Black Birding and the Reverse Underground Railroad

I have reached the huge goal of 50 followers on the Man of TIN blog, so thanks to all who read my blog(s). You are all very welcome here.

I try not to pay much attention to the blogstats but I noticed a 51st follower, Pat G and I usually check out the person’s website out of courtesy and curiousity.

On Pat G’s blog Irregular Warband Fast I found an interesting article and scenario / game write up by Pat G on Black-Birding

https://irregularwarbandfast.blogspot.com/2018/05/goldfinching.html

I know some colonial history but I knew nothing about the barbarous practice of Blackbirding:

Blackbirding is the coercion of people through trickery and kidnapping to work as labourers …

In the 1870s, the blackbirding ship trade focused on supplying labourers to plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland and Fiji … between 1842 and 1904. Those “blackbirded” were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland.

So many ships entered the blackbirding trade (with adverse effects on islanders) that the British Navy sent ships from Australia Station into the Pacific to suppress the trade.

Islanders fought back and sometimes were able to resist those engaged in black-birding …  Wikipedia article source

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbirding

Disturbingly the Wikipedia article mentions that Blackbirding has continued to the present day sourcing plantation workers  in developing countries such as Central America. All the more reason to support Fair Trade.

The causes of the American Civil War are complex, whether it was states rights or slavery or both that triggered the secession and conflict. The arguments,  tensions and legacy continue to this day in America.

Blackbirding was new to me. I also knew nothing about the opposite of Harriet Tubman’s heroic Underground Railroad (to help free escaped slaves from the Southern USA to the freedom of the North around the time of the American Civil War), the opposite being now  known as the Reverse Underground Railroad.

“The Reverse Underground Railroad was the pre-American Civil War practice of kidnapping free blacks and fugitive slaves from U.S. free states and slave states and transporting them into  the Southern slave states for sale as slaves …

The Reverse Underground Railroad operated for 85 years, from 1780 to 1865.” Wikipedia article source

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Underground_Railroad

Solomon Northrup published Twelve Years A Slave in 1853, a memoir of his kidnapping from New York and twelve years spent as a slave in Louisiana. This became the award-winning film, which I have not yet seen, nor yet read the book.

Some interesting alternative history and some sources of gaming scenarios, instead of Redcoats blasting away at rebellious natives, you can feature powerless or resisting islanders, a wicked blackbirding gang and the Royal Navy to the rescue, whether on this planet or on another VSF one!

Thanks Pat G!

Another interesting nugget of Colonial gaming history like the female warriors of Dahomey, featured on my blog in February:

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/colonial-amazons-women-soldiers-of-dahomey-and-siam/

Blosposted by Mark, Man of TIN, August 2018.