A decade long search for a sunken slave ship has ended following it’s?discovery on the east coast of Africa.
A Portuguese slave ship named Sao Jose Paquet Africa departed Mozambique on December 3, 1794 for a 7,000-mile trip to Maranhao in Brazil where an estimated 400 to 500 black men and women were aboard to work on sugar plantations.
The slaves who were sardined inside the slave ship for the duration of the four month journey from the Indian Ocean across the huge South Atlantic. The ship was believed to have been torn apart on two reefs near Cape Town and only a 100-s from shore. The Captain with its crew and half of the slaves survived while ?approximately 212 slaves died.
Smithsonian?s National Museum of African-American History & Culture in coordination with Iziko Museums of South Africa, Slave Wrecks Projects, and other stakeholders have announced in Cape Town that the wreck of the slave ship was discovered in the area where it was believed to sink.
Sao Jose, the slave ship, travelled across continents and oceans and from fishing areas in Africa up to sheikhdoms. It brought slaves to work on plantations in the New World. After the slave ship wreck was found, divers from America participated with the divers in South Africa and the museum curators in Africa, Americas, and Europe trying to search for clues.
Finally, the slave shipwreck was found. Paul Gardullo, a curator historian from Smithsonian African-American museum, said, ?The more cargo that you have that is living, the more ballast you need, because live cargo moves and is not as heavy as, say, tubs of molasses.? He added, ?Ballast becomes a signature for slaving, and a direct corollary to human beings.?
The museum was scheduled to open on National Mall in Washington next year. The discovery signifies the conclusion of more than one hundred years of searching for the slave ship remains. It aims at narrating the story of an estimated twelve million slaves who were sold like items into bondage and forced to be transported from Africa to North America, South America, Indies, and even in Europe.
Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum, tried to find a ship wreck since 2005 when he was hired by the museum. Bunch said during an interview, ?I really wanted something from a slave ship. How hard could that be?? The task was difficult since the museum aimed at showcasing original stuff. The slave shipwreck which was connected to USA was a great find.