Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review--Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope

Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship AntelopeDark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope by Jonathan M Bryant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Extensively researched and densely packed with information, this disturbing tale of the fate of slaves when the ship they're on is captured by pirates will appeal most to serious historians, legal scholars, and researchers. Unlike the better-known tale of the Amistad, this earlier court case has little in the way of testimony from the Africans themselves. In addition, the ordeal of the Africans aboard the Antelope is a tale of children, many little more than toddlers, thrust into a legal morass where they became property to be used and their fate tossed about like a shuttlecock. If it's ever turned into a film, it would be a horror story.

It's also a tale of the legalities of piracy and privateering in the early 19th c., and how the Atlantic slave trade and the ban on importing slaves into the U.S.  contributed to crime at sea, and in the Territory of Florida south of the United States. I recommend it to students of Florida history as well as of U.S. history.


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