Amistad's modern-day voyage one of hope, inspiration
Voyage recalls end of slave trade
NEW HAVEN -- The ship Amistad has arrived in Britain, where it will mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade as part of a voyage retracing the route of the slave trade.
Freedom Schooner Amistad, a reconstruction of the ship made famous by a slave revolt, left New Haven in June for a 16-month, 14,000-mile voyage to Nova Scotia, Britain, and Africa.
Fifty students will board the ship for portions of the journey and share their experiences with millions of others worldwide through live Web casts and e-mail correspondence. Their journal entries, along with those of permanent crew members, are being posted on the ship's website, amistadamerica.org.
The ship stopped in Halifax before crossing the Atlantic and arriving in Falmouth Wednesday. It will then sail to Liverpool for the opening of the International Slavery Museum before traveling to Portugal and Sierra Leone, the West African homeland of many of the Amistad captives.
The ship was scheduled to arrive in London on Aug. 1, but took a detour to deal with a crew member's minor injury.
During its stay at each port, the Amistad will be open for visits and lectures from the crew.
So far, the crew have coped with high seas, spotted dolphins and whales, and exchanged greetings with the Queen Mary 2.
"The weather has at times been fantastic, and the surroundings were so picturesque," Imogen Ashfield, one of the students, said in a statement. "The same day I saw a whale I later read how the former slave Olaudah Equiano saw one too on his passage, which was an incredible feeling. This journey has been the experience of a lifetime and something I will never, ever forget."
Crew and guests said they hoped to inspire the world with the schooner's story of slaves who resisted captivity and later won their freedom.
In 1839, more than 50 African captives on the Amistad schooner rebelled and took over the ship off the coast of Cuba. After landing on Long Island, N.Y., they were captured and jailed in New Haven.
With help from area abolitionists, the surviving Africans won their freedom in a historic legal battle that started in Connecticut and ended in the US Supreme Court. John Quincy Adams, the former US president, represented the slaves.
Their story was depicted in a 1997 Steven Spielberg movie.
The Amistad will return to the United States next year to commemorate the bicentenary of legislation to ban the importation of slaves.