The Amistad Case

  • How it all began-Letter by Kale to John Quincy Adams (1/4/1841)

    On the 27th of June 1839- The Spanish schooner Amisted cleared out from Havana, in Cuba, for Puerto Principe, in the same island, having on board, Captain Ferrer, and Ruiz and Montez, spanish subjects. Captain Ferrer had on board Antonio, a slave; Ruiz had forty-nine negroes; Montez had four negroes,making a total of 53 illegal slaves for in the papers they were said to be born slaves and stated to be their property, in passports and documents, signed by the Governor General of Cuba.
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    After that there was a very short period of time before they were put on board the Amistad,it was said they were brought into Cuba, by Spanish slave traders, Wich is in direct contravention of the treaties between Spain and Great Britain, and in violation of the laws of Spain.
  • Testify

    The negroes, Antonio excepted, filed an answer denying that they were slaves, or the property of Ruiz, or Montez; and denying the right of the Court under the Constitution and laws of the United States to exercise any jurisdiction over their persons. They asserted that they were native free-born Africans, and ought of right to be free; that they had been, in April 1839, kidnapped in Africa, and had been carried in a vessel engaged in the slave trade from the coast of Africa to Cuba,
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    When in fact, these African negroes hadn’t been born In Havana has Ka-le states in his letter to (A young twelve year old boy writing to John Quincy Adams In the hopes that he would become their lawyer and argue their case in the Supreme Court). “We want to tell you one thing. Jose Ruiz [one of the two surviving whites on the Amistad] say we born in Havana, he tell lie. We stay in Havana 10 days and 10 nights. We stay no more. We all born in Mendi—we no understand the Spanish language.”
  • Permitted

    After evidence had been given by the parties, and all the documents of the vessel and cargo, with the alleged passports, and the clearance from Havana had been produced the District Court made a decree, by which all claims to salvage of the negroes were rejected, and salvage amounting to one-third of the vessel and cargo, was allowed to Lieutenant Gedney, and the officers and crew of the Washington.
  • Captured Negreos

    Lieutenant Gedney, commanding the Washington assisted by his officers and crew, took possession of the Amistad, and of the negroes on shore and in the vessel, brought them into the District of Connecticut, and there libelled the vessel, the cargo, and the negroes for salvage. Libels for salvage were also presented in the District Court of the United States, for the District of Connecticut, by people who had aided, as they said, in capturing the negroes on shore on Long Island,
  • Representatives

    Ruiz and Montez filed claims to the negroes as their slaves, and hoped that they, and parts of the cargo of the Amistad, might be delivered to them, or to the representatives of the crown of Spain.
  • Voyage

    On the Voyage of the Amistad the Negroes rose, killed the captain and took ove the AmistadThey spared the lives of Ruiz and Montez, on condition that they would help in steering the Amistad for the coast of Africa, or to some place where negro slavery was not permitted by the laws of the country. Ruiz and Montez managed to deceive the negroes since they didn't pay any attention to the navigation of the ship and ended up off Long Island, in the state of New York and was discovered.
  • Supreme court

    the negroes, Cinque and others, with the exception of Antonio for he truly was born a slave, by their counsel, filed an answer, denying that they were slaves, or the property of Ruiz and Montez to a question the Supreme Court asked them wether or not they were slaves at this poin they had John Quincy Adams defending them for he couldn't deny the offer after the letter from Kale though he was doubtful they would win the case.
  • Freedom reached

    The United States argued that its treaty with Spain required it to return ships and property seized by U.S. government vessels to their Spanish owners. The Supreme Court called the case "peculiar and embarrassing." It ruled for the Africans, accepting the argument that they were never citizens of Spain, and were illegally taken from Africa, where they were free men under the law. The Supreme Court accepted that the United States had obligations to Spain under the treaty, but said that that tr
  • Three years later finally

    Three years after the incident of the Amistad the slaves were finally declared free and after many months of raising money the surviving thirty-six africans finally sailed back to Africa on the ship named the Gentleman.
  • Freedom denied

    After closer examination the court determined that since the African had been kidnapped from their freedom and had never really belong to the two slave owners so they should be set free, although the public did not agree and the case was sent to the Supreme court to be "rightfully" juged since the slaves werent born in the country and different rules applied.