Lead: When the schooner Amistad, filled with mutinous slaves, came to anchor off Long Island in August 1839, its passengers became pawns in a political struggle.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The slaves had been illegally imported from West Africa into Cuba. Purchased in the Havana slave market by planters Pedro Montes and José Ruiz, they were being taken to plantations on Cuba’s north coast. On July 1st during the night, the slaves broke free, killed the Captain, ran off the crew, wounded Montes and took command of the ship. Their leader was a commanding figure in his 20s whom the Spanish called Cinque. They demanded to be returned to Africa, but Montes tricked them, sailing east during the day and north at night. This explained the meandering course, which eventually brought them to Long Island by the end of August. When Cinque sent a party ashore there seeking food and water, only 43 of the original 53 slaves had survived.

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