
African Americans are prohibited from owning land
in Connecticut, but this law was not enforced. In
the 18th century, the enslaved were regarded as property
for purposes of voting, and property and estate taxes;
but regarded as persons in court with
the right to make contracts, to bring suit, to trial
by jury, etc.
The colony passes an act to prevent the Disorder
of Negro and Indian Servants and Slaves in the Night
Season, establishing a curfew of 9 p.m. Violation
of the curfew is punishable with a whipping for the
servant and a fine for his master.
Slaves convicted of slander are to be whipped; the
law also stipulates that accused slaves are to be
given the same opportunities to defend themselves
as anyone else.
Connecticut estimates its population to include 700
Indian and negro slaves and 1,600 Native
A colonial survey of Connecticut estimates a population
of 1,000 African Americans and 500 Native Americans;
in 1756 the colonys Governor acknowledged that
this number was too low, and estimated the population
of African Americans to be 3,587; the Governors
figures do not correspond to the census figures for
A comprehensive act concerning Indian, Molatto
and Negro Servants, and Slaves is passed. It
restates several earlier laws: travel beyond town
boundaries is prohibited without a pass for free and
enslaved Negroes; violating the 9 p.m. curfew is punishable
with a whipping; the last owner of a freed slave and
the last employer of a servant are financially responsible
for that person for life; the importation of Indians
into Connecticut is banned.
The census records enumerate 3,019 African Americans
and 617 Native Americans living in Connecticut; it
does not distinguish between free and enslaved. There
were 27 African Americans and no Native Americans
The colony estimates a population of approximately
4,590 African Americans and 930 Native Americans.
The importation of Indian, Negro or Mulatto
Slaves to Connecticut is banned.
The total number of African Americans in Connecticut
is 5,085. The colonys census did not distinguish
free from enslaved. There were 34 African Americans
and 4 Native Americans in Waterbury.
Roughly half of all ministers, lawyers, and public
officials in Connecticut own slaves, and a third of
The Gradual Emancipation Act declares
that the children of enslaved African Americans born
after March 1, 1784 were to be granted freedom upon
reaching the age of 25.
State legislation outlaws the slave trade in Connecticut,
prohibiting the import of Africans and the export
of African Americans for sale, and requires every
slave owner to register the births of every child
born into slavery in their household with their town
Connecticut ratifies the United States Constitution
African American population in Connecticut numbers
2,759 enslaved and 2,801 free. Waterbury has 10 enslaved
and 14 free.
Connecticuts first abolitionist society, the
Connecticut Society for the Promotion of Freedom and
the Relief of Persons Unlawfully Held in Bondage,
is formed. Waterburys slave-owning Rev. Mark
Leavenworth was a founding member.
The transportation of slaves to other states for the
purpose of selling them is banned.
The Gradual Emancipation act is modified so that any
Negro or Mulatto Child born in Connecticut
after August 1, 1797 will be freed on his or her 21st
The laws enacted in 1750 concerning restricted travel,
a 9 p.m. curfew, and unusually harsh punishments for
theft are repealed.
Census records show 951 African Americans enslaved
in Connecticut. There are 7 people enslaved in Waterbury.
Census records show 310 African Americans enslaved
in Connecticut. There is only one person enslaved
in Waterbury; this is the last year that the census
records show anyone enslaved in Waterbury.
Connecticuts new constitution specifically denies
the right to vote to African American population
Census records show 97 African Americans enslaved
The Amistad trial takes place. The Africans
from the schooner were held prisoner in Connecticut
until the U.S. Supreme court finally declared them
to be free, and they returned to Africa.
Census records show 17 African Americans enslaved
Slavery is outlawed in Connecticut.
Bill of Sale of Peter, 1762
Cover. Collection of the Mattatuck Museum.
Bill of Sale of Peter, 1762
Peter was sold by James Kasson to Edward Hinman, both
residents of Woodbury, Connecticut. Collection of the