imperialism begins its descent;
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This image shows the beginning of the end of the horrendous slave trade. The judgement of the courts in Britain eventually threw out the claim and sided with the insurers. This case influenced the abolitionist movement and gave it much needed momentum. The seat of power has fallen. the heartbeat, the drum, has been loosed from its chains. The spear lies over the seat of power. The machete has stabbed the seat of imperialism.
background of this abomination in history…
The ship called Zong was a slave traders ship that left the shores of Africa on September 6th in 1781 with 470 slaves on board, plus the crew.
Human chattels were then deemed to be a valuable commodity. It was a familiar practice for ship’s captains to take on more slaves than their ships could accommodate in order to maximise profits.
The Zong’s captain, Luke Collingwood, overloaded his ship with slaves. By November 29th many of them had begun to die from disease and malnutrition.
When the Zong sailed out and arrived in an area in the mid-Atlantic known as “The Doldrums” because of periods of little or no wind, the ship became stranded. Sickness caused the deaths of seven of the 17 crew members and over 50 slaves.
In desperation Collingwood decided to “jettison” some of the cargo in order to save the ship and provide the ship owners the opportunity to claim for the loss on their insurance.
During the following week the remaining crew members threw 132 slaves who were sick and dying over the side. A further 10 slaves threw themselves overboard in what Collingwood later described as an “Act of Defiance.”
Upon the arrival of the Zong in Jamaica, James Gregson, the ship’s owner, filed an insurance claim for their loss.
The claim was eventually turned down in the courts in Britain.
Although those who were responsible for the Zong massacre were never brought to trial, the event itself increased the profile of abolitionists such as Granville Sharp and Olaudah Equiano and brought new converts including Thomas Clarkson and Reverend John Ramsay. In turn this inspired the actions of William Wilberforce who led the successful campaign to have Parliament abolish slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.