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Ships of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Slave Ship – List of Slave Ships | List Slave Ships

What happened to the ships that carried human cargo across the Atlantic to a life of harsh and grueling servitude?

Many descendants of slaves in America wonder about this. Who owned these seafaring vessels; were they used for more than transporters of slavery? Most curiously, what was their demise.

Much has been said, written and discussed regarding slavery but little is known about the very journey or history about the life aboard these vessels. There are books and mention of one infamous ship. The “Amistad”, is famous because of the slave mutiny.

List of Slave Ships

• Adelaide, French slave ship, sank 1714 near Cuba.

• Antelope, Spanish slave ship captured near Florida in 1820 with 283 slaves aboard, leading to The Antelope case.

• Aurore, along with the Duc du Maine, the first French slave ships that brought the first slaves to Louisiana.

• La Amistad, cargo ship which sometimes carried slaves (see note below).

• Braunfisch, a Brandenburgian slave ship lost in 1688 in a revolt.

• Brookes, sailing in the 1780s.

• Clotilde, burned and sunk at Mobile, in autumn 1859.

• Cora, captured by the USS Constellation in 1860.

• Creole, involved in the United States coastwise slave trade and the scene of a slave rebellion in 1841, leading to the Creole case.

• Desire, first American slave ship.

• Elisabeth, sailing from Jamaica for West Africa.

• Duc du Maine, along with the Aurore, the first French slave ships that brought the first slaves to Louisiana.

• Fredensborg, Danish slave ship, sank in 1768 off Tromøy in Norway, after a journey in the triangular trade. Leif Svalesen (da) has written a book about the journey.

• Guerrero, Spanish slave ship wrecked in the Florida Keys in 1827 carrying 561 Africans.

• Hannibal. An English slaver of the Atlantic slave trade.

• Henrietta Marie. Sank 1700 near Marquesas Keys, Florida, excavated in 1980s.

• Hope, American brig which brought slaves to Rhode Island

• Jesus of Lübeck (de) 700-ton ship used on the second voyage of John Hawkins to transport 400 captured Africans in 1564. Queen Elizabeth I was his partner and rented him the vessel.

• Kron-Printzen, Danish slave ship, sank in 1706 with 820 slaves on board.

• Le Concord. Slave ship turned pirate ship aka Queen Anne’s Revenge. Sank 1717.

• Lord Ligonier. See Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley.

• Don Francisco. Slave ship captured in 1837. Sold as a colonial trader renamed James Matthews. Excavated by Western Australian Museum in 1974

• Madre de Deus (Mother of God), 1567. John Hawkins captured this ship and transported 400 Africans.

• Manuela, built as clipper ship Sunny South, captured by HMS Brisk in Mozambique Channel with over 800 slaves aboard.

• Margaret Scott confiscated and sunk as part of the Stone fleet in 1862

• Meermin, a Dutch East India Company ship active between southern Africa and Madagascar, whose final voyage in 1766 ended in mutiny by the slaves: around half the crew and nearly 30 Malagasy died, and the ship was destroyed.

• Nightingale, clipper ship captured by Saratoga near Cabinda, Angola in 1861 with 961 slaves aboard.

• Pons, American built barque captured by the USS Yorktown 1 December 1845 with 850-900 slaves.

• Salamander, Brandenburgian slave ship.

• Sally, of Newport, Rhode Island – reviewed in the Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice.

• Tecora, Portuguese slave ship that transported the slaves who would later revolt aboard La Amistad.

• Triton captured by the USS Constellation 1861.

• Trouvadore, wrecked in Turks and Caicos 1841. 193 slaves survived. Project commenced in 2004 to locate the ship.

• Wanderer, formerly last slave ship to the U.S. (November 1858) until Clotilde reported in 1859 or 1860.

• Wildfire, a barque, arrested off the Florida coast by the US Navy in 1860; carrying 450 slaves.

• Whydah Gally, slave ship turned into pirate ship, sank 1717.

• Zong, a British slave ship infamous for the 1781 massacre of 132 sick and dying slaves who were thrown overboard in an attempt to guarantee that the ship’s owners could collect on their cargo insurance.

Note: While La Amistad is often called a slave ship, it was in fact a general purpose cargo ship, which occasionally carried slaves. See the article about the ship, and the resulting court case, for more information.