A Slave Insurrection

Many articles on slavery and related issues were published in American newspapers during the 1800s.  They give us an insight into the plight of many of the slaves.  Here is the beginning of an account of an insurrection on a slave ship as it was bringing its human cargo to the U.S.

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: THE COLORED AMERICAN
Date: September 7, 1839
Title: SCHOONER AMISTAD
Location: New York, New York
SCHOONER AMISTAD.

On the 28th of June last, the schooner Amistad sailed from Havana for Guanaja with dry goods, specie, and nearly 60 passengers consisting of Senor Jose Ruiz, Senor Pedro Montez, and a large number of captured Africans, natives of Congolo, who were only six weeks from the coast, four of which had been spent on the passage. Forty-nine of these Africans had been purchased as slaves by Ruez, and four from the same cargo by Montez. The crew consisted of the captain, his two slaves, and two white sailors.

Among the slaves purchased by Ruiz was one called in Spanish Joseph Cinquez, who is the son of an African chieftain. Cinquez is an extraordinary man. He is about twenty-six years of age 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, well made, and possessing superior strength and agility, which together with his fortitude, courage, and presence of mind, readers him a dangerous person to deprive of liberty. The Phrenological developements of his head are said to evince great sagacity, unshaken courage, and an ardent love of home and kindred.

On the fifth night after leaving Havana, the Africans headed by Cinquez rose, and murdered the captain and one of his slaves…

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