Blowing Up of a Slave Dhow in the Arabian Gulf by the Boats of the H. M. S. Spiteful. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

A British sloop of war, her Majesty’s ship Spiteful, has lately returned to Adden from amonth’s cruising in search of slavers in the Arabian Gulf. She has performed good service in that time, having captured and destroyed six vessels employed in the slave trade, and rescued two hundred men, women, and children from slavery. Lieutenant Astley R. Cooper has favoured us with the sketch we have engraved. It represents the blowing up of a very large and heavily-armed slave dhow, which on perceiving the Spiteful had immediately run for the shore. On arriving at the place she was found to be secured in a narrow creek, between cliffs, of which the numerous fighting men of the dhow had taken possession, whilst the remainder of her crew were seen hurrying the slaves away to the mountains. The pinnace and cutters of the Spiteful, manned and armed, were sent away at once to destroy the slaver, which they did by blowing her up, under a heavy fire from the desperadoes on the cliff, who held their position very pluckily in spite of a rapid and accurate fire from the ship and boats. Some few slaves were found hidden in the dhow, from whom it was ascertained that above 350 slaves had been landed from respect and the vessel. On the destruction of of the dhow her crew fled into the interior. The prize-crew of another dhow, taken a few days before by the pinnace, were attacked by her former crew and another mountain Arab tribe, who kept up a heavy fire of musketry on her from the shore, but happily without much effect. The pinnace had to blow up the prize, as the the fire was too heavy to tow her out of the creek where she was anchored. Two of the slavers destroyed were armed with 6-pounder carronades, for which they had a good stock of ammunition.

Related Material

“The Slave Trade in the Arabian Gulf” Illustrated London News (4 July 1868): 4. Hathi Trust web version of the original volume in the Princeton University Library. Web. 25 May 2021.

Last modified 25 May 2021