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Today in Labour History

2 July 1839
La Amistad
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Amistad Rebellion

The Amistad Rebellion is one of the most famous shipboard revolts in history. It was part of a massive Atlantic wave of resistance to slavery during the 1830s.

On 2 July 1839, 53 enslaved Africans on board the schooner Amistad (Friendship) rose up, killed two members of the Cuban slaver's crew, took control of the vessel and sailed it to Long Island, New York, where they were captured. In jail, they built an alliance with American abolitionists. Nine months after the revolt, they won their formal freedom and eventually they were repatriated to their native Sierra Leone.

Read more? Marcus Rediker, 'The African Origins of the Amistad Rebellion, 1839', in: IRSH special issue 21 (2013) Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution

More info: Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism, special IRSH issue