African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion

When studying the Stono Rebellion of 1739, historians only had one eyewitness report of this. I think the reason they didnít document it very well was because the Southerners were so outnumbered by the slaves, they didnít want the other slaves to get ideas of rebellion. The historians also failed to look at the big picture. What they were in Africa. This played a big role in the Stono Rebellion.

To understand the full role of Africa, one has to look at the kingdom of Kongo between 1680 and 1740 rather than just a broad overview of the African culture. This is due to the diversity of the Africanís language and culture.

Part of this uprising is due to the Spanish Roman Catholic Jesuits. Their job was to convince people to convert back to Catholicism, using violence when necessary. The Jesuits told these "Angolan" slaves to runaway and then they would have freedom. These slaves probably did what they said because that was their religion. The slaves were from a Portuguese Colony and spoke Portuguese. This language is very close to Spanish. The Spanish most likely told the slaves this so it would weaken the English settlements, maybe the Spanish could have taken over, but weíll never really know.

On the slave trade, one town was almost always on their trip down the West Coast of Africa. This town was Kabinda. They got their slaves mainly from the kingdom of Kongo. There was a lot going on in this region. A lot of civil wars were happening and the defeated were sold as slaves. Because they had wars all of the time; these people were very well trained for war. These people were very proud of their catholic religion. In this Portuguese region, they had very nice schools and churches.

When these Angolan slaves got to South Carolina, they must have been outraged. Here these well-educated, very well trained people were slaves now for ignorant farmers. They also had their religious leaders (Jesuits) telling them to run away. They were mistreated on their farm. And since they were fighters, thatís exactly what they did fight.

Their African decent was overlooked for years, but I feel it was more important than the mistreatment on the farm. If they wouldíve won, we could be speaking Spanish or be an all black country like Haiti.