Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Several causes have been suggested for this slave revolt, and it is probably due to a combination of several circumstances: a decline in government effectiveness brought on by an epidemic in the region, talk of a war between the British and Spanish, accounts of slaves who had obtained their freedom by escaping to Spanish-controlled Florida, and the Security Act of 1739, which required all white males to carry arms on Sundays because of suspicions of an imminent slave uprising. Jemmy, the leader of the revolt, was a literate slave described as Angolan, which likely meant from the kingdom of Kongo in Central Africa. Jemmy and several other leaders of the revolt probably had experience using fire arms in Africa during Kongo's suppression of the Mbamba revolt.
The events of the revolt
On September 9, 1739, twenty black Carolinians met near the Stono River, twenty miles southwest of Charleston. At the bridge, they seized weapons from a store and killed the storekeepers. They raised a flag and proceeded towards St. Augustine. On the way, they gathered more recruits, burned houses, and killed white opponents.
Late that afternoon, planters on horseback caught up with the group now numbering sixty to one hundred slaves. Twenty white Carolinians and forty of the rebels were killed before the rebellion was suppressed. The captured slaves were then executed.
That same year there was another uprising in Georgia, and the next year another took place in South Carolina, probably inspired by the Stono Rebellion - at the time, colonial officials believed as much. The Stono Rebellion resulted in a 10 year moratorium on slave imports through Charleston and enacted a harsher slave code, which banned earning money and education for slaves.
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