1550 to 1870 — Slave Shipwrecks on the South African Coast

//1550 to 1870 — Slave Shipwrecks on the South African Coast
1550 to 1870 — Slave Shipwrecks on the South African Coast2018-11-26T07:55:23+00:00

by Odila Braga and edited by Cecilia Blight

Map of select shipwreck positions

 

African Adventure

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type: slaver, sloop (Fynn 1969 :178-9, Isaacs 1936-7 :v 2 10-12, Kennedy 1955 :27, Turner 1988 :217)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

 South Africa

Wreck site

“Port of Natal” (old name for present Durban) (Fynn 1969 :178-9, Bulpin 1952 :54, SA Shipping 1982)
“Durban” (Fynn 1969 :178-9, Turner 1988 :217)

Date of wreck

“January 1830” (Fynn 1969 :178-9, Bulpin 1952 :54, Turner 1988 :217)

Vessel’s characteristics

Sloop, 120 t (Fynn 1969 :178-9, Isaacs 1936-7 :v 2 10-12, Kennedy 1955 :27, Turner 1988 :217)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“There were several passengers on board, amongst whom was the wife of the commandant.” (Isaacs 1936-7 :v 2 10-12)

Vessel’s cargo

“160 slaves” (Kennedy 1955 :27)

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of the wreck: “It appears that this vessel had sailed last from Sofala, (south of present Beira, in Mozambique) laden with slaves and bound for Mozambique … The weather had been hazy, and an adverse current had occasioned their losing course. The first land they described … was that in the vicinity of Natal. As the passage from Sofala to Mozambique is only two days, and they had been out nearly three weeks at sea, they were entirely out of provisions, and had been eight days without water” (Isaacs 1936-7 :v 2 10-12).

“A number of the slaves had died, and a great many had been thrown overboard, to shorten that term of misery to which they were doomed. Out of 160 slaves, with whom they left Sofala, only 30 landed at Natal!” (Isaacs 1936-7 :v 2 10-12).

Bennebroek

Nature

Merchant

VOC

Nationality

Dutch

Type

800t

Shipyard

Amsterdam Yard (Turner 1988 :203)

Year built

1708

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

The exact location of this wreck has never been known.

“Coast of Natal, or possibly on the coast south west of Hamburg, near the Mtana River or Port St. Johns (272 km from Hamburg), close to lat. 31 S” (Leibbrandt 1896).

“a little to the south west of the Keiskamma River in Ciskei” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203).

“The position of the wreck has been established as Tezani Bay a few miles north of port St. John’s” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :63).

“Descriptions given by her survivors point to the wreck occurring very close to the Bay of Mussels” (Green 1962 :120-121)

“Port St John’s” (SA Shipping 1982)

Date of wreck

“16 February 1713” (Theal 1916-22 :v 2 493-495, Burman 1968 :51-56, SA Shipping 1982, Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203, Kennedy 1955 :32)

“February 1713” (Mackeurtan 1930 :74, Knox-Johnston 1989 :63, Willcox 1984 :34, Green 1962  :120-121)

Vessel’s characteristics

 800 t (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Commanded by Jan Hes” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203, Burman 1968 :51-56)

“Jan de Wit of Amsterdam, the chief mate, and the third mate, Jan Smelter of Enkhuysen, the boatswain Hendrik Palm” (Burman 1968 :51-56)

“more than 150 souls” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203)

Vessel’s cargo

“But no doubt she had money and other valuables on board” (Green 1962 :120-121)

“In her hold was a typical East Indian cargo consisting of spices, silks and a large consignment of Chinese porcelain” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203)

Malabar slaves

Vessel’s administration

“built in 1708 for the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch East India Company” (Leibbrandt 1896).

“She left Ceylon on the 22nd September 1712 in company of four other Indiamen” (Burman 1968 :51-56).

“The Dutch Indiaman Bennebroek” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :63).

“Dutch East- Indiaman … The earliest such Dutch vessel found on the coast of South Africa is the Bennebroek …” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203).

“She left Ceylon homeward-bound on 22nd September 1712 with four other Indiamen: the Vaderland Getrouw, Bentvelt, Reynesteyn and Raadhuijs van Enkhuijsen” (Burman 1968 :51-56).

Circumstances of wreck

“in Lat. 31S the Bennebroek … run into a second storm, partially crippling the ship … two masts had gone … drifting through mist and rain. The remaining sails were hoisted and every effort was made to catch the wind and turn the ship away from the shore. The waves and current, however, defeated this manoeuvre and before they could prevent it, she struck a rock some distance from the shore … and within two hours the keel broke in two, and the entire stern of the ship collapsed and capsized, killing all the unfortunate ones who were upon it” (Burman 1968 :51-56).

“after being disabled in a storm ran ashore in broad daylight on the coast of Natal … She commenced to break up immediately” (Theal 1916-22 :v 2 493-495).

“A second storm struck, and the vessel … was badly damaged, with two of her masts broken … She struck hard upon a pinnacle of rock and giant swells soon began pounding the vessel to pieces. Many of the passengers and crew, including the captain, were drowned …” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203).

Observations

“only 57 Europeans and 20 Malabar slaves … got to land on pieces of the wreck” (Theal 1916-22 :v 2 493-495). The following sources all have similar information: Mackeurtan (1930 :74), Burman (1968 :51-56), Turner (1988 :51-52,107,203), Willcox (1984 :34), Green (1962 :120-121), Kennedy (1955 :32).

“while homeward- bound from Ceylon, which she had left on 22 September 1712” (Leibbrandt 1896).

“The survivors remained for several months on the coast, and when they tried to go westward, were stopped by great rivers. They went inland afterwards, and eventually only seven survived, who found refuge with a tribe of natives constantly at war with the Bushman … Eventually one sole survivor of the Bennebroek, a Malabar slave, reached the Breede River, and was brought to Cape Town” (Wilmot 1901 :52-53).

“Only in 1783 was the Bennebroek site found by members of a relief expedition searching for survivors of the Grosvenor wreck. They reported finding seven cast iron cannon lying on the shore a little south west of the Keiskamma River” (Turner 1988 :51-52,107,203).

The only source which mentions the sure discovery of the wreck is Turner (1988 :51-52,107,203), as follows: “The wreck was discovered by Peter Sachs of East London in 1985.” No other source is precise.

Cybelle

Nature

merchant

Nationality

French

Type

slaver

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“A little north of Blouberg Strand in Table Bay” (Theal 1964 :v 4 219, Kennedy 1955 :44, Turner 1988 :52,145, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :357, Burman 1976 :71)

Date of wreck

19 March 1756 (Kennedy 1955 :44, Turner 1988 :52,145, Theal 1964 :v 4 219)

19 May 1756 (Burman 1976 :71)

Vessel’s characteristics

12 guns (Turner 1988 :52,145)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

Vessel’s cargo

“slaves from Guinea” (Burman 1976 :71)

“slaves” (Theal 1964 :v 4 219, Turner 1988 :52,145, Kennedy 1955 :44, SA Shipping 1982)

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“She had entered Table Bay for water” (Turner 1988 :52,145)

“in trying to beat into Table Bay it ran ashore … and shortly it went into pieces” (Theal 1964 :v 4 219)

Observations

“while on a voyage from the coast of Guinea (West Africa) to Mauritius … No lives were lost ” (Turner 1988 :52,145).

“The ship was lost, but all the crew and slaves were saved, and found berths on another French ship then anchored in the bay” (Burman 1976 :71).

“her crew, with the slaves, got safely aboard another French ship lying at anchor in the bay” (Theal 1964 :v 4 219).

Diana
</ p>

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Table Bay” (SA Shipping 1982)

“near the Imhoff Battery, in Table Bay” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104)

“and run ashore in Table Bay” (Turner 1988 :52,149)

“33º 55.50 S, 18º 26.40 E … at the Imhoff battery in Table Bay” (Turner 1988 :52,149, Sammons 1846 :9 January)

Date of wreck

7 January 1846 (Theal 1964 :v 6 253, Sammons 1846 :9 January, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :412, Kennedy 1955 :45, SA Shipping 1982, Turner 1988 :52,149, Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104, Burman 1976 :74,133-134)

Vessel’s characteristics

“slaving barque” (Sammons 1846 :9 January, Turner 1988 :52,149, Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104)

“of 270 t” (Turner 1988 :52,149, Sammons 1846 :9 January)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“The commander was Lieut Mends (RN)” (Turner 1988 :52,149, Sammons 1846 :9 January, Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104)

Vessel’s cargo

slaves

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“Ran ashore at the Imhoff Battery in Table Bay … when her cables parted during a north-west gale …”(Turner 1988 :52,149, Sammons 1846 :9 January).

“a heavy north westerly gale near the Imhoff Battery, in Table Bay” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104).

“Driven ashore by a north westerly gale near the Imhoff Battery” (Rawe & Crabtree, 1978 :412).

“On 7 January 1846 Table Bay was visited by a violent north westerly gale, a very unusual event in mid summer. Two vessels were driven ashore. One was the Diana …” (Theal 1964 :v 6 253).

Observations

“after a voyage from Pemba, Zanzibar … She had been taken as a prize by HMS Mutine. She lies buried beneath reclaimed land” (Turner 1988 :52,149, Sammons 1846 :9 January).

“No lives were lost in her wreck”(Theal 1964 :v 6, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :412, Kennedy 1955 :45,Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104).

“Van Imhoff’s last major military decision was the construction of the Imhoff Battery … The Imhoff Battery was built below the Castle on the sea front (Burman 1976 :74,133-134).

Dom Pedro

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portugal

Type

Slaver

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“necessary to beach her near some protruding rocks bear the mouth of the Baaken’s River” (Meyer n d :sheet 1) Note: This river is in Algoa Bay. “Algoa Bay” (SA Shipping 1982)

Date of wreck

10 August 1840 (Meyer n d :sheet 1)

Vessel’s characteristics

Vessel’s crew/passengers

Vessel’s cargo

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“It was purposely run ashore” (Meyer n d :sheet 1).

Observations

“no lives were lost” (Meyer n d :sheet 1).

“She was captured by the British who were after slavers” (Redgrave 1947 :245-247).

“and in a specially constructed extra deck on the upper part of the ship were discovered nineteen slaves” (Redgrave 1947 :245-247).

“Captured by HMS Curlew … destroyed because no further use” (Redgrave 1947 :245-247).

“Even when the jetty due to bear her name was being designed in 1898, the outline of the old slaver would still be clearly traced” (Redgrave 1947 :245-247).

Isabel

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Brazilian

Type

slaver

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Algoa Bay” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104, Turner 1988 :38,195, Kennedy 1955 :68, SA Shipping 1988)

Date of wreck

“21 August 1844”(Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104, Turner 1988 :38,195, Kennedy 1955 :68, SA Shipping 1988)

Vessel’s characteristics

“Bark” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Lieut. Alexander was in charge” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104).

Vessel’s cargo

slaves

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“a strong south easterly gale” (Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,104).

Observations

No lives were lost.

Meermin

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Dutch

Type

“slaver” (Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :811, Turner 1988 :44,174, SA Shipping 1982)

Shipyard

Amsterdam Yard (Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583, Turner 1988 :44,174)

Date built

“1759” (Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583, Turner 1988 :44,174)

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“near Cape Agulhas” (Moodie 1838 :30, Kennedy 1955 :84, Rawe & Crabtree 1987 :811, Turner 1988 :44,174, SA Shipping 1982)

Date of wreck

“1765” (De Kock 1950 :19-22)

“1766” (Burman 1967 :51-56)

“February 1766” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97, Kennedy 1955 :84, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :811, SA Shipping 1982)

“9 April 1766” (Turner 1988 :44,174, Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583)

Vessel’s characteristics

“Packet” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97, De Kock 1950 :19-22, Kennedy 1955 :84)

“Hooker”(Burman 1967 :51-56, Theal 1897-1905 :v 7 131-132, Moodie 1838 :30)

“Hooker of 450 t” (Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583, Turner 1988 :44,174)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“commanded by a man named Muller” (Theal 1897-1905 :v 7 131-132, Moodie 1838 :30).

“a supercargo … sailors” (De Kock 1950 :19-22).

“so captain Gerrit Christoffel Muller … supercargo Johan Godfried Crause … ship’s surgeon, Borchards, … chief mate Olof Jacobus Leij; the pilot Daniel Gulch van Rostock … he had an armed crew of 62 men” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“Master Hendrik Worms” (Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583).

“skipper Gerrit Mulder … the super-cargo … sailors” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97).

“53 crew men” (Kennedy 1955 :84).

Vessel’s cargo

“140 slaves from Madagascar” (Burman 1967 :51-56, Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97, De Kock 1950 :19-22, Kennedy 1955 :84).

Vessel’s administration

VOC” (Burman 1967 :51-56, Theal 1897-1905 :v 7 131-132, De Kock 1950 :19-22, Moodie 1838 :30, Bruijn et al 1979-1987 :v 2 582-583).

Circumstances of wreck

“After the slaves she was carrying mutinied and tried to return to Madagascar but lost control of the vessel” (Turner 1988 :44,174).</ p>

“The slaves managed to get control of the ship and demanded that they be taken back to Madagascar. A battle of wits followed with the ship moving eastwards slowly while the sun was shining and going westwards as fast as possible at night. Eventually the ship ran aground near Cape Agulhas” (Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :811).

Observations

“there was a chronic shortage of slaves at the Cape in 1765 and the Company had despatched the Meermin to fetch a cargo of slaves from Madagascar … By 20 January 1766 he had accumulated 140 male and female slaves … On that date he sailed for the Cape” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“One of the strictest rules in the slave trade was that male slaves were to be kept chained at all times, and to this rule the Company fully subscribed” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“A captain who kept his slaves rigidly confined to cramped and unhygienic quarters could bring his entire cargo home, but a high percentage of the slaves might be dead. So the custom was often broken on slavers in the interests of health – and finance” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“Muller … supported in this by the supercargo … the ship’s surgeon … recommended that the slaves be freed from irons” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“Discipline aboard the Meermin was never very strict … There was even time for parties, at which the wine flowed freely and the slave women were called on to sing and do their national dances” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“later the supercargo handed some of the blacks a number of guns and assegais to clean … When the supercargo returned to see how the work was progressing, the self-appointed leader of the negroes gave a loud yell, whirled round three times and then stabbed the white man in the back, killing him instantaneously” (De Kock 1950 :19-22).

“They (the slaves) seized the opportunity, rose suddenly, and killed the supercargo and the whole of the watch on deck, 24 men in all. There were 29 men down below” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97).

“After this orgy of killing, the slaves were left in command of the decks. But the situation was actually a stalemate, for whilst the crew below could not come up on deck, … down below in the hold were the men who knew how to sail the vessel; on the deck were the victors, unable to manoeuvre their prize. The vessel drifted at the mercy of wind and tide” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“On the third day they decided to use their only other asset – a barrel of gunpowder … The explosion made a very satisfactory bang, which thoroughly frightened the slaves … the mate sent a message…that if the blacks did not come to terms they would detonate the barrel of gun-powder and blow up the ship” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“an agreement was made that no harm should be done to the white men, they on their part promising to convey the negroes back to Madagascar” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97).

“Another stipulation requested by the negroes – namely, that the gunpowder should be dumped overboard – was firmly and shrewdly refused” (De Kock 1950 :19-22).

“Whilst they knew nothing of navigation, the blacks were aware that they had come from the direction of the rising sun and eastward the crew were forced to sail, though every mile took them farther from home and safety. All day long the slaves watched closely and they were unable to deviate from their course. But when the sun set, the whole position altered. A little skilful seamanship soon had them sailing westward. Well before dawn the course would be changed to the east once again” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“The way the crew of the Meermin kept their promise was by steering for Cape Agulhas. After four days sail, land was seen, and the negroes were assured that it was their own country. At a distance of several km from the coast they required the sailors to drop the anchor and get out the longboat and pinnace, in which over 50 of them, male and female, went ashore … and send the boats back for their companions as soon as they could” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97).

“The news spread rapidly and soon a fair number of farmers were watching from the shore … the farmers were aware that the boats carried the VOC brand and were manned by well-armed negroes. Obviously something was wrong – they withdrew into cover behind the dunes and sent for reinforcements … It was comparatively easy for the farmers to lay an ambush for the inexperienced party of blacks … 14 blacks were killed and the rest laid down their arms” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

“The negroes on board the Meermin became very impatient when the boats did not return for them … So the crew wrote an account of their condition, and put the papers in bottles which they dropped overboard. Two of the bottles were picked up, and the fires were kindled (that was the sign the slaves should had made from land, to prove all was in order). The negroes then cut the cable, and when the Meermin drifted close in, a canoe was lowered and six of them landed. They had hardly touched the beach when they were surrounded. One was shot and the other five were made prisoners. Those still on board, on seeing this, attacked the crew; but the sailors were able to defend themselves until the vessel ran ashore, when the blacks surrendered. 112 slaves finally reached the Cape” (Theal 1964 :v 4 96-97).

“For Muller, however, there was no forgiveness. He was tried for culpable negligence, found guilty, stripped of rank and pay, and discharged from the Company’s service” (Burman 1967 :51-56).

Nossa Senhora do Atalaya do Pinheiro (sometimes just “Atalaya”)

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver

Shipyard

She was built in Portugal (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78, Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

Date shipyard construction started

“Her age is unknown but the first mention of her occurs in 1640, so she may have been brand new or an enlarged and modified rebuild of an older ship – not unusual with Portuguese Indiamen” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“the Atalaya, built of pine in Portugal. She was an old but extremely big ship which brought the new Viceroy to India in 1640” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“in latitude 34º” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

“to anchor in Cintsa Bay (32º 50’ S 28º 7’ E), just north of East London” (Bulpin 1952 :252, Axelson 1988 :48,73-78, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202,213-215).

“that the crew put her ashore near the Umtata River” (31º 57’S 29º 11’E) (Mackeurtan 1930 :46-47).

“Between the Fish (33º 30’S  27º 7’E) and the Kei Rivers (32º 42’S  28º 21’E)” (Theal 1964 :v 4 140, Kennedy 1955 :90, SA Shipping 1982, Johnson-Barker 1989 :19).

“Her final resting place is at 32º 48.60S, 28º 08.70E” (Turner 1988 :104-107,212).

“to measure the latitude of the sun, and they found the lat. 33 1/2º” (Colvin 1912 :171-179).

“actual latitude of the wreck 32º 50’ S” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

Date of wreck

“June 1647″ (Turner 1988 :104-107,212)

“4 July 1647″ (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46)

“5 July 1647″ (Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202,213-215)

“7 July 1647″ (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78)

Vessel’s characteristics

“she was a strongly built carrack (náo) of four decks, though some accounts term her a galleon … about 1 000 t and carrying anything from 30 to 60 guns – the lower figure being more likely, as carracks were apt to be under-gunned for their size” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“that her original complement of naval ordnance might have been closer to 30 than 60 guns” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“Lying in the harbour at Goa was a large nau, the Nossa Senhora da Atalaya” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“the old, but unusually large galleon, Nossa Senhora do Atalaya” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

“Atalaya were huge ships for their time” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Captain Antonio da Camara de Noronha, Pilot Gaspar Rodrigues Coelho, under-pilot Balthazar Rodrigues, boatswain Jacinto Antonio, other officers, sailors, religious” (Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306, Peres 1938 :v 3 73-142, Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46, Willcox 1984 :28).

“more than 200 crew members” (Mackeurtan 1930 :46-47, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202,213-215).

“Amongst the Atalaya survivors were two white women and several wealthy and important passengers” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

Vessel’s cargo

“slaves” (Peres 1938 :v 3 73-142, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202,213-215).

“the bursting of bales of pepper in the hold” (Mackeurtan 1930 :46-47).

“In addition to the normal cargo of spices, piece goods, silks and Chinese blue and white porcelain, both ships carried part of a special consignment of bronze land cannon, (Bocarro cannon) a present to the King of Portugal from his subjects in Macao … and Atalaya were carrying a special cargo of bronze land cannon, cast by Manuel Tavares Bocarro in Macao” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“the sheer work involved in moving one hundred tons of cannon” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

“carried a general cargo of spices and a valuable casket of diamonds for the king” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

“certainly nothing was ever heard of the captain or the diamonds again, while Feyo survived to bring his account of the wrecking to Lisbon” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

Vessel’s administration

“not unusual with Portuguese Indiamen” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

Circumstances of wreck

“Nossa Senhora da Atalaya sprang a leak in mid-ocean and after many terrifying experiences first anchored and then ran aground somewhere between the Fish and Kei Rivers. Many lives were lost in getting the people ashore” (Kennedy 1955 :90).

“On Easter day the Atalaya fired a 7-gun salute in honour of the Commodore on board the Sacramento, and in the process began leaking badly. In mid June a violent south westerly gale unleashed its fury on the two vessels and they parted company. The Atalaya was leaking badly and was brought to anchor off the coast north east of East London, but broke up during a heavy swell” (Turner 1988 :104-107,212).

Observations

Colvin (1912 :171-179), Theal (1898-1903 :v8 297-306), Peres (1938 :v 3 73-142) and Knox-Johnston (1989 :201-202,213-215) all quote from survivors’ accounts of the wreck.

“The Atalaya was the consort ship of a fleet of two. The flagship was the Santíssimo Sacramento” (Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306).

“in March 1642, she had been newly sheathed with lead and made ready for sea” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

“to assume that the cannon, weighing 4 tons a piece” (Allen 1978b :7,17,20-34,36-38,46).

Most books refer to her as the “Nossa Senhora do Atalaya”omitting “do Pinheiro”.

“On the 20th of February (Wednesday) 1647, the Sacramento, flagship, and the Nossa Senhora do Atalaya, her consort, left Goa, bound for Lisbon.” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78, Mackeurtan 1930 :46-47, Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306, Peres 1938 :v 3 73-142).

Although she is referred to as a slaver, I have found no mention to the loading of slaves, only the loading of presents to the King of Portugal. However, references to slaves are made during the voyage to Mozambique.

“taking in four spans of water, which the slaves and the ship boys pumped out twice every day” (Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306).

“At the setting of the moon the sea rose, and the wind increased so much that the ship pitched and took in a quantity of water, and the yards and catheads dipped into the sea. The order was given to haul down the main yard, but through fear of the sea and such rough weather and the inexperience of the artillerymen, they hauled in such a way that a gust of wind caught the sail, and the ship broached to in such a violent hurricane that it carried away the mainsail and foresail, tearing them to pieces with such an uproar that we thought the ship must founder. She lay in this state for a long time, in a cross sea, exposed to the fury of the waves … eight sailors, five artillerymen, four ship boys and some passengers having died of sickness” (Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306).

“That day passed and the next, and the weather being calmer we set other sail, never leaving the pumps for a moment. Thus we came in sight of land in 32º … So we proceeded for some days increasing our latitude to double the Cape, never ceasing to work the pumps, at which everyone took his turn without exception, even to the religious”(Theal 1898-1903 :v8 297-306).

“Atalaya, which managed to sail as far as Algoa Bay (Willcox 1984 :28) before being forced back by westerly winds, managed to anchor in Cintsa Bay, just north of East London, on 3 July 1647. Here she rode to anchor for several days while 200 of her crew and passengers, out of a total complement of 270, managed to get ashore alive before she finally went to pieces on 7 July 1647” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

“The survivors, about 200 in number, set off on July 15 for Delagoa Bay” (Willcox 1984 :28).

“Only 143 survivors of the Atalaya reached Maputo, and apart from deaths occurring during the walk, a number of slaves and seamen either deserted or felt that they were unable to face the rigours of the journey and remained behind with friendly tribesmen” (Axelson 1988 :48,73-78).

In 1980 salvage was carried out on the Atalaya.

Nossa Senhora do Belém

Nature

merchant

Nationality

 Portuguese

Type

slaver (De Kock 1953 :72-73)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Umzimvubu River” (SA Shipping 1982, Kennedy 1955 :91, Willcox 1984 :27, Knox-Johnston 1989 :216, Turner 1988 :63,214)

“Lat. 31º 57’ S” (Axelson 1988 :47-48)

“South of the Umzimvubu River” (Storrar 1988 :91-93)

“32º” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634)

Date of wreck

“24 July 1635” (Turner 1988 :63,214)

“All this (the tempest, the anchoring and the landing) happened before the 10th of July” (Notcutt 1924 :18-30)

Vessel’s characteristics

“large carrack, the Nossa Senhora de Belém … The Belém was the largest carrack ever to have left Lisbon” (Storrar 1988 :91-93).

“the ship Nossa Senhora de Belém, the finest, best built and largest ship that ever sailed in this service” (Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Captain Joseph de Cabreyra” (Axelson 1988 :47-48, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

“Pilot was Matias Figueira and the boatswain was Miguel Jorge” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634).

“for there were no more than 145 men, including the officers, most of whom were sick and weak, and the others scarcely convalescent from illness they had endured in Goa. It was necessary to keep the slaves, who were very few, at the pumps all night, in order to spare the seamen for greater necessities” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634, Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

“the total complement of passengers 145 – some 55 short of the total present on the vessel on its outward voyage to India – the overall total was not large by the standards of ships sailing to India in the 16th and 17th centuries” (Axelson 1988 :47-48).

“por não trazer mais do que 145 pessoas …, mas sem incluir os escravos. Talvez com eles perfizesse o numero de 200” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634) … as it carried no more than 145 people …, but not including the slaves. Including them maybe the figure of 200 would be reached.

Vessel’s cargo

“pepper and other merchandise … four packets of cinnamon” (Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

Vessel’s administration

“Carreira da India” (Axelson 1988 :47-48)

Circumstances of wreck

“Leaking badly it approached the coast of South Africa. In the face of fierce westerly winds the ship could not round the Cape and it was decided to return along the coast and endeavour to reach Mozambique. But the pumps – as usual clogged by pepper from the hold – failed again and the captain resolved to beach the vessel” (Willcox 1984 :27, Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Storrar 1988 :91-93, Axelson 1988 :47-48).

Observations

“Everybody got safe ashore” (Kennedy 1955 :91).

The survivors remained at the camp site for six months, while building two boats (Nossa Senhora da Natividade and the Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, about 14 m in length and 4,5 m in width, (Axelson 1988 :47-48) in which they sailed to Angola on the 28th January 1636. One boat was lost and the other reached Luanda successfully (Kennedy 1955 :91, Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Storrar 1988 :91-93, Notcutt 1924 :18-30, De Kock 1953 :72-73, Axelson 1988 :47-48, Turner 1988 :63,214).

Altogether, 272 survivors boarded the two boats they had built bound for Angola (De Kock 1953 :72-73).

“Just before they were ready to sail, the captain sent a party of men to retrieve two plates which a runaway slave had stolen and taken to a nearby tribe. The party went to the chief of the tribe, and when he could not retrieve the plates, they killed him” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19).

“We left Lisbon harbour for India on the 6th of March 1633, in a squadron of three ships, of which Antonio Saldanha was the chief captain … arriving safely in Goa on the 19th of August of the same year” (Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

“It left Goa bound for Lisbon on the 24th February, 1635 in company with another ship” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634, Notcutt 1924 :18-30). Lobo (1971) says they left Goa on February 23rd 1635.

“Durante os 7 meses que os naufragos se detiveram naquela praia, muito contribuiu a ação do missionário para o bom concerto daquela comunidade de mais de 270 pessoas, composta de tripulantes, passageiros, mulheres, crianças e escravos” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634). During the seven months the survivors stayed in that beach, the Father’s help was immense for the wellbeing of the community of more than 270 people, made up of crew members, passengers, women, children and slaves.

“Those who embarked with me, with the slaves, amounted to 135 souls, including 10 slave women who were shut up in the fore part of the vessel under the hatches, in a space which could hardly hold them. In the other vessel were two more than this” (Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68, Notcutt 1924 :18-30).

“Elegi lugar para minha morada em um pequeno monte … Tudo isto consegui com os escravos que havia ajudando me talvez algum grumete” (Peres 1938 :v 3 13-68). I chose a place as my home … All that I managed with the help of the slaves I had and maybe some seamen too.

The Belém remained 22 days wrecked near shore, allowing the wreckers to visit her every now and then before a surprising fire extinguished her” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634).

“A 16 de setembro mandou o capitão procurar os escravos negros que lhe tinham fugido. Apareceram 2 e em vez de os enforcar, deu-lhes de comer, tomando assim os outros ocasião de fugirem também” (Lobo 1971 :60,526-634). On September 16 the captain sent out a party to look for the runaway slaves. Two came back and instead of having them hanged, he gave them food, which encouraged other slaves to run away too.

For the full report of the wreck by Captain José de Cabreyra see Theal (1898-1903 :v8 :187-234).

Nossa Senhora dos Milagros

Nature

merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“was piled up upon the rocks at Cape Agulhas not far from Zoetendals Vlei” (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49).

“wrecked near Cape Agulhas” (Turner 1988 :80,174, Strangman 1936 :183-211, Cape Monthly 1857 :31-41, Anon 1834 : v5 1-28, Deperthes 1818 :89-141, Anon1812, Willcox 1984 :30, Böeseken 1977 :53, Lindredge 1846 :625-628).

“was wrecked between Cape Agulhas and False Bay” ( Theal 1964 :v 3 320-322, Moodie 1838 :412-413, Wilmot 1901 :49-50, Kennedy 1955 :91, Theal 1882 :269-270).

“wrecked in Struis Bay” (Turner 1988 :80,174).

“west of Cape Agulhas” (Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :801).

Date of wreck

“April 1686” (Böeseken 1977 :53).

“16 April 1686” (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49, Turner 1988 :80,174, Theal 1964 :v 3 320-322, Wilmot 1901 :49-50, Kennedy 1955 :91, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :801, Theal 1882 :269-270).

“27 April 1686” (Strangman 1936 :183-211, Cape Monthly 1857 :31-41, Caillot 1834 :123-159, Anon 1834 : v5 1-28, Deperthes 1818 :89-141, Dalyell 1812 :322-363, Lindridge 1846 :625-628).

Vessel’s characteristics

“30 guns” (nearly all sources say the same)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Commanded by Don Emmanuel da Silva (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49, Theal 1964 :v 3 320-322, Theal 1882 :269-270) also … Jesuit priests, three ambassadors from the King of Siam” (Turner 1988 :80,174)

“carrying 550 men … There was a large number of passengers to Lisbon; for besides ambassadors and their suite, and three Fathers, of different orders … there were also several Creoles, Indians, Portuguese and Mulattoes on board” (Cape Monthly 1857 :31-41).

“she had a crew of 150 men. There were also many passengers on board, consisting, besides the ambassadors and their retinue, of three monks …, a number of Creoles, Indians, Portuguese and Mestees, or people of colour” (Strangman 1936 :183-211, Lockhart 1928 :75-83).

Theal (1964 :v 3 320-322), Wilmot (1901 :49-50), Caillot (1834 :123-159), Theal (1882 :269-270), Anon (n d 3 :15-28), Anon (1834 :v 5 1-28), Deperthes (1818 :89-141) and Lindridge (1846 :625-628) say the same as above in different words.

“João Gomes Cardoso, chief pilot” (Dalyell 1812 :322-363).

Vessel’s cargo

“pepper and saltpetre” (Turner 1988 :80,174)

“and 30 or 40 bales of cinnamon each weighing 300 lbs, were found on deck” (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49).

“they had saved nothing whatever except diamonds to the value of £100 000” (Theal 1964 :v 3 320-322, Theal 1882 :269-270). Wilmot (1901 :49-50) says something similar.

“et les canons jetés à la mer, ainsi que les coffres” (Deperthes 1818 :89-141).

“was carrying a large amount of jewellery” (Turner 1988 :80,174).

“Valuable jewels were stolen from this wreck by a company servant, Olaf Bergh” (Rawe & Crabtree, 1978 :801).

“three ambassadors from … the King of Siam, who bore gifts to the King of Portugal, Louis of France and Charles II of England (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49).

Vessel’s administration

“Portuguese East- Indiaman” (Turner 1988 :80,174)

“A ship of the King of Portugal” (most sources)

Circumstances of wreck

“the captain and the pilot came to the conclusion that this land was the Cape of Good Hope… without verifying for themselves the statements of the sailors, … they pursued their way until two or three hours after sunset. Then, believing that they were beyond the land they had seen, they altered the course of the ship and bore somewhat to the north … They were convinced that the Cape had been rounded, the captain placed no-one on the look-out at the mast head … I (a passenger) suddenly perceived a dense shadow on the right hand and very close to us … And I immediately shouted to the pilot … The pilot gave orders to change the course, but we were so close to the shore that in putting about the stern struck three times against a rock and all way on the vessel was lost” (Strangman 1936 :183-211). All the other sources say the same thing in different words.

Observations

Strangman (1936 :183-211), Cape Monthly Magazine (1857 :31-41), Lockhart (1928 :75-83), Caillot (1834 :123-159), Anon (n d 3 :15-28) and Dalyell (1812 :322-363) were written by survivors or quote their words.

Nossa Senhora dos Milagros may not be considered a slaver, however reading various survivors’ descriptions of their attempt to reach Cape Town after the wreck, I am able to confirm that there were several Portuguese slaves on board.

The Milagros set sail from Goa on the 27th January 1686 bound for Lisbon. Bergh & Schrijver (1931 :41-49), Theal (1964 :v 3 320-322), Moodie (1838 :412-413), Strangman (1936 :183-211), Burman (1967 :20-24), Cape Monthly Magazine (1857 :31-41), Lockhart (1928 :75-83), Wilmot (1901 :49-50), SA Shipping (1982), Turner (1988 :80,174), Kennedy (1955 :91), Rawe & Crabtree (1978 :801), Caillot (1834 :123-159), Theal (1882 :269-270), Anon (n d 3 :15-28), Anon (1834 :v 5 1-28), Deperthes (1818 :89-141), Dalyell (1812 :322-363), Willcox (1984 :30). Böeseken (1977 :53) and Lindridge (1846 :625-628) all have the same departure date.

“the Captain had escaped from the wreck, he would not intrust his son’s preservation to other hands but his own. On the way he caused him to be carried by his slaves. At length all the slaves being dead, or so feeble that they could scarcely support themselves, the wretched captain resolved to attempt to carry his son” (Strangman 1936 :183-211, Anon n d 3 :15-28, Dalyell 1812 :322-363, Lindridge 1846 :625-628).

“Pendent le chemim, il le faisait porter par ses esclaves; mais à la fin tous ses esclaves étant morts ou si languissans qu’eux-mêmes ne pou-vaient se traîner, l’enfant devint si faible qu’étant obligé de s’arrêter pour se reposer, il lui fut impossible de se relever” (Anon 1834 :v 5 1-28).

“Mais enfin, tous ces esclaves étant ou morts, ou si languissans qu’ils ne pouvient se traîner eux-mêmes … (Deperthes 1818 :89-141).</ p>

“The best boxes (referring to rich contents on board) had been broken open with irons and crowbars by the slaves of the Portuguese” (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49).

“All the people having got ashore, we counted them and found about two hundred; therefore, not above seven or eight  had been drowned” (Dalyell 1812 :322-363, Lindridge 1846 :625-628). Burman (1967 :20-24) says  something similar. This is interesting, because it does not match the initial figures for the number of people on board the ship when they left Goa.

“Many lost their lives in trying to get to land after the ship struck, and those who succeeded in reaching the beach found themselves without food and half naked” (Theal 1882 “269-270).

“About 50 Portuguese died on the march” (Burman 1967 :20-24).

The survivors took about a month to reach the Cape.

“on May 28 a Dutch ship arrived at the Cape on its way back to Holland. In return for a passage aboard for the seven chief officers, the Portuguese renounced their right to the wreck.” The salvage was organised in a secret way by the local Dutchmen.

Some survivors returned to the wreck scene after a short while and … “They found on board a certain Portuguese slave named Anthony of Mossambique belonging to Father Joseph de la Gratia, General to the Augustine monks, who intrusted with the guarding of his master’s effects had remained upon the said ship for a period of three weeks.” The picture of this slave boy upon a lonely wreck excites sympathy, and it is satisfactory to know that a slave boy from a Portuguese wreck is mentioned as having arrived safely at the Castle (in Cape Town) some weeks later (Bergh & Schrijver 1931 :41-49).

“the captain, clergyman, two mates and 78 men, including the surgeon and his assistant, have arrived here” (present Cape Town) (Moodie 1838 :412-413).

“On the 8th of May ten of the seamen reached the castle (in Cape Town), where they were kindly received, … two days later Captain E da Silva, a number of officers, Roman Catholic priests, sailors and soldiers arrived. They had undergone such a terrible suffering from hunger and thirst that a large proportion of those who left the wreck had perished on the way to the Cape” (Theal 1964 vol 3 320-322, Theal 1882 :269-270).

“In this way, we lost 50 or 60 persons of all ages, ranks, and conditions, not including those who had perished previous to the separation”(Dalyell 1812 :322-363) (ie separation from the ambassadors and their retinue).

Pacquet Real

18 May 1818 (Green 1958 :70-81, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :464, Turner 1988 :154)

Rowvonia

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Brazilian (Turner 1988 :52,168)

Type

slaving bark

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

Simon’s Bay (Turner 1988 :52,168, Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,101,106, SA Shipping 1982)

Date of wreck

“January 1850” (SA Shipping 1982)

“13 January 1850” (Turner 1988 :52,168, Van de Sandt de Villiers 1851 :9,101,106, Kennedy 1955 :100, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :710)

Vessel’s characteristics

Vessel’s crew/passengers

Vessel’s cargo

slaves

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“which was wrecked in Simon’s Bay after her cables parted” (Turner 1988 :52,168, Kennedy 1955  :100)

“went ashore in the Bay” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :179)

Observations

“Rowvonia, a slave barque detained by HMS Pantaloon which was wrecked in Simon’s Bay after her cables parted” (Turner 1988 :52,168).

“No lives were lost” (Turner 1988 :52,168, Kennedy 1955 :100, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :710).

Santíssimo Sacramento

Nature

merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

galleon (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64)

Shipyard

 “Portuguese ship-building yards at Bessein, just north of Goa” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202, Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

“She was built by Rui Dias da Cunha” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

Date shipyard construction started

“Her keel was laid in 1636” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64)

Date of launch

“for fitting out in April 1640” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64)

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“lat. 34º S” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142, Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64,  Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79)

“Sardinie Bay” (lat. 34º 1’S) (Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202)

Date of wreck

“About 1 July 1647” (Kennedy 1955 :101, Turner 1988 : 30,49,51,103,105,107,188)

Vessel’s characteristics

“She was classified as a galleon (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64) and was designed to carry 80 cannon” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

“and fitted to carry 60 cannon, was one of the largest ships of her time … and had she survived her maiden voyage in 1647 …, might well have altered the naval fortunes of the Portuguese for the better” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

“newly completed and even bigger galleon, Sacramento” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

“According to Portuguese records Sacramento was to be an unusually well armed ship mounting 30 guns a side … It is tempting to accept from this that she had been built specially with the shipment of cannon in mind … According to Batavian marine records, however, the Dutch believed that the galleon was to be, not a 60 gun ship, but one of 80 guns” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64)

She was the flagship of a fleet of two ships. Johnson-Barker (1989 :19), Peres (1938 :v3 11-142), Allen (1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64), Mackeurtan (1930 :46-50), Duffy (1955 :129), Knox-Johnston (1989 :201-202), Axelson (1988 :47-48,74-79), Kennedy (1955 :101), SA Shipping (1982), Turner (1988 : 30,49,51,103,105,107,188) and Willcox (1984 :28) all agree on that.

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“a probable crew of over 400” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202)

“by the Commodore Luis de Miranda Henriques … under-pilot Marcos Peres Jacome … fathers from the Company of Jesus” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

Vessel’s cargo

“Chinese bronze and iron cannon … also carried a general cargo of spices and a valuable casket of diamonds for the king” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

“In addition to the normal cargo of spices, piece goods, silks and Chinese blue and white porcelain, both ships (the Atalaya and the Sacramento) carried part of a special consignment of bronze land cannon, a present to the King of Portugal … The Viceroy of India had earmarked the Sacramento and Atalaya to convey a special cargo of bronze and iron land cannon made by Manuel Tavares Bocarro as a present from the city of Macao to Dom João IV of Portugal”. All sources (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Peres 1938 :v3 11-142, Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64, Mackeurtan 1930 :46-50, Duffy 1955 :129, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202, Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79, Kennedy 1955 :101, SA Shipping 1982, Turner 1988 : 30,49,51,103,105,107,188 and Willcox 1984 :28) say the same as the above in different words.

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“Ao Domingo de Páscoa, 19 de Abril, mandou o almirante saldar o galeão Sacramento com 7 peças abrindo logo a nau quatro palmos de água, que os escravos e grumetes esgotavam duas vezes no dia” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142, Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64). On Easter Sunday, April 19, the Admiral (of the Atalaya) ordered the galleon Sacramento to be greeted with seven shots of his guns, which caused the galleon to take in 0.80 cm of water, which the slaves and junior sailors dried up twice a day. “… and the ship sprang a series of leaks along her waterline as a consequence” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

“On reaching the south east coast of Africa both ships ran into severe westerly headwinds. Because the vessels were heavily loaded and poorly maintained they were ill-fitted to ride out the storms and so the Sacramento went aground” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142, Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

“but whilst trying to tack close to land at night, she missed stays, and drifted into rocks where she was quickly dashed to pieces” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142,  Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202).

“The Sacramento was wrecked, and broke up immediately” (Mackeurtan 1930 :46-50).

“Then, on June 12, the storm broke which was to lead to the doom of both ships (the Atalaya and the Sacramento) … Her bow always turned to the shore and drifted towards it for two hours, in spite of the rudder and management of the sails, until rising on a great wave she struck from stem to stern and quickly went to pieces. The two galleries fell into the sea with the poop” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

Observations

“The galleon Santíssimo Sacramento departed from Goa on 20 February 1647, outward bound for Lisbon” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).</ p>

“On reaching St. Lucia the Atalaya survivors were joined by 11 seamen who had survived the wreck of the Sacramento, some 300 km further south, and had managed to catch up with the Atalaya company” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

The wreck was discovered in 1977 by a South African team.

“Dutch intelligence reported that the Sacramento was poorly furnished, had a list and leaked badly, and there were great doubts as to her general seaworthiness” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

“This was her maiden voyage” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64, Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79).

“72 people survived the wreck, remained for 11 days and then started the land journey north” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64, Duffy 1955 :129, Knox-Johnston 1989 :201-202, Kennedy 1955 :101).

“The survivors’ party reached what is today Moçambique island on 9 July” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,74-79) … after a journey of 800 miles” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

“Shortly after the party (the Atalaya’s party) crossed the Fish River they came upon five Portuguese and four coloured men, who were none other than the sole survivors of the flagship Sacramento” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142, Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64, Mackeurtan 1930 :46-50) … “e 2 escravos” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142) and two slaves.

“Ao terceiro dia da nossa chegada, … que eram 124 portugueses e 30 negros cativos …” (Peres 1938 :v3 11-142). On the third day after our arrival, … that added 124 Portuguese and 30 slaves.

“They arrived there (Lourenço Marques) 124 Portuguese and 3 negro slaves” (Kennedy 1955 :101).

“noted that the Inquisitor of India, Antonio de Faria Machado, who was returning home in the Sacramento, had died” (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

Adding up both parties, there were 30 negro slaves who survived both wrecks (Allen 1978b :7,16,17,24-29,32-39,45-50,58-59,64).

Santo Alberto

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“run aground about 16 km west of the mouth of the Umtata River” (Theal 1898-1903 :v1 37, v2 xxv-xxx,225-282, Mackeurtan 1930 :29-33, Gomes de Brito 1998 :373-424, Uys 1993 :5, Green 1962 :15).

“Penedo das Fontes, principio da Terra de Natal … 32º ½ ” (Penedo das Fontes at the beginning of the Land of Natal) ( SA Handbooks no 69 :1,14-15, Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58, Gomes de Brito 1998 :373-424, Lavanha 1597, Sousa 1695 :72).

“went ashore … near Penedo das Fontes, or the Island of St. Croix in Algoa Bay”(Theal 1896 :173-175).

“was wrecked on the Natal coast (Theal 1898-1903 :v1 37, v2 xxv-xxx,225-282) either at the mouth of the Bashee River or between the mouths of the Kei and the Bashee Rivers …” (Bulpin 1950 :34, Storrar1988 :40,51).

“South of the Bashee River at lat. 32 º 3 (Willcox 1984 :21-24).

“lat. 32 55’” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58).

Vessel’s characteristics

“a Nao” (Lavanha 1597)

“The great ship Santo Alberto” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58, Willcox 1984 :21-24)

“until the great galleon left behind it” (Bulpin 1950 :34)

Date of wreck

“24 March 1593, between 9 and 10 o’clock a m” (Bulpin 1950 :34, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 37, v2 xxv-xxx,225-282, Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58, Gomes de Brito 1998 :373-424, Kennedy 1955 :101, Turner 1988 :14,64,212).

“25 March 1593” (Willcox 1984 :21-24).

“27 March 1593” (Mackeurtan 1930 :29-33).

“24 March 1594” ( SA Handbooks no 69 :1,14-15, Theal 1896 :173-175).

“March 1593” (SA Shipping 1982).

Vessel’s crew/passengers:

“Captão Julião de Faria Cerveira, piloto Rodrigo Miguéis, (Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58, Willcox 1984 :21-24, Axelson 1973 :222-226) mestre João Martins … e muitos outros passageiros (and many other passengers) (Gomes de Brito 1998 :373-424, Lavanha 1597).

Crew and passengers totalling 347 persons made up of 153 Portuguese and 194 slaves.

With a number of important passengers, including several women, who were the wives or daughters of distinguished dignitaries serving India.

Vessel’s cargo

St. Alberto’s cargo is never mentioned as such.

The survivors made themselves shelters of “valuable carpets of Cambaya and Odiaz, of rich quilts, of gunjoens chests and mats from the Maldive islands, which had been laden in the ship for a very different purpose” (Mackeurtan 1930 :29-33)

.

“and as a last resort threw overboard all … the cargo and the fitments, until the great galleon left behind a wake of impedimenta and riches” (Bulpin 1950 :34).

“the pumps were clogged with pepper” (Lavanha 1597, Green 1962 :15, Storrar 1988 :40,51).

“One chest reached shore. It was filled with gold and silver pieces, and also crystal rosaries” (Green 1962 :15).

“They had salvaged precious fabrics and carpets with which they improvised tents” (Willcox 1984 :21-24).

“45 quintaes de cravo que trazia a Nao” (Lavanha 1597) 45 quintals of clover that the Nao was bringing. (Note: A quintal was an old unit for measurement, where one quintal was equivalent to four arrobas.)

Administration of vessel

“The Santo Alberto …, was apparently a large Portuguese East Indiaman” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58).

“Portuguese East- Indiaman” (Turner 1988 :14,64,213).

Circumstances of wreck

“The loss of the St Alberto in 1593 was caused by the familiar problem, a leaking ship” (Knox-Johnson 1989 :215-216).

“after springing a leak in mid-ocean ran aground about 16 km west of the mouth of the Umtata”  (Kennedy 1955 :101).

“The ship … sprang a leak and became water-logged, in which condition on March 24, 1594, she went ashore on the African coast …” (SA Handbooks no 69 :1,14-15, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 37, v2 xxv-xxx,225-282).

“They sprang a leak off Madagascar. They bailed and pumped and as a last resort threw overboard all their belongings” (Bulpin 1950 :34).

“She grounded near the Umtata River … and broke horizontally in two pieces the upper of which, with its living freight, drifted on to the beach” (Mackeurtan 1930 :29-33, Axelson 1988 :47-48,56-58).

“as the leak was mainly in the stern all heavy items should be thrown overboard or brought forward to the bow” (Uys 1993 :5).

All the sources which mention the reason for the wreck say the same thing in different words.

Observations

Gomes de Brito (1998) quotes survivors and Lavanha (1597) was written by a survivor of the wreck.

She left Cochin on 21 January 1593, sailing from Cochin to Lisbon.

A passenger, Nuno Velho Pereira, was the survivors’ captain on their march to Algoa Bay.

28 Portuguese and 34 slaves died as the Santo Alberto wrecked, leaving 285 survivors on shore.

“125 Portuguese, with 160 slaves, set out for Lourenço Marques, and 116 Portuguese, with 65 slaves, arrived, after a journey of just over three months. Most missing slaves deserted” (Mackeurtan 1930 :29-33).

“Among the slaves who accompanied the Europeans from India were many Africans, and one of them must have belonged to some tribe living on the Hottentot border, for he could make himself understood by Luspance, and he also spoke the language of the people of Mozambique. Another slave spoke the last-named language and also Portuguese, so that through two intermediary interpreters the Europeans could make their wants known to the Hottentot chief. And throughout one of the most remarkable journeys ever made in South Africa the slave party could always converse with the natives, a circumstance which tended greatly towards the safety of all” (SA Handbooks no 69 :1,14-15).

“e o mesmo lugar, ficou uma india velha, escrava do capitão, não podendo aturar o caminho” (Lavanha 1597). And in the same place, an Indian slave woman, who belonged to the captain, stayed behind, as she could no longer cope with the way ahead.

“e nesta instança ficaram 4 escravos dos nossos, 3 deles negros e 1 malabar” (Lavanha 1597) … and in this place four slaves of ours stayed behind, three black and one malabar.

“E porque os escravos de Nuno Velho Pereira vinham já muito cansados de trazerem D. Isabel e D. Luiza nas costas, rougou ele ao mestre que acabasse com alguns homens do mar que quisessem levar estas fidalgas” (Lavanha 1597). And as the slaves were tired of carrying the ladies Isabel and Luiza on their backs, the captain Nuno Velho Pereira requested the boatswain to get some sailors for that job.

“deixouo já Frei Pedro sem fala e no mesmo estado ficaram 2 escravos e uma escrava de D. Isabel” (Lavanha 1597). Father Pedro was left behind speechless, and in the same way stayed two male slaves and one female slave who belonged to the lady Isabel.

“Deste Vale (onde ficaram 4 escravos, 2 cafres, 1 Japão e 1 Lao) á que os nossos puseram nome da Misericordia” (Lavanha 1597). This valley (where 4 slaves, 2 Kaffirs, 1 Japanese and 1 Lao) is the one we have called Mercy Valley.

“and many of the 95 slaves who failed to arrive (at Delagoa Bay, present Algoa Bay) had deserted during the march to join the local tribes” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :215-216).

“They learned that a Portuguese ship was trading at Delagoa Bay, so Pereira sent some men ahead to ensure that it remained there” (Uys 1993 :5).

“The most remarkable of the Portuguese shipwrecks on the South African coast was that of the Saint Albert, a richly loaded vessel which sailed from Cochin on 21 January 1593” (Bulpin 1950 :34).

Theal (1898-1903 v2 :283-346) has a translation of Lavanha (1597).

São Bento

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver (SA Shipping 1982)

galleon (Axelson 1973 :207-210, Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“In one an account it says 31º 19.60S, 29º 59.00E” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“western side of the mouth of the Umtata River”(Kennedy 1955 :102).

“wrecked at the Bashee River mouth” (Bulpin 1950 :31-33, Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51, Uys 1993 :4).

“na foz do Rio Infante” (Axelson 1973 :207-210, Perestrelo 1939, Gomes de Brito 1998 :27-93) in the mouth of the Infante River, probably the present Great Fish River.

“was cast away at Aguada de São Bras” (present Mossel Bay) (Sousa 1695 :v2 170).

“The site has been located almost certainly as at the mouth of the Msikaba River on the Pondoland coast at lat. 31º 19’. This does not agree with the pilot’s determination as 32º 20’, but the description given by survivors fits this site very well” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214, Johnson-Barker 1989 :18, Willcox 1984 :17-18).

“was cast ashore at the Umtata River” (Theal 1964, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 150-153, v2 xii-xiii, Mackeurtan 1930 :20-24, SA Handbooks no 69 :1).

“lat. 31º 20’ ” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55).

Date of wreck

“21 April 1554” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214, Theal 1964, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 150-153, v2 xii-xiii)

“22 April 1554” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55, Axelson 1973 :207-210, Perestrelo 1939)

“24 April 1554” (Uys 1993 :4)

Vessel’s characteristics

“Her armament consisted mainly of bronze breech-loading swivel-guns, although a few large bronze muzzle-loaders were also found” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“The São Bento cannon were mostly naval types” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“She was one of the largest vessels of her time” (Theal 1964, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 150-153, v2 xii-xiii).

“the galleon struck” (Axelson 1973 :207-210, Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51).

“the largest ship of the Portuguese fleet” (Uys 1993 :4).

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Her Captain was Fernão d’Alvares Cabral.” All sources which mention the captain’s name agree with the above.

Boatswain, Francisco Pires” (Axelson 1973 :207-210).

“475 passengers on board” (Bulpin 1950 :31-33, Axelson 1973 :207-210, Perestrelo 1939, Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51).

“she carried more than 467 persons, 142 were Portuguese and the rest, slaves” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“Of over six hundred souls that sailed in the São João” (De Kock 1953 :76-78).

Vessel’s cargo

“On the wreck site …, a bronze gun was found that measured 3m and was probably being carried as cargo” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“The only cargo that has been discovered on site … broken shards of Chinese porcelain …, and some gold rings and Indian gold earrings or ‘jhumkas’. Large numbers of cornelian trade beads were also discovered … and would probably have constituted a major cargo item” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“and a vast store of precious cargo” (Bulpin 1950 :31-33).

“abarrotada de mercadorias orientais, de mantimentos e de água” (Perestrelo 1939) … overloaded with oriental goods, food and water.

“trazia no convés 72 caixas de marca e 5 pipas de água a cavalete“ (Gomes de Brito 1998 :27-93) she carried on deck 72 wooden crates and 5 water barrels.

“From a survivor’s account we also know that the vessel carried pepper, coconuts, silk, cotton bales and various spices” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

Vessel’s administration

“A typical Portuguese East-Indiaman” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

She was one of a fleet of five ships sent by King John III from Portugal to India in 1553.

Circumstances of wreck

“She too, had ignored the warnings of experienced mariners and sailed from Goa too late in the season” (Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51).

“Having split immediately on impact with the bottom near the beach, the hull drifted level with the water, the upper parts were washed ashore separately and the mainmast had to be felled. The waves drove us ashore while on all sides there arose a loud confusion” (Storrar 1988 :viii,50-51).

“A violent tempest overtook her in the middle of her course, near the Cape of Good Hope; a gale of wind drove her ashore, and destroyed her on the desert coast of Natal” (Duncan 1804 :333-334).

“Approaching the South African coast she encountered heavy seas and sustained much damage. Her pilot steered for the nearest land … The galleon struck on an islet considered … The main mast, felled, almost touched the islet, but many of those who tried to swarm along it, … lost their lives. The upper decks were ripped off the hull; they parted amidships, and each section floated ashore” (Axelson 1973 :207-210).

Observations

“she sailed from Cochin on 1 Feb 1554” (Theal 1964, Theal 1898-1903 :v1 150-153, v2 xii-xiii, Mackeurtan 1930 :20-24, Axelson 1973 :207-210, Perestrelo 1939, Gomes de Brito 1998 :27-93).

“The party started their march on 27 April 1554” (Colvin 1912 :72-109, Bulpin 1950 :31-33, Willcox 1984 :17-18, Axelson 1973 :207-210, Perestrelo 1939).

“with 98 Portuguese and 224 slaves” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :18).

“One of the oldest wrecks yet salvaged on the South African coast, and one of the most important culturally, is that of the São Bento” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

“the captain Fernão d’Alvares Cabral was drowned in crossing a river on the 2nd of June” (Colvin 1912 :72-109).

“A raft bearing the captain, Alvares Cabral, capsized and he was drowned” (Axelson 1973 :207-210).

“the party led by Alvares Cabral …, 98 Portuguese and 224 slaves – a total of 322 survivors” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55).

“that no more than 56 Portuguese and six slaves reached their destination (Axelson 1988 47-48,53-55) … and by the time a small vessel called four months later, only 20 Portuguese and four slaves were still alive” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :18, Willcox 1984 :17-18).

“It is not known how many died on route, or how many decided to call it a day and take their chances in the wilds, but it is obvious from the figures that many slaves either could not, or would not, go through with the journey” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55).</ p>

“It is probable, though, that many of the slaves preferred to remain behind, to take their chance of freedom among the tribes they encountered” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :18).

“With sad hearts the survivors left a campsite occupied by a young ship’s boy and a female slave, both with broken legs and unable to travel” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55).

“Two Portuguese and 30 slaves deserted them at this point, which from the description was probably the Umzimkulu River, where Port Shepstone now stands” (Mackeurtan 1930 :20-24).

“A 2 de Abril de 1555 desembarcaram em Moçambique 25, das 473 pessoas com que a nau S. Bento largara de Cochin em 1/02/1554, todas as outras haviam morrido” (Perestrelo 1939). On 2 April 1555, 25 people, out of the 473 with whom the nao S. Bento had left Cochin on 1 February 1554, disembarked in Mozambique. All the others had died.

Going through the sources, the final number of survivors varies slightly, between 22 and 26.

“The drowned totalled nearly 150, … 44 Portuguese and just over 100 slaves” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,53-55).

“By the mid-1970’s the (salvage) team had removed 18 fine bronze cannons from the site … four bronze cannons were left on the sea-bed to mark the wreck site’s outer limits” (Turner 1988 :30,49,51-52,105,107,214).

São Gonçalo

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

carrack (Knox- Johnston 1989 :194)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Plettenberg Bay” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111, Knox-Johnston 1989 :194, Uys 1993 :6, Kennedy 1955, Axelson 1988, Turner 1988 :80,183, SA Shipping 1982)

Date of wreck

“June 1630” (Kennedy 1955, SA Shipping 1982)

“in the middle of June 1630” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111, Axelson 1988)

“July 1630” (Turner 1988 :80,183)

Vessel’s characteristics

“the carrack São Gonçalo” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :194)

“the great São Gonçalo” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Captain Fernando Lopes de Meneses” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Axelson 1988).

“but appeared to carry a total complement of only 230 passengers and crew” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111, Axelson 1988).

“Simão Ferreira Paes’ (an official in the Casa da India) report of the actual end of the São Gonçalo makes it clear, however, that the total number on board was far in excess of 130. He states specifically: ‘… she went to the bottom, in which wreck there died, drowned, close to 400 persons, both whites and blacks.’ … Taking into account the size of the ship, and the Portuguese practise of bringing back to their homeland hundreds of slaves (some from India, some from African ports), the record of the official in Lisbon at the time these events took place must be accepted” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111).

“It is unlikely that the truth will ever be known but this author any rate, believes that it is probable that 270 slaves were drowned in Plettenberg Bay, whatever their colour” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111).

Vessel’s cargo

Pepper. All sources (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111, Knox-Johnston 1989 :194, Uys 1993 :6, Kennedy 1955, Axelson 1988, Willcox 1984 :26-27, Turner 1988 :80,183, SA Shipping 1982) agree on that.

Vessel’s administration

“Carreira da India … Portuguese East Indiaman” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111)

“Portuguese East Indiamen … she was described as a large ship” (Axelson 1988)

Circumstances of wreck

“she started to leak severely as she approached the coast on her way home. Cargo was jettisoned to keep the ship afloat and she managed to anchor at Plettenberg Bay. Efforts to pump the hold dry failed because the pumps had become clogged with pepper, and three men were asphyxiated attempting to clear the blockage” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Knox-Johnston 1989 :194, Kennedy 1955, Axelson 1988, Willcox 1984 :26-27, Turner 1988 :80,183, SA Shipping 1982).

“The pumps were found to be clogged with pepper and before they could be cleared a storm blew up and wrecked the ship near Robberg” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Uys 1993 :6, Axelson 1988, Willcox 1984 :26-27).

Observations

“Plettenberg Bay was first called “Baia Formosa” (Uys 1993 :6, Willcox 1984 :26-27).

“She sailed from Goa bound for Lisbon on 4 March 1630” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111).

“When she left Lisbon, bound for India, her captain was Antonio Pinheiro de Sampaio who died later in Goa and Martins Teixeira de Asevedo was substituted. His fate is not known, but he in turn was replaced by an elderly man in ill-health, Fernao Lobo de Menezes” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111).

“When the São Gonçalo left Goa, she was accompanied by two other vessels, one as yet unnamed, and the other the Bom Despacho, also a carrack” (Storrar 1988 :viii,18-45,111).

“The survivors remained on the wreck site for about eight months” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Kennedy 1955).

“The survivors decided to build two small boats from the wreckage, and from the woods of the surrounding forests … These two boats were launched successfully after eight months. One headed for the town of Moçambique, which was reached safely. The other sailed boldly westwards for Portugal and, after a few days was picked up by a homeward bound ship” (Johnson-Barker 1989 :19, Knox- Johnston 1989 :194, Axelson 1988, Willcox 1984 :26-27).

“One boat set out for Moçambique and arrived safely; the other made for Angola, was picked up by a homeward bound ship, but she sank before reaching home and these survivors of the São Gonçalo were drowned” (Kennedy 1955).

It is said that the chapel and huts built by these survivors were the first European buildings in South Africa.

“Of all Portuguese castaways in south east Africa, those from the São Gonçalo were the most successful” (Uys 1993 :6).

São João

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver

galleon (Wells 1939 :318, Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20)

Shipyard

 “Construído em Lisboa, às portas do Mar … Dirigiu a obra o armador João Galego, empregando 230 operários” (Jornal da historia 24 August 1534). Built in Lisbon, by the sea … The shipbuilding was supervised by the ship owner João Galego, who used 230 men to build it.

Date shipyard construction started

“a quilha foi posta no estaleiro a 29/8/1533” (Jornal da historia 24 August 1534). The keel was laid at the shipyard on 29 August 1533.

Date of launch

24 August 1534 (Jornal da historia 24 August 1534)

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“lat. 31º 03’” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52, Uys 1993 :1-3)

“between Cape Correntes and the Cape of Good Hope” (Strangman 1936 :39-40)

“north of present Port Edward” (lat. 31º 1’ S) (Turner 1988 :35-36,52,216)

“off the Umzimvubu River” (lat. 31º 36’ S) (SA Handbooks no 69 :1,8-12)

“the settlement at the mouth of this river is today called “Port St. Johns, after this unhappy galleon” (Wells 1939 :318, Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20)

Date of wreck

“The survivors remained on the wreck site for 12 days … The survivors set out on the 7th July 1552” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52, De Kock 1953 :74-76, Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20). Therefore, they were probably wrecked on 25 June 1552.

“Enfin, le 24 Juin, le vent du midi fit échouer le batiment. Aussitôt, ou jette lancre a une petite distance du rivage, et l’n descend les chaloupes a la mer” (Caillot 1834 :17-22)

“as long ago as 18 June 1552”(Wells 1939 :318)

“São João came to grief on June 11 1552” (Turner 1988 :52)

Vessel’s characteristics

“Apesar de ser o maior navio da Carreira da India“ (Johnson-Barker 1989 :18-19, Chagas 1877 :120-124) despite being the biggest vessel in the Carreira da India.

“the great galleon San João” (Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20, Willcox 1984 :14-17).

“she must have been one of the largest vessels in the Carreira da India at that time” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52).

“The ship was a galleon, very big and long” (Storrar 1988 :47-48, Hamilton 1951 :75-92).

“O maior navio da Europa é construído em Portugal … É composto de 5 baterias com 366 bocas de fogo em bronze” (Jornal da historia 24/08/1534). The biggest ship in Europe is built in Portugal. It has five batteries with 366 bronze canons.

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“The vessel had about 220 Portuguese and nearly 400 slaves on board” (Theal 1898-1903 :v1 108-115, v2 vii-xiii, Sacra 1803, Kennedy 1955, Johnson-Barker 1989 :18-19, Anon 1813 :185-192, Deperthes 1818 :45-56, Hamilton 1951 :75-92, Caillot 1834 :17-22).</ p>

“Captain, Don Manuel de Sousa (de) Sepulveda, with his wife and sons.”

“piloto André Vaz” (Gomes de Brito 1998 :5-23, Uys :1-3).

“boatswain Alvaro Fernandes” (Hamilton 1951 :75-92).

“She had nearly 500 souls on board, exclusive of her crew” (Theal 1896 :166-171).

“the whole of her crew and passengers amounting to about six hundred” (Uys :1-3).

“Master, Christovão Fernandes da Cunha” (Turner 1988 :35-36,52,216).

All sources agree on that.

Vessel’s cargo

“The cargo was worth a million in gold, for so richly laden a ship had not left India since it was discovered” (Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20).

“Disturbances in the pepper growing district on the Malabar coast not only delayed the all important date of departure, but allowed only half the normal cargo of pepper to be loaded. However, the balance of the space available on board the ship was taken up with general merchandise such as cotton piece goods, carpets, Chinese blue and white porcelain, cornelian beads and precious stones … It is said the merchandise in this ship, belonging to the King and others, was worth a million in gold, for a vessel so richly laden had not left India since it was discovered” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52).

“However, his galleon was laden with other valuable merchandise, for instance cloth, Chinese porcelain and slaves” (Theal 1898-1903 :v2 vii-xiii, Sacra 1803, Turner 1988 :35-36,52,216, Deperthes 1818 :45-56, Theal 1896 :166-171).

“Esta nau, cuja carga excedia o valor de 1 milhão …” (Chagas 1890 :120-124, Gomes de Brito 1998 :5-23). This nau, whose cargo exceeded the amount of 1 million.

“carrying about 7 500 lbs of pepper and a large heavy cargo of gold, silver and cloth” (Axelson 1973 :202-211, Hamilton 1951 :75-92).</ p>

Vessel’s administration

“Portuguese East Indiamen” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52)

Circumstances of wreck

“The galleon São João was battered in a storm in the Indian Ocean … and was driven onto the east coast of Africa” (Kennedy 1955).

“mais alors de vent du nord excita la plus épouvantable tempête que l’on eût encore éprouvée dans ces passages. Le pilote et les matelots, reconnaissant l’impossibilité de doubler le cap, prirent le parti de faire voile vers l’Inde …; bientôt l’eau y entra de toutes parts par les jointures … Enfin, le 24 Juin, le vent du midi fit échouer le bátiment” (Caillot 1834 :17-22).

“By 12 May the estimated position was 25 leagues (80 miles) south west of the Cape (Agulhas) when they encountered a very strong westerly wind … They were in a perilous state, having lost their rudder, masts, and most of their sails, and the vessel was leaking badly … They lost control of their ship and the captain decided to head for the shore and anchor when they reached a depth of 10 fathoms” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52).

Observations

“ There is a theory that the present city Port St. Johns (lat. 31º 37’ S), was named after the São João as it was believed it wrecked there” (Wells 1939 :318, Mackeurtan 1930 :16-20, Willcox  1984 :14-17, Knox-Johnston 1989 :216-219).

“The Captain, descended from one of the most ancient and distinguished families of Portugal, obtained great reputation in the Indies by his courage and talents” (Uys 1993 :1-3).

“She sailed late from Cochin, to Lisbon on February 3 1552” (Theal 1898-1903 :v1 108-115, v2 vii-xiii, Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52, De Kock 1953 :74-76, Mackeurtan 1930 :74-76, Turner 1988 :35-36,52,216, Chagas 1890 :120-124, Axelson 1973 :202-211, Gomes de Brito 1998 :5-23, Hamilton 1951 :75-92, Uys 1993 :1-3).

“The survivors were about 500, of whom 180 were slaves and 320 were Portuguese” (Axelson (1988 :47-48,50-52), De Kock (1953 :74-76), Mackeurtan (1930 :74-76), Kennedy (1955), Willcox (1984 :14-17), Sousa (vol 2 1695 :159-162), Storrar (1988 :47-48), Hamilton (1951 :75-92), Knox-Johnston (1989 :216-219), Uys (1993 :1-3) all say the same thing in different words.)</ p>

“Very few, however, were so fortunate as to arrive without accident, and by this disaster three hundred men, Portuguese and foreigners lost their lives” (Uys 1993 :1-3).

“from the shore where they were wrecked they set out northward on 7 July 1552, 12 days after wrecking” (Bulpin 1950 :29-31, Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52, De Kock 1953 :74-76, Mackeurtan 1930 :74-76, Colvin 1912 :53-56, Turner 1988 :35-36,52,216, Storrar 1988 :47-48, Hamilton 1951 :75-92, Uys 1993 :1-3).

“The goods were thrown overboard to lighten the vessel, but this measure did not lessen the danger” (Anon 1813 :185-192,  Uys 1993 :1-3).

“Out of these 500, only eight Portuguese and 14 slaves survived to be rescued by a Portuguese vessel. They reached Mozambique” (the island) (Johnson-Barker 1989 :18-19, Willcox 1984 :14-17, Hamilton 1951 :75-92, Knox-Johnston 1989 :216-219, Uys 1993 :1-3, Caillot 1834 :17-22) on May 25 1553 (Axelson 1988 :47-48,50-52, Colvin 1912 :53-56, Chagas 1890 :120-124, Storrar 1988 :47-48).

Uys (1993 :1-3) says the same thing but gives different figures. He says that 26 people were rescued by the Portuguese merchant.

“the captain’s wife in a litter carried by slaves (Mackeurtan 1930 :74-76, Anon 1834 :1-14, Axelson 1973 :202-211, Hamilton 1951 :75-92) … Leonora’s 11 year old son, who was carried on a slave’s shoulders, was lost when they fell behind (Uys 1993 :1-3) … The poor little boy and the slave who was carrying him were never seen again” (Hamilton 1951 :75-92).

“After sitting and staring at them for half an hour he allowed the slaves to assist him in burying them (his wife and sons)” (Uys 1993 :1-3).

“On se met en chemin. Trois troupes composaient cette espècie de caravane: dans la première, marchaient Sousa, sa femme … Pantaleon Sa, beau-frère de Sousa, fermait la marche avec quelques Portugais et des esclaves” (Colvin 1912 :53-56, Anon 1834 :1-14, Anon 1813 :185-192, Axelson 1973 :202-211, Hamilton 1951 :75-92, Duncan 1804 :325-334, Caillot 1834 :17-22).

“Three of his (the captain’s) slaves got to India, who gave this relation” (Sousa 1695 :v2 159-162).

After the captain’s family death, he went into the bushes and was never again seen. He was mentally no longer in good shape. </ p>

“Of the 500 people who had survived the wreck, only 120 remained … were on foot, for litters and slaves to carry them, were things of the past” (Hamilton 1951 :75-92).

Theal (1898-1903 :v1 128-149) is a translation of “Relacào do naufragio do galeào grande S.Joào na terra do Natal no anno 1552″.

São João Baptista

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver

carrack (Ortzen 1974 :17-30)

Shipyard

“The São João Baptista … and the Bom Jesus …, were two fine examples of the best work of Diogo Luis, a Portuguese ship-builder working at Goa with Indian teak” (Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53, Ortzen 1974 :17-30, Knox-Johnston 1989 :54-55,207, Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63).

Date shipyard construction started

“having been built in the dockyard at Goa … the year before departure in 1622” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30). Therefore, she was built in 1621.</ p>

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“off the coast between the Fish and the Kei Rivers” (Kennedy 1955 :106, SA Shipping 1982, Turner 1988 :63,202). Please note that the latitude for the Fish River mouth is 33º 30’ S and for the Kei it is 32º 30’ S.

“though it was stated to have been in lat. 33º S” (Theal 1964 :v4 133-140)

“Actual lat. 33 1/3” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63, Willcox 1984 :25)

“off Cannon Rocks (lat. 33º 45’ S), halfway between the Bushman’s River mouth and Boknes (lat. 33º 44’ S)” (Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53).

“near the Great Fish”(Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42)

“33º” (D’Almada 1625 :2-42, Peres 1938 :v2 11-90)

Date of wreck

“29 September 1622” (D’Almada 1625 :2-42, Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42)

“30 September 1622” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30, Knox-Johnston 1989 :54-55,207, Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63, Turner 1988 :63,202, Willcox 1984 :25)

Vessel’s characteristics

“When the 600-ton carrack São João Baptista” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“trazendo só 18 peças de artilharia de mui pequena bala” (D’Almada 1625 :2-42, Peres 1938 :v2 11-90, Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53, Ortzen 1974 :17-30, Knox-Johnston 1989 :54-55,207, Axelson 1988 :47-48, 61-63, Turner 1988 :63,202) bringing only 18 pieces of artillery of a very small calibre.

“Portuguese carrack” (Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53, Ortzen 1974 :17-30, Uys 1993 :6).

“suggest that she might have been an average nao or carrack of that period, possibly a little over 400 tons” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63).

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Captain Pedro de Moraes (Ortzen 1974 :17-30, Uys 1993 :6, Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63, Duffy 1955 :128).

“a boatswain, … 297 souls” (D’Almada 1625 :2-42, Peres 1938 :v2 11-90, Knox-Johnston 1989 :54-55,207, Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42).

“Captain Pedro de Moraes Sarmento” (D’Almada 1625 :2-42, Peres 1938 :v2 11-90, Turner 1988 :63,202).

“the chief pilot, Domingos Fernandes” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“and had a crew of some 150 seamen … There were about the same number of passengers, including women and children, some priests, soldiers and Indian slaves” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“and carried 350 passengers and crew” (Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63).

Vessel’s cargo

“trade goods” (Kennedy 1955 :106).

“large quantity of private cargo stowed on deck” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :54-55,207).

“But the holds were crammed to capacity with spices, saltpetre, silks, cotton piece-goods, carpets and hardwoods; and the decks were piled high with packages and crates and the liberty-chests of the crew … she was certainly overloaded” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“with bales of cloth they were carrying” (Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53).

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“After a fight with two Dutch ships the Portuguese ship S. J. Baptista was disabled and anchored off the coast …” (Kennedy 1955 :106).

“left for Lisbon with defective armament, with pumps much too small, and with a rotten rudder  … When about 20 days out, it was found that she had several feet of water in the hold, and as only one pump would work she could not be got dry again, though the quantity was reduced by baling  … on the 19th of July, two Dutch ships were encountered, and a running fight commenced, which was kept up at intervals during 19 days. At the end of that time, the São João Baptista was waterlogged, with her mainmast and bowsprit shattered and her rudder gone” (Theal 1964 :v4 133-140).

All the sources that mention the cause of the wreck agree with the above.

Observations

“She left Goa bound for Lisbon on 1 March 1622. All sources agree on that, except for Mackeurtan (1930 :36-42) who says 16 January 1622.

“she left in the company of another Portuguese ship, the Nossa Senhora do Paraiso”

“The castaways stayed in their camp for 5 weeks” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“The two Dutch ships …, The Mauritius lost 242 out of 317 men and the Rotterdam 277 out of 351” (Storrar 1988 :viii,26-27,34-35,53).

“18 souls were lost on landing” ( Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42).

“Several women and girls of high estate … were carried in litters by slaves, as were the severely wounded men … Altogether about a dozen Portuguese were left behind; … And the captain ordered half a dozen of the Indian slaves to remain with them … Captain de Moraes had two slaves hanged for stealing a little meat from the common stock (Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42, Willcox 1984 :25), and they did not remain on the gallows until morning but were secretly eaten by slaves …The party, now no more than 70 in number, the rest of the slaves having deserted, made camp opposite the island of Inhaca”  (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“The captain died along their march and D’Almada was elected the new leader” (Ortzen 1974 :17-30).

“Snow had fallen during the battle causing the death of a number of slaves who, as was customary at that time, had to sleep in any nook and cranny they could find on the exposed decks” (Knox-Johnston 1989 :36-42,207, Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63, Turner 1988 :63,202).

“The party arrived at its destination on 6 April 1623 … Of the 279 who set out, about 30 reached their destination” (Uys 1993 :6, Axelson 1988 :47-48,61-63, Mackeurtan 1930 :36-42, Theal 1964 :v4 133-140).

São José

Nature

Merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

slaver (SA Shipping 1982)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Camp’s Bay” All sources (Turner 1988 :52,164, Theal 1964 :v 3 260-261, SA Handbooks No 69 :5,365, Green 1946 :32, South Africa 1909, Kennedy 1955 :106, SA Shipping 1982, Rawe & Crabtree 1978 :600) agree on that.

Date of wreck

“27 December 1794” All sources (see list above) agree on that.

Vessel’s characteristics

Vessel’s crew/passengers

Vessel’s cargo

“nearly 500 slaves from Mozambique” All sources (see list above) agree on that.

Vessel’s administration

Circumstances of wreck

“went ashore in Camp’s Bay.” All sources (see list above) agree on that.

Observations

“200 slaves were drowned.” All sources (see list above) agree on that.

“San Jose struck and foundered, with 500 wretched slaves under hatches. The fortunate among these had their chains struck off in time, but 200 perished” (Green 1946 :32).

São Thomé

Nature

merchant

Nationality

Portuguese

Type

“slaver?” (SA Shipping 1982)

Shipyard

Date shipyard construction started

Date of launch

Region of wreck

South Africa

Wreck site

“Tongaland” (Kennedy 1955 :107, Green 1962 :15, Theal 1896 :171-173, SA Shipping 1982) “lat. 27º 20’ S” (Sousa 1695 :v3 56-58)

Date of wreck

“March 1589” (Kennedy 1955 :107, Axelson 1988, SA Shipping 1982)

Vessel’s characteristics

“a carrack” (Willcox 1984 :18)

Vessel’s crew/passengers

“Captain Paulo de Lima with his wife” (Theal 1896 :171-173)

“Captain Estevão da Veiga” (Gomes de Brito 1998 :341-372, Axelson 1988, Sousa 1695 :v3 56-58, Axelson 1973 :219-224)

“the pilot, Gaspar Gonçalves” (Axelson 1973 :219-224)

“the pilot Gaspar Ferreira Reimão” (Axelson 1988)

Vessel’s cargo

“with riches and merchandise almost beyond computation”(Green 1962 :15)

“heavily laden” (Willcox 1984 :18)

Vessel’s administration

“Portuguese East Indiaman” (Axelson 1988)

Circumstances of wreck

“and so they pressed on sail, even in a heavy sea which was encountered off the coast of Natal. The result was that the ship sprang a leak, and was seen to be going down.” (Theal 1896 :171-173, Sousa 1695 :v3 56-58).

“Because of defective caulking the vessel began to ship water faster than the pumps – clogged with pepper from the holds – could clear it, and the ship began slowly to sink” (Willcox 1984 :18).

Observations

“She had left Cochin bound for Portugal in January 1589” (Gomes de Brito 1998 :341-372, Axelson 1988, Theal 1896 :171-173, Theal 1898, Axelson 1973 :219-224).</ p>

“As the longboat was over-crowded, almost level with the water, so a number of men (12 men according to Kennedy (1955 :107) and six according to Axelson (1988) and Theal (1898) were thrown out to lighten her” (Theal 1896 :171-173, Theal 1898, Sousa 1695 :v3 56-58, Willcox 1984 :18).

“E com estes homens lançaram também no mar alguns escravos, que todos logo foram submergidos naquelas ondas crueis” (Gomes de Brito 1998 :341-372, Theal 1896 :171-173). And with these men they also threw some slaves into the sea, who were all quickly swallowed by the cruel waves.

“but the ship’s officers were concerned only to save their own lives and commandeered the ship’s only longboats for themselves, taking also the gentry, some of the crew and a few slaves, and leaving the rest, including many women slaves, to their fate” (Willcox 1984 :18).

“The boat with 98 persons reached shore” (Axelson 1988, Axelson 1973 :219-224, Willcox 1984 :18) and they reached a beach, probably near St Lucia on March 20 (Axelson 1973 :219-224).

“Most of them (60 survivors according to Kennedy (1955 :107)) went from Delagoa Bay overland to Sofala, but some (36 people according to Kennedy (1955 :107)) … remained nearly a year at the chief’s kraal, waiting for the coming of the trading vessel from Mozambique” (Theal 1896 :171-173).

“Descoberto o dia trataram de irem algumas pessoas `a Nao a tomar espingardas, e mantimentos, ao que se lançaram a nado 3 ou 4 marinheiros,  que em subindo acima acharam já a coberta da nao cheia de agua … e todavia tinham no chapiteo da popa um fermoso retabolo de Nossa Senhora, ao redor do qual estavam todas as escravas descabeladas em um piedoso pranto …” (Gomes de Brito 1998 :341-372, Theal 1898). As soon as the sun was up, some three or four sailors went to the Nao in order to get some guns and food. As they reached the vessel, they realised the deck was already taken by water … and they had an image of Our Lady in the stern … where all the female slaves gathered around it in a pitiful crying …

“E, enchendo as borrachas de água, começaram a caminhar aos vinte e três de Março” (Lanciani n d :138-139) And topping up the pots with water, they started their march on March 23.

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