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Joseph Cinqué, 1839
Joseph Cinqué led a group of would-be slaves to mutiny

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Amistad Mutiny Survivors Freed
March 9, 1841

Would you rather die than lose your freedom? More than 150 years ago, a group of people from the West African country of Sierra Leone answered yes to that question. After being abducted from their home country by Portuguese slave traders and placed on the schooner Amistad, 53 of the Africans followed the lead of Joseph Cinqué in a revolt against the ship's crew. Cinqué was a member of the Mende tribe. He lived in the Mende territory of Sierra Leone on the West Coast of Africa. He was the son of a chief.

On March 9, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court freed the 35 Africans who survived the mutiny and cleared the way for their return home.

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