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A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery, and are amongst the most feared events for slaveholders. Famous historic slave rebellions have been led by the Roman slave Spartacus, as well as the thrall (Scandinavian slave) Tunni who rebelled against the Swedish monarch Ongentheow, a rebellion that needed Danish assistance to be quelled. Other rebellions include those of the poet-prophet Ali bin Muhammad, who led imported East African slaves in Iraq during the Zanj Rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate in the ninth century; Nanny of the Maroons who rebelled against the British in Jamaica; the Quilombos dos Palmares of Brazil, who flourished under Ganazumba (Ganga Zumba); and the Haitian Revolution against the French, the only successful slave revolt resulting in the founding of an extant country. The 1811 German Coast Uprising in the Territory of [New] Orleans was the largest rebellion in the continental U.S.; Denmark Vesey rebelled in South Carolina, USA; and Madison Washington during the Creole case in 19th century America.
Ancient Sparta had a special type of serf-like helots. The helots were treated harshly and sometimes resorted to rebellions. According to Herodotus (IX, 28–29), helots were seven times as numerous as Spartans. Every autumn, according to Plutarch (Life of Lycurgus, 28, 3–7), the Spartan ephors would pro forma declare war on the helot population so that any Spartan citizen could kill a helot without fear of blood or guilt in order to keep them in line(crypteia).
In the Roman Empire, though the heterogeneous nature of the slave population worked against a strong sense of solidarity, slave revolts did occur and were severely punished. The most famous slave rebellion in Europe was led by Spartacus in Roman Italy, the Third Servile War.This war resulted in the 600 surviving members of the rebelous slaves being crucified along the main roads leading into Rome. This was the third in a series of unrelated Servile Wars fought by slaves to the Romans.
The English peasants' revolt of 1381 led to calls for the reform of feudalism in England and an increase in rights for serfs. The Peasants' Revolt was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe. Richard II agreed to reforms including fair rents and the abolition of serfdom. Following the collapse of the revolt, the king's concessions were quickly revoked, but the rebellion is significant because it marked the beginning of the end of serfdom in medieval England.
In Russia, the slaves were usually classified as kholops. A kholop's master had unlimited power over his life. Slavery remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. During the 16th and 17th centuries, runaway serfs and kholops known as Cossacks (‘outlaws’) formed autonomous communities in the southern steppes.
There were numerous rebellions against slavery and serfdom, most often in conjunction with Cossack uprisings, such as the uprisings of Ivan Bolotnikov (1606–1607), Stenka Razin (1667–1671), Kondraty Bulavin (1707–1709), and Yemelyan Pugachev (1773–1775), often involving hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions. Between the end of the Pugachev rebellion and the beginning of the 19th century, there were hundreds of outbreaks across Russia.
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The Zanj Rebellion was the culmination of a series of small revolts. It took place near the city of Basra, located in southern Iraq over a period of fifteen years (869−883 AD). It grew to involve over 500,000 slaves, who were imported from across the Muslim empire.
Europe and the Mediterranean
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- The First and Second Servile War occurred in Sicily.
- The Third Servile War occurred in mainland Italy. Spartacus, an escaped gladiator, supposedly from Thrace became the most prominent of the rebel leaders, before being defeated by Marcus Licinius Crassus. Spartacus has since become a hero to many modern rebels.
Other slave revolts occurred elsewhere.
- Eumenes III, king of Pergamon, promised freedom to slaves to draw support against the Roman Republic.
South America and the Caribbean
Quilombo dos Palmares in Brazil, 1605 to 1694.
Panama also has an extensive history of slave rebellions going back to the 16th century. Slaves were brought to the isthmus from many regions in Africa, including the modern day countries of the Congo, Senegal, Guinea, and Mozambique. Immediately before their arrival on shore, or very soon after, many enslaved Africans revolted against their captors, or participated in mass maroonage, or desertion. The freed Africans founded communities in the forests and mountains, organized guerrilla bands known as Cimarrones. They began a long guerrilla war against the Spanish Conquistadores, sometimes in conjunction with nearby indigenous communities like the Kuna and the Guaymí. Despite massacres by the Spanish, the rebels fought until the Spanish crown was forced to concede to treaties that granted the Africans a life without Spanish violence and incursions. The leaders of the guerrilla revolts included Felipillo, Bayano, Juan de Dioso, Domingo Congo, Antón Mandinga, and Luis de Mozambique.
Tacky's War (1760)
Cuba, had slave revolts in 1795, 1798, 1802, 1805, 1812 (the Aponte revolt), 1825, 1827, 1829, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1838, 1839–43, 1844 (the La Escalera conspiracy and revolt)
In 1795 several slave rebellions broke out in entire the Caribbean, influenced by the Haitian Revolution. InJamaica there was the Second Maroon War. InDominica there was the Colihault Uprising and the Baptist War, 1831–1832, led by the Baptist preacher, Samuel Sharpe. InSaint Lucia the Bush War. In the Saint Vicent islands the Second Carib War broke out. In Grenadathere was the Fedon Rebellion.  Curaçao had a 1795 slave revolt, led by Tula InVenezuela, José Leonardo Chirino's Insurrectionoccurred in 1795 InBarbados, an 1816 slave revolt, led by Bussa InGuyana occurred the Demerara Rebellion of 1795. 
In the British Virgin Islands, minor slave revolts occurred in 1790, 1823 and 1830.
InDanish West Indiesa 1848 slave revolt lead to emancipation for all of the slaves in the Danish West Indies.
InPuerto Rico in 1821, Marcos Xiorro planned and conspired to lead a slave revolt against the sugar plantation owners and the Spanish Colonial government in Puerto Rico. Even though the conspiracy was unsuccessful, Xiorro achieved legendary status among the slaves and is part of Puerto Rico's folklore.
Numerous black slave rebellions and insurrections took place in North America during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. There is documentary evidence of more than 250 uprisings or attempted uprisings involving ten or more slaves. Three of the best known in the United States during the 19th century are the revolts by Gabriel Prosser in Virginia in 1800, Denmark Vesey in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822, and Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831.
Slave resistance in the antebellum South did not gain the attention of academic historians until the 1940s when historian Herbert Aptheker started publishing the first serious scholarly work on the subject. Aptheker stressed how rebellions were rooted in the exploitative conditions of the southern slave system. He traversed libraries and archives throughout the South, managing to uncover roughly 250 similar instances.
The 1811 German Coast Uprising, which took place outside of New Orleans in 1811, involved up to 500 slaves. It was suppressed by volunteer militias and a detachment of the United States Army. They killed 66 black men in the battle, executed 16, and 17 escaped and/or were killed along the way to freedom.
Although only involving about seventy slaves, the Turner's 1831 rebellion is considered to be a devastating event in American history. Over sixty people were killed, causing the slave-holding South to go into a panic. Fifty-five men, women and children were killed as Turner and his fellow rebel slaves rampaged from plantation to plantation throughout Virginia. Turner and the other slaves were eventually stopped as their ammunition ran out. The rebellion resulted in the hanging of about eighteen slaves, including Nat Turner himself. Fears afterwards led to new legislation passed by southern states prohibiting the movement, assembly, and education of slaves, and reducing the rights of free people of color. In addition, the Virginia legislature considered abolishing slavery to prevent further rebellions. In a close vote, however, the state decided to keep slaves.
John Brown had already fought against pro-slavery forces in Kansas for several years when he decided to lead a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia. This raid was a joint attack by former slaves, freed blacks, and white men who had corresponded with slaves on plantations in order to form a general uprising among slaves. It almost succeeded, had it not been for Brown's delay, and hundreds of slaves left their plantations to join Brown's force - and others left their plantations to join Brown in an escape to the mountains. Eventually, due to a tactical error by Brown, their force was quelled by the U.S. military, led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee. But directly following this, slave disobedience and the number of runaways increased markedly in Virginia.
The historian Steven Hahn proposes that the self-organized involvement of slaves in the Union Army during the American Civil War composed a slave rebellion that dwarfed all others. Similarly, tens of thousands of slaves joined British forces or escaped to British lines during the American Revolution, sometimes using the disruption of war to gain freedom. For instance, when the British evacuated from Charleston and Savannah, they took 10,000 slaves with them. They also evacuated slaves from New York, taking more than 3,000 for resettlement to Nova Scotia, where they were recorded as Black Loyalists and given land grants.
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1526 San Miguel de Gualdape
- San Miguel de Gualdape (1526)
- Gaspar Yanga's Revolt (c. 1570) near the Mexican city of Veracruz; the group escaped to the highlands and built a free colony
- Gloucester County, Virginia Revolt (1663)
- New York Slave Revolt of 1712
- Stono Rebellion (1739)
- New York Slave Insurrection of 1741
- Pointe Coupée Conspiracy (1795)
- Gabriel's Rebellion (1800)
- Igbo Landing slave escape (1803)
- Chatham Manor Rebellion (1805)
- 1811 German Coast Uprising, (1811)
- George Boxley Rebellion (1815)
- Denmark Vesey's Uprising (1822)
- Nat Turner's slave rebellion (1831)
- Black Seminole Slave Rebellion (1835–1838) 
- Amistad Seizure (1839)
- Creole case (1841) (Note: considered most successful in US history)
- 1842 Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation
- John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry (1859)
In 1808 and 1825 there were slave rebellions in the Cape Colony, newly acquired by the British. Although the slave trade was officially abolished in the British Empire by the Slave Trade Act of 1807, and slavery itself a generation later with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, it took until 1850 to be halted in the territories which were to become South Africa. 
- Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts, 6. ed., New York: International Publ., 1993 - classic
- Matt D. Childs, The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle Against African Slavery, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006
- David P. Geggus, ed., The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001
- Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World, Louisiana State University Press 1980
- Joao Jose Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia (Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture), Johns Hopkins Univ Press 1993
- Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2007.
- Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007.
References and notes
- Sparta - A Military City-State
- Resisting Slavery in Ancient Rome By Professor Keith Bradle
- The Sicilian Slave Wars and Spartacus
- Chronology Of Slavery
- Ways of ending slavery
- Russia before Peter the Great
- The Slave Revolts
- "An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti: Comprehending a View of the Principal Transactions in the Revolution of Saint Domingo: with Its Ancient and Modern State". World Digital Library. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- THE FÉDONS OF GRENADA, 1763-1814. Posted by Curtis Jacobs. Retrieved March 10, 2013, to 18: 25 pm.
- McGowan, Winston (2006). "The 1763 and 1823 slave rebellions". Starbucks News. Retrieved December 7, 2006.[dead link]
- "Slave revolts in Puerto Rico: conspiracies and uprisings, 1795-1873"; by: Guillermo A. Bar alt; Publisher Markus Wiener Publishers; ISBN 1-55876-463-1, ISBN 978-1-55876-463-7
- "A Continuity of the 19th Century Jihaad Movements of Western Sudan". "Muhammad Sharif".
- Louis A. DeCaro Jr., John Brown--The Cost of Freedom: Selections from His Life & Letters (New York: International Publishers, 2007), 16.
- Hahn, Steven (2004). "The Greatest Slave Rebellion in Modern History: Southern Slaves in the American Civil War". southernspaces.org. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877, New York: Hill and Wang, 1993, pp. 73-77
- Joseph Cephas Carroll, Slave Insurrections in the United States, 1800-1865, p. 13
- Rasmussen, Daniel (2011). American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt. HarperCollins. p. 288.
- Giliomee, Hermann (2003). "The Afrikaners", Chapter 4 - Masters, Slaves and Servants, the fear of gelykstelling, Page 93,94
- PBS online article: New York: The Revolt of 1712
- Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, First Black Rebels to Beat American Slavery, these maroons affiliated with Seminole Indians in Florida led a slave rebellion that would be the largest in U.S. history.
- Bahia Revolt
- Welcome to Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History
- Audio from a talk by Richard Hart (Ex-Attorney General of Grenada)on slave revolts in the Caribbean