Ship of Death: A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World

Ship of Death: A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World

by Billy G. Smith
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press
Select a Purchase Option (New Edition)
  • purchase options
    $33.54 $35.00 Save 4% Current price is $33.54, Original price is $35. You Save 4%.
  • purchase options
    $19.43 $35.00 Save 44% Current price is $19.43, Original price is $35. You Save 44%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.
  • purchase options


Ship of Death: A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World

It is no exaggeration to say that the Hankey, a small British ship that circled the Atlantic in 1792 and 1793, transformed the history of the Atlantic world. This extraordinary book uncovers the long-forgotten story of the Hankey, from its altruistic beginnings to its disastrous end, and describes the ship’s fateful impact upon people from West Africa to Philadelphia, Haiti to London.

Billy G. Smith chased the story of the Hankey from archive to archive across several continents, and he now brings back to light a saga that continues to haunt the modern world. It began with a group of high-minded British colonists who planned to establish a colony free of slavery in West Africa. With the colony failing, the ship set sail for the Caribbean and then North America, carrying, as it turned out, mosquitoes infected with yellow fever. The resulting pandemic as the Hankey traveled from one port to the next was catastrophic. In the United States, tens of thousands died in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Charleston. The few survivors on the Hankey eventually limped back to London, hopes dashed and numbers decimated. Smith links the voyage and its deadly cargo to some of the most significant events of the era—the success of the Haitian slave revolution, Napoleon’s decision to sell the Louisiana Territory, a change in the geopolitical situation of the new United States—and spins a riveting tale of unintended consequences and the legacy of slavery that will not die.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300194524
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/30/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 The Hankey 1

Chapter 2 The British Colonists 28

Chapter 3 West Africa 62

Chapter 4 Cross-Cultural Negotiations 75

Chapter 5 Death in Bolama 98

Chapter 6 Grumettas and the Final Days of the "Canabacs' Chickens" 124

Chapter 7 Yellow Jack Comes to the Caribbean 157

Chapter 8 Calamity in the United States Capital 187

Chapter 9 Journal of the Plague Months 206

Epilogue: The Living and the Dead 242

The Legacy of the Hankey 254

Notes 257

Glossary of People and Places of West Africa 289

Index 295

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews