Rivera & Lopez Shipping Record

Shipping records, 1708−1892
Attributed to Jacob R. Rivera and Aaron Lopez
Newport, Rhode Island; 1771
Ink on wove paper
Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera Col. 245, Winterthur Library

Newport, Rhode Island, merchants Jacob Rivera and Aaron Lopez entrusted Captain Nathaniel Briggs with carrying cargo that included sugar, liquor, and Windsor chairs from Rhode Island to African ports for sale. Once the deal was made, we do not know what, or who, was brought back on the return trip.

Utilizing their strategic port location, these merchants built fortunes dealing in everything from rum and cacao to enslaved people. Insurance papers like this one confirm the risks of the journey: a financial gamble for Rivera and Lopez but life and death for captive Africans facing the horrors of the voyage.