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Title: Historical genomes elucidate European settlement and the African diaspora in Delaware
The 17th-century colonization of North America brought thousands of Europeans to Indigenous lands in the Delaware region, which comprises the eastern boundary of the Chesapeake Bay in what is now the Mid- Atlantic region of the United States.1 The demographic features of these initial colonial migrations are not uni- formly characterized, with Europeans and European-Americans migrating to the Delaware area from other countries and neighboring colonies as single persons or in family units of free persons, indentured servants, or tenant farmers.2 European colonizers also instituted a system of racialized slavery through which they forcibly transported thousands of Africans to the Chesapeake region. Historical information about African- descended individuals in the Delaware region is limited, with a population estimate of less than 500 persons by 1700 CE.3,4 To shed light on the population histories of this period, we analyzed low-coverage genomes of 11 individuals from the Avery’s Rest archaeological site (circa 1675–1725 CE), located in Delaware. Previous osteological and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analyses showed a southern group of eight individ- uals of European maternal descent, buried 15–20 feet from a northern group of three individuals of African maternal descent.5 Autosomal results further illuminate genomic similarities to Northwestern European refer- ence populations or West and West-Central African reference populations, respectively. We also identify three generations of maternal kin of European ancestry and a paternal parent-offspring relationship between an adult and child of African ancestry. These findings expand our understanding of the origins and familial relationships in late 17th and early 18th century North America.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Current Biology
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Current Biology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2350 to 2358.e7
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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