A Disaster At Sea Led To This Slave Ship Massacre

Depiction of enslaved people on a boat
Leslie Taylor-Grover
August 20, 2021

The Leusden, a large vessel carrying hundreds of enslaved Africans, was in trouble. A horrible storm threatened to wreck the ship – and the crew was terrified. But it wasn’t the storm that had them worried.

There had already been one uprising on the Leusden. The crew knew the storm would be a good time for the enslaved to rise up, fight back, and escape – so they did something nearly unthinkable.

They nailed the hull of the ship closed, leaving the remaining Africans to drown in the depths of the stormy sea as the ship sank! The crew abandoned the ship and escaped safely. 

This was the worst mass murder in the history of slave trade. But they went even further than that.

They collected insurance money on the Africans they murdered – and the Dutch government even thanked them for their actions! No one ever faced charges, but there was a feeble apology from the Dutch government centuries later.

Capitalism only valued us as chattel – if we couldn’t be enslaved, we were better off dead. Governments all over the world are accountable to Black people for enslavement – we need to be honest about both the legacy of enslavement and the economic systems that made its cruelty possible.

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