Amistad Mutiny

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The Amistad Mutiny involved Spanish slaves who took over a slave ship and sailed it to the U.S. and were sent back to Africa after a dramatic Supreme Court case.

In 1839 fifty-four slaves on the Spanish schooner Amistad mutinied near Cuba, murdered part of the crew, and attempted to cause the remainder to sail to Africa. They landed on Long Island Sound in the jurisdiction of American courts. Piracy charges were quashed, it being held that it was not piracy for persons to rise up against those who illegally held them captive. Salvage claims, initially awarded by legal proceedings in Connecticut, were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841 and the Africans were freed. Former President John Quincy Adams represented the Africans before the Supreme Court. Abolitionists, who made the cause their own, provided their transportation back to Africa, and the organized support on their behalf played a part in the later establishment of the American Missionary Association.

A 1997 Hollywood movie "Amistad" by Steven Spielberg made the episode famous again.