On June 28, 1839, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana on a routine delivery of human cargo. On a moonless night, the captive Africans rose up, killed the captain, and seized control of the ship. They attempted to sail to a safe port, but were captured by the U.S. Navy. Their legal battle for freedom made its way to the Supreme Court, where they were freed and eventually returned to Africa. The rebellion became one of the best-known events in the history of American slavery, celebrated in films and books--all reflecting the elite perspective of the judges, politicians, and abolitionists involved. In this highly original account, using newly discovered evidence, Marcus Rediker reclaims the rebellion for its true proponents: the African rebels who risked death to stake a claim for freedom. The successful Amistad rebellion changed the very nature of the struggle against slavery. As a handful of self-emancipated Africans steered their own course to freedom, they opened a way for millions to follow. This book honors their achievement.--From publisher description.