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Essay title: Amistad

The movie starts on board of the Amistad in January 1839, fifty-three African natives were kidnapped from eastern Africa and sold into the Spanish slave trade. They were then placed on to a Spanish slave ship headed towards Havana, Cuba. When the ship had reached Havana, the Africans were classified as native Cuban slaves and purchased at auction by two Spaniards, Don Jose Ruiz and Don Pedro Montez. The two planned to move the slaves to another part of Cuba. The slaves were then locked and loaded on to the cargo ship Amistad. However, three days into the journey, a 25-year-old slave named Sengbe Pieh "Cinque" broke out of his shackles and released the other Africans. The slaves then revolted, killing most of the crew of the Amistad, including the cook and captain. The Africans then forced Montez and Ruiz to return the ship to Africa. During the day, the ship sailed to the east, using the sun to navigate. However, at night Montez and Ruiz would change course, attempting to return to Cuba. The zigzag journey continued for 63 days. The ship finally grounded near Montauk Point, Long Island, in New York State. The United States federal government seized the ship and its African natives who under U.S. law were property and therefore cargo of the ship. On August 29, 1839, the Amistad was towed into New London, Connecticut. The government charged the slaves with piracy and murder, and classified them as salvage property. The fifty-three Africans were sent to prison, pending hearing of their case before the U.S. Circuit Court in Hartford, Connecticut. Meanwhile, the Spanish government pressured the U.S. President, Martin Van Buren, to return the slaves to Spain without trial.

The conflict was that the Africans said "that they are not natives of Africa, and were born free, and ever since have been and still of right, and ought to be free and not slaves.” Abolitionists took up their cause, teaching the Africans English and how to read. Spain then immediately demands that the Africans be turned over so that the Africans can be tried for piracy. The U.S. courts refuse to extradite and a lengthy court

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