The Negrito was the twentieth conviction of a slave ship by the Havana Slave Trade Commission. It should not be confused with the Negrita. This Spanish brig, under the command of Francisco Antonio Sarria, began its voyage at Havana and set sail for Ouidah on 17 June 1832 loaded with cotton goods, aguardiente and gunpowder. On 10 October, this ship sailed from Africa with 534 people on board and 8 individuals died during the middle passage.
On 21 November 1832, the HMS brig Victor, under the command of Captain Robert Rupell, spotted this ship while cruising near Tobago and Grenada around N12° and W60°35. On 11 December, the Negrito arrived in Havana. escorted it into the Bay of Havana to await trial. At the time of her seizure, there was sufficient water and provision. At the time of detention, there were 526 people on board, but only 490 people reached Havana. On 20 December, the court condemned this ship for sale and issued emancipation certificates for 477 people. These people were emancipated immediately before the cholera epidemic decimated Cuba's population through the first months of 1833.
For more information related to the analysis of documented African names click here
Additional Names Data
Mina Popó: 2 Yoruba males, 2 males not yet identified
Lucumí Dagñame: 1 Muslim male, 1 Yoruba male
The Negrito has much documentation related to the Liberated Africans. On July 12 1835, there was a riot in Havana involving 20 people and resulted in the arrest and death of Juan Nepomuceno Prieto, leader of the Lucumí cabildo de nación. This uprising was written about in newspapers in the United States and Captain General Miguel Tacon wrote a letter to Spain. In November, however, British agents wrote in a letter that they thought this riot was "grossly exaggerated" and involved intoxicated Liberated Africans celebrating a holiday.
The documentation to this so-called "uprising" is extensive and located in the Archivos Nacional de Cuba, Comisión Militar, 11/1. This 350+ page document contains a List of Liberated Africans who participated, a Trial Summary and Prieto's Arrest Report and Declaration.
In the 1840s, the British consulars at the Havana Slave Trade Commission provided a report about the well-being of the Liberated Africans from the Negrito. They wrote a series of three letters on 8,9 and 15 January 1840. This date marked the seven year anniversary of when they were first issued emancipation certificates, or precisely when their terms of apprenticeships were set to expire according to international law.
In the first letter, they declared that these "negroes have become sufficiently qualified for the full enjoyment of freedom." However, it was immediately brought into question whether or not to "reassign these emancipados... only for a space of time not exceeding 12 months." It was argued that the British Government would likely "not sanction any future assignment" and presented an option of "taking charge of them at once, or at least give them the option of being removed to one of the British colonies. Read Letter
The second letter refers to an order to publish in Havana's newspaper, Diario, that "all persons holding Emancipados of the Schooner Negrito, to present them in the Government Secretary's Office within eight days" because there was a report that these people would be "re-assigned to their present owners, or to others, under similar conditions to those on which they were assigned." Read Letter
The third letter was a report to London stating how after the Negrito was condemned, the people were transferred over to the local government and employed in public works or assigned to people (who paid a small sum of money). This report details how the British commissioners scarcely knew "in which capacity their condition could be pronounced the worst." The details provided herein argues how being a Liberated African was, in many regards, worse than slavery. Read Letter
In 1854, Lorenzo Clarke was a Liberated African having arrived to Cuba on board the Negrito and he described how "his name was entered into a book." Unfortunately, there are two people with Christian name "Lorenzo" in the register. After Clarke served his apprenticeship, he was resold into slavery, helped build Cuba's first railway in the 1830s and eventually gained his freedom. He was then able to secure enough money to buy his and his family's passage back to the Bight of Benin, where he took a detour through Southampton, England. Read Lorenzo Clarke's and other depositions of Cuban Slaves in England.