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The Black Joke

In 1807 the British government passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, which outlawed the slave trade. Soon after, the West African Squadron was established. The creation of this squadron marked the beginning of a noble and heroic chapter in history which has been all but forgotten by everyone.For over fifty years, the role of the ships that comprised the squadron was to disrupt the slave trade by intercepting slave ships headed to the Americas, stopping them from delivering their cargo and returning the freed slaves to Africa.Of all the ships in the squadron, there was one that excelled in her mission—The Black Joke.The Black Joke relentlessly sailed into the teeth of overwhelming odds, commandeered more ships, and rescued more slaves than nearly all other ships combined in the five year span that she patrolled the waters off West Africa.This is her story.

--Vicente Chao Oliva

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