- Slave rebellion
A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery, and are amongst the most feared events for slaveholders. Famous historic slave rebellions have been led by
Denmark Vesey; the Roman slave Spartacus; the thrallTunni who rebelled against the Swedish king Ongenþeow, a rebellion that needed Danish assistance to be quelled; the poet-prophet Ali bin Muhammad, who led imported east African slaves in Iraq during the Zanj Rebellionagainst the Abbasid Caliphatein the ninth century; Madison Washingtonduring the Creole casein 19th century America; and Granny Nannyof the Maroons who rebelled against the British in Jamaica.
Spartahad a special type of serf-like " helots". Their masters treated them harshly and helots often resorted to rebellions. [ [http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/sparta/a/spartamilitstat.htm Sparta - A Military City-State] ] According to Herodotus(IX, 28–29), helots were seven times as numerous as Spartans. Every autumn, according to Plutarch("Life of Lycurgus", 28, 3–7), the Spartan ephors would pro formadeclare war on the helotpopulation so that any Spartan citizen could kill a helot without fear of blood or guilt (" crypteia").
Probably the most famous slave rebellion in
Europewas that led by Spartacusin Roman Italy, the Third Servile War. [ [http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/slavesandslavery/a/slavewars.htm The Sicilian Slave Wars and Spartacus] ] This was the third in a series of unrelated Servile Wars fought by slaves to the Romans. English peasants' revolt of 1381led to calls for the reform of feudalism in Englandand an increase in rights for the serf class. Peasants' Revolt was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe. Richard II agreed to reforms such as fair rents and the abolition of serfdom. Following the collapse of the revolt, the king's concessions were quickly revoked, but rebellion is significant because it marked the beginning of the end of serfdom in medieval England. [ [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2691/COS.html Chronology Of Slavery] ]
Russia, the slaves were usually classified as kholops. A kholop's master had unlimited power over his life. Slavery remained a major institution in Russiauntil the 1723, when the Peter the Greatconverted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. [ [http://www.britannica.com/blackhistory/article-24160 Ways of ending slavery] ] 16th and 17th centuries runaway serfs and kholops known as Cossacks(‘outlaws’) formedautonomous communities in the southern steppes.
There were numerous rebellions against the slavery and
serfdom, most often in conjunction with Cossack uprisings, such as the uprisings of Ivan Bolotnikov(1606-1607), Stenka Razin( 1667- 1671), [ [http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h20russ.htm Russia before Peter the Great] ] Kondraty Bulavin( 1707- 1709), and Yemelyan Pugachev( 1773- 1775), often involving hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions. [ [http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b628/social/russia/rebellions.html Rebellions] ] Between the end of the Pugachev rebellionand the beginning of the 19th century, there were hundreds of outbreaks across Russia. [ [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4503 The Slave Revolts] ]
outh America and Caribbean
Quilombo dos Palmaresin Brazil most famously led by Zumbi.
*The most successful slave uprising in the Americas was that the
Haitian Revolution, which began in 1791 and was eventually led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, culminating in the independent black republic of Haiti.
Panamaalso has an extensive history of slave rebellions going back to the 16th century. Slaves were brought to the isthmusfrom many regions in Africanow in modern day countries like the Congo, Senegal, Guinea, and Mozambique. Immediately before their arrival on shore, or very soon after, many enslaved Africans revolted against their captors, or participated in mass maroonage, or desertion. The freed Africans founded communities in the forests and mountains, organized guerrilla bands known as Cimarrones, and began a long guerrilla war against the Spanish Conquistadores, sometimes in conjunction with nearby indigenous communities like the Kuna and the Guaymí. Despite massacres by the Spanish, the rebels fought until the Spanish crown was forced to concede to treaties that granted the Africans a life without Spanish violence and incursions. The leaders of the guerrilla revolts included Felipillo, Bayano, Juan de Dioso, Domingo Congo, Antón Mandinga, and Luis de Mozambique.
Suriname, constant guerrillawarfare by Maroons, in 1765-1793 by the Alukuled by Boni
Berbice, 1763 slave revolt, led by Cuffy
Cuba, 1795, 1798, 1802, 1805, 1812 (Aponte revolt), 1825, 1827, 1829, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1838, 1839-43, 1844 (La Escalera conspiracy and revolt)
Curaçao, 1795 slave revolt, led by Tula
Venezuela, José Leonardo Chirino's Insurrection1795
Barbados, 1816 slave revolt, led by Bussa
Guyana, The DemeraraRebellions of 1795 and 1823cite web
title=The 1763 and 1823 slave rebellions
Baptist War, 1831-1832, led by the Baptist preacher, Samuel Sharpe.
BahiaRebellion of 1835 (The Great Revolt)( Brazil).
BahiaRebellion of 1822-1830( Brazil).
BahiaRebellion of 1835 ( Brazil)cite web|url=http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah/bahiaslaverevolts.html|publisher=" Muhammad Shareef"|title="A Continuity of the 19th Century Jihaad Movements of Western Sudan "|] .
British Virgin Islands, minor slave revolts occurred in 1790, 1823 and 1830.
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1733 slave insurrection on St. John, it was the first successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere
Numerous black slave rebellions and insurrections took place in
North Americaduring the 18th and 19th centuries. There is documentary evidence of more than 250 uprisings or attempted uprisings involving ten or more slaves. Three of the best known in the United Statesare the revolts by Gabriel Prosserin Virginiain 1800, Denmark Veseyin Charleston, South Carolinain 1822, and Nat Turnerin Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831.
Slave resistance in the
antebellum Southfinally became the focus of historical scholarship in the 1940s, when historian Herbert Apthekerstarted publishing the first serious scholarly work on the subject. Aptheker stressed how the rebellion was rooted in the exploitative conditions of the Southern slave system. He traversed libraries and archives throughout the South, managing to uncover roughly 250 similar instances, though none of them reached the scale of the Nat Turner uprising.
John Brown had already fought against pro-slavery forces in
Kansasfor several years when he decided to lead a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia( West Virginiawas not yet a state). This raid was a joint attack by former slaves, freed blacks, and white men who had corresponded with slaves on plantations in order to form a general uprising amongst slaves. It almost succeeded, had it not been for Brown's delay, and hundreds of slaves left their plantations to join Brown's force - and others left their plantations to join Brown in an escape to the mountains. Eventually, due to a tactical error by Brown, their force was quelled. But directly following this, slave disobedience and runaways sky-rocketed in Virginia. [Louis A. DeCaro Jr., John Brown--The Cost of Freedom: Selections from His Life & Letters (New York: International Publishers, 2007), 16.]
Gaspar Yanga's Revolt (c. 1570) near the Mexican city of Veracruz; the group then escaped to the highlands and built a free colony
Gloucester County, Virginia Revolt(1663) ["Slave Insurrections in the United States, 1800-1865" By Joseph Cephas Carroll. Page 13]
New York Slave Revolt of 1712
New York Slave Insurrection of 1741
*Gabriel's Rebellion (1800)
Chatham ManorRebellion (1805)
*Louisiana Territory Slave Rebellion, led by
George BoxleyRebellion (1815)
Denmark Vesey's Uprising (1822)
Nat Turner's slave rebellion(1831)
Black Seminole Slave Rebellion(1835-1838)
*Amistad Seizure (1839)
*John Brown raids Harpers Ferry, Virginia (1859)
Zanj Revoltagainst the AbbasidCaliphate took place in Southern Iraqnear the city of Basrabetween 869 and 879 AD. [ [http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9078242/Zanj Zanj rebellion] ] The "Zanj" were slaves from East Africa, since the term Zanjdescribes the East African coast. There were large numbers of people imported from East Africa via Somaliand Ethiopianports from as far as Southern Sudan. The slaves were mainly used to work on the massive irrigation projects of the area. The origin of the word "Zanj" comes from Persian, and is related to the names in East Africa of "Zanzibar" which is also known to have 9th century links to the Middle East.cite web|url=http://www.arabslavetrade.com|publisher=" Owen 'Alik Shahadah"|title="Zanj Rebellion"|] . They were led by ˤAlī ibn Muħammad, who claimed descent from ˤAlī, the fourth Caliph, in a campaign against the central government based in Samarra.
In 1808 and 1825 there were slave rebellions in the
Cape Colony, newly acquired by the British. Although the slave trade was officially abolished in the British Empireby the Slave Trade Actof 1807, and slavery itself a generation later with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, it took until 1850 to be halted in the territories which were to become South Africa. [Giliomee, Hermann (2003). "The Afrikaners", Chapter 4 - Masters, Slaves and Servants, the fear of gelykstelling, Page 93,94]
*Herbert Aptheker, "American Negro Slave Revolts", 6. ed., New York : International Publ., 1993 - classic
*David P. Geggus, ed., T"he Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World", Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001
*Eugene D. Genovese, "From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World", Louisiana State University Press 1980
*Joao Jose Reis, "Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia" (Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture), Johns Hopkins Univ Press 1993
*Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. "Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion". Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2007.
*Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. "Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia". Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007.
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p285.html PBS online article: New York: The Revolt of 1712]
* [http://www.johnhorse.com Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, First Black Rebels to Beat American Slavery] , these maroons affiliated with Seminole Indians in Florida led a slave rebellion that would be the largest in U.S. history.
* [http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah/bahiaslaverevolts.html Bahia Revolt]
* Hahn, Steven. " [http://www.southernspaces.org/contents/2004/hahn/1.htm The Greatest Slave Rebellion in Modern History: Southern Slaves in the American Civil War] " "Southern Spaces"
* [http://www.britannica.com/blackhistory/article-24175 Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History]
References and notes
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