Last Slave Ship Docks at Mobile (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The arrest and prosecution of the Clotilde finally ends the illegal slave trade in the United States.
Summary of Event
There are contradictory reports about slavers—ships especially built to transport slaves—during the period from 1858 to 1861. Historians, however, have managed to piece together an accurate account of the Clotilde, the last U.S. slave ship, which smuggled more than a hundred Africans into Alabama.
The slave trade was outlawed by Congress in 1808. This brutal business continued without serious interference, however, until the early 1820’s, when federal officials began capturing slavers and freeing their prisoners. Public sentiment, even in the South, did not favor revival of the trade. To annoy Northern antislavery and abolitionist advocates, numerous rumors were spread by slave traders and sympathizers about slavers landing on the southeastern coast. For example, the New York Daily Tribune received many letters reporting landings of slavers in Florida and the Carolinas. There were even rumors in the 1860’s of a prosperous underground slave-trading company operating in New Orleans. The Clotilde’s history, however, has been confirmed by eyewitness accounts and careful reconstruction of events by historians.
Congress had revived laws against slave trading and declared that anyone convicted would be hanged. The United States had...
(The entire section is 1511 words.)
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