A timeline of events taking place during Episode 1: "Passages" of George Washington's Mount Vernon's Intertwined podcast series.Explore the Timeline
English colonists found Jamestown in Virginia. It is the first permanent English settlement in the Americas that will lead to the creation of the 13 British Colonies.
The Virginia Company of London adopts the Headright system, a system that encouraged wealthy investors to pay for a poor British laborer’s journey to the colonies; the investors would be rewarded with land grants in the Colonies. This is a way to gain land and labor quickly in the New World.
A steadier supply of enslaved people arrive in British America because of the English commercial slave trade. Enslaved people are captured and brought to the English Colonies. They become an important labor force as European migration declines.
The colony of Virginia passes the Enactment of Hereditary Slavery Law. This law ties the freedom status of a child to their mother.
Washington’s father, Augustine, dies and leaves his 11-year-old son 10 enslaved people in his will. The younger Washington takes control of them when he turned 18.
George and Lawrence Washington visit the island of Barbados to alleviate Lawrence’s tuberculosis. They are most certainly exposed to the conditions of West Indies' enslaved people on sugar plantations. George Washington also contracts smallpox, which immunizes him against the epidemic during the Revolution.
Washington returns from Barbados early that year while Lawrence Washington returns to Mount Vernon in June and dies from disease shortly after in July. Washington inherits six more enslaved people, including two children, Lucy and Tom.
A 21-year-old George Washington volunteers to deliver a message on behalf of Virginia governor, Robert Dinwiddie, to French forces in the Ohio River Valley to halt further construction of their forts and leave Virginia-claimed territory. The French decline the message.
The French and Indian War begins after George Washington ambushes a detachment of French Canadian Colonists at the Battle of Jumonville Glen. Washington commands the Virginia Regiment in the early years of the war. His actions make him a famed war hero in the British Colonies. The British Empire defeats France and seizes all French-claimed land east of the Mississippi River (except New Orleans).
Washington purchases an enslaved man, Jack, for £52 from William Buckner.
George Washington marries wealthy widow Martha Custis. She would bring significant property from the estate of her late husband, Daniel Parke Custis, including 84 enslaved people. The wealth and labor from Martha’s “dower” (widow’s) share of the Custis estate contribute to Washington’s rise in wealth and status in the following years.
Washington travels to Maryland where he purchases at least two enslaved men, Neptune and Cupid, off of a slaving ship. They are among 350 aboard the vessel. Neptune and Cupid later escape the plantation in 1761.
Washington inherits five more enslaved people - Maria, George, Kate, and Kate’s two children - after the death of Lawrence’s widow, Anne. Washington also formally inherits Mount Vernon after renting it from Anne for the last several years. He travels again to Maryland to purchase "Sundry Slaves" off the ship, Africa ('Sundry' meaning they would be working for various purposes).
Sambo and his shipmate, Simon, are captured in Guinea in West Africa and sent to the Americas. They are purchased by George Washington.
Sambo Anderson makes his first appearance in Washington’s records. He is listed as a 'boy.' He is certainly under the age of 16, as he does not appear in Washington's tax list for that year.
George Washington passes away from a throat infection at Mount Vernon. In his will, Washington immediately emancipates William Lee. He also emancipates the rest of the enslaved people he directly owns, upon Martha’s death. Washington is not legally able to emancipate any of the dower slaves from the Custis estate, so they remain enslaved.
Sambo Anderson and his grandson, William, are among 12 enslaved and free people who help landscape the new tomb built for the Washingtons several decades after Washington's death.
Sambo Anderson dies over 40 years after his emancipation and about 70 years after his enslavement. In the years before his death, Sambo stayed at Mount Vernon and earned enough money to free several of his family members from their enslavement including his daughter, Charity, his grandchildren, William and Eliza; and Eliza’s children, James, William, and John.