Please note that this episode contains mentions of racial trauma, slavery and violence.
The most feared ship in Britain’s West Africa Squadron, His Majesty’s Black Joke was one of a handful of ships tasked with patrolling the western coast of Africa in an effort to end hundreds of years of global slave trading. Once a slaving vessel itself, only a lucky capture in 1827 allowed it to be repurposed by the Royal Navy to catch its former compatriots.
A.E. Rooks is an expert in this little-discussed facet of the transatlantic slave trade. Rooks joins Dan on the podcast to chronicle this history of the daring feats of a single ship - whose crew and commanders would capture more ships and liberate more enslaved people than any other in the Squadron.