Black History Facts: February 5thIn 1839, Joseph Cinqué (born Sengbe Pieh in what is now Sierra Leone) was captured as a slave, and sold to Portuguese slave traders. He and 110 others were later sold to Spaniards José Ruiz and Pedro Montez.
Aboard their slave ship, the Amistad, Cinqué led thirty-seven African slaves in a revolt. The revolt killed the captain and the cook, and took Ruiz and Montez prisoner. This resulted in Cinqué and his fellow slaves taking control of the ship.
The ship was later recaptured by the United States. The event was tried in the Supreme Court. In a very surprising decision, the Supreme Court ordered that the slaves be returned to Africa and freed. However, upon returning to his homeland in 1842, Cinqué was faced with civil war. The entire event was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg, “Amistad”, in 1997.
Portrait of Joseph Cinqué