Slave Rebellions- Group Work

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SLAVE REBELLIONSThe Berbice Rebellion, 1763Members: Rai, Hans, Marie-Claude, Carolyn

In this presentation we attempted to analyse: the causes of this rebellion, the organisation which existed, its initial success, how it was suppressed, the consequences of the rebellion and the role of gender.The Berbice rebellion was an uprising of enslaved Africans which occurred in 1763 on a plantation in Berbice in what is modern day Guyana. The rebellion began on February 23rd 1763 at a plantation Magdelenenberg owned by Madame Vernesombre on the Caje River. The slaves killed the manager and carpenter, burned down the owners house, and moved to neighbouring plantations along the Berbice River to urge support from the slaves there. Some of them attacked their owners and either joined the others or escaped into the forest. The rebellion was led by Cuffy (also Coffy or Kofi) a domestic slave. Cuffy set up his headquarters at Plantation Hollandia and Zeelandia. As plantation after plantation fell to the slaves, the Dutch settlers fled northward and the rebels began to take over control of the region. For almost a year, the rebels held on to southern Berbice, while the whites were able to hold on to the north. Eventually only about half of the white population that had lived in the colony remained. This rebellion initially seemed very successful but still, like many others failed miserably.

The Barbados revolt(April 14-17 1816)Members: Aria, LaToya, Swithin

A short introduction It had become the norm for enslaved Africans to resist slavery the moment that they were captured. Forms of resistance included: speaking their native language in private performing African rituals like drumming appearing to accept Christianity, but secretly practicing their religion running away poisoning their masters pretending to be sick in order not to work damaging tools or machineryMany Africans also showed their resistance through rebellion. The most successfulrebellion took place in Haiti in 1791. Here the enslaved population drove out the Frenchand British and set up the first black republic. This rebellion became an inspiration to blacks living in other West Indian plantations fight for their freedom.

Causes In the small island of Barbados, ruled by British powers, the year 1816 saw the outbreak of a slave revolt. Reasons or causes for this revolt included: slaves wanted their freedom and were determined to achieve it the Registration Bill in 1815, introduced by William Wilberforce, required the names and description of all slaves residing on West Indian plantations, including Barbados, in order to prevent smuggling of slaves following the abolition of the slave trade. This bill was wildly misunderstood because the slaves thought that they were to be granted their freedom. When freedom was not granted, slaves revolted. There were a few slaves who were able to read newsletters and newspapers, from which they learnt what was happening in England, Haiti and elsewhere. They were inspired by the positive outcome of the Haitian revolution to fight for their rights The harsh and inhumane treatment of slaves by whites was also a contributing factor to the slave uprising.

Organization During the Easter vacation when the governor was off the island and planters were away from the plantation, the slaves planned the rebellion and decided that they would take over the island They planned to disrupt crop time by burning cane fields, turning the mills to the wind and leaving them to fly unattended Plans were also made to have guerilla groups meet and harass the militia that they expected to come after them. It was expected that the planters would suffer great financial losses Bells were rung to announce that slaves on successful plantations had joined the revoltThe revolt started on April 14, 1816 in the parish of St. Philip on Bayleys plantation.

Suppression The revolt was short-lived. As soon as news of the revolt reached Bridgetown on the morning of Easter Monday, the following measures were taken by the militia: Troops were mobilized and they marched to the parishes and began to round up the rebels Slaves caught off their estates were murdered on the spot. One hundred and seventy -six slaves were killed by the troops. Many other slaves were sentenced to death and returned to their owners plantation where the execution were carried out Two hundred and fourteen slaves were hanged and their heads were placed on poles and left at the spot of execution to serve as a warning to other slaves Several slaves were deported to British Honduras and later sent to Sierra Leone Leaders of the revolt were executed

Consequences There were many consequences of the 1816 Barbados revolt both for slaves and plantation owners. Some of which are listed below: The whites turned against the missionaries in the island, chapels were damaged and missionaries were threatened. This was because whites thought that the missionaries helped the slaves plan and carry out the revolt The slaves were defeated and many of them lost their lives There was a reduction in the size of the labour force There was widespread destruction of property including one fifth of the sugar crop Humanitarians were encouraged to increase their activity to bring down the slavery in response to the planters harsh treatment towards the missionaries

Role of GenderAs with many revolts, males dominated. A male slave named Bussa was the leader of the Barbados revolt. He held a high position on his masters plantation as a head ranger and he held the respect of other slave rebels and was therefore eligible to lead the revolt.

Virginia, 1831Members: Claudius, Jessica, Brandi, OnnikaVirginia Insurrection (1831)

This took place in the county of Southampton Virginia, during August 1831. This slave rebellion was lead and instructed by an enslaved named Nat Turner (1800-1831). In his early years Nat Turner was referred to as a prophet because of his knowledge. He once explained that, the Lord had shown me things that have happened before my birth. Turner was highly intelligent and was able to read and write at a very young age. Turner saw himself as something special.In an interview conducted while imprisoned Turner explained to Thomas R. Gray, that he had experienced a number of visions, one of which had occurred on May 12th, 1831. Turner said, I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the spirit instantly appeared to me and said the serpent was loosened and Christ had laid down the yolk he had borne for the sins of men and that I should take it on and fight against the serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first. Turner witnessed a solar eclipse which convinced him that it was time to put his vision into action. Turner then, for the first time since the vision, repeated it to his four most trusted companions, Henry, Hark, Nelson and Sam. Turners final sign was an atmospheric disturbance which made the sun appear bluish-green and commenced his plans one week later.A crowd of more than seventy enslaved and free blacks were gathered to participate in the rebellion. Collection of weapons such as knives, hatchets, axes and blunt instruments were used. Turner instructed his followers to kill all white people. A recorded number of sixty white men, women and children were reported murdered. Quickly, a white militia with twice the manpower eventually defeated Nat Turners army. The rebellion was suppressed at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23, 1831. An estimated two hundred blacks were executed. Any black suspected by the militias of being part of the insurrection was beheaded. Turner was captured two months later on October 30th 1831, by a white farmer named Benjamin Phipps. He was imprisoned and the tied on November 5th 1831 for conspiring to rebel and making insurrection and was then sentenced to death.About a week later on November 11th, 1831, he was hanged; his corpse was then flayed, beheaded and then quartered.The legislative passed new laws making it unlawful to educate slaves, free blacks and mulatoes. The assembly also passed laws restricting blacks from hosting religious ceremonies without the presence of a white minister. These new laws which were passed due to Turners rebellion enforced widespread illiteracy among blacks and mulatoes.

Sources;Books;1. The Confessions of Nat Turner- William Styrom2. The Confessions of Nat Turner; The leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, Virginia. Thomas Ruffin Gray Website;1. Wikipedia.ord/wiki/nat_turners_slave_rebellionJamaica, 1831Members: Caltonia, Geoffrey, Amiah, Beverley-AnnIn the biggest British colony of Jamaica, a number of slave revolts occurred during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One such rebellion was the Baptist War also known as the Christmas Rebellion which took place in 1831 and was led by Baptist preacher Samuel Sharpe. This rebellion was very widespread and affected much of western Jamaica. The Baptist War was seen as the most violent rebellions in Jamaican History according to Veronica Satchell.Historians have noted a number of factors which influenced the uprisings and rebellions which led to the rebelling of slaves in Jamaica. The slaves being subjected to cruel conditions by the hands of the White planters decided that they would no longer conform to their rules and instructions. Samuel Sharpe a literate slave, had access to newspapers which supplied him with information which gave the details on the progress of the anti-slavery movement in Britain as well as in Jamaica. He believed that freedom was being withheld from the slaves and so organized a peacefulstrike in Jamaicain the mistaken belief that freedom had already been granted by the British parliament. He spread the word out to his fellow slaves. TheChristmas holiday was approaching and he told the slaves not to return to work after Christmas unless they got paid. According to Robert Greenwood and Shirley Hamber the strike began on 27th December, as slaves were not required to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Hence the rebellion was called the Baptist War or the Christmas rebellion.The signal to start the strike was a fire on the Kensington EstateIn St. James Parish. The peaceful rebellion turned chaotic .

It was evident that men played a very important role in the leading this revolt in Jamaica. Consequences of these revolts were very brutal, from the floggings of both men and women, long prison sentences to the burning down of their homes. One hundred and sixty estates of various kinds were destroyed by fire. The slaves were defeated (400 slaves died) and another 100 were executed following the court martial.

The brutality of the plantocracy during the revolt is thought to have accelerated the process of emancipation, with initial measures beginning in 1833, followed by partial emancipation (outright for children six or under, six years apprenticeship for the rest) in 1834, and then unconditional emancipation of chattel slavery in 1838.Despite its failure, the Jamaican uprising played a significant role in the advent of abolition in the British Caribbean. A week after Sharpe's execution, Parliament appointed a committee to consider measures for abolition. Dozens of witnesses were called to testify in London, and after months of debate, the Act for the Abolition of Slavery was passed in 1833. Samuel Sharpe's war brought about an earlier emancipation for the enslaved, and built up their confidence that they were agents of their own liberation.



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