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April 21, 2022
12:30pm to 2:00pm
6275 Bunche & Zoom

April 21, 2022

James Sweet, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mutiny on the Black Prince: Slavery, Piracy, and State Capture in the Revolutionary Atlantic World

Location: Hybrid
Bunche Hall 6275
Time: 12:30-2:00 pm

The slave ship Black Prince departed Bristol, England, in 1768, bound for Old Calabar in West Africa. Before reaching the African coast, the ship’s crew mutinied, murdering the captain and officers. The mutineers renamed the ship “Liberty,” elected new officers, and set sail for Brazil. This talk traces the dramatic story of the mutiny, as well as the merchant-owners’ response to the uprising. At the very moment that the American Revolution unfolded in North America, the Black Prince’s owners conducted a “shadow” revolution, mobilizing the power of the British Crown to seek justice and restitution on their behalf. This counter-revolution extended well beyond the realm of economic protectionism into corporate diplomacy, surveillance, arrest, extradition, and capital punishment. In this way, even in an era of professed liberty and freedom, the privatization of state power was already emerging, replacing monarchies with corporate oligarchies, presaging a new kind of political power in the Atlantic world.