January 03, 2020 2 min read

A Replica of the Historic 1839 Slave Ship, Schooner Amistad, Becomes a Floating Classroom

Schooner Amistad at the dock across from Mystic Knotwork

This past summer the reproduction, Freedom Schooner Amistad, was tied up at the Mystic River Park dock, right across the street from our Mystic Knotwork workshop! A striking sailing vessel with it's dramatically raked masts and enormous bow sprit. The black hull adding to the power of her presence and fascinating history.

Schooner Amistad at Mystic Park dock

She is a replica of the original La Amistad of 1839, a slave ship with a startling story. " The Amistad revolt. In January 1839, 53 African natives were kidnapped from eastern Africa and sold into the Spanish slave trade. They were then placed aboard a Spanish slave ship bound for Havana, Cuba. ... The slaves then revolted, killing most of the crew of the Amistad, including her cook and captain." Read more on what followed after they ran aground in U.S. waters and ended up in court.

Helm of the Schooner Amistad

For many years local groups in Connecticut tried tirelessly to raise funding to purchase and repair the replica of the slave ship Amistad. After a few years of negotiating the State of Connecticut agreed to raise funds for the restoration. The new Freedom Schooner Amistad would be a sailing classroom traveling from port to port educating youth on the story and history of the Amistad revolt and it's lessons. Learn more about Discovering Amistad and their educational programs.

Onboard Schooner Amistad in Mystic Connecticut

The ship was restored in Connecticut at Mystic Seaport, known for ship building and restoration. Many of the tools used in this project date back to the original ships era 1839. Bronze bolts were used as fastenings throughout the ship to join the prime quality timber. Deck planks were donated by Sierra Leone, homeland of the original Amistad captives. The restoration was completed in 2016.

Cockpit of the Schooner AmistadRigging Schooner Amistad

Schooner Amistad in Mystic Connecticut

Freedom Schooner Amistad

Be sure to check their schedule to see what ports she will be in and go for a sail or attend a tour. If you visit her in Mystic please stop by our workshop across from Mystic River Park! Photo courtesy Discovering Amistad.

Sue Waterman
Sue Waterman


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