Social Studies


In 1839, a group of Africans took control of a Spanish ship called La Amistad that was bound for a port in Cuba where the Africans were to be sold as slaves. After seizing the ship, the Africans demanded to be taken back to their homeland, but were tricked by the ship's navigator who set a course that took them along the coast of North America. La Amistad was eventually captured by the United States Navy, and the Africans were held as pirates. Though they were almost taken to be sold in a U.S. slave market, a court case arose regarding whether they could actually be considered slaves. Abolitionists came to the aid of the Africans, and the case eventually reached the Supreme Court in 1841.

Which of the following best explains the result of the case above?
The men were considered slaves because slavery was legal in the U.S. at that time.
The men were considered slaves since they were thought to be the property of Spain.
The men were considered free because U.S. did not have diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The men were considered free since the Atlantic slave trade had been illegal since 1793.

1 Answer