Study Aid: Major Slave Rebellions

New York City, 1712

Like many later revolts, this one occurred during a period of social dissension among White colonists following Leisler’s Rebellion. The rebels espoused traditional African religions.

Stono Rebellion, 1739

The Spanish Empire encouraged enslaved people in the English colonies to escape to Spanish territory. In 1733 Spain issued an edict to free all enslaved people from British territory who escaped into Spanish possessions. On September 9, 1739, about 20 enslaved people, mostly from Angola, gathered under the leadership of an enslave man called Jemmy near the Stono River, twenty miles from Charleston, South Carolina. Forty-four Black people and twenty-one White lost their lives. South Carolina responded by placing import duties on enslaved people brough from abroad, strengthening patrol duties and militia training, and recommending more benign treatment of enslaved people.

Gabriel's Rebellion, 1800

This attempted insurrection near Richmond, Virginia, was organized during the Haitian Revolution and the undeclared naval war between the US and France.

Denmark Vesey’s Conspiracy, 1822

This failed insurrection was organized soon after the contentious debate over the admission of Missouri as a slave state. Like Gabriel, Vesey consciously looked to Haiti for inspiration and support.

Nat Turner, 1831

This insurrection took place at a time when enslaved people in Jamaica had staged one of the largest revolts in history, radical abolition had arisen in the North, and Britain was debating emancipation.