The Short Tale of Captain Tomba’s Mutiny

0 Posted by - January 24, 2023 - BLACK MEN, SLAVERY

Tomba—known in some accounts as “Captain Tomba” was a chief in the River Nunes area of Sierra Leone. He was known to oppose the slave trade and was what you’d call defiant or “a problem.”


Prior to being captured, Tomba attacks on villages participating in slave trade made him a threat. This also made him a target since he was disrupting business in the area. In being captured by Captain Harding of the Robert Tomba killed two pursuers. It’s unknown if Harding had assistance from rival villages.

Once in captivity at the Bance Island slave factory, he remained defiant and refused to submit to the inspection. He was beaten by factory leader John Leadstine several times during his stay at Bance.


The specifics of Captain Tomba’s life in captivity since it was only documented in passing. Considering he attempted to escape and continued to give his captors problems it wasn’t the easiest of existences. A plot to escape while on a ship saw him stir only a few captives into joining him.

Now depending on if this was to be a full blown mutiny or a stealthy escape under the cover of night, the best option probably would’ve been to wait and try to gather more support. Given the nature of the slave trade, the window of opportunity was constantly small and moved often.

At any rate, Tomba made his move with a man and a woman. While they killed several of Harding’s crew, they were eventually subdued. To strike fear in the other slaves and quell any other ideas of escaping, he killed Tomba’s conspirators.

In the end, Tomba is sold into slavery in Jamaica. Again given the scale of the event a specific date, what his name was possibly changed to, and Tomba’s life in Jamaica are all a mystery.


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