Stono Rebellion: The largest slave revolt in America led by slaves from Kongo in 1739

The Stono Rebellion was a slave rebellion that occurred on September 9, 1739, near the Stono River in South Carolina, which was then a British colony. The rebellion is considered to be one of the largest slave uprisings in North America before the American Revolution, and it had significant consequences for the development of slavery in the South. The rebellion was led by a group of about 20 slaves who had escaped from their plantations and were armed with weapons that they had stolen from their masters’ houses. The group first attacked a store near the Stono River, where they killed the two storekeepers and stole weapons and ammunition. They then proceeded south, recruiting more slaves to join them as they went, burning plantations and killing white settlers along the way.

The rebels were eventually confronted by a group of white colonists who had been alerted to the rebellion, and a battle ensued. The slaves were eventually defeated, and many were killed or captured. The captured rebels were executed, and their heads were placed on stakes along the roads as a warning to other slaves who might consider rebellion.

Aerial view of the countryside along the Stono River south of Charleston, South Carolina

The Stono Rebellion had significant consequences for the development of slavery in the South. The rebellion led to the passage of the Negro Act of 1740, which placed stricter controls on the behavior of slaves and restricted their freedom of movement. The act also prohibited slaves from gathering in groups, carrying firearms, and learning to read and write. These restrictions helped to solidify the system of slavery in the South and made it more difficult for slaves to rebel.

The Stono Rebellion also highlighted the dangers of slavery to the white colonists and led to increased efforts to control and suppress slave rebellions. Slave patrols were established, and laws were enacted to punish anyone who encouraged or assisted slaves to rebel. These efforts helped to prevent further slave uprisings in the South, but they also perpetuated the brutal system of slavery that existed for another century before its abolition.

Stono Rebellion Historic Marker

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