Negrita

Map showing the location of Bonny, Havana and the point of capture of the Negrita, 1833

Voyage Map


The Negrita was the twenty first conviction of a slave ship by the Havana Slave Trade Commission and the first case of Liberated Africans being sent to Trinidad. It should not be confused with the Negrito. This Spanish galeta, under the command of Juan Ildefonso Coll, began its voyage at Santiago de Cuba and set sail for Bonny on 20 October 1832. On 7 February 1833, this ship sailed from Africa 217 people on board and 21 individuals died during the middle passage.


On 29 March 1833, the HMS schooner Nimble, under the command of Charles Bolton, detained this ship in between Grenada and Tobago around N18°55 and W75°25 and escorted this ship into Havana to await trial. At the time of capture, a cholera epidemic was decimating Havana's population and the 196 people on board this slave ship were relatively healthy compared to the residents of the city.


Resettlement to Trinidad


On 11 April, a special committee first met to discuss the transfer of Liberated Africans from Cuba. It included the Captain General, Mariano Ricafort, the Councilor of State, Conde de Villanueva, and Chief of the Station, Angel Laborde. The initial proposal was to have the ship sent back across the Atlantic and have the case tried in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Since the British expected the Spanish government to pay all costs, this proposal was quickly abandoned.


A decision was made to try the court at Havana and have the Negrita cruise the coast of Cuba during the trial. On 15 April, the court condemned this slave ship for sale. The British commissioners explained that due to "the peculiar circumstances of their not being allowed to land and have been during the whole of their stay in Port in strict quarantine, it has been impossible either to deliver them their certificates of emancipation of even to make those descriptions of their respective persons which it is customary."


On April 20, 195 people - 112 men, 14 women, 28 boys and 41 girls (9 were in poor physical health) - were transferred from the Negrita to the brigantine Carolina and "sailed in good health" to the Island of Trinidad. Bolton accompanied the ship as far as the Cay Sal Bank to the south of Florida. On 27 May, the Governor of Trinidad sent a letter confirming the arrival of 189 people in Trinidad and outlined future conditions related to the removal of Liberated Africans from Cuba. The Carolina returned to Havana on 17 June with the letter from Trinidad.

Trial Summary


Thumbnail of Document for a Trial Summary

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