Hosted by the South Portland Historical Society

With Seth Goldstein

Wednesday, Jan. 18th, at 6:30 p.m.
South Portland Community Center

“Regardless of what was to be a Maine boy’s occupation or profession, an indispensable part of his upbringing was a voyage or two in the West India trade. In the days when the privateers of France and England, not to mention the piratical craft swarming the Caribbean, might be sighted at any time in almost any latitude, this opened up endless vistas of adventure before the young sailor.”

– William Hutchinson Rowe, in “The Maritime History of Maine” 

Rowe penned the above quote in 1948. His book devotes an entire chapter to what had become known as the “West Indies trade.” In essence, this trade was an economic exchange between Maine and the plantations of the Caribbean. Maine supplied a variety of goods in exchange for luxury commodities such as molasses, rum, chocolate, coffee, and sugar. The author never once mentions that these products were grown by enslaved Africans, who had been kidnapped from their homeland and forced to work in horrendous conditions.

By the 19th century, the West Indies trade would dominate the economy of Maine. The trade finds its origins here in South Portland.

Join Seth Goldstein at the South Portland Community Center Wednesday, Jan. 18th, at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is free for current members of the South Portland Historical Society and $15 for non-members. The South Portland Community Center is located at 21 Nelson Road and is accessible for those with mobility challenges.

Seth Goldstein is the development director for the South Portland Historical Society and also serves as the director of the society’s Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park. The South Portland Historical Society can be reached at 207-767-7299, email at, or mail, 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106.

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