“The Atrocities of the Slave Trade”: An Examination of the Slave Ship Arrogante, 1837

Sunday, January 10, 2016: 11:20 AM
Grand Ballroom A (Hilton Atlanta)
Manuel Barcia, University of Leeds
The Portuguese ship Arrogante was captured in early December 1837 by the HMS Snake, off the coast of Cape San Antonio in Cuba. At the time of her capture the Arrogante had more than 330 Africans on board, who had been embarked at Gallinas. All of them were liberated soon after the vessel arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, where soon after their arrival, a chilling mystery surrounding the alleged practices carried out by her captain and crew were also brought into the consideration of the local authorities. Shortly after landing captain and crew were accused of killing an African child, cooking his flesh, and serving it to the rest of the slaves on board. The examination of the story of what happened in the Arrogante on her way to the Caribbean constitutes another case to support the case of historians who currently claim that the atrocities committed by the slavers were more common than what we might have thought so far. It also rises the question of why would the slavers sacrifice the slaves that ultimately they hoped to sell upon their arrival in Cuba. This case also highlights the questionable impartiality of Jamaican courts at the time, and the weight and credibility given to testimonies received from African slaves, most of whom in this case were children.