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Igbo Landing: The Story Of Igbo Slaves That Revolted Against Slavery

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  • Igbo Landing: The Story Of Igbo Slaves That Revolted Against Slavery

    Igbo Landing (alternatively written as Ibo Landing, Ebo Landing, or Ebos Landing) was the final setting scene of an 1803 resistance of enslaved Igbo people brought from West Africa on slave ships.

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    It is a historic site at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia. It was the setting of a mass suicide in 1803 by captive Igbo people who had taken control of their slave ship and refused to submit to slavery in the United States. The event's moral value as a story of resistance towards slavery has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history.

    In May 1803 a shipload of captive West Africans, upon surviving the middle passage, were landed by U.S.-paid captors in Savannah by slave ship, to be auctioned off at one of the local slave markets. The ship's enslaved passengers included a number of Igbo people from what is now Nigeria.

    The Igbo people were known to be fiercely independent and unwilling to be shackled and chained. The group of 75 Igbo slaves had been captured by John Couper and Thomas Spalding to work on plantations. Each slave had cost the men $100 dollars per head. During the voyage the Igbo slaves rose up in rebellion taking control of the ship and drowning their captors in the process. The ship “Morovia” was grounded in Dunbar Creek which is now known as the Ebo Landing.

    ​​​​​​​The following sequence of events is unclear, as there are several versions concerning the revolt's development, some of which are considered mythological. Apparently the Africans went ashore and subsequently, under the direction of a high Igbo chief among them, walked in unison into the creek singing in the Igbo language "The Water Spirit brought us, the Water Spirit will take us home". They thereby accepted the protection of their god Chukwu and death over the alternative of slavery.

    There have been different tales as to what happened next.

    Some say the Igbo people walked in unison into the sea singing and believing that the waters would take them home; they all drowned that day. Other tales say that some of the Igbo people were rescued by bounty hunters who received $10 a head, and these survivors are the ones who have told the story to be recorded as to what happened that day.

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    Another great myth that has been told is that an overseer by the name of Mr. Blue went down to the landing area with a long whip to whip the slaves, however, when he got down to the spot the Igbo people band together and stuck a hoe in the field…one by one rose up in the sky and turned themselves into buzzards and flew back to Africa. The Igbo Landing site and surrounding marshes in Dunbar Creek are claimed to be haunted by the souls of the perished Igbo slaves.

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