Archaeologists find wreck of slave ship off the Turks and Caicos Islands

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Almost 200 Africans survived the sinking of the Spanish ship Trouvadore off the British-ruled islands, where the slave trade was banned.

Once ashore, the former slaves were apprenticed to trades for a year and then allowed them to settle on the islands, many on Grand Turk.

The Spanish crew was arrested and turned over to authorities in Cuba, then a Spanish colony.

But over the years the ship's story had been forgotten, said researcher Don Keith.

When the discovery connected the ship to the island's current residents, the first response "was a kind of shock, a lack of comprehension," he said.

He said this is the only known wreck of a ship engaged in the illegal slave trade.

"The people of the Turks and Caicos have a direct line to this dramatic, historic event - it's how so many of them ended up being there. We hope this discovery will encourage the people of the Turks and Caicos to protect and research their local history, especially the history that remains underwater," he said.

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