HISTORY

The Times When African Slaves Rebelled Against Their Captors

A brief look at some of the greatest slave rebellions in history.

Sal
Published in
5 min readNov 29, 2023

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A Depiction of Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Quite a few people tend to falsely believe that enslaved people of the past laid down and accepted their fate. Others even go so far as to say that their inaction and acceptance of the status quo was precisely why they suffered for so long. In reality, Africans resisted their mistreatment every step of the way along the long and arduous journey to freedom. Some escaped their grueling lives and escaped to the mountains, forming new territories. Some fought back with weapons and violence, and some even chose death over a life of enslavement. Today, I’ll revisit some of their stories and struggles of the past.

1. The Igbo Landing

The Igbo Landing is the story of a tribe from Nigeria. Known as the “Igbo” tribe, they were famous for being committed, independent, and proud workers who did their duties diligently without the need for supervision. Unfortunately, their reputation caught the eyes of the transatlantic slave trade. Accordingly, slavers “George Couper” and “Thomas Spalding” purchased nearly 75 Igbos at a rate of $100 per “piece” to be exported into the US to work on plantations in Simons Island.

It was a three-month voyage at the end of which the Igbos took control of the ship and drowned their captors. However, there was still a thriving slave market at the shores eagerly awaiting their arrival. Getting off the ship meant a miserable life of servitude and perhaps even punishment for their actions.

Therefore, once they found themselves over what is now Dunbar Creek, the Igbos decided they’d take a daring next step. As soon as the boats docked, many of them, still in shackles, just walked over and into the water.

Mitchell Roberts, a current resident of St. Simons Island (where Dunbar Creek is), claims their thought process was the water brought us in. The water will take us away, as they committed mass suicide, choosing death over enslavement. Most of them drowned.

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Sal
Momentum

I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.