The Trouvadore Story

Resdiscovering the Last Voyage of an African Slaver

The Trouvadore is a story of two negative incidents, both of which on their own would generally lead to tales of horror and sadness. The first was the capture and transportation of a group of Africans into slavery, a horrific journey across the Atlantic with the slave market waiting, and ending with unimaginable horrors that work in the sugar plantations would bring. The second was the wrecking of a ship, often the tale of loss of life and the terrors as the ship succumbs and sinks below the waves.

However, in this instance the two negatives mix to become a positive. The wreck led to saving 192 Africans bound for the Cuban slave markets. The wreck deposited the human cargo on the shores of East Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Fortunately for the Africans, they landed in a British Colony that emancipated its slaves in 1834, seven years prior to the wrecking of Trouvadore.

In the early days the Museum looked at the Trouvadore in national terms. However, it became apparent that it would also provide an important insight into what was happening in this transitional period from slavery to emancipation in the Americas — a little covered period. Through a collaborative process involving researchers in 8 countries, family historians, cultural historians, university lecturers, scientists, archaeologists, documentary makers and publishers the story has been uncovered.  As a result, the story of Trouvadore and the African captives on board can now be better understood within the context of the illegal slave trade,  the anti-slavery movement, and the period of economic change following Emancipation in this Crown Colony.

Follow the search through the archives, the trail of the survivors, and the archaeology  and documentary film team as they search for the shipwreck and unearth the the clues to the last voyage of the African slaveship Trouvadore.