Lord Ligonier (slave ship)

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Kingdom of Great Britain
Name: Lord Ligonier
Namesake: John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier
Owner: 1765, James Debatt, Daniel Vialars[1]
Operator: Thomas Davies
Port of registry: London, England[1]
Route: Annapolis, Maryland to London, England to The Gambia
Builder: Built in New England[1]
Laid down: 1763
Launched: 1765
Completed: July 1765
Acquired: c. 1765
Maiden voyage: 1 November 1766
Fate: Unknown, probably sold for scrap timber after the owner's death
General characteristics
Class and type: Slave ship
Tonnage: 130 or 236 tons[1]
Decks: 6
Propulsion: Wind
Sail plan: Ship rig[1]
Capacity: 210 people
Crew: 40
Armament: 6 guns[1]

The Lord Ligonier was an 18th-century British slave ship built in New England that unloaded slaves in Annapolis, Maryland in 1767. The ship was made famous by Alex Haley's novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, in which it brought his ancestor, Kunta Kinte, from The Gambia to the colonial United States.


Lord Ligonier was originally laid down in 1763. The ship was built for hauling cargo such as slaves, tobacco, spice, and lumber. In June 1765 the ship's owner, Horace Andrews, hired a crew of 40 men and a captain named Davies.

The ship had six decks in all, four for carrying slaves and two for hauling spice, lumber, and tobacco. Lord Ligonier was a sailing ship, built to weather Atlantic storms. It could carry 170 slaves, 40 crew members, and various amounts of other cargo. Although it could carry 170 slaves if they were packed in sideways, the ship's capacity was reduced to 140 when they lay on their backs.

1767 voyage and Roots[edit]

A surviving advertisement[2] records the arrival of the ship with a cargo of slaves at Annapolis in 1767. The ship was the basis for Alex Haley's assertion in his novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, that his ancestor, Kunta Kinte, was brought on that voyage. The miniseries based on the book invented a failed slave uprising during the voyage.

This is the only voyage of the Lord Ligonier recorded in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Database (Voyage 75775).[1]


The Lord Ligonier's subsequent fate is unknown. There is proof that it sailed on another slave voyage but nothing is known of it. The Lord Ligonier was probably sold for scrap timber after the owner's death.[original research?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "List of voyages, Lord Ligonier". Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Reproduction of 1767 advertisement announcing arrival at Annapolis". The Kunta Kinte - Alex Haley Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 7 October 2013.