Wednesday 5 July 2023


Sengheh Pieh, (Joseph Cinque, a name he came to be known by), was a Mende Prince that was captured on his farm and taken into slavery On July 2, 1839.

He and many other Africans; Yoruba, fanti, wadaoobe, wolof speaking people were chained and stacked on the Spanish ship, called 'Amistad', heading for the Spanish coast.

At sea, Sengheh managed to break free from his chains. He then freed all the other captives; a good number of them were Mende speaking Africans. Together they killed all their captors onboard, except for one of the crewmen who they held a sword to his throat and forced him to take them back to their homelands.

None of the Africans could navigate, except Cinque who could sail a ship but couldn't figure out how to go about getting back to Africa. The crewman deceived them and took them to the shores of the Americas instead of going back to Africa... Or the initial destination of the ship which was on the Spanish coast. The ship belong to the family line of queen Isabella of Spain.

After years of struggles, Sengheh became a Freeman only to return to his homelands to find his communities destroyed and his family scattered.

There was many of such revolts against the captors at sea during the era of Trans Atlantic slave trade which saw churchmen, capitalists, outcasts from Europe, rise to wealth on the backs and blood of other humans. It's generally assumed that African natives sold their own, but this wasn't the truth in its entirety. The 'inner circles" of the African kingdoms were already shattered apart by Arab slave trade that had intensified from the 7th century CE just after the death of Prophet Muhammad. European Visigoths, Gauls, Oscans, Slavs etc and a great number of the barbarian tribes in Europe were also made slaves during the Arab slave trade. Some were also enslaved in North Africa by African Moors as of the 15 century when Portuguese Maritime expansion began. 

African societies were so cracked at the center that when Europeans came in, through trade and later began, systematically, plundering the communities, those that were at disagreements with each other thought "the invaders were only doing away with their enemies" and aided the process in some cases. This could be said of some riverain communities in most of west Africa where Sengheh Pieh was from. But in total, "Africans were overwhelmed by gunpowder" -W. Rodney.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...