Tuesday, August 03, 2004
for National Geographic News
July 30, 2004
In a few weeks researchers will begin scouring the Florida seafloor for a 177-year-old shipwreck—and the resting place of dozens of slaves who drowned in chains. Despite its drama, the story of the Guerrero remains little-known. Around 7 p.m. on the evening of December 19, 1827, keeper John Whalton was tending to his lightship, a sort of mobile lighthouse. He was anchored a few miles off Key Largo when, he said later, "I saw the flash and heard the report of seven or eight guns." Whalton was about to witness the tragic ending of a desperate chase in the waters off what was then the U.S. Territory of Florida. The Guerrero, with hundreds of Africans enchained in its hold and crewed by 90 Spaniards who were little more than pirates, was fleeing the Nimble, a British warship that was enforcing the international ban on slave trade...
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