The Secrecy of the Crown Gally: An Exploration of the Illegalities of the Slave Trade in the 1720’s

The Secrecy of the Crown Gally: An Exploration of the Illegalities of the Slave Trade in the 1720’s

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With the signing of the peace treaty between the Dutch and the English in 1667, the colony of New Amsterdam became controlled by the English and was renamed as New York. As a relatively new colony, the English sought to establish a society and more importantly an economy. Due to New York’s strategically accessible geographic location in its proximity to the water, a more marketable and industrialized economy was developed in comparison to the southern cash crop plantation economies. Labor continued to be in high demand in New York during the early eighteenth century, which made the Atlantic slave trade a crucial component of the economy. Specifically between the years of 1720 and 1730, only two slave voyages travelled to New York; one of which bore the name Crown Gally, commanded by Captain Dennis Downing. The voyage of the Crown Gally not only illuminates why there were only two slave voyages during this time period, but also why colonists turned to Madagascar for slaves, and why so many slaves died along the voyage to the New World.
On February 02, 1720, the Crown Gally set sail from London to Madagascar, which was the primary site of slave purchase. Once the two-hundred and forty slaves embarked upon the ship at Madagascar, the Crown Gally then commenced its remainder of a four-hundred and sixty-seven day trip to New York, which landed on June 05, 1721. 1While this itinerary may appear to resemble any other slave voyage that departed from London and had bought slaves on the West Coast of Africa, it is not. In fact, the Crown Gally voyage to New York was completely illegal.
Prior to the date of embarkation from London in 1720, the Crown Gally, which was registered in London, was previously registered in New York in 1716 und...


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...ar Slave Trade," The William and Mary Quarterly, 26, no. 4 (1969): 549,550,571,

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Joseph E. Inikori, "The Volume of the British Slave Trade, 1655-1807 (Le volume de la traite anglaise, 1655-1807)," Cahiers d'Études Africaines, 32, no. 128 (1992): 646,647

www.slaveyoyages.org : Summary Statistics 1700-1750 Voyages to New York
Mike Parker Pearson, "Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: Malagasy Resistance and Colonial Disasters in Southern Madagascar," World Archaeology, 28, no. 3 (1997): 393-394,401, 409

www.slavevoyages.org Summary Statistics Voyages to New York 1700-1800
Richard B Allen, "Satisfying the “Want for Labouring People”: European Slave Trading in the Indian Ocean, 1500–1850," Journal of World History, 21, no. 1 (2010): 58,

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