The Zong massacre was the killing of approximately 142 enslaved
Africans by the crew of the slave ship Zong in the days following
29 November 1781. The Zong was owned by a Liverpool slave-trading
syndicate that had taken out insurance on the lives of the slaves. When
the ship ran low on water following navigational mistakes, the crew
drowned some of the slaves in the sea. The owners of the Zong made a
claim to their insurers for the loss of the slaves. When the insurers
refused to pay, the resulting court cases held that in some
circumstances the deliberate killing of slaves was legal, and that
insurers could be required to pay for the slaves' deaths. The hearings
brought the massacre to the attention of the anti-slavery campaigner
Granville Sharp, who tried unsuccessfully to have the ship's crew
prosecuted for murder. Reports of the massacre stimulated the nascent
abolitionist movement and became a powerful symbol of the horrors of the
Middle Passage of slaves to the New World. The massacre has also
inspired several works of art and literature, including The Slave Ship
by J. M. W. Turner (pictured).
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zong_massacre>
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