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The Chattel PrincipleInternal Slave Trades in the Americas$
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Walter Johnson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300103557

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300103557.001.0001

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Grapevine in the Slave Market

Grapevine in the Slave Market

African American Geopolitical Literacy and the 1841 Creole Revolt

(p.203) 9 Grapevine in the Slave Market
The Chattel Principle

Phillip Troutman

Yale University Press

This chapter begins with the successful inversion of United States slave traders' network of communication and transportation. In November 1841, a group of at least nineteen enslaved African American men held aboard the brig Creole violently captured control of the ship and forced the crew to chart a course for Nassau, Bahamas. There, with the aid of black Bahamians and British colonial officials, they gained freedom along with all but five of their enslaved shipmates. White contemporaries tended to view the Creole “incident” in terms of its contribution to an international trade conflict between the United States and Great Britain. The revolt, however, is important for what it illustrates about how enslaved African Americans worked to acquire, disseminate, and apply geographic and geopolitical knowledge and information—what the text refers to here as geopolitical literacy—and what that might mean for their broader Afro-American consciousness.

Keywords:   black Bahamians, Creole, Nassau, Bahamas, British colonial officials, freedom, international trade conflict, enslaved African Americans, geopolitical literacy, Afro-American consciousness

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