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Written Interpretation of Sengbe's Story

This is a page from the Affidavit of Sengbe (also referenced as Singweh and/or Cinqué), leader of the Amistad rebels.  The original document is maintained at the Library of Congress.

Among other things, Sengbe states:

  • He is Mende, an ethnic group from present-day Sierra Leone.  
  • He was captured, then carried by force from his country.
  • After crossing the Atlantic, he was sold in Havana.
  • The kidnapped Africans had very limited food rations.
  • He sustained a beating "on the head" from the vessel’s cook.
  • He feared that the white men would eat him.  (This, according to the Library of Congress, was “apparently a common fear among Africans who had never encountered whites.”)

Click on the image for a more-legible view.

 


Media Credits

Holograph transcript of Sengbe's affidavit, from the Lewis Tappan Papers, maintained at the Library of Congress.  Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.  PD

 

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