Gender & Age in the Caribbean
    In the Caribbean Registers of Liberated Africans, sex and height required a simple assessment and measurement of the human body. People were labeled as either varón (male) or hembra (female). Height was measured in feet and inches, which have been converted into inches and centimeters to calculate averages easily. In this dataset consisting of 10,391 individuals, 72 percent was male (7,509 individuals) and 28 percent was female (2,882 individuals). The average age listed was 20.5 years for males and 16.1 years for females. The average height for males was 4 feet 8 inches (142 cm) and females was 4 feet 5 inches (135 cm).   To determine the number of adults and children is problematic because the ages in these sources were guessed. However, slave traders used height to distinguish between adults and children. Paul Erdmann Isert, chief surgeon to Danish properties at Ouidah, explained how European traders bought slaves with a “measuring stick in hand.” Thomas Leyland explained that "full grown" people exceeded "4 Feet 4 Inches," while children were "at and under 4 Feet 4 Inches... particularly at the Havannah.” Likewise, Robert Norris confirmed that a child was “at and under Four Feet Four Inches.”   Pie Chart and Table 1 represent adults as being taller than 4 feet 4 (52 inches or 132 cm), while children are considered equal to and shorter than this measurement. Pie Chart and Table 2 use the listed ages, but assumes adults were 13 years and above, while children represent 12 years and younger. The average from Tables 1 and Table 2 suggests that this sample was approximately 51% men, 21% boys, 16% women and 12% girls. As a result, there was an male/female ratio of about 5:2 and an adult/child ratio of about 2:1. [PUTIMAGEHEREA3-38A-0] Sources:   Harold Cohen Library, Liverpool, Leyland Papers, MS 10/49, "Letter from Leyland to Young," 15 June 1795.   Paul Erdmann Isert, Letters on West Africa and the Slave Trade: Paul Erdmann Isert's Journey to Guinea and the Caribbean Islands in Columbia (1788), Selena A. Winsnes (ed. and trans.), (Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, [1992] 2007), 133.   Robert Norris, “Minutes,” 2 June 1788, in Sheila Lambert (ed.), House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century: Minutes of Evidence on the Slave Trade 1788 and 1789, Vol. 68 (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1975), 4.
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    African Ethnicity in Cuba
    One of the most unique component of the Registers of Liberated Africans from the Havana Slave Trade Commission is the nación column. This detail refers to a series of colonial terms which referred to past perceptions of West African "nations." In these sources, there were 7 broad nation categories used, including: Mandinga, Gangá, Mina, Arará, Lucumí, Carabali and Congo. The meanings of these terms are highly debatable, especially since people from West Africa did not necessarily use them to identify themselves. Click here to view Jean Palairet's 1794 map of West Africa. This particular map was selected because it illustrates the imagined loacations for many African nación and their respective sub-groups found in Cuba. To complicate matters, there were 241 different nación sub-groups, which are listed below and distributed accordingly: Mandinga (18 sub-groups), Gangá (12), Mina (2), Arará (3), Lucumí (29), Carabali (51) and Congo (129). These ethnonyms clearly specified more distinct African ethnolinguistic groups, places or regions in a variety of ways and spellings. However, these terms are also highly debatable in terms of their origins and meanings. In addition, nación sub-groups were not always used. It should also be noted that there were three additional "ethnonyms" which did not fall into one of the 7 broad categories. They were "de Bisao," "Arpongo" and "Sierra Leona," which almost certainly referred to Bissau, Rio Pongo and Sierra Leone. The data within the total sample of the Registers of Liberated Africans can be organized according to the nación groupings. What remains clear was there tended to be geographic associations, which sometimes overlapped. The first table presents the nación data according to the 19 ports of embarkation in West Africa represented here. The remaining graphs and tables reflect the distribution of these data according to the nación and their respective sub-groups. They are ordered in an easterly to western pattern. [PUTIMAGEHEREA3-38A-1]  
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    Mortality Demographics
    The total number of enslaved Africans who boarded 44 slave ships, which would eventually be tried at the Havana Slave Trade Commission, was 13,998 individuals leaving 39 West African ports. Of the 42 registers of Liberated Africans available - since none exist for the María da Glória (400 survivors) and the Negrita (195 people) - only 10,391 people were recorded out of the initial total. The reason for this difference of 3,607 people is the death of 2,245 individuals during the trans-Atlantic crossing and trial proceedings, as well as upwards of 767 individuals whose captors evaded British authorities by escaping inland to Cuba with groups of enslaved Africans who never made it to trial. The most common causes of death included dysentary, small pox, cholera, dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and other diseases common on board slave ships. The average time it took to cross the Atlantic until the date of sentence was 69 days - with the longest being 135 days and the shortest being 44 days. The average time it took to cross the Atlantic until the point of capture in the Caribbean was 47 days - with the longest voyage taking 84 days and the shortest voyage taking 31 days. The average trail length from the point of capture until the date of the sentence was 20 days with the longest period taking 96 days and the shortest period taking 5 days. There were also a group of 30 registers which included dates. In those cases, the production of registers took on average 9 days to make after the sentence - with the longest being dated 28 days after sentencing and the shortest the following day. The overall mortality rate for this sample of people before registration trade was about 14.4 percent. Due to the type of documentation available, it is possible to know in most of these cases how many people died between the date the ship left West Africa and the date the British captured the ship in the Caribbean, in addition to the number of deaths during the trial, which is considered to be between the date of capture and the date of the sentence. Table 1 reflects the total number of deaths per ship between the data of departure in West Africa (if known) and the date of sentence. Table 2 reflects the total number of deaths between the West African departure and capture in the Caribbean, while Table 3 reflects the total number of deaths from the point of capture until the date of the sentence. [PUTIMAGEHEREA3-38A-2]
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    Resettlement Demographics in Caribbean
    In its initial stages, the impact of the Havana Slave Trade Commission had on the overall trans-Atlantic slave trade to Cuba was minimal. Following the first conviction of a slave ship by the Havana Slave Trade Commission and the last known available register, over 300,000 enslaved Africans landed in Cuba. As a result, the 10,986 people issued emancipation certificated between 1824 and 1841 only represented approximately 3.5 percent of total number of people arriving to Cuba at this time. For more information related to estimates of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to Cuba in this period click here. Between 1824 and 1841, the Havana Slave Trade Commission issued emancipation certificates to a total of 10,986 individuals. Of that total, 72 percent remained in Havana, 10.7 percent went to Trinidad, 10.0 percent went to the Bahamas, 4.4 went to the British Honduras and the remainder went to Grenada and Jamaica. Table 1 reflects the number of Liberated Africans who remained in Cuba, while Tables 2-6 reflect the number of Liberated Africans who resettled in Trinidad, the Bahamas, British Honduras, Grenada and Jamaica. Even though the trials always took place in Havana, none of the enslaved Africans on board the Antoñica or the Caridad Cubana went to Cuba, rather they landed directly in the Bahamas and Jamaica, respectively. [PUTIMAGEHEREA3-38A-3]
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    Tribunal Legislation
    Anglo-Spanish Treaty, 1817 At Madrid on 23 September 1817, Great Britain and Spain signed a bilateral treaty to abolish the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It consisted of four main sections: The principal agreement for bringing about the abolition of the trade (14 articles) Form of Passport for Spanish Vessels destined for the lawful Traffic in Slaves Instructions for the British and Spanish Ships of War employed to prevent the illicit Traffic in Slaves (7 articles) Regulations for the Mixed Commissions, which are to reside on the Coast of Africa, and in a Colonial Possession of His Catholic Majesty (13 articles) In addition to this treaty, the British Colonial Office issued printed booklets of additional regulations, which were distributed to the numerous Courts of Mixed Commission around the world. Interrogatories for the Use of the British Commissioners, to be Administered to the Witnesses belonging to the Vessel Taken Regulations for the Guidance of the Commissions Appointed for Carrying into Effect the Treaties for the Abolition of the Slave Trade Resources Anglo-Spanish Treaty Treaty Transcription Procedures of Interrogation (NA, CO 313/1, n.p.) Commission Regulations (NA, CO 313/5, n.p.) Treatment of Liberated Africans On 12 November 1819, the Havana Slave Trade Commission officially opened and one of the immediate concerns involved the conditions related to the well-being of people emancipated into a slave society. While there was precedents set in other courts of Mixed Commission, particularly in Sierra Leone, the British consuls at the Havana court drafted their own set of legislation in 1824. These regulations directly tied into the case of the Relâmpago or the court's first successful conviction. These conditions stipulated in 18 articles: Rules of apprenticeship Payment of initial care (food, shelter, blankets, etc...) Polices for the issuing of emancipation certificates Procedures for the production of registers of Liberated Africans Resources Formation of regulations Printed conditions (Spanish and English) Procedures of Interrogation (NA, CO 313/1, n.p.) Commission Regulations (NA, CO 313/5, n.p.) Amendments to the Anti-Slave Trade Treaty, 1835 In 1833, Great Britain passes the Abolition of Slavery Act, to take effect in August 1834, which emancipated all slaves in the British West Indies. By June 28 1835, the 1817 Anglo-Spanish Treaty is renewed and enforcement tightened in a series of amendments to the original treaty. The 1835 Ammendments were signed on June 28 1835 by Minsiter of the State, M. Martinez de la Rosa, and Foreign Secretary, Viscount Palmerston. The first draft of the amended treaty consisted of 15 Articles. The major amendments proposed included punishment for the captains, masters and crew of condemned vessels, but this condition was widely disputed. In total, there were 15 new articles, whereby the British sought to punish the captains and crew of condemned vessels (which was widely disputed), as well as vessels carrying specified “articles of equipment,” such as extra mess gear, water barrels, lumber and foodstuffs, could be declared slavers. Resources British Draft of the 1835 Amendments Spanish Counter Proposal Report of Treaty Being Signed Printed Treaty (1836) Discontinuation of the Registers The practice of making registers of Liberated Africans at the Havana Slave Trade Commission stopped in 1841. This was largely because the cost and the time it took make the registers was very demanding. In addition, the resettlement of people from Cuba to British Caribbean colonies made the registers somewhat useless as the Spanish documents remained in Havana as people moved around the Caribbean. The initial argument began in 1837 with the case of the Antoñica, which never landed at Havana and the register was made at Nassau. In this case, the register traveled back and forth between Cuba and the Bahamas to ensure accuarcy and make corrections. This proved to be very costly. Likewise in 1839, the Caridad Cubana landed directly at Jamaica because the enslaved Africans were suffering from small pox. This register was made in Jamaica, which also proved costly and inconvenient. By 1840, the Foreign Office agreed that during the case of the Sierra del Pilar they "are unecessary now when the negroes are to be sent to one of the British Colonies." In 1841, the Havana Slave Trade Commission made its final register for the Segunda Rosario, although the court continued to operate until the last slave ship from this era to reach Cuba arrived in 1867. Resources Letter Regarding the Discontinuation of Registers (1839) Letter Regarding the Discontinuation of Registers (1840)
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    Tribunal Resettlement
    Reasons for Removal The decision to remove Liberated Africans from Cuba to British Caribbean Colonies began in 1828. It only started to happen in 1833 and in direct result of the cholera epidemic on the island. In 1835, Richard Robert Madden, the Superindent of Liberated Africans, wrote a 94 page report on the "Condition and Disposal of the Captured Africans at the Havana." In the preamble, he summarized the decision to resettle people elsewhere. The following is an excerpt of the preamble: The History of the question now pending as to the disposal of the Captured Africans liberated by the Mixed Commission at the Havana may be briefly told thus "In spite of the Treaty of 1817 which it was agreed that after the year 1820 the Slave Trade should cease throughout the Spanish Dominions, great numbers of Slaves continued to be imported from the Coast of Africa into Cuba. Many of the Vessels engaged in this illegal traffic were from time to time detained by the British Cruizers and brought before the mixed Commission at the Havana for adjudication. The Vessels being condemned, the Negroes on board declared free and delivered over to the Government at the Havana (which was bound by the Treaty to guarantee their liberty) to be provided with employment as servants or free laborers… …The inhabitants of Cuba looked with alarm at the rapid increase of this class of persons, and the Authorities disliked the charges & were willing to pay largely to get rid of it." "Accordingly in June 1832 the Intendant General consulted Mr. Macleay, the British Commissary Judge, as to the practicability of re-exporting such Africans as should be emancipated by the Commission to some other place, as Sierra Leone for instance: the Spanish Government bearing the expense. This the then Colonial Secretary refused, but suggested in consequence of a representation from the Lieutenant Governor of Trinidad that they might be received in that Island. A proposal to this effect was made to the Intendant General: guarded with several restrictions & regulations respecting especially the state of health, the expense of removal, the proportion of sexes & the necessity that months notice should be given to the Lieutenant Governor of Trinidad. These restrictions the Intendant thought would cause the relief given by the measure to be very partial and uncertain & the expense & inconvenience very great. The proposal was therefore declined. This was on the 23rd January 1833." "The arrival however, on the 10th of April while the Cholera was raging, of a captured slaver with 196 Negroes on board caused much alarm & perplexity which ended in an arrangement between the Spanish Authorities & the British Commissioners that the newly arrived Negroes, as soon as they had received certificates of emancipation, should be conveyed to Trinidad: the restrictions as to sexes and the months notice being waved in submission to the necessity of time." "The experiment led to some further negotiations on the subject between Trinidad & Cuba & finally to an engagement on the part of Sir G. Hill to receive any number of Africans at any time, provided they were in good health & not above 30 years of age: that they had not been in Cuba for more than two years: that there were not fewer females than males: & that the vessels in which they were sent should be provisioned at the expense of the Spanish Government for 30 days after her arrival at Trinidad. At the same time several rules sent out by Government to be observed in the disposal of them in Trinidad with a view to secure their freedom and comfortable maintenance & be provided that none of the expense should fall on the Government at Home. This engagement remains still in force." "On hearing of these arrangements, Col. Cockburn applied on behalf of the woodcutters of in Honduras (where labor is much wanted) for a portion of those emancipated Africans to be sent thither: which was acceded to: the same regulations & restriction which had been insisted upon in Trinidad. These it appear did not meet the views of the applicants and the application may be considered withdrawn. A third application received from British Guiana, Sir I. C. Smyth… [on] 6th August 1835 enclosed a copy of the Trinidad Ordinance relative the protection and management of indentured Africans, passed 19th March [1835], with an intimation that a portion of the Africans in question might be advantageously disposed of in British Guiana. This application waits an answer." "In the mean time however a fourth application of a somewhat different nature was received from another quarter. Col. Colebrooke having been detained at the Havana had an opportunity of witnessing the condition of the liberated Africans there & the general desired of all parties that means should be found of removing them all without restrictions as to age or sex to some other quarters. Upon considering the subject in various points of view, he made up his mind that a considerable number of them might be favorably (for themselves at least) be settled in the Bahamas: & he afterwards distinctly recommended that they should be sent, & announced his readiness to undertake the charge of them." Read Full Report Proposed Removal from Cuba to Europe and Sierra Leone On 15 May 1828, the Captain General of Cuba, Dionisio Vives, wrote a letter to the members of the Mixed Commission citing a need to make modifications to Article VII of the 1817 Treaty. Vives proposed that Liberated Africans "shall be withdrawn from the Island of Cuba, and transported to some of the possessions or dominions of His Majesty in Europe even though it should be to Spain itself." And, the expenses should be paid for out of "the proceeds from the capture of slave vessels which may belong to the King our Lord, and if this shall not be found sufficient for the purpose that there be made, in order to realize a proper sum, a prudent repartition among all the Inhabitants of the Island." Read Letter   On 27 June 1828, addressed this proposition because according to Article VII, it was difficult "to deny the right of the Spanish Government to transport the emancipated slaves to Europe." However, the British Judge, William Mackleay, raised immediate concerns that "without a sufficient watch being kept on the persons employed to carry the measure into effect, a cargo of ignorant Negroes might be conveyed to Puerto Rico or even to other Ports of this Island, and there consigned to hopeless slavery." He concluded that "if due care were taken to prevent fraud in their removal to Europe the measure proposed cannot fail to be highly advantageous not merely to the peace of the Island but to the Negroes themselves who will no doubt in Europe experience better treatment." He also delayed any final decision stating that "the plan must necessarily be entirely prospective [and that] it will not affect the Negroes already emancipated who having by marriage, apprenticeship or other ties, [have] become connected with the Island." Read Letter   On 17 April 1829, the Foreign Office in London wrote to the Havana Slave Trade Commission regarding "the contemplation of the Spanish Authorities for removing from the Island of Cuba to Europe the Slaves emancipated under the Treaty of 1817." This office set forth the directives that: The Havana Slave Trade Commission must report "the substance of any further communication which may be made... upon the same subject by the Colonial Authorities." The British Commissioners "should be careful not to invite such communication by any overture." If the the Cuban government attempts to propose a solution the response must acknowledge its receipt and "merely state, that the question is one, which must be left to the decision of the two Governments at home, abstaining from entering into a discussion of details." Read Letter On 31 December 1831, the Foreign Office wrote to the commissioners at Havana because "His Majesty's Government was anxious to learn the state and condition of the negroes, who have from time to time been liberated under sentences of the Mixed Commission established at Havana." Read Letter   On 29 March 1832, William Mackleay and Charles Mackenzie expressed "an increasing dislike on the part of local authorities to His Majesty's Commissioners." In general, the question of ascertaining the number of Liberated African "still alive," was in general "avoided by the vague answer that after so many years their numbers may be expected to have experience considerable diminuation." The British commissioners suggested that many could have died naturally due their health when "delivered over by the Mixed Commission to the Captain General." They also feared many were "stolen, and thus consigned to hopeless slavery." He also protested the "removal of the Negroes of the Midas from Cuba without the consent of his Government the only notice taken of his protest was a declaration that this removal was, from other causes, merely deferred until proper means for its execution should offer themselves." Read Letter   On 20 June 1832, William Mackleay wrote the Foreign Office explaining that the Intendant had invited him to his private home to discuss "the proposed removal of the Negroes of the Águila." The reason for renewing the discussion was because the number of Liberated Africans was "so great, that the local authorities will find it almost impossible to get a sufficient number of respectable responsible persons to take charge of them." Following the directives of the letter of 17 April 1829 and returning to the questions raised in the letter dated 27 June 1828, the Intendant's proposed solution involved sending the slaves to either Ceuta on the south side of the Strait of Gibraltar, or Sierra Leone. Read Letter   On 31 August 1832, Viscount Goderich of the Foreign Office replied that "the proposed removal of the emancipated blacks to the Sierra Leone in every respect - objectionable, but adds that he will consider how far it may be practicable to adopt any other mode of accomplishing the object of the Spanish Government." Read Letter Resettlement to Trinidad, 1833-1835 On 20 October 1832, following the objection to the proposal of sending Liberated Africans to Europe or Sierra Leone, the Foreign Office wrote the Havana Slave Trade Commission stating that there was "no objection... to the removal of such negroes... provided that certain restrictions and regulations are complied, and that the removal be effected at the expense of the Spanish Government." Read Letter   On 16 January 1833, the British commissioners at Havana wrote to the Cuban government that "the Island of Cuba may be relieved of a burden... prejudicial to its peace and welfare." Although Liberated Africans could not taken back across the Atlantic, the British Government proposed "to all who shall in future, or who who within the last two years have been emancipated by this Mixed Commission being received into the Island of Trinidad, under certain conditions and regulations." The reason for this decision was because "the voyage to Trinidad will be far more easy and less expensive." The proposed conditions and regulations to the removal of Liberated Africans from Cuba are as follows: That the said Negroes shall be sent to Trinidad entirely at the expense of the Spanish Government, suitable clothing, care and accommodation being afforded them on the passage. The His Excellency the Captain General of Cuba shall give one month's notice to the Governor of Trinidad before any Negroes be embarked for the latter colony. That they shall not be sent in greater numbers or at earlier periods than the Governor of Trinidad shall prescribe. That the number of females shall not bear a less proportion to the males than may be fixed by the Governor of Trinidad, in order that no increase may take place in the actual disproportion which exists between the sexes in the settlements of free black in that colony. That the Negroes be duly ascertained and certified by a medical person appoint by His Majesty's Commissioners, to be free from any disease which may incapacitate them for labor. That children shall not be sent unaccompanied by one or both of their Parents, and that no forced separation of families shall take place. That the performance of these conditions be secured by the superintendence of His Majesty's Commissioners. Read Letter On 23 January 1833, the Conde de Villanueva rejected these proposed conditions because of "the great expense which the Spanish Government would incur for an uncertain and partial removal of the Negroes which, according to his ideas, must be the unquestionable result of the Governor of Trinidad having the power to fix the number of Negroes to be sent, the time of their sailing, and the relative proportion which the number of females must hear to that of males." The British commissioners suspected that the "lately introduced system of employing these Negroes in public works... has been found so advantageous as considerably to diminish the anxiety of the local authorities for their removal." Read Letters   On 11 April, the Havana Slave Trade Commission was in the process of dealing with the case of the Negrita in the midst of the cholera epidemic. This ship was healthy and a special committee formed involving Captain General Ricafort, the Councilor of State, Conde de Villanueva, and Chief of the Station, Angel Laborde to discuss this case. Originally they wanted to have the case tried in Sierra Leone, but this idea proved to be too difficult. Following the spirit of the 1817 Treaty, this committee stipulated 5 conditions: 1) the case could be tried in Havana "without delay. 2) The ship had to either cruise the coast or moor on one of the keys to prevent cholera from spreading. 3) Once the court proceedings are done, the Liberated Africans will be transported to another vessel which will take them to Trinidad immediately. 4) The Captain General will inform the Governor of Trinidad about the "urgent actions of public interest." And, 5) the "expenses absolutely necessary for the freighting of the new vessel be defrayed." Read 2 Letters   On 14 April, Lieutenant Bolton commander of the HMS schooner Nimble wrote a letter complying with the orders of the Captain General of Cuba and began cruizing the coast of Cuba. Read Letter   On 16 April 1833, William MacLeay wrote to the Foreign Office describing how cholera appeared in the suburbs of Havana in late-February and how "nearly half the population of the city fled from the Havana," including the two Spanish Commissioners. Once the Negrita arrived to Havana on 10 April, the Captain General of Cuba appointed on 12 April an in terim judge and arbitrator. Read Letter Resettlement to British Honduras, 1836-1837 There is no information at this time Resettlement to the Bahamas, 1836-1841 There is no information at this time Resettlement to Grenada and Jamaica, 1839 There is no information at this time
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