The Amistad sails again

In June, a replica of the slave ship Amistad will sail from Connecticut to Liverpool, which had been a major slaving port. From there it will sail to the old slave coast of Africa in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of a vote by the British Parliament in 1807 to outlaw slavery. It will then return to Connecticut, a journey of 14,000 miles.

In 1839, slaves revolted on the Amistad. They seized the ship, were captured, but were eventually freed by the United States Supreme Court. The story was popularized in the movie Amistad, which was directed by Speilberg.

Some thoughts from the past and present captains of the Amistad.

These guys made a fortune,” Pinkney said. “The industrial revolution was financed by the slave trade. There’s no getting around it,” he said.

Garfield nodded and repeated, “There’s no getting around it.” The abolition acts of 1807 are important because they mark the beginning of the end of the slave trade, Pinkney said.

“But it took a long time for it to end,” he said. “It lasted so long its tentacles had spread deep into the economics of many nations.”

This time, the Amistad sails for peace, mutual understanding, and the hope that such barbarities never happen again.


  1. What exactly is a “major slaving port”?

  2. From the article

    “It’s hugely significant, Garfield said, that the new Liverpool slavery museum is the first with an international maritime focus.

    The city was home port to hundreds of slave ships, built expressly for the slave trade. At the end, some were large enough to carry 1,000 Africans. Pinkney said an exhibit at the New- York Historical Society shows how the city became the center of the trade between the U.S. and England in slavegrown cotton.”

  3. From Liverpool Museums

    “Liverpool was a major slaving port and its ships and merchants dominated the transatlantic slave trade in the second half of the 18th century. The town and its inhabitants derived great civic and personal wealth from the trade which laid the foundations for the port’s future growth.”

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