This 1841 Rebellion at Sea Freed More Than 100 Enslaved People

Throughout the annals of American slavery, slaves have resisted captivity and strived for freedom from slavery, usually against all odds. The Creole rebellion of 1841 represented one of the most successful uprisings in US history, where more than 100 captives were granted their freedom.

Like the famous Amistad rebellion two years earlier, which had resulted in a dramatic Supreme Court case allowing slaves to return to Africa, the Creole revolt was also a mutiny aboard a brig of slavery. But while the Amistad had illegally transported its 53 captives through the Middle Passage, in violation of the 1808 ban on the American transatlantic slave trade, the Creole was transporting human “cargo” from Virginia to the slave markets of New Orleans, as part of the US Internal Slave Trade. Most of the 134 Creole captives were owned by the shipowners; others belonged to a Virginia trader who was on board the brig with his 15-year-old nephew, educating him in the trade in human trafficking.

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