The schooner La Amistad – carrying 53 Mende captives, who have been captured from Sierra Leone to be sold into slavery in Cuba – leaves Havana. On the open sea, Sengbe Pieh (later known in the US as Joseph Cinqué) leads the captives in a revolt against the mostly Spanish crew on the ship.

Deceived by their Spanish navigator, they do not travel back to Africa but along the North American coast where they are discovered by the Revenue Cutter USRC Washington. The schooner and the Mende captives are taken into United States custody.

In 1841, former US President John Quincy Adams successfully defends the Mende captives in the widely publicized Amistad process.

Steven Spielberg retells the story in his film Amistad (1997). Welsh actor Antony Hopkins portrays the former US President.

John Quincy Adams’ unspectacular presidency between 1825 to 1829 marks the first time a son has succeeded a former US president (John Adams). Between his tenure and that of Abraham Lincoln (beginning in 1861), nine other presidents are elected.


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