Scientists identified the debris on the bottom of the sea as remnants of a 160-year old slave ship, based on a clip of Al Jazeera.

The Mexican researchers believe the vessel, La Union, with the Mayan slaves on board, sank in September 1861.

Experts say that the well-preserved wooden hull of La Union helped in order to accurately identify the ship.

No Longer a Folktale 

The locals of Sisal had passed down through generations the tale of the slave ship, said archaeologist Helena Barba Meinecke to The Matzalan Post.

Ultimately, one of those residents, a fisherman led the researchers to the ship’s debris. 

The researchers found the vessel about 2 miles (3.7 km) away from the port of Sisal.

After searching, they found the ship submerged in about 22 feet ( 7 m) of water.

La “Union” to Separate Mayans from Freedom 

Through this “multi-disciplined” probe, we have uncovered the “fact”, said archaeologist Barba Meinecke on The Aljazeera (translated) clip.

This is the steamboat “La Union” that went under on “September 19, 1861”, continued Barba Meinecke of The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

We know that the ship not only hauled “cargo to Cuba,” Meinecke said.

In addition, the ship also held Mayan captives “illegally onboard.”

Researchers initially discovered the vessel in 2017, The Matzalan Post reported.

However, in spite of the 2017 discovery, the scientists just recently identified the steamboat as a Mayan slave ship.

Unprecedented Find

Scientists identified the wreck as the first-ever Mayan slave ship off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Researchers say that The La Union wreck is proof of the enslavement of indigenous people, per Al Jazeera.

The enslavement which was supposedly abolished ages ago.

Slave traders, however, used La Unión to carry Mayan captives to Cuba during ‘The War of the Castes’, per The Matzalan Post 

The war which lasted from 1847 to 1901 saw the exploited Mayan natives revolt against the oppression of European rulers.

The Element of Humanity

To say nothing of “the element of justice,” it is also worth looking into the story of descendants.

Those who stayed behind and those who were carried off to Cuba, Barba Meinecke of INAH said.

In Barba Meinecke’s opinion,” the human element”, ultimately, is the most invaluable part, reported Al Jazeera.


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