Pedro Blanco (slave trader)
Pedro Blanco (1795 - 1854) was a notorious Spanish slave trader based in Gallinas on the coast of Sierra Leone in the second quarter of the 19th century. Before entering the slave trade, Blanco ran a sugar mill in Cuba.
Blanco sailed to Africa on the 'Conquistador', one of his ships. He began trading in African slaves in 1822, and by 1839 he controlled a network that fed Cuba's insatiable hunger for plantation workers. Blanco expanded his operation by establishing a working relationship with the African King Siaka.
He eventually had agents stationed at Cape Mount, Shebar, Digby, Nuevo Sestos and elsewhere. Blanco entered a partnership with one Carballo, with a center of operations in Havana and other branches in Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and the Republic of Texas. His mercantile standing was so high that his credit bills were enthusiastically accepted in New York, London and many other well-known financial centers.
In Gallinas, Blanco built himself a private kingdom with storehouses on an island, his office on another island, and houses for his African wives on yet a third island. Slaves awaiting shipment were housed on the islands of Taro and Kamasun. In 1838, Blanco left Africa for Cuba and went to Barcelona, all the time trading in slaves. He left Gallinas just before most of the La Amistad Africans reached his stockades, but he left behind a network of employees to continue his business. It is likely that some of them handled the Amistad Africans. At any rate, he played a vital part in the development of the slave trade in this region. Blanco's business finally collapsed in 1848, and in 1854 he died in Genoa.