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by Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson, at 12:00 pm, November 09, 2018, History

The successful slave ship revolt of 1730 in which captives freed themselves and returned to Africa

For many years, Africans were forced to believe that their ancestors and forefathers were easily taken into slavery in the Americas and other parts of the world. In recent times, researches by Africans and black people all over the world are slowly changing the narrative and letting the world know that many Africans who were eventually sold into slavery did not go down without a fight.

Enslaved Africans were captured in several ways, while some were offered as gifts to westerners, which was very rare. Others were captured through raids and battles strategically started by the Europeans to create a means for easy capture.

Youthful and strong Africans were in high demand and by the 18th century, thousands of them were in the Americas and parts of Europe working on plantations that belonged to rich white owners making plenty of money from their hard work.

There has been much research on the several ways that enslaved Africans resisted and fought against slavery and the ill-treatment they received. One of the most common ways were revolts both on land and on the ships that transported them to be sold to plantation owners.

While many of these revolts were successful they still left a mark in the history of slavery and at the time sent a message to the slave trading patronisers that the Africans were fed up with the way they were treated.

Slaves being forced into the cabins

One of the less known revolts that was actually a huge success is the Little George Ship Revolt of 1730 that happened six days after the ship had sailed off form the Coast of Guinea heading to Rhode Island in the USA which was then a British Province where they would have been displayed and sold to plantation owners.

On June 1, 1730, Captain George Scott sailed his ship, the Little George Ship with goods from Africa and 96 enslaved Africans. The slaves were not treated well and were closely packed together and chained down in heavy shackles in dark and poorly ventilated cabinets where they would have been for close to 30 days before reaching the New World.

The slaves revolted on June 6, 1730, shocking everyone on the ship and killing a few in the process. After days of painfully freeing themselves from the heavy iron shackles, the enslaved Africans who were from various parts of West Africa managed to break through the bulkhead of the ship and get to the deck at around 4 am in the morning killing the watchmen who attempted to alert the other sailors and the captain.

While a few slaves made it to the deck, others stayed behind freeing the other slaves who were still in their shackles. The slaves killed several sailors especially those who attempted to fight and threw their body overboard.

Captain George Scott and other crew members were captured and locked up in a cabin with several slaves tending the Cabin door while other slaves made a bomb out of gunpowder in a bottle that went off almost destroying the ship and causing other resisting whites on the ship to surrender to the captured Africans

The captured Africans managed to turn the ship around and sailed back to Africa without proper navigation or supervision. After a few days, the ship successfully reached the Sierra Leone River which was an estuary to the Atlantic Ocean. They were more familiar with these routes and finally made it to the coast of Sierra Leone where they abandoned the ship and the captives and fled. Captain George Scott on several occasions retold the ordeal and later wrote about it.

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