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"Slave Revolt at Sea, 1769 2" Topic


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188 hits since 11 Nov 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 9:44 p.m. PST

"In the late 18th Century the "Age of Fighting Sail" was reaching the peak of its efficiency in a time when Britain and France were almost continuously at war. It is easy therefore for one's perception of life at sea in this era to be dominated by images of skillful seamanship, intrepid commanders, desperate frigate actions and major fleet actions. One tends therefore to forget that running in parallel with this spectacular history was the sordid, brutal, shaming fact of the slave trade. The scale was vast it was estimated at the time that in 1768 some 104,000 slaves were shipped from West Africa by the main Western European nations. To its eternal credit, Britain was to abolish the trade in 1807 and other European nations followed suit in the subsequent decades. Through much of the 19th Century a major role for Britain's Royal Navy was suppression of both Atlantic and Indian Ocean slaving. This was in stark contrast to the previous century, when British slavers were entitled to as much protection as traders shipping any other type of merchandise. Crammed like sardines into fetid holds, often too low to stand up in, African slaves were subjected to a passage from West Africa to the Americas that could last up to fifty days. The mortality was appalling, and on occasion captains did not hesitate to drop diseased slaves overboard so as to be able to claim on insurance. It is little wonder therefore that on occasion slaves did manage to revolt and take over control of ships, usually only temporarily. One such slave revolt occurred in 1769 and the following account of it is based on a 1769 account by a Mr. Boulton, which have seen reprinted in W.Clark Russell's "Between the Headlands", published in 1889…."

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